One of the best things about Singapore is its proximity to some of the coolest places in the world for a family ‘Vay-Kay’!
But when cost, time restraints and unprecedented pandemic-induced travel restrictions put a longer vacation on hold, you need to look inland for some effort.
And don’t think you can’t experience it all. There is still a lot of fun to be had and the island offers it in plenty.
In fact, there are multiple day trips from Singapore that families can take, which are as satisfying as they are enjoyable.
Leave the packing for another day and head off to any one of these divine day-trip destinations. Take your pick from one or all of these places and make the most of your family time this school holiday.
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Just 40 minutes from Singapore by boat and you’ll already be able to step foot on Indonesia’s Batam Island, which has many luxurious hotels and golf courses, making it popular for spa seekers and business breaks.
For families though, kids will certainly enjoy the many activities and water sports on offer, and parents will love the shopping and seafood.
Ferries depart regularly from Harbourfront for Sekupang and it’ll cost approximately $186* for a return trip for a family of 4. English is widely spoken and it’s easy to get around by taxi or public transport when you are there.
Hit the beach at Nongsa or Waterfront City and have a go at snorkelling, kayaking or jet skiing. The more adventurous might like to try wind-surfing, wakeboarding and parasailing too. There is also fishing and banana boat riding for the less extreme. Shop till you drop at Nagoya Hill. Pick up some local delicacies like dragon fruit cake, or browse the shelves stacked with shoes and bags! Perhaps Mum can sneak in a massage, while Dad heads for the water with the kids – all at a much cheaper price than we’re used to.
Don’t miss this, especially if you love eating! You have to try the seafood and there are many places to get it.
2. Bintan Resorts
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Bintan Resorts is a tailor-made activity haven at the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Bintan. It is a great place for families, especially if you love the great outdoors.
You can choose from a range of activities to suit your mood – from the thrilling to the gentle and everything in between. Whatever you choose to do, there is no escaping its beautiful coastline, so those who just want to relax on the beach will find the perfect place to do so.
Ferries operate daily from Tanah Merah and Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminals in Singapore and the trip takes just 55 minutes. You can get there for under $100* for a family of 4, and there is a cheap bus from City Hall and Tanah Merah MRT stations to the ferry terminal.
Go to Lagoi Park & Reservoir for water activities like kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing. Or, take an afternoon stroll and enjoy a BBQ. Want a day of adventure? Try your hand at go-karting, power paintballing or take the wheel of an ATV or minicar. For those of you with a ‘wild side,’ have a go at conquering the 340-metre tall Gunung Bintan. Trek through the surrounding rainforest and encounter rare animals such as silver leaf monkeys, sunbirds, eagles and kites. The Bintan Elephant Park also offers an elephant show and the chance to ride one up into the forest.
Don’t miss this! The Lagoi Turtle Hatchery — if you time it right, you can see the little turtles hatching.
If you are looking for some culture and history, the Malaysian state of Malacca has this in abundance. It is easily one of the most enriching day trips from Singapore that you can have.
There is a wealth of heritage to absorb from ancient landmarks to museums, churches and other colonial structures. Add to this the bustling shopping streets, exciting attractions and insightful tours — there is something for everyone!
Malacca sits in the southern region of Malaysia and is best accessed by car or coach for a day trip. The drive takes around 3 to 4 hours.
Walk along Jonker Street and experience Malacca City’s Chinatown. Go here for souvenirs, coffee and to soak up the culture. For the perfect photo opportunity, stop by A’Famosa Fort, a settlement dating back to the 1500’s and one of the oldest European remains in Asia. If the kids get bored with too much culture, grab a cab and visit the A’Famosa Resort. It’s 45 minutes from the city but you’ll find a water park, animal safari and even a cowboy town! To experience the traditional Malay lifestyle, try and stop by the village of Kampung Morten and try out the yummy Peranakan dishes.
Don’t miss this! Take the Malacca River Cruise and see the city sights from the comfort of a relaxing boat ride.
4. JB (Johor Bahru)
Looking for day trips from Singapore to Malaysia and JB won’t disappoint you. It’s a mere 35-minute taxi ride north of Singapore, into Malaysia, and you’ll arrive at Johor Bahru or JB.
It offers a great deal of fun for families — from sandy beaches to amusement parks, shopping and impressive buildings.
Go back to nature at Johor National Park. Bask in the beauty of flora and lush greenery with waterfalls and wildlife to explore. Let your fun side shine through and take a trip to Legoland Malaysia. Let the kids run wild at this theme park full of Lego-themed rides, games and attractions. If you have the afternoon free, take a trip to Sibu Island, 12km off the East Coast of Johor. Its peaceful atmosphere will make for the ideal end to a busy day.
Don’t miss this! The inspiring architecture of the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque is widely recognised as one of the most impressive in Malaysia.
5. Kusu Island
Take a short ferry ride off the Singapore mainland and you will hit the blue lagoons and lush beaches of Kusu. The ferry ride costs $18 each for adults and $12 each for kids.
Expect a tranquil yet exciting family trip to a place close to home but ‘miles away’ from what you’re used to.
Learn the legends of Kusu Island, which translates to Tortoise Island in Chinese. Its magical presence sees hundreds of people flock there on an annual pilgrimage to find health, happiness, luck and propriety.
Spend the morning by the sea and unwind on the pristine beaches that Kusu has to offer. Don’t forget to pack a picnic for lunch and soak up the luscious scenery. When you’ve rested on the sand, head off to view the Chinese temple, Da Bo Gong, which dates back to the 1920s. There lie 2 deities – the Da Bo Gong and Guan Yin. Da Bo Gong is believed to have healing powers and promote prosperity, while Guan Yin is known as the ‘giver of sons.’ Climb the 152 steps leading up the holy shrines of three Malay saints from the 19th century. There, you can pray for wealth, good health and good family fortune.
Don’t miss this! The Tortoise Sanctuary is a must-visit on the island. Plus, kids will love to make a wish by throwing a coin into the island’s wishing well.
6. St John’s Island
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When we talk about day trips from Singapore city to the different parts, St John’s Island needs to be on the list. It is a hilly gateway south of the island full of lagoons and beaches, and a favourite for trekking fans. Ferries operate daily from Marina South Pier or you can charter your own boat and sail there.
If you and your family love to explore nature then this is the place for you. The hills are surrounded by many species of flora and fauna, making it an idyllic picnic spot and a perfect place for wandering around.
Spending the day on the beach? Swim to one of the many lagoons and be amazed by the marine life before you. Colourful corals will catch your eye and the many sea creatures are bound to leave you breathless! If you’re up for exploring, take a guided nature tour by the Tropical Marine Science Institute and learn about the wonderful wildlife surrounding the coastline.
Don’t miss this! Dolphin-spotting by the water – it’ll make for an unforgettable experience!
*Fare is based on 2 adults, 2 children and is an approximation. It may vary depending on the date and time of travel. Please check visa requirements for each destination.
Have you been on any of these day trips from Singapore? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!
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