Malaysians, here’s something to look forward to in 2018: 11 long weekends throughout the year! Yes, you read that right. There will be a total of 11 long weekends in the coming year, so you have more excuse to treat yourself with a short trip!
Not sure how to begin planning and where to go? Fret not because we got that covered! For your convenience, here’s the breakdown of the public holidays in 2018:
Credit: Golden Destinations on Facebook
New Year’s Eve (Saturday, 30 December – Monday, 1 January)
1. Makassar, Indonesia
Be ahead of others and greet the new year slightly earlier, here in Makassar! With its timezone being an hour before, Makassar is among the first cities in world to welcome the new year.
Credit: Adhiaksa Tcha Mursalim on Facebook
As an important eastern Indonesian city, Makassar isn’t losing out in the scale of celebration. Losari Beach is the center of attention and where all the fun things happen, including the fireworks display. While you’re there, don’t forget to give your friends a call right after the clock strikes midnight to tell them “you’re so last year!” 😝
Credit: Randy Tan Travelogue on Flickr
How to get there: Take a direct flight from KLIA to Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport
Travel time: ~3 hours 20 minutes
Chinese New Year (Friday, 16 February – Sunday, 18 February)
2. Hong Kong Disneyland
Feel like experiencing a different kind of Chinese New Year celebration? Head over to Hong Kong Disneyland, the land of happiness and good fortune! All seven themed lands of Hong Kong Disneyland will be decked in red and gold in the spirit of the festive season. On top of that, your favourite Disney characters will even be dressed up in colourful traditional outfits!
Credit: Hong Kong Disneyland on Facebook
When talking about Disneyland, of course we can’t leave out the night parade. With its theme being “The Happiest Chinese New Year Celebration”, the floats will be adorned with elaborate decorations to symbolize prosperity and new opportunities. The amazing fireworks display is a must-see here, especially during this special season!
Credit: amaz on Flickr
#HHWT Tip: Book your admission tickets on Klook to avoid the endlessly long queues at the ticketing counters!
Credit: Kyle Cheung on Flickr
How to get there: Take a direct flight from KLIA to Hong Kong International Airport. Coach services that take passengers straight to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort are available at Terminal 2 with prior booking.
Travel time: ~4 hours
Labour Day (Saturday, 28 April – Tuesday, 1 May)
3. Miri, Sarawak
Before oil was discovered in 1910, Miri was just a regular fishing village. Now that it’s been upgraded to a bustling city, Miri boasts of a wide range of tourist attractions and fun activities like diving and hiking. The Grand Old Lady, Miri’s first well which is located up on Canada Hill, is a must-visit site for travellers. Besides the well, this location also offers a breath-taking panoramic view of Miri.
Credit: EV Photo on Facebook
If outdoor activities aren’t your thing, then go on a shopping spree at Tamu Muhibbah, Miri’s main market which sells all kinds of local produce. Similarly, Tamu Khas which is found inside Tamu Muhibbah, sells local products like handicrafts, which makes the perfect souvenirs.
Credit: Mylife on Facebook
Remember to try Sarawak’s signature Mee Kolok and colourful layer cakes when you’re in Miri!
Credit: @ina_ziqdhiyafi on Instagram
#HHWT Tip: Take a day off on Monday, 30 April to make it a four-day trip!
How to get there: Take a direct flight from KLIA or KLIA2 to Miri Airport.
Travel time: ~2 hours 15 minutes
Vesak Day (Saturday, 26 May – Tuesday, 29 May)
4. Sapa, Vietnam
May is the best month to visit Sapa, a charming mountainous town in northern Vietnam where rain is scarce and the weather is neither too cold nor too hot. Since May is the season of spring in Sapa, you’ll be able to see a plethora of beautiful flowers in full bloom!
Credit: Flip Nomad on Flickr
Sapa has been voted Vietnam’s best trekking spot by both locals and foreigners alike, so there’s no question that hiking and trekking should be on your to-do list here. Don’t forget to have your camera ready while hiking up Mt. Fan Si Pan, the highest mountain in Indochin, where you can capture the scenic view of Sapa’s famed terraced rice field. If you’re worried about the possibility of getting lost, you can always hire a local guide.
Credit: Son Nguyen Vu on Facebook
Sapa is also home to diverse ethnic communities who live in hamlets scattered around the valleys throughout the district. By hiring a local guide, you’re likely to hear lovely stories of their daily lives and traditions.
Credit: Lavieauvietnam.com on Facebook
Credit: Anocha Klamcharoen on Facebook
#HHWT Tip: Take a day off on Monday, 28 May to make it a four-day trip.
How to get there: Take a flight to Hanoi, then board a direct bus to Sapa.
Travel time: ~3 hours 10 minutes flight + 6-7 hours bus trip = ~11 hours
Hari Raya Puasa (Friday, 15 June – Sunday, 17 June)
5. Bangkok, Thailand
If you don’t mind the rain, visiting Bangkok in June is a great way to save money since it’s the off peak season. Chances are, you’ll be able to score a bargain on prices as flight and hotel rates will be much cheaper. Besides, the city won’t be as packed with tourists, so it’s the perfect time to hit up those famous floating markets and cafes without having to worry about the crowd.
Credit: B.B. Wijdieks on Flickr
Also known as the City of Angels and Venice of the East, Bangkok is a mesmerizing city with a harmonious blend of old and new, East and West. The chaos of the city may astound you at first and even leave you dizzy, but Bangkok is brimming with energy and full of pleasant surprises at almost every turn you take. Of course, you can’t leave out the yummy food when you’re in Thailand!
Credit: aotaro on Flickr
Being a country with a significantly large population of Muslims, delectable halal food isn’t hard to find. Don’t forget to try famous Thai street snacks like mango sticky rice, khanom buang and more!
Credit: @nurhayateejt on Instagram
How to get there: Take a direct plane to Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Mueang International Airport (for budget airlines).
Travel time: ~2 hours 10 minutes
National Day (Friday, 31 August – Sunday 2 September)
6. Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
Kuala Terengganu is more than just a regular coastal town and a hub town you stop by while travelling to island access points. Unbeknownst to many, Kuala Terengganu itself has a lot of unique attractions, including the iconic Crystal Mosque, Islamic Heritage Park, bustling markets as well as exhilarating outdoor activities. Complete your trip and drop by Pasar Payang, the town’s most popular shopping hub for all things traditional crafts and batik.
Credit: Aiena Zahira Daim on Flickr
Kuala Terengganu is also a heaven for foodies. From traditional kuih to the signature nasi dagang, there’s a whole lot of food to try here. Street food isn’t something to be missed as well, especially during your night market outings. Be prepared to gain a few kilos during the trip!
Credit: Matthew Klein on Flickr
How to get there: Take a direct flight to Sultan Mahmud Airport or ride an express bus. Otherwise, you can simply drive.
Travel time: ~55 minutes by plane, 6-7 hours by bus, ~5 hours by car.
Awal Muharram (Saturday, 8 September – Tuesday, 11 September + Malaysia Day [Saturday, 15 September – Monday, 17 September])
7. Hokkaido, Japan
Feeling extra ambitious? Take advantage of two long weekends in a row and turn it into a week-long holiday! Japan’s koyo (autumn colours) season is stunning and arguably more iconic than the famous hanami (cherry blossoms viewing) season. In fall, the leaves of the deciduous trees and the grounds of public parks, roadsides, riverbeds, all transform into red, orange, yellow and brown colours, creating a picturesque sight that you’ll never forget. While Kyoto does hold the throne for the best autumn foliage, Hokkaido doesn’t fall far behind!
Credit: Hideo on Flickr
Autumn foliage season typically starts mid-late September in the Hokkaido region. While it might be a little early to see the leaves in “full bloom”, it’s still a great time to immerse yourself in nature. The second largest island in Japan, Hokkaido, is home to lush natural forests and wild animals who roam around freely. It’s the perfect place to spend some time surrounded by nature instead of the concrete jungles. Breathe in some fresh air and get rejuvenated!
Credit: yuu717m on Flickr
Being there in September also means that you’ll be able to visit Hokkaido’s biggest food festival at Odori Park. The festival is divided into eight sections, categorised according to the items sold there and it’s as large as eight football fields combined!
Credit: hendrikMINTARNO on Flickr
Do bear in mind that some Japanese food contain mirin or sake, so always check with the vendors directly before consuming at your own discretion.
#HHWT Tip: Take leave on Monday, 10 September and Wednesday – Friday, 12 – 14 September.
How to get there: Take a direct flight to New Chitose Airport, Sapporo.
Travel time: ~7 hours 30 minutes
Deepavali (Saturday, 3 November – Tuesday, 6 November)
8. Kalampunian Beach, Sabah
At the northernmost part of Sabah, right before you reach the tip of Borneo lies the gorgeous moon-shaped Kalampunian Beach, said to be Sabah’s most beautiful beach. Brilliant blue seas, a white sandy beach and few crowds, there’s a lot to love about Kalampunian Beach.
Credit: HasimObong on Facebook
#HHWT Tip: Take a day off on Monday, 5 November to make it a four-day trip.
With Kalampunian Beach slowly gaining more attention, more facilities are being built near the area such as a small esplanade and gift shops. In fact, small roadside stalls selling street snacks and souvenirs have started to mushroom. Before the beach gains immense popularity, you’re advised to plan your trip there ASAP!
Credit: Mohd Di Shuhainie Boboy on Facebook
#HHWT Tip: Do take note that there are no lifeguards on duty here at Kalampunian Beach.
How to get there: Take a flight to Kota Kinabalu, then rent a car and drive north to Kudat. Follow the signs to ‘Tip of Borneo’.
Travel time: ~2 hours 35 minutes by plane + ~3 hours drive
Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday (Saturday, 17 November – Tuesday, 20 November)
9. Taiping, Malaysia
Taiping is lesser known than Ipoh, but this quaint town will make you fall in love with its quiet charms as well as historical and cultural wonders. The name Taiping is derived from two Chinese characters which mean “great” and “peace”, and it’s evident by how time seems to move by slowly and peacefully here.
Credit: shanlung on Flickr
#HHWTtip: Take a day off on Monday, 19 November to make it a four-day trip.
Popular for its colonial architecture, Taiping is also home to many of the nation’s firsts, including Malaysia’s first post office and museum. Make sure to spend your afternoon at Taiping Lake Gardens, a series of interconnected ponds which used to be tin mines, now surrounded by flower beds, shrubs and trees.
Credit: Chee Meng Au Yong on Flickr
If you’re in luck, you might be able to book a tour to Maxwell Hill (also known as Bukit Larut), a small resort hill with a daily temperature ranging from 10 to 25 degree Celsius. Given that the availability of the tour depends on the weather, the tour is not conducted daily.
#HHWT Tip: Taiping is the wettest region in Malaysia, so do bring along an umbrella or a raincoat.
How to get there: Take an ETS train from KL Sentral to Taiping.
Travel time: 3 hours – 3 hours 15 minutes
Christmas (Saturday, 22 December – Tuesday, 25 December)
Snow (real snow, at least) isn’t on the list this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean Singapore is short of Christmas spirit. Just like most other countries, Christmas is the most magical time of the year in Singapore, snowless and all. Even if you don’t celebrate it, you can still have a great time because there’s one activity that everyone regardless of religion can take part in: shopping.
#HHWT Tip: Plan your Singapore getaway with Klook and get RM300 off* attraction tickets, transportation passes & more!
Credit: @skylinejuicebox on Instagram
Every December, the famous Orchard Road transforms into a Christmas wonderland as millions of lights line the streets, all the way from Tanglin Mall to Plaza Singapura. If you’re planning to skip the overcrowded malls, however, there are many markets with local, independent boutiques and vendors selling various unique products, ranging from handmade gifts to clothes.
[ P.S. Here’s the only halal food guide to Singapore’s best attractions you’ll ever need! ]
Head on over to Gardens By The Bay, which will be completely transformed into a Christmas Wonderland, complete with a snow machine and an ice-skating rink.
#HHWT Tip: Take a day off on Monday, 24 December to make it a four-day trip.
How to get there: Board a flight to Changi Airport or take a bus. There are options of boarding at 1Utama Shopping Centre, Berjaya Times Square or TBS.
Travel time: ~1 hour by plane, ~5 hours by bus
With all these long weekends, there’s no reason not to step out of the comfort of your home and embark on your much-needed adventure. Make full use of your annual leaves and start planning that dream getaway(s)!