It’s not even halfway through 2019 but we’re already thinking about our vacation in 2020 😅 That’s because just last week, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released the official list of public holidays in Singapore. And there are 7 long weekends!
Well, if you’re like us and you can’t wait to plan your trips for 2020, this guide will tell you where you should go for a getaway next year! Besides the 7 official long weekends, we’ll also be including 2 more long weekends that you can get by just adding a day or two of leave. So, if you’re ready, let’s get straight to planning!
1. New Year’s Day – Sydney, Australia
Public holiday: 1 Jan (Wed)
When to take leave: 30-31 Dec 2019 (Mon-Tue)
Total days off: 5
Start the new year with a bang in Sydney, Australia! It’s the first major city to greet the New Year with an annual fireworks display at the Sydney Harbour, where you’ll also get a spectacular view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge 😍
Credit: Valpu DePrato on Facebook
While most of the world is facing harsh, cold winters, it’s summer in Australia so this is your best chance to get the best out of Sydney’s beaches. Head to the famous Bondi Beach for a therapeutic day out with the waves, or try the Coastal Walk along the cliffs from Bondi to Waverley. Our 6D5N Muslim-friendly Sydney itinerary would be perfect for you!
Alternatively, you can also savour some fresh seafood or soak in the atmosphere at Darling Harbour or learn more about marine life at the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, then take a 90-minute road trip to the stunning Blue Mountains or go down south to Jervis Bay for its pristine beaches and meet the adorable bottlenose dolphins 😍
#HHWT Tip: Planning a road trip around Sydney? We’ve rounded up 8 essential tips you’d need!
2. Chinese New Year – Bali, Indonesia
Public holiday: 25-27 Jan (Sat-Mon)
Total days off: 3
It’s the first long weekend of the year (after new year’s!) and you’re probably already looking for a breather. What better way for a respite than by going on a beach getaway? And Bali is always a good idea ☺️
P.S. If you’re looking for a longer beach vacay, our 6D5N Bali-Lombok itinerary is just what you need!
Credit: @darareigina on Instagram
Explore the island’s well-known beaches like Kuta and Seminyak, go off the beaten path at Balangan or Sanur beaches, or even take a short trip to the nearby Nusa Penida Island. Take Insta-worthy shots at Tegalalang rice fields or Pura Lempuyang for that famous “gateway to Heaven” shot. Immerse yourself in Balinese culture by visiting the iconic Uluwatu sea temple or watching the traditional Balinese Kecak fire dance.
#HHWT Tip: Book your stay in Bali at one of these 10 awesome family-friendly villas!
Credit: Defenders of Hinduism on Facebook
Of course, what’s a trip to Bali without trying out authentic and yummy Balinese cuisine? We’ve rounded up 13 halal eateries where you can get the best of Bali’s gastronomic offerings 🤤
P.S. Looking to get the best out of Bali? We’ve got 12 amazing things you have to do when you’re on the island!
3. Good Friday – Bangkok, Thailand
Public holiday: 10 Apr (Fri)
Total days off: 3
It’s impossible not to include Bangkok in any vacation list! And the best part about Good Friday next year is that it’ll be around the same time as the Thai New Year, Songkran (13 Apr). So, it’ll be interesting to see how the Thai locals prepare for the festivities leading up to the holiday. If you have more leave to spare, we’d even recommend that you stay and participate in their famous new year water fight!
Credit: Ratchada Train Night Market on Facebook
Besides Songkran, a visit to Bangkok isn’t complete without visiting one of their many street markets – whether it’s the iconic Chatuchak, the hipster Asiatique, train markets or finding bargain buys at Pratunam. Don’t forget its amazing malls too like MBK, Platinum Fashion Mall, Central World and more!
Credit: @bungamel on Instagram
For some sightseeing, we’d recommend heading to the Grand Palace and the Jim Thompson House. Alternatively, you could also visit a floating market near the city. Our 4D3N Muslim-friendly Bangkok itinerary will be perfect for planning your trip!
#HHWT Tip: Your Bangkok trip won’t be complete without satisfying your Thai food cravings at one of these 15 halal eateries.
4. Labour Day – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Public holiday: 1 May (Fri)
Total days off: 3
Ramadan’s just starting by this time and you’re probably looking for last-minute raya outfits or just itching to go somewhere convenient. Kuala Lumpur fits the bill!
Credit: Muhammad Firdaus Zamani on Facebook
Slot in some time for raya shopping at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Jalan TAR) or Wisma Jakel which is filled with hundreds of shops selling baju kurung, Muslimah wear, hijabs, home furnishings, fabrics and more. Besides that, you can also swing by one of the many Ramadan Bazaars around the city like the Masjid India & Jalan TAR bazaar, Kampung Baru, TTDI and more.
#HHWT Tip: If you’re looking for somewhere cosy to break fast, here’s a list of 10 new halal eateries that’ll fill your tummy!
Credit: @jeerjeff on Instagram
But if you wish to take it slow, we recommend booking a stay at one of the few hotels that’s connected to shopping malls. Not only will you have an awesome time doing some shopping at the malls, but you can also head back to your hotel and recharge whenever you want since it’s Ramadan. We’ve rounded up 8 top hotels which are connected to shopping malls in KL ☺️ Most hotels will also have sahur or iftar buffet prepared for you, so it’s really convenient too!
5. Vesak Day – Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Public holiday: 7 May (Thur)
When to take leave: 8 May (Fri)
Total days off: 4
Yogyakarta is the seat of the Javanese Sultanate (which still exists by the way!) and the city is not only filled with beautiful cultural spots, but also plenty of shopping spots, Instagrammable sights and good food! The city comes alive during Ramadan especially in the evenings leading up to iftar. Street vendors would set up stalls and you’d get to sample some local treats when you break fast 😋
Since it’s Vesak Day, this is also a good time to visit Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple! Challenge yourself by climbing up the steps to the top of the temple and witness a Vesak Day ritual procession where hundreds of devotees will visit the temple. As Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, tolerance and compassion, it’ll be fascinating to learn about other religions and their beliefs so that we can strengthen our faith in Islam too.
Credit: @anastasiyakou on Instagram
Besides that, don’t miss out on other stunning sights in Yogyakarta too like the Taman Sari Water Castle, the Kraton (palace), Kalibiru National Park, Timang Beach and more. Check out our 5D4N Yogyakarta itinerary for more!
6. Hari Raya Puasa – Staycation in Singapore
Public holiday: 24-25 May (Sun-Mon)
Total days off: 3
It’s Hari Raya Puasa, and you’ll probably be busy visiting your relatives, friends and attending open houses. But we get it – amidst all the raya frenzy, sometimes you just want to escape somewhere. Since you most possibly can’t leave the country, we recommend squeezing in a staycation 😉
Credit: Village Hotels & Residences on Facebook
Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway with your partner or taking a short break with the family, you’ll most probably be recharged after the good break and ready to do more raya visiting 🤣 For those of you who can afford to leave the country just for a bit, you know you can always cross the causeway for a short escape! We’ve rounded up 11 incredible hotels in JB where you can let your hair down.
7. Hari Raya Haji – Xi’an, China
Public holiday: 31 July (Fri)
Total days off: 3
Maybe you’re not into spending Ramadan overseas, but why not experience Hari Raya Haji overseas then? Xi’an is perfect as it’s one of the places where Islam has had a rich presence since the 7th century 😱 This treasure trove of a city is only a short 5h+ flight from Singapore, which makes it possible to do a 3D2N trip! (you can take an overnight flight and arrive in the morning too)
Start your day by joining in the Eid-ul-Adha prayers at the Great Mosque of Xi’an and mingle with the locals. Then, make your way to the Muslim Quarter where you’ll be greeted with a sea of halal local delicacies like the flatbread in mutton gravy, rou jia mo (Chinese hamburger), persimmon doughnut, hand-pulled noodles, dumplings and more!
Don’t miss out on a visit to Huaqing Palace, the Terracotta Army Museum, Huashan Mountains and more. Our 5D4N Muslim-friendly itinerary will help you out!
8. National Day – Alishan, Taiwan
Public holiday: 9-10 Aug (Sun-Mon)
Total days off: 3
It’s August and while it’s summer all year round in Singapore, somehow the mid-year seems a little hotter than usual. So, what better way to escape the heat than by heading to the Alishan mountain area in Taiwan? Known for its gorgeous sunrise views, tea plantations and nature trails, it’ll be the perfect respite you need 😍
Hop aboard the highlight of Alishan – the Forest Railway – and take in the breathtaking views along the way. Cross the famous Taiping Suspension Bridge, explore tea plantation trails, stay in one of the many Muslim-friendly homestays and more!
The best part about Alishan is that many homestays and restaurants provide halal food and prayer rooms, so you won’t need to worry 🤗 If you’re wondering what to see and do in Alishan, our 4D3N Muslim-friendly itinerary will help you out!
#HHWT Tip: Get to Alishan conveniently by flying directly to Kaohsiung and then taking a 1.5-hour train ride to Alishan.
BONUS: Tokyo, Japan
Here’s an idea, since the Olympics will be happening in Tokyo in 2020, you can soak in the festive atmosphere of the world’s biggest sporting event! Happening between 24 July to 9 Aug, you can visit Tokyo during the Hari Raya Haji break, the National Day break or somewhere in between ☺️
Other than catching your favourite sports in action, don’t miss out on the must-visit places in Tokyo like the Shibuya Crossing, Asakusa, Shinjuku, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Skytree and more!
P.S. Explore Tokyo and its surrounds with our 6D5N Muslim-friendly itinerary.
The best part is, the Japanese government has also been ramping up efforts to make Tokyo more Muslim-friendly for the Olympics. Make sure you swing by one of the many halal eateries serving authentic Japanese cuisine like Japanese curry, sushi, ramen, BBQ and more 😋 And then do your prayers at the many prayer spaces near attractions around the city.
9. Christmas Day – Busan, South Korea
Public holiday: 25 Dec (Fri)
Total days off: 3
With SilkAir starting direct flights from Singapore to Busan this year, you won’t need to transit in Seoul anymore. If you’re an avid traveller to Korea, you’d most probably know Seoul in and out, so it’s time to visit Busan next 🤗
From its incredible beaches like Haeundae and Gwangalli to exploring vibrant spots like the Gamcheon Cultural Village and even majestic natural sights like Taejongdae, there’s so much to explore in this coastal city.
#HHWT Tip: Don’t worry about looking for a place to stay in Busan – we’ve got you covered with these 10 affordable accommodations near halal food!
Credit: @rangs_a24 on Instagram
Don’t miss out a visit to Jagalchi Market – South Korea’s largest fish market – where you can feast on fresh seafood 😋 Afterwards, do some souvenir shopping at BIFF Square and then get a bird’s eye view of Busan at Busan Tower. During Christmas, there are also many festivals and activities in Busan like the Busan Christmas Tree Festival, Haeundae Light Festival, Gwangan Bridge Light Show and the Illumia Light Festival. Busan is definitely perfect for a short but fulfilling vacation!
With so many destinations to explore, your 2020 travel list is all set! All that’s left to do now is to start booking your flights, accommodation and snag those cheap deals before everyone else does ☺️