Your Guide to Maximising the 5 Long Weekends in 201623 February, 2016
Chinese New Year may have just ended but do not despair because the holidays aren’t over just yet; in fact, they are just getting started! There are a total of 6 long weekends (now 5 after CNY) spread across 2016, and these are, without a doubt, the best times for you to take a short (but much-needed) vacation to pamper yourself and your loved ones or simply enjoying some ‘me’ time. If, you are at a loss deciding on the most value-for-money and suitable traveling destination, here’s a complete guide for you to fully enjoy these precious long weekends while going easy on your wallet.
1. Phuket: 25 – 27th March (Good Friday Weekend)
Home to many beautiful sandy shores and crystal clear waters, Phuket is a tropical paradise that attracts many visitors to its pristine beaches all year round. In March, Phuket approaches off-peak tourist season and you will most likely be able to secure several value-for-money deals when booking accommodations and flight tickets (which are at their lowest in March at S$214 from Singapore to Phuket if you fly with Air Asia). Slight rain fall and humid weather (24°C to 32°C) is to be expected, but this is often compensated by the smaller crowds and optimal sea conditions, which are highly suitable for water sport activities that Phuket is so famous for!
2. Seoul: 30th April – 2nd May (Labour Day Weekend)
During this time, Seoul is in the midst of Spring and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. What better way to enjoy your labour day break than to admire these beautiful cherry blossoms? Do take note that evenings could get a little chilly, so remember to pack a jacket along just in case. Flight tickets are considerably cheaper during this period (starting from S$441 as compared to S$545 in February and S$484 in July especially when you can make use of the great deals available on Expedia) making it a rather opportune moment to explore Seoul! On top of that, prices would be expected to soar during June, which coincides with the June school holidays and tourist traffic will be at its peak. Accommodations do sell out fast during this period, so make sure to pre-book yours early in advance!
3. Taipei: 6 – 9th August (National Day Weekend)
As National Day falls on a Tuesday, why not consider taking a day of leave from work on Monday? This will free up 4 days for you to take a well-deserved break with your loved ones! If you are a fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s work, Spirited Away, I’m sure you would find this architecture particularly familiar. Indeed, Miayazaki got his inspiration of the Spirit Town from Jiufen (九份), the hidden gem of New Taipei City. What’s more, you could be lucky enough to witness the colourful Keelung Festival in the seventh Lunar month (August this year) and admire how Jiufen transforms into a spectacle to behold as the Spirit Town of Miyazaki’s design comes to life.
Of course, the Taipei Tower 101 is not to be missed. An iconic landmark, you will be able to capture panoramic shots of the city that spans beneath you at a price of TWD500 (around SGD22). Alternatively, pay a visit to the cozy Starbucks tucked away on the 35th floor of Taipei 101 and enjoy the view for free (well, almost as you are required to purchase either drinks or food worth TWD200 per pax upon entering). However, remember that you should make a reservation one day in advance at this number +88681010701 as it can get very crowded. Shopping is also a very viable option as Taipei is known to be a haven for Shopaholics! For all the foodies, you must check out the bustling night markets and delicious street foods, which are bound to keep you satisfied.
Hotel deals, more affordable accommodation and highly reasonable flight rates are to be expected, starting from S$205 if you fly with Jetstar, as compared to flight tickets across the rest of the year.
4. Sydney: 10 – 12th September (Hari Raya Haji Weekend)
In September, Sydney’s weather is lovely and cooling at about 19°C, a rather welcomed change from Singapore’s hot climate. While Sydney remains notorious as one of the most expensive cities to live in (parking fees can go up to $60 in 2 hours), but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible for you to travel on a budget! During September, the parks are especially beautiful as Sydney is beginning to enter spring, so be sure to pay a visit to Hyde Park or the Royal Botanical Gardens where admission is free of charge! Of course, you can also take a free-guided tour with I’m Free Walking Tours, which takes place everyday (rain or shine) at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm to get you oriented with this beautiful city.
5. Hong Kong: 24 – 26th December (Christmas Weekend)
Hong Kong is definitely not short of things for you to do, from Christmas carols and outdoor cinemas to magical fireworks displays at Hong Kong Disney Land, there is something in it for everyone. While plane tickets may be a tad more expensive during this festive season, the weather will be a great compensation factor as it will be starting to get cold as Hong Kong enters its winter season. So be prepared to whip out those fashionable fur coats and boots of yours that you have been dying to wear.
Of course with every holiday comes with risks, and sometimes things might go wrong – cracked or broken luggages, delayed flights, etc; these hiccups may be small but they can end up ruining your trip. Well, if you wish to enjoy your vacation with a peace of mind, PassportChop might have just the thing for you. NTUC Income has a Public Holidays Travel Plan specially catered to provide travel insurance coverage to those traveling during these long weekends.
For as little as S$98, you can purchase the Classic plan type that covers your travels worldwide^ over the next 12 months from your policy start date; for up to 10 days per trip as long as one day in each trip falls on a gazetted public holiday in Singapore. NTUC Income also offers a Deluxe plan type at S$138 if you prefer enhanced coverage for your travels.
This year, instead of buying separate insurance plans for each holiday, NTUC Income has consolidated these plans into their Public Holidays Travel Plan at a highly affordable price. It would be more value-for-money if you’re planning to make use and travel out each long weekend, relative to making multiple stand-alone purchases. Travel insurance is no doubt an essential when it comes to traveling. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
The Public Holiday Travel Package is only valid for purchase from now till 29th February 2016. Do note that purchases can only be made via their hotline at 6338 6489. So have fun on these public holidays while staying safe with NTUC Income!
^Usual exclusions to, in or through Afghanistan, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Sudan or Syria still applies.
This post was brought to you by NTUC Income.