If you play your cards right, you could be looking at a five-day National Day holiday this August. Plus, now that most air, land, and sea borders are open for travellers — it’s even quicker (and cheaper) to get that beach vacation of your dreams.
The 9th of August could mean different things to various individuals. For the select few who got lucky with the National day Parade ballots, it could be filled with buzzing enthusiasm and excitement. For the elderly couple who have lived long enough to witness Singapore’s separation from Malaysia in 1965 to become an independent and sovereign state, this day might be one of revered patriotism. However, for the rest of us, it could just simply be a time set apart for some much-needed R&R with friends and family. If you had paid heed to our research on long-weekends last year, you would have taken two days of leave in advance on the 5th (Friday) and 8th (Monday) of August — giving you a luxurious five days off, including the weekend, this National Day holiday.
And just in case you were looking for ideas on where to bring your loved ones this National Day holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the best 10 nearby beach destinations in Indonesia and Malaysia that are not to be missed.
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1. Padar Island, Indonesia
Within the Komodo archipelago is Padar Island (also known as Pada), known for its turquoise waters and pink beaches. Part of the Komodo National Park cluster, Padar Island is filled with breathtaking views and incredible dive spots. For a birds’ eye view of the island, you will have to hike up a total of 818 steps — but the pay-off is an unobstructed sweeping view of the archipelago. It costs Rp 25,000 (~S$2.40) to enter the island and most recommend coming in the morning or the evening to get the best views.
How to get there: You’ll need to take a day trip from Labuan Bajo, a nearby fishing town on Flores Island. You can get to Labuan Bajo by flight from Singapore. There will be daily ferries leaving Labuan Bajo for Padar Island.
2. Penida Island, Indonesia
While Bilbao and Scotland are home to gorgeous seaside cliffs, you don’t have to go that far to feast your eyes on similarly breathtaking views. Just 25 km from Bali lies Nusa Penida, or Penida Island, home to the iconic Kelingking Cliff — there’s also a path for you to hike down to the beach if you wish to get into the turquoise waters beneath. Of course, most come to Nusa Penida to visit Broken Beach with its perfectly arched rock formation from the viewing platform above.
How to get there: You’ll have to fly from Singapore to Bali before catching a 40-minute boat ride from Sanur in South Bali to Penida Island.
3. Crystal Bay, Indonesia
Image Credits: Remote Lands
We’re technically cheating because Crystal Bay is also located on Penida Island. However, we have a big excuse — Mola Molas. Probably one of the most elusive creatures to spot on a dive, these giant relatives of the puffer fish (they can grow up to three meters in diameter!) are known by many names — the French refer to them as Moon Fish while the Germans affectionately call them ‘Swimming Head’, however, they are most commonly known as the Ocean Sunfish. For your best chance of swimming alongside them, you’ll need to start at Crystal Bay (the diving season is between July and October). Just remember to look near the surface because these gentle monsters enjoy basking in the sun.
How to get there: While you’re at Penida, head to the west side of the island.
4. Gili Islands, Indonesia
You’re here for picture-perfect powdery white sand beaches, complete with palm trees and crystal clear waters. There are also plenty of beach bars here that host parties, and a myriad of water activities to occupy your days and nights. The best time to come is from July to October when there is little rainfall and the weather isn’t too hot. As the three Gili islands are pretty small, there are no motorised vehicles to bring you around — you’ll have to go by foot or bicycle.
How to get there: Get to Bali from Singapore, then take a two-hour boat ride from Padang Bai (most recommend booking a ticket in advance).
5. Lombok Island, Indonesia
A paradise for surfers, trekkers and experimental fishers, Lombok is a gorgeous but less-touristy version of Bali. If you’re planning to take on any of Lombok’s best breaks, come from November to March. Otherwise, there are plenty of other things to do while waiting for surfing season — like the three-day hike up Mount Rinjani, the second-highest volcano in Indonesia. It’s tough, but those who make it will be rewarded with spectacular views of lush green valleys and a deep turquoise lake (Danau Segara Anak).
How to get there: There are currently no direct flights to Lombok, however, you can do a connecting flight from Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur.
6. Juara Beach, Tioman Island, Malaysia
Image Credits: tioman.org
Juara Beach sits peacefully along the east coast of Tioman Island. With its traditional beachfront chalets tucked within luxuriant greenery and pristine white stretches of sand, Juara Beach is an idyllic beach destination perfect for those seeking a quieter retreat! You could also get your open or advanced diving certifications done here at a fraction of the price back home.
How to get there: Take a four-hour coach ride from Singapore to Mersing, then hop on the two-hour speedboat ride to Tioman Island.
7. Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
Image Credits: Adventures Lie In Front
If beach parties are an essential part of any of your seaside vacations, Perhentian Kecil’s Long Beach will definitely be right up your alley. Other than nightlife, there are also a ton of shopping options, restaurants, and lively hostels that add to the general bustling atmosphere of the island. While you’re here, keep an eye out for petty theft that happens quite frequently.
How to get there: Fly into Kota Bharu from Singapore, and take an hour-long bus or taxi ride from Kota Bharu Airport to Kuala Besut jetty. Board the 45-minute speedboat from Kuala Besut jetty to the Perhentian Islands.
8. Turtle Beach, Perhentian Besar, Malaysia
Image Credits: TripAdvisor
More isolated and family-friendly in comparison to its younger brother, Perhentian Besar is also located in Pulau Redang National Marine Park in Terengganu. You’re here for turtle nesting season which happens from mid-April to mid-August, and hatching season which comes right after from June to October. While you’re here we recommend going out into the sea for a snorkel with the turtles or a dive with the sharks.
How to get there: Fly into Kota Bharu from Singapore, and take a 60-minute bus or taxi from Kota Bharu Airport to Kuala Besut jetty. Board the 45-minute speedboat from Kuala Besut jetty to the Perhentian Islands.
9. Sipadan Island, Malaysia
Image Credits: People Express Travel Sdn Bhd
One of Malaysia’s most pristine spots, and the only oceanic island, Sipadan boasts a stunning landscape with clean blankets of soft sand. Its sparkling waters and vast marine life draw divers from all over the world to its many sought-after dive spots. In fact, if you’re really lucky, you might even see hammerhead sharks here. Just note that only 120 permits are issued daily, so we recommend acting fast!
How to get there: Fly into Kuala Lumpur from Singapore, then take a domestic flight to Tawau. From Tawau airport, take a 75-minute taxi to Semporna jetty and board the speedboat to Sipadan or Mabul Island.
10. Rawa Island, Malaysia
Image Credits: Rawa Island Resort
Last but not least is the nearest of the bunch, Rawa Island. Located in Johor, Rawa Island has remained surprisingly untouched and authentic. The beach boasts a vast array of exciting water sports and snorkelling trips along coral reefs. If fitness isn’t your thing, you can always while away the hours sunbathing on their white sandy shores — or hunkering down at any one of the resorts for a spa treatment or two.
How to get there: Take a four-hour coach ride from Singapore to Mersing, then get on a 20-minute speedboat to Rawa Island.
Enjoy Your National Day Holiday 2022 At These Nearby Beach Destinations With YouTrip!
Now that you know all the best nearby beach destinations to visit, you’re all set for your National Day holiday plans! When booking your flights, ferry tickets, accommodations, or going out and about in Indonesia or Malaysia, don’t forget to use your YouTrip card to utilise YouTrip’s Wholesale Exchange Rates for favourable currency exchange rates!
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