Nothing quite spells A-M-A-Z-I-N-G as a weekday not at your office desk. So this 2021, we’re glad to welcome a new set of public holidays for some well-deserved breaks.
Unfortunately, unlike the glorious seven of last year, this year, we’ve only got four slated long weekends out of the 10 public holidays. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll have to struggle through all the days in between. The good news is that with some planning, that measly four can be extended to nine long weekends, all by using just nine days of leave.
You’ll notice that our remaining three long weekends only fall on Chinese New Year, Good Friday, and National Day.
But with just one day of AL each, Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Raya Haji, Deepavali can easily be turned into extended long weekends for some extra R&R. Some holidays also lie close to each other, so connecting them up for a long break is also very much doable, even if you only have a handful of ALs.
PH falls on: 12th Feb 2021 (Fri) & 13th Feb 2021 (Sat)
Number of ALs needed: 0
Image credit: The Halia
During previous long weekends like Chinese New Year, the nearby idyllic island of Bali used to be the perfect quick getaway for folks out there. Granted, we can’t yet travel this year; so those missing Bali, live up your island getaway dreams with a 3D2N pseudo-Bali holiday instead.
Couple’s Suite with pool access
Image credit: Amara Sanctuary
Revel in island luxury at Sentosa’s Amara Sanctuary, with suites featuring direct infinity pool access and one-bedroom villas where you can dip into your own private pool from $623/night. A budget-friendly alternative also is available at the nature-surrounded Lloyd’s Inn (from $160/night).
Experience “Tegalalang” with rice planting at Bollywood Veggies
To complete the experience, we’ve also sussed out spots where you can dine in an Ubud-like cafe, find a Canggu bakery and try rice-planting in Singapore in our how-to 3D2N “Bali” getaway guide.
PH falls on: 2nd Apr 2021 (Fri)
Number of ALs needed: 0
Good Friday naturally falls on our favourite weekday every year. To make it a great Friday, maximise your long weekend with a cruise trip that’ll take you away from our little island.
Image credit: AF Travel
Although most cruises won’t be running through this April, the Singaporean-favourite Royal Caribbeans’ Quantum of the Seas will still be sailing as per usual. On top of that, bookings are going at 50% off from now till 18th March 2021 – so make sure to seas the deal.
Image credit: @victorvoyages
On board, escape all your work emails and calls as you take a dip in the deck pool, lounge on the sunbeds or enjoy 360-degree views of the sunset from their North Star viewing capsule – the tallest viewing deck on any cruise ship. Adrenaline junkies can also experience new highs with the ships’ iFly and wave simulator for non-stop activities throughout the stay.
Ripcord by iFly on Quantum of the Seas
Image credit: @royalcarribbeansg
Enjoy your trip with a peace of mind as health and safety measures include mandatory Covid-19 testing for all passengers and crew. There’s also reduced capacity on board and thorough cleaning of surfaces with medical-grade cleaning agents approved by Singapore authorities.
PH falls on: 1st May 2021 (Sat, assuming off-in-lieu on 3rd May)
Number of ALs needed: 0
Fun fact: The Labour Day public holiday originated from a rally back in 1886 that advocated for eight-hour work days. If you’ve been clocking way more hours than that solid eight on the daily, it’s time to finally pamper yourself silly.
Image credit: The Capitol Kempinski Hotel
Spice up the standard bed-and-breakfast deal with a staycation that’s themed; be it after your dream country to visit, or one based on your horoscope. There’s plenty to pick from to find the perfect one this public holiday: The Capitol Kempinski Hotel looks right out of a luxurious European holiday, while Hotel Yan channels serious Tokyo vibes.
Image credit: Hotel Yan
For those planning a romantic getaway, impress your SO with a curated stay based on his or her horoscope. Leos, the kings and queens of the zodiacs, would swoon over the royal treatment at Orchard Road’s Shangri-La, while hipster Saggis out there will probably adore you for booking a weekend in the rustic Warehouse Hotel.
Old-world influenced interior of The Warehouse Hotel
PH falls on: 13th May 2020 (Thu)
Number of ALs needed: 1
Most avid travellers would know that May is the perfect time of the year to catch spring in full bloom across most of the Northern Hemisphere, including Japan, Korea and most countries in Europe. While Singapore may not have the four seasons, enjoy your “springtime” in our island’s many floral-themed cafes and bars during this long weekend instead.
A garden party with your besties in The Summerhouse’s whimsical bubble domes filled with garlands and decorative vases of flowers is one way to feel like you’re swept away in the beauty of springtime from $380/2 pax. No worries about sweating; these domes are air-conditioned!
Image credit: @debbie_baby
Come evening, Kream Beer along Duxton Road is the perfect bar to chase the highly-coveted sakura, or cherry blossom, sightings. Much like how the Koreans and Japanese picnic under the trees, enjoy your beer and bar bites as you enjoy the view of the realistic pastel pink leaves hanging from above.
Shangri-La’s Orchid Pavilion
Dining at Shangri-La’s Orchid Pavilion, making floral capsules and trying watercolour flower painting workshops are some of the other ways you can complete your make-believe spring holiday. Read our full guide to “seasonal” things to do in Singapore.
PH falls on: 26th May 2021 (Wed)
Number of ALs needed: 2
Lim Chu Kang forest
Chances are, as we approach the mid-year, many of us would still be wary about jetting off, even if travel bans are miraculously lifted by then. That scenic road trip of our dreams to Australia or Iceland would have to wait – or would it?
Singapore has plenty of roads too; with considerably ulu attractions and hidden gems in the furthest edges of our land to check out. Hop into your car or BlueSG sharing vehicle to explore these typically inaccessible attractions we usually pass up.
Follow our guide to having a SG road trip adventure to find troves of things to do from the forests of Lim Chu Kang to the seasides of Changi Beach. Family-friendly activities include going on a staycation at the obscure farmstay villas of Gardenasia, and trying pottery in the oldest surviving dragon kiln in Singapore.
If your driver is willing to take one for the team, there’s also the quaint Little Island Brewing Co, with self-service beer on tap, and Handlebar, with tipples and American grub in a motorbike-themed setting.
PH falls on: 20th July 2021 (Thu)
Number of ALs needed: 1
Image credit: @50beautifulplaces
It’s July, meaning that the oft vacation-filled school holidays have just come and gone – a stark reminder that you probably still have not left the country since 3rd April 2020. If you can’t go overseas, at least feel like you are with the many overseas-like districts around.
Next to Masjid Sultan is Arab Street, or what can be considered a “Little Istanbul”, filled with Mediterranean-influenced halal restaurants with intricately-designed tiles and gorgeous tableware. Shop Persian carpets after, or grab an authentic pita from one of the bakeries there before you go.
Those missing their annual excursion to Thailand can make a beeline for Golden Mile Complex for their Thai supermarkets, mookata buffets and $10 crab omelette filled with generous crab meat, just like those found in BKK.
And if you K-drama lovers crave the flavours of Korea, look no further than the rows KBBQ, jajangmyeon and Korean stew restaurants along Tanjong Pagar Road.
PH falls on: 9th Aug 2021 (Mon)
Number of ALs needed: 0
The National Day long weekend usually brings to mind crowds at the National Stadium or Marina Bay Floating Platform. Staycations have to be booked long in advance and most attractions are filled to the brim. On Singapore’s 56th birthday, try something different by exploring what the country has to offer off the mainland.
We’re not sure if travel would be open by now, seeing the fiasco that 2021 started with, but going island-hopping will make you feel like you’re anywhere but Singapore.
Throwback to the kampong days with a bicycle ride around Pulau Ubin to visit the rustic homes, kelong zi char and scenic views all around. Weekends are the best time to visit as most stores would be open then!
In this 3-day long weekend, save another full day to explore the Southern Islands to frolic around Lazarus Island’s natural powdery beach, and visit Kusu’s Island’s wishing wells and tortoise sanctuary.
Read more about how you can island-hop to three islands for just $14.
PH falls on: 4th Nov 2021 (Thu)
Number of ALs needed: 1
Ogawa Hato Prefectural Natural Park
Image adapted from: Experience Fukushima
By November, we’re hoping that we’ve finally resolved all the problems from 2020 that have dragged on into 2021. Assuming we’ve all gotten our vaccines and travel is back up and running, set your eyes on Japan, as this time of the year is when many of its prefectures are bathed in blazing hues of orange all around.
Yoyogi Park, Tokyo.
Image credit: @yaruu_photography
According to Forbes, out of 200 countries, Japan is one of the safest countries to live in during the pandemic, so there’s a good chance everything is well in order here for tourism come autumn 2021. Tokyo, Kyoto and Fukushima are some of the hotspots you can visit with just one day of AL. If you’d rather avoid the crowds, onsen towns like the quaint Kinosaki will be a safer bet.
If all else fails, we’ve also compiled a 3D2N itinerary of “Japan” things you can do in Singapore to still experience soothing onsen baths, majestic torii gates and the iconic capsule hotels – all without a flight.
PH falls on: 25th Dec 2021 (Sat) and 1st Jan 2022 (Sat, assuming off-in-lieu on 27th Dec 2021 & 3rd Jan 2022)
Number of ALs needed: 4
We’re always glad to have two public holidays in our last month of the year, December. To end this year off with a bang, combine Christmas and New Years to get a 10-day long break. Just remember to chope these dates early as they get taken up real fast.
Get out there to explore wide-open sprawling landscapes with the ever-picturesque New Zealand. December is the best time to visit this Southern gem to enjoy long and sunny days paired with A/C-like temperatures of 16°C to 24°C.
Image credit: @whereisglaya
Rent a car to take a road trip from Wellington, through natural thermal spas, rock formations and Marlborough Sounds – known to be visited frequently by dolphins. The country is also home to plenty of surreal and otherworldly sights with the rare Aurora Australis at Lake Tekapo and frozen glaciers during the summer at Mount Cook.
Image credit: @carmenpataki
Should travel *touch wood* still be out of the picture by December, fall back on a pseudo “far-flung holiday” with these “Europe” things to do in Singapore. One just has to hope for better luck in 2022.
Public holidays are a blessing our adulting lives would be way more monotonous without, and long weekends are perhaps the best morale booster one could possibly ask for. Make the most out of your public holidays in the near future with these local holiday ideas, and hopefully, travel ideas once we enter the last few months of the year!
Cover image adapted from: TheSmartLocal, AF Travel
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