For when you just want to grab the kids and take a short breather somewhere stunning
You probably don’t need an excuse to go on a minibreak with the kids, but seasoned family travellers will tell you that picking a destination you can reach with the least amount of fuss is the secret to success. And sometimes the ultimate goal is to find yourselves relaxing on an exotic beach in under four hours. Here, we share some of the best short getaways from Singapore that are a quick plane trip or ferry ride away, so you don’t have to steel yourself for a long flight with a toddler! Keep this list up your sleeve for when the next long weekend comes up.
Under four hours: Cebu, Philippines
For a family holiday by a beautiful white-sand beach, Cebu (pictured top) is worth turning a long weekend into an even longer one! Island-hop between some of the Philippines’ gorgeous islands, let the kids make a splash at a water park and take the whole family to Sugbo Mercado (Cebu Market) to experience delicious local, international and even fusion cuisine all in one place.
Staying right on the beach is the secret, and here’s where the Mövenpick Cebu really shines. You’ll have access to its private beach front for unlimited sandcastle-building sessions and refreshing dips. If you need a little time to yourself to unwind, there’s also the Little Birds Club for kids ages two to 12 with a team that will be more than happy to watch your tiny travellers while you indulge.
Under an hour: Batam, Indonesia
This could be the fastest, easiest holiday destination from Singapore yet. From the HarbourFront terminal, the ferry ride to Batam can be as swift as 30 minutes to an hour depending on which part of island you want to get to.
First, settle in at the ibis Styles Batam Nagoya Hotel, an affordable family-friendly option with a kids’ club for infants and children up to age six, before heading out to explore. Spend an afternoon at the family-favourite Sea Forest Adventure Park (kids will love splashing around the Aqua Adventure Track!) and refuel afterwards with local street food for an authentic Indonesian family holiday experience.
Under two hours: Phuket, Thailand
High on the list of places to visit with family in Thailand, this island escape has safe, clean beaches, cultural attractions and amazing kid-friendly resorts.
You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities that will burn some serious energy: check out the Upside Down House, Tree Tops Elephant Reserve Phuket and Dino Park (for mini golf). Older kids and teens up for adventure will want to try the water sports at Pullman Phuket Panwa Beach Resort, including wave sailing and kayaking on Panwa Beach. Little ones tired from time in the sun can duck in to the kids’ club to play in cool comfort while you duck out to relax on the beach.
One hour: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
For a city adventure, hop on a quick flight to Kuala Lumpur (but allow another hour for the journey from the airport to the action!). Once you’re in KL take the kids all the way up to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers for a birds-eye view of the bustling metropolis and head to Petrosains Discovery Centre afterwards for the impressive, life-like animal exhibits on display. End the day waving at fish at Aquaria KLCC before returning to Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre for a well-deserved rest. In between all that exploring in the city, let the children enjoy some down time at Pullman’s kids’ club, designed for ages six to 12.
Under two hours: Langkawi, Malaysia
If you’re looking for a beach holiday that’s just a hop away from Singapore, Langkawi is it. One of the best places to visit in Malaysia with kids, it’s all about nature and wildlife.
Family-friendly activities include riding the glass SkyCab up to the Langkawi Sky Bridge for stunning mountain views, taking a rice paddy tour and chilling out on the buzzy Cenang Pantai beach, where the Mercure Langkawi Pantai Cenang is just a short walk away. Aside from an outdoor playground that the kids will surely enjoy, the hotel is also walking distance to Underwater World, Cenang Mall and dining hotspots.
Under three hours: Da Nang, Vietnam
When it comes to a beachside holiday with a dose of culture, Da Nang is a top pick. The sunny Vietnamese city is perfect for afternoons playing on white-sand beaches, but the icing on the cake is a day trip (or two) to historic Hoi An. A charming, unforgettable holiday destination for families its car-free, colourful Ancient Town is made for wandering. Parents will particularly enjoy the laneway cafes, serving amazing Vietnamese coffee, while kids will love the colourful lanterns at every turn.
When visiting Vietnam with kids, Pullman Da Nang Beach Resort is just the place. With a kids’ club that looks after little ones from infancy to age six, babysitting on request, as well as an outdoor playground, the tots will be well entertained and cared for during your stay. The property also has access to Bac My An beach, making days playing in the sand a breeze.
Under three hours: Bali, Indonesia
When in doubt, escape to Bali. With its perfect combination of beaches, relaxed culture and great food it’s always a hit with parents and kids alike. During a family trip to Bali, must-dos include a visit to the Tegallalang rice terraces, getting up close to the orange-furred residents of the Sacred Ubud Monkey Forest and dining by the seafront at Jimbaran beach.
Settle in at Mövenpick Resort & Spa Jimbaran Bali, which is less than a five-minute walk away from the beach. One of the top water parks in the world, Waterbom, is within walking distance from the hotel — and your kids will love you for it.