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Weekend trips from Singapore? Malaysia?

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Working in Singapore for the summer, and looking for good places to see around the Asia-Pac region on the weekends; short but worthwhile getaways for 2 or 3 days or nights.
Suggestions of what to see in Malaysia? Might try for Langkawi but trying to avoid a flight, would prefer ferry or bus. Is Kukup quaint and simple or just rundown?
Interested in enjoying beaches, relaxing, nature, culture...went to Bintan, Indonesia last weekend and loved it. Planning a longer trip to Bangkok and Krabi in a few weeks. Any advice would be welcome! Thanks!

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    I lived in S'pore for 5 years, and it is a great base for weekend trips. People you work with and meet are good sources of suggestions. Get a good guidebook to Malaysia, as all the weekend trips I have suggested are in Malaysia. I have to say I am kind of surprised that you loved Bintan, but whatever. Here are some suggestions:

    1. Rawa Island - IMO the most beautiful beach in SE Asia. Drive or bus to Mersing, then take the ferry out to the island. Can't say enough good things about this island. There is one little hotel, not 5 star, but perfectly comfortable with a great staff. Take a look at -

    2. Pulau Sibu/Pulau Tinggi/Tioman - Rawa is a bit north of these. There are several islands in the Johor state area including some marine parks. Take a look at and for suggestions on islands. A helpful commercial site for Sibu is To get to any of the islands, you drive to Mersing and take ferries out, it should also be possible to take the catamaran from S'pore to Tioman (a fun trip, 2-3 hours) and hire a boat to get to the other islands. I am not a fan of Tioman, but for a weekend it is OK. If you stay on Tioman, avoid the larger resorts and go to the north and other less-developed parts of the island.

    3. Drive up the east coast - Rent a car and drive all the way up to Kuala Terrenganu in 2-3 days if you have time, or as far as Kuantan for a weekend. The road winds through rubber and palm oil plantations. There are lots of beautiful deserted beaches and small villages, including the lovely little town of Marang. You can hire fishing boats to take you out to deserted islands for snorkelling, etc There is a Hyatt in Kuantan, great for a weekend. There is a wonderful 5 star hotel near Kuala Terrenganu, the Tanjong Jara, that is one of my favourite places. Take a look at Take a look at or the website for Small Luxury Hotels of the World at: (might be a bit far for a weekend drive). If you are very lucky, you may be able to see the giant leatherback turtles which come to lay eggs along the north part of the coast in July and August.

    4. Perhentian Islands/South China Sea - great diving and beaches. You can fly to Kuala Terrenganu and take a ferry over. Take a look at

    5. Malacca - easy 2-3 hour drive (rent a car or take the bus). There are several colonial Portuguese buildings left and other interesting bits of town. There is a beach, but it is not that pretty.

    7. Penang - best way for a weekend would be to fly. There is a good bit of the old colonial town left. Good restaurants with all sorts of seafood and other cuisine.

    8. Kalimantan/Borneo. You can fly to Kuching and head out from there. Again, might be hard to fit in just a weekend, but possible if you just want to hit a beach or climb Mt. Kinabalu. This might be a good place for a longer trip than just a weekend, as you can make river trips, jungle trips, etc.

    Krabi may not be at its best now, as it is the rainy season there in the summer. You might be better off in Koh Samui or other places in the South China Sea. Have to put in a good word for Bali, which would be my first choice for a destination longer than 3 days.

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    Mount Kinabalu is via Kota Kinabalu. KK is good for a weekend of leasure and eco-tourism; there is a small orangutan (Bahasa {I think} for "man of the jungle") sanctuary next to the Tanjangeroo resort. That spelling MUST be wrong, but it should lead you down the right track with a travel agent in Singapore.
    There are some great diving sites around the north coast of Borneo and don't forget Bali, Denpassar. Not too long a flight (2 hours?) and definitely worth it.
    Mulu caves in Sarawak would be a neat take-in as well.

    My wife would most likely say "If you are already in Singapore, why would you have to go anywhere else?"
    <We live in the jungle in Brunei...>


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    Tanjun Aru is not the one w/ orangutans...
    That'll be the Rasa Ria. So go there.
    Or Tanjun Aru, which is also nice & in the busier area.
    Stayed in both and also the Magellan, but the Rasa Ria is the best of the three.


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