malaysia holiday, last minute

Malaysia Holiday – Last Minute Public Holiday Ideas

May 21, 2016

by — Posted in Malaysia, Southeast Asia

Malaysia Holiday – Last Minute Ideas

Go on a Malaysia holiday! Last minute flights over the public holidays are expensive as cheaper airfares are snapped up a year in advance. Didn’t book your air tickets in advance and can’t afford it anymore? Visit our neighbour, Malaysia instead.

Unfortunately there isn’t any magical travel hack for getting cheap flights out of Singapore over the public holidays to popular destinations. Or if you just want a short long weekend getaway without taking additional vacation leave. Here’s some destinations you can visit without flying or breaking the bank. You’ll have to drive, take a bus or ferry instead for your Malaysia holiday!

malaysia holiday

Places to Visit in Malaysia:

Pulau Perhentians

The islands, Pulau Perhentians is just a bus ride away from Singapore. The sea surrounding the Perhentian islands are blue and crystal clear, the sand fine and white. Perfect if you’d like some rest and recreation on your Malaysia holiday. There’s two main islands – Pulau Kecil (small island) and Pulau Besar (large island). Pulau Kecil is popular with young backpackers, but partying isn’t as big as some islands in Thailand and alcohol is expensive there. On the other hand, Pulau Besar is peaceful and relaxed, families tend to head there. You can enjoy the beautiful beaches, or even hike its jungles.

How to get there: Take a night bus from Singapore to Kota Bahru (9.5 hours), that saves you a night of accommodation as well as time. Then grab a taxi to the jetty to get on a boat (30 mins) to reach the islands. You can fly too but it’ll cost more over the weekends.
Cost to get there: $70 bus ride from Singapore or $170 flight over the public holidays.


Malacca is a food lover’s paradise. Visit for the amazing Peranakan, Chinese, Malay as well as Indian food. One of the most famous dishes in Malacca is Chicken rice balls served with succulent steamed chicken. Also, be sure to visit Pak Putra, one of my favourite eateries in Malacca. They serve amazing tandoori chicken, nan and butter chicken. At night, the Jonker Walk Night Market comes to life. Visit Jalan Hang Jebat over weekend evenings from Friday to Sunday to experience the hustle and bustle of the night market. Find handicrafts, souvenirs and street food. Purchase some homemade kaya, gula melaka, dohol candy and cuttlefish snacks for your friends and family. Also, visit Jonker 88 (you guessed it – it’s off Jonker street) for the best cendol and assam laksa in town. Your belly will be very happy in Malacca, check out the best Malacca food. A hack for very cheap tickets (just $15 two-way), is to take a bus from Johor Bahru instead of Singapore. In comparison, it costs $80 two-way if you’re taking a bus direct from Singapore.

How to get there: 4 hours bus ride from Singapore. Expect traffic jams over the public holiday weekends.
Cost to get there: $15 coach ride if you’re boarding in Malaysian from Johor Bahru, or $80 if boarding the bus from Singapore.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city in Malaysia with mega shopping malls, skyscrapers, street markets, chic cafes and trendy nightspots. The city is also home to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, which used to be the tallest building in the world. Go shopping, cafe-hopping in the city, or go on a food spree. Like most Malaysian cities, the food in Kuala Lumpur is fantastic. Order nasi lemak for breakfast – said to be Malaysia’s national dish. Followed by a piping hot bowl of assam laksa from the Chinese hawkers for lunch. Then Indian roti with curry for dinner. When the sun goes down, visit the bustling Jalan Alor food street for supper, you’ll never go hungry there!

How to get there: Flying is affordable and the best option here. If not, an early morning bus (5 hours) or night train (8 hours) from Singapore. Board the train in the evening and reach Kuala Lumpur in the morning. The sleeper trains aren’t too shabby, they come with beds so you can get a good nights’ rest.
Cost to get there: $75 coach ride, $70 train fare, or $75 flight. Flying is obviously the most value for money option here.


Penang is home to George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with colourful Chinese shop houses, British colonial buildings and mosques. Quite like Malacca, Penang is a fusion of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences. Visit to experience culture, history and even beaches. Batu Ferringhi and Tanjung Bungah are probably the best beaches to visit in Penang. They’re just a 30-minute drive from Georgetown. The food in Penang is amazing too, Penang is famous for its fried noodles – Char Koay Teow. It’s sweeter and lighter than Singapore’s version. Also, try penang laksa – it’s made with fish broth and prawn paste, and filled with umami goodness. If you’re longing for some nature, visit Penang National Park. It’s home to a very special natural phenomenon too – a seasonal meromictic lake.

How to get there: A short and affordable flight, or a night bus from Singapore. Board in the evening and reach Penang early morning.
Cost to get there: 10 hours coach costs $95 from Singapore. Or fly for $150 over the public holidays – it’s still affordable!

Johor Islands

Johor is home to several islands that are relaxing and serene. Pulau Besar, which translates to ‘Big Island’, is east of Johor. The sand on this island is powdery white sand and the waters turquoise and clear. The waters around the island was declared by the government to be a protected marine park. So expect to experience around 60 species of marine creatures and corals, all natural and unspoiled. Fisherman still live on this island. If Pulau Besar doesn’t tickle your fancy, you’ve got choices. Choose from Pulau Pemanggil, Pulau Aur, Pulau Sibu, Pulau Dayang, Pulau Rawa and more.

How to get there: Take a bus to Mersing town (5 hours), then get on short boat ride to Pulau Besar. It’s just a 30 minutes boat ride. Easy peasy!
Cost to get there: Bus from Singapore to Mersing costs $70.

So there’s plenty of destinations in Malaysia that you can visit and these destinations are pretty close to Singapore. Go on a short and sweet trip to Malaysia, it’s cheap and cheerful too. No plane ride needed, so you can skip the exorbitant airfares over the public holidays. These destinations are perfect for last-minute holidays out of Singapore, especially during Public Holidays. Also, check out diyTravel’s Ultimate Public Holidays 2017 Travel Guide for more destination ideas. Enjoy your Malaysia holiday!

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