A microcation is a fancy name for a short trip, usually an extended weekend lasting no more than a few days – and it’s recently taken over as millennial Singaporeans’ preferred type of holiday.
Quick breaks simply translate into less planning and less time commitment, meaning work and life schedules remain relatively undisrupted, while you get to discover more places in a year.
There are 11 public holidays in 2020, four of which will fall on a Friday, while three will fall on a Sunday.
If you haven’t planned your big trips of the year, no worries you can always take microcations. Here are three zippy trips for a quick, intense shot of history, culture, nature and fantastic food.
Photo: Indonesia Travel
Leave the well-trodden tourist paths of South Bali and head for the unexpected higher climes of the North, where the night temperature can drop as low as 17 degrees – you’ll want to come prepared with cosy layers!
Nature here is cooler, quieter and ridiculously picturesque, with a backdrop of the misty mountains of Bali’s central highlands Bedugul, or the waterfalls near Singaraja, replete with crystal clear mountain pools to swim in.
Even on a tight itinerary of just a few days, you’ll be able to watch dolphins from a traditional outrigger off Lovina beach at sunrise, as well as take in the sacred lakes of Buyan, Tamblingan and Beratan, the last of which is famous for its majestic Ulu Danu Beratan water temple.
The serenity of North Bali is the perfect foil to the frenetic attractions of the South, and still offers the promise of discovering many natural hidden gems amidst the jungle-covered volcanic landscape.
Travel time: 2.5 hours from Singapore by plane to Denpasar Airport; 90-minute drive to Lovina in North Bali.
Hotel to stay: The Lovina
Photo: The Lovina Facebook Page
With a 2.5-hour drive from Denpasar International Airport, Lovina is located on the northern shores of Bali.
Away from the tourist areas of Kuta and Seminyak. The Lovina is a paradise with quaint fishing villages, serene beach scenery and lush greenery.
Hotel to stay: The Damai
Photo: The Damai Facebook Page
Overlooking Bali’s unspoiled North Coast, there are14 butler-serviced villas, ranging in size from the intimate to the palatial, surrounded by lush gardens with views stretching to the distant volcanoes of Java in the West.
Photo: Indonesia Travel
Known as the cultural capital of Indonesia, the city of Yogyakarta is the home of Javanese culture and is a riotous mix of heaving urban life, street art and food, ridiculously beautiful batik and sacred historical monuments.
It’s the only province in the country still ruled by a sultan, and on weekends, you can visit the kraton, or palace, to experience wayang kulit, a traditional shadow puppet show accompanied by a gamelan musical ensemble.
For an absolute sensorial treat, catch the epic Ramayana Ballet performed by over 200 professional dancers and musicians on an open air stage that takes advantage of the magical Prambanan Temples as a backdrop.
Night comes alive in the city with bustling night markets, like the shopping street of Jalan Malioboro, and the fantastic spectacle of odong odong, neon-decorated, foot pedal operated karts blasting EDM music around Alun-Alun Kidul, the Southern City Square.
Finally, not to be missed, is the splendid ancient archaeological site of Borobudur, a Mahayana Buddhist temple from the 9th century, just two hours outside of Yogyakarta.
Travel time: 2 hours from Singapore by plane to Adisucipto Airport in Yogyakarta
Hotel to stay: Swiss-Belboutique Yogyakarta
Photo: Swiss-Belboutique Yogyakarta Facebook Page
Centrally located within easy access to the Malioboro shopping district, the hotel features 122 rooms with a colonial classical style. The hotel is a 15-minute drive to Malioboro dan Sultan Palace, 20 minutes to Adisutjipto International Airport, and a walking distance to the shops.
Hotel to stay: Melia Purosani Hotel
Photo: Melia Purosani Hotel
Located in the heart of Danurejan, a walking distance from Pasar Beringharjo and Bringharjo Market, this 5-star hotel is within close proximity of Malioboro Mall and Taman Pintar Science Park.
Kuching, Sarawak’s historical city of cats, is known as a fantastic food stop, but it’s also the perfect base for a few days of exploring some of Borneo’s most magnificent natural rainforests and reserves.
While in the city, be sure to get your fill of famous local dishes like Sarawak Laksa and Kolo Mee from the 24-hourOpen Air Market food centre at Japan Power, and wander the 100-year-old traditional Chinese shophouses along the Main Bazaar stretching from Old Kuching.
The next couple of days can be devoted to exploring nature – Bako National Park is just an hour from the city, a beautiful coastal area with different hiking trails teeming with indigenous wildlife, like the marvellous Proboscis monkeys, potbellied pigs, and magical fireflies at dusk.
You can also book a tour that will take in the endangered Borneon Orangutans at Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, followed by a leisurely kayaking trip down the Sungai Sarawak Kiri stream, amidst lush green mangroves and fairy-like limestones scapes.
Travel time: 90 minutes from Singapore by plane to Kuching International Airport
Hotel to stay: Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa
Photo: Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa Facebook Page
Experience five-star luxury in a lush tropical Borneo rainforest just five minutes from Gunung Mulu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wake each morning in a luxurious room suspended on a walkway set in the forest.
Hotel to stay: Cove 55
Photo: Cove 55 Facebook page
Built originally as a holiday home for an Iban family, the sprawling villa is now reborn as an intimate retreat with 13 rooms, two suites and one villa.
With so much unspoilt beauty surrounding Cove 55, it is scenic 30-minute drive to the coastal town of Santubong where this hotel is located along Jalan Sultan Tengah.