We’ve come along way from the first budget flights in 2004 (anyone remember Valuair?), which went to Bangkok and Hong Kong. Fast forward to 2017 and we’ve got a budget flight that goes all the way to Athens.

And now Singaporeans have some new destinations to visit when they take their annual leave. Scoot just announced five new routes that are going to start in 2017 and 2018. While the prices for these flights are unknown as yet, it’s never too early to start planning.

Here are the new destinations, and what we can expect in terms of things to do, accommodation and food costs.

 

Harbin

Most Singaporeans know Harbin for its famous International Ice and Sculpture Festival. Hey, you can’t blame us for paying attention to any place that offers respite from our own heat and humidity. Harbin offers a fascinating look into Northern Chinese culture, tinged with influences from neighbouring Russia.

Affordable things to do:

  • Take a walk around the historic city centre and check out the Russian architecture.
  • Visit a sauna for as little as 50 RMB (10 SGD). Tack on about 100 RMB (20 SGD) if you want a massage.
  • Visit Jile Temple (Temple of Heavenly Bliss) and Confucius Temple (Wen Temple) for free.
  • Visit Sun Island, which is about 10 RMB (2 SGD) away by ferry and filled with beautiful gardens.

Accommodation: Budget travellers can get a decent double room in an inn, guesthouse or budget hotel for less than 40 SGD.

Food: A meal at an local eatery or cheap restaurant can cost as little as 16 RMB (3 SGD). If you’re eating street food, you can have an entire meal for 5 RMB (1 SGD) to 10 RMB. (2 SGD).

See also: 8 honeymoon destinations for every kind of budget

 

Kuantan

You no longer need to endure the 6 hour bus ride from Beach Road to Kuantan. Kuantan is a popular base for domestic tourists who want to go to beaches on Malaysia’s East Coast and partake in watersports like windsurfing.

Affordable things to do:

  • Visit the beach at Teluk Chempedak, where you can swim and sunbathe.
  • Cherating, located about 45 minutes’ drive away, is another seaside area where surfing is possible at certain times of year.
  • Visit Gua Charas, a temple cave located about 25km away from Kuantan, littered with Buddhist and Hindu symbols. Admission is 2 MYR (0.63 SGD).

Accommodation: The weak ringgit is in your favour. You can get a double room in a budget hotel or guesthouse for less than 25 SGD.

Food: You can enjoy a meal at a local eatery for less than 9 MYR (3 SGD).

 

Kuching

Air Asia already flies to Kuching, but now that Scoot is muscling in on the competition ticket prices might actually start falling. The cat city in East Malaysia is quite different from what you might be used to in JB or KL. It’s more relaxed, people are friendlier, and Singaporeans will also be glad to know that it feels safer.

Affordable things to do:

  • Check out the Kucing Cat Museum, which is free to enter.
  • Take a walk along the banks of the Sarawak River, which has a romantic ambiance in the day and comes alive with streetside stalls at night.
  • Visit the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, where you’ll be able to see orang utans in their natural environment. The entrance fee is 5 MYR (1.59 SGD)

Accommodation: You should be able to find a passable budget hotel room for two for under 25 SGD. Double the price and you can get something quite nice.

Food: Food prices for Kuching are pretty similar to those in Kuantan.

 

Palembang

This city in Indonesia is not really a popular destination, but can be used as a springboard to explore the island of Sumatra. It’s a pleasant city (and a less chaotic and congested one compared to Jakarta) to visit for good Indonesian food.

Affordable things to do:

  • Hang out on the banks of the Musi River, and enjoy a snack or meal on a warung terapung, a sort of eatery on a boat.
  • Visit Kemaro Island, which houses a Buddhist monastery and pagoda.
  • Check out Punti Kayu Forest, a forested city park with entertainment facilities and a small zoo.

Accommodation: 40 SGD should be able to get you a double room in a chain hotel.

Food: You can enjoy a meal in an inexpensive restaurant for 25,000 IDR (2.50 SGD). If you stick to street food you pay even less.

See also: Wedding pictures in Bali! 10 Instagram-perfect spots

Honolulu

We’ve saved the best for last. Some say Hawaii is the best part of the USA—friendly people with nice tans, a laid back attitude, beautiful tropical beaches and surfing—basically everything Singapore is not, save for the tans. You can fly cheaply from Oahu, where Honolulu is located, to other islands like Maui or the Big Island for a wilder experience.

Affordable things to do:

  • Oahu is full of world famous beaches like Waikiki, Lanikai and Ala Moana. Swimming, sunbathing, surfing, stand-up paddle and body boarding are just some of the activities you can enjoy at the various beaches depending on the surf.
  • Go snorkelling at Hanauma Bay, which has an incredible density of marine life in a tiny space. You might even see a sea turtle.
  • Hawaii is an excellent hiking destination due to its hilly, volcanic terrain. There are many hikes available on Oahu at varying difficulty levels, from the easy pink pillbox trail, the cardio-heavy Koko Head stairs to the very challenging Olomana trail.

Accommodation: Accommodation (and just about everything else) in Hawaii is expensive. Be prepared to pay at least 250 to 300 SGD for a decent double room in a hotel in downtown Honolulu. Opt for Airbnb instead, where you can find double rooms for under 120 SGD.

Food: You can enjoy a full meal at an inexpensive cafe or chain restaurant like Zippy’s for around 14 SGD. The advantage is that portions are ginormous. So split a meal with a friend or take away the rest and it is possible to survive on one meal all day.

Regardless of where you’re going, don’t forget to pick up some travel insurancebefore your holiday. Sure, you might be saving a significant amount on your travel thanks to flying budget, but there’s no point saving money if you don’t actually get to your destination due to flight delays and cancellations.

Image credits: La PrizPhalinn OoiLenny K Photographyoyi kresnamurtiEdmund Garman

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