#1: Long weekends, short getaways
When: Chinese New Year (Jan 28, Sat, and Jan 29, Sun)
Leave strategy: You don’t have to use up any leave days to go on a three-day quick jaunt from Jan 28 to 30 (Jan 30, Mon, is a public holiday).
Why not go to… Montigo Resorts in Batam. If you don’t want to pay incredulously jacked up airfares, or get stuck in a harrowing traffic jam on a coach, here’s a hassle-free alternative. Montigo Resorts Nongsa is only half an hour away from Singapore via ferry ($49 for a return trip).
Celebrate the lunar new year in style with the resort’s Pantai Restaurant’s festive menu: salmon yusheng and a set menu including steamed seabass, sautéed scallops and double-boiled bird’s nest (available Jan 28, from IDR 550,000+ or S$59 per pax). Your CNY Instagrams will also look better with a fireworks display set against the backdrop of live music at casual alfresco restaurant Tadd’s. Now that’s how you ensure your IG feed stands out from the slew of #steamboatdinners. Room rates start from $236. For more info, go to www.montigoresorts.com/nongsa.
Other long weekends to consider:
■ Apr 14 (Fri): Good Friday
■ June 25 (Sun): Hari Raya Puasa (The following Monday, June 26, is a holiday.)
■ Sep 1 (Fri): Hari Raya Haji
■ Dec 25 (Mon): Christmas Day
#2: Maximise mid-week public holidays
When: National Day (Aug 9, Wed)
Leave strategy: Two days of l
Why not go to… Fiji. The cluster of 333 islands is the perfect spot to go back to nature — luxuriate on the sunny South Pacific oasis of pristine beaches, snap photos of majestic mountains, or dive into the crystal clear blue lagoon at the Sawa-I-Lau caves (below).
Temperatures stay at 20°C to 30°C all year round, though July to September is the best time to visit as evenings are cooler. And unlike other hard-to-get-to resort hideouts that require a whole load of hassle and transportation transfers, you can get there direct on Fiji Airways’ twice-weekly 10-hour flights. Airfares start at $749 per adult (sale ends Feb 12; travel from now until Oct 31). For more info, go to www.fijiairways.com.
Another midweek break to maximise
■ Oct 18 (Wed): Deepavali. Take leave on... Either Oct 16 and 17 or Oct 19 and 20 for a five-day break.
#3: Get the best of both worlds for a long trip
When: Labour Day (May 1, Mon) and Vesak Day (May 10, Wed)
Leave strategy: ‘Chope’ leave on May 2 to 5 and May 8 and 9 for a 12-day holiday that’ll cost you just six days of annual leave.
Why not go to… Kiroro Resort in Hokkaido. Nestled among snow-capped mountain ranges is purportedly the top ski resort in Hokkaido, which boasts 21 ski trails and nine gondolas. Frolick in the wintry wonderland like the leads of Thai romance flick One Day, which was filmed on location at Kiroro Resort. For newbies or, er, scaredy cats, the resort has a host of other activities for you to indulge in: hop on a snowmobile, go snow rafting or even a snow Segway for a whirl down the powdery white slopes, then recuperate and soak in an onsen. Shiok.
The new Sheraton Hokkaido Kiroro Resort has direct access to the ski slopes and an offer that any true-blue Singaporean won’t be able to refuse: book direct with the hotel for a stay more than two nights and get free ski passes and rentals (worth 6,800 yen per day). Offer ends Apr 30. For more info, go to www.kiroro.co.jp.