Ever been sat at your desk, daydreaming about lounging on a sun bed in the middle of a stunning beach, cocktail in hand? Beach getaways are a welcome respite from the daily grind. Thankfully, Singapore is surrounded by Southeast Asian countries with some of the most amazing beaches in the world, allowing us to take a quick trip there and back again, all during the weekend. Before you tell yourself you don’t have the cash to shell out for a vacation, know that nothing on this list exceeds $500, -and that’s including flights!

Now that you really have no excuse, here’s our picks for the best beach getaways you can manage without breaking the bank!


The Philippines

Made up of a jaw-dropping 7,641 islands, the Philippines is the premier location for an amazing beach holiday. There’s no surprise that thousands of tourists flock to this beach paradise throughout the year.

For as low as $195 for a round trip, fly to and spend your weekend off the coast of Cebu, basking in the sun on some of the most picturesque beaches you will ever see.

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THE CAMOTES ISLAND, CEBU

The Camotes Island, a tiny cluster first discovered by the Spanish 350 years ago, is a thing of splendour. Possessing all the unreal beauty of a desktop screensaver, this unspoiled gem has maintained its white sands and emerald waters, making for a beach holiday of a lifetime. Book a stay at one of the island’s resorts and indulge in the island life.

Stay at the rustic Santiago Bay Garden and Resort, and enjoy views from the terrace, or opt for Mangodlong Paradise Resort, with access to a private beach for patrons of the resort.

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BANTAYAN ISLAND, CEBU

Bantayan Island, located at the northernmost tip of mainland Cebu, is spectacular display of nature’s artistry. More than a beach paradise, the island is dripping in culture, from being the home of one of the oldest Filipino churches, to the offering an array of sumptuous cuisines. Spend your weekend pampering yourself and kicking back, all at a completely affordable price!

Book a stay at Kota Beach Resort for as low as $23/night and wake up to the waves lapping at your door! Or perhaps you can cough up a little more for a room at the Amihan Beach Cabanas, where you can watch the amazing sunsets from your balcony.

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EL NIDO, PALAWAN

The extensive journey by road from Puerto Princesa to the northernmost coastline of Palawan, where the island paradise of El Nido is located, is well worth the sights you will behold upon arrival.

With crystal clear waters teeming with vibrant sea life, El Nido is more than a destination for just kicking back, although you would be forgiven if you spend your weekend simply soaking up the sun on one of the powder-soft white sand beaches. But if you’re an adventure seeker, or just looking to experience the best of what nature has to offer, definitely grab your snorkelling or scuba diving gear and take a dive underwater to swim with the fishes. Also, get a boat out to explore the island’s secret lagoons and beaches.

Stay at the intimate Qi Palawan, for that extra seclusion and enjoy the culture of Palawan. If you want something more special, go all out on accommodations and book a stay at one of the El Nido Resorts and lap up a life of luxury before your return to reality.


Malaysia

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REDANG ISLAND, TERENGGANU

Lying a little closer to home is Redang Island, on the eastern coast of Malaysia. It’s accessible, with the option of either flying here (for as low as $151 return), or arriving by bus (which obviously takes a lot longer), depending on the constraints of your schedule. Upon your arrival, the warm, inviting stretches of sand will have you unwinding in no time, as the rhythmic sound of the waves crashing against the shore tempts you into jumping in fully clothed. Check into any one of the fantastic resorts that line the beach and savour the ultimate weekend getaway.

Choose between the hillview or the seaview rooms at the Redang Island Resort to top off your time at Redang. If you prefer, you can also treat yourself to a stay at one of the suites in The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort, with unparalleled views of the Redang coastline.


Indonesia

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RAJA AMPAT ISLANDS, SORONG

There is more to Indonesia’s 18,307 islands than just Bali and it’s high time we begin exploring them. Billed as the world’s most beautiful islands by travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Raja Ampat Islands is the closest thing to heaven on earth. Comprising of roughly 1000 islands, the unadulterated beauty of this place is incomparable. With a dreamy coastline and diverse wildlife, exploring the entirety of the islands might take more than just a weekend but is enough to satiate the need for a break from life. Getting to islands can be pretty tricky as it involves flying into Jakarta, then booking a connecting flight to Sorong, from where you will then have to take a public ferry to the island.

If you’re on a budget and only care about the scenery, slum it and book a stay at the TeraAilan Heritage Resort. You could also stay at HamuEco Raja Ampat, in a wooden house on stilts over clear, blue waters.

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GILI MENO, PEMENANG

Gili Meno, the smallest and quietest of the Gili Islands, offers seclusion and serenity. Lounge around in hammocks, take a dip in the crystal clear aquamarine waters, or go for a dive. The laid back atmosphere on this island is definitely something to anticipate and appreciate while you can. If you’re looking for a more exciting time in addition to a beautiful beach experience, head over to the neighbouring Gili Trawangan for a more vibrant atmosphere and amazing sunsets.

For as low as $273, catch a flight to Lombok. From there, hire a driver to take you to the harbour and take the boat over to the island. There are so many great places to stay out but check out Avia Villa for that ultimate beach feel. Alternatively, you can go traditional and stay at the Mahogany Cottage, complete with wood carvings and lush greenery.


Cambodia

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KOH RONG ISLAND, KRONG PREAH SIHANOUK

Koh Rong consists of many beaches that make up its exceptional coastline but Long Beach takes the cake. Blessed with a pristine strip of fine white sand, with swaying palm trees dotting the shore, the beach is the picture-perfect tropical paradise. Ditch the trappings of modernity and be one with nature as you explore what the island has to offer and enjoy the simple life. One of the best things about the island is its seclusion, which means getting there can be pretty tricky. Because flights to Sihanoukville are infrequent and incredibly expensive, the better option is to get a flight to Phnom Penh (which can go as low as $200), take a bus to Sihanoukville, then a ferry to the island.

Accommodation on the island is ridiculously cheap so where you stay completely depends on your personal preferences. Get a bungalow with a sea view at Lonely Beach Koh Rong or if you want to be in the vicinity of the party scene, book at stay at Starfish Bungalows.


Sri Lanka

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MIRISSA BEACH, MIRISSA

Maybe you want to explore something beyond your comfort zone of Southeast Asian countries. On the southern coast of Sri Lanka lies Mirissa Beach, an intimate beach bordered green palm trees and various resorts for you to enjoy a sea view from. Mirissa is not as crowded as the touristy Unawatuna Beach, while retaining all the beauty. Though rural, there is no lack of things to do here but perhaps the most impressive thing is whale watching. Witness these magnificent creatures from a catamaran as they romp about in the sapphire blue waters in a once in a lifetime experience. Book your flight to Bandaranayake Airport in Colombo (from $300 return), then either take a cab or book a driver for a drive down to Mirissa.

Opt for a stay at TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice 2017 Award-winner Esprit d’Ici Hotel or kick back at the seaside Mandara Resort, where you can take a dip in the pool in between romps in the sea.


Thailand

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PHRA NANG BEACH, KRABI

Emanating an incredibly tranquil atmosphere, Phra Nang Beach is somewhere to completely laze around at. Pack a beach mat, sunblock, a good book and some beers for the perfect weekend relaxation. Marvel at the imposing rock formation, surrounded by cool blue-green waters, from your spot on the beach. Make your way over to the nearby Railay Beach if you find Phra Nang getting too overcrowded with tourists, or if you just want a change in scenery.

To get to Phra Nang Beach, first fly to Krabi ($134 return), then take a ferry over. When you’re there, stay at the Phra Nang Inn for both serenity and delightful amenities. You can also opt for the luxury resort feel with a stay at Sunrise Tropical Resort.

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KOH LIPE, SATUN

Known as the Maldives of Thailand, Koh Lipe is the perfect combination of seclusion and natural magnificence, making for the ultimate getaway destination. Take your pick of three idyllic beaches, Pattaya, Sunrise and Sunset. When you’re not tanning on the beach or having a swim, opt for a massage at one of the island’s many resorts and feel your worries melt away, recharging your energy for the upcoming week. Book your (incredibly inexpensive!) flight to Langkawi and get a cab to Telaga Harbour, where a ferry will take you to the island.

Fly from Singapore to Hat Yai for as low as $200, then get the combo transfer (inclusive of minibus/taxi + speedboat) straight from the airport to Koh Lipe. Once there, check in to the gorgeous Idyllic Concept Resort, which offers a poolside view of the ocean. If you prefer something a little more quaint, then Ten Moons Lipe Resort is for you, with its wooden structure and straw roof.

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KOH LANTA, KRABI

Located along the coastline of southern Thailand, Koh Lanta is your deserving escape to a secluded paradise. Witness jaw dropping sunsets over the horizon, from the shores of Koh Lanta but not before going island hopping and exploring the best of what the area has to offer with regards to food and nature. Catch a direct flight as low as $134 from Changi Airport to Krabi, then hop on a speedboat transfer to Koh Lanta to enjoy a little slice of heaven.

Book a stay at amazing Lanta Cha Da Beach Resort and Spa, with first-class amenities, a massive pool and spacious suites, all at affordable prices. You can also go for the equally stunning Rawi Warin Resort & Spa, located right on the waterfront.