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13 Exotic Long-Haul Destinations Singaporeans Can Go on Budget Airlines like Scoot, Jetstar and AirAsia

(Source: blog.moneysmart.sg)

It just keeps getting easier and cheaper for Singaporeans to escape, uh, take a holiday from their hectic lives. Not only does a strong Singapore Dollar make everything abroad much so cheaper than it was 20 years ago, budget airlines also fly much further now. You can go as far as Moscow Russia up north, or as far west to Europe, Middle East and the Americas.

Among the budget airlines, Scoot appears to be the leader when it comes to offering the furthest long-haul flights to exotic locations. AirAsia offers the cheapest prices for regional flights to Japan and South Korea, while Jetstar’s domain seems to be flights from Singapore to Australia.

If you’re used to travelling with a light backpack and don’t care much about inflight food or entertainment, budget flights are for you. The round-trip prices listed below are the cheapest options available, which usually do not come with meals or baggage unless otherwise stated.

 

13 exotic destinations via budget flights from Singapore

Destination

Price of a round-trip flight

Male, Maldives

$330

Harbin, China

$347

Melbourne, Australia

$365

Sapporo, Hokkaido

$395

Seoul, South Korea

$413

Sydney, Australia

$431

Athens, Greece

$658

Berlin, Germany 

$714

Auckland, New Zealand

$818

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

$924

Larnaca, Cyprus

$1,113

Moscow, Russia

$1,314

Honolulu, Hawaii

$1,323

 

Male, Maldives (from $330 via Scoot)

If you’ve been wondering about the number of honeymoon photos snapped in the Maldives on your Facebook feed, you’re not going nuts. It’s now cheaper than ever to go to Maldives as Scoot operates direct flights to Male in the Maldives.

The cheapest month to fly is in November, with prices of round-trip flights from Singapore to Maldives starting from $346. The flight journey is around 4 hours and 40 minutes. 

Staying at one of those resorts on stilts in the middle of the sea is now possible without burning a hole in your pocket, but take note that while the flight may cheap, the hotels are still expensive. For instance, a night in an iconic stilted resort in the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa will set you back by around $370 per night.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter Maldives?

No. Tourists get a free 30-day on-arrival visa at Male International Airport, provided that they have a valid ticket out of Male. Your passport must be valid for more than 6 months at the point of travel.

 

Harbin, China (from $347 via Scoot)

Harbin is located in the north of China, and often referred to as the “rooster’s eye” (the map of China is shaped like a rooster).

It’s known for its sub-zero temperatures, ice sculptures and ski resorts. Being so close to Russia, you will find Russian towns and orthodox Russian cathedrals like the St Sophia Cathedral in Harbin.

Flights fly from Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and the journey is around 7 hours and 40 minutes. This makes the flight to Harbin one of the longest but cheapest journeys offered in this list. Definitely check out our recommendations on where to get cheap winter wear before you go.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter China?

No. Singaporeans do not need visas to enter China for up to 90 days.

 

Melbourne, Australia (from $365 via Jetstar)

Anybody who studied in Australia in the 90s and early 2000s should remember flying either Qantas or Singapore Airlines during the school holidays. Flights routinely cost about $1,000 at the time.

Now that all the major budget airlines have started operating flights from Singapore to a plethora of Australian destinations including Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and the Gold Coast, it costs less than half the price to get your Melbourne cafe hopping fix.

A round-trip direct flight from Singapore to Melbourne now costs around only $365 and $390 on Jetstar and Scoot respectively. The journey takes about 8 hours.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter Australia?

Yes. Singaporeans must apply online for the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which costs AUD $15.

 

Sapporo, Hokkaido (from $395 via AirAsia)

The first budget flight to Osaka was launched with much fanfare several years ago and many have been flying to other Japanese cities like Tokyo, Fukuoka and Sapporo via budget airlines since.

And if you are not picky about the dates and having a longer flight time, you can secure tickets as cheap as $395 to Hokkaido, the far north of Japan. Known for purple lavender fields in summer and ski slopes padded with powder snow in winter, it’s a to-go destination for Japan and nature lovers.

The frequency of flights is pretty low but if you snag a good deal, you can secure flights from Singapore to Sapporo starting at $395 via AirAsia with one stop at Kuala Lumpur. The flight journey is about 11 hours in total.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter Japan? 

No, Singapore citizens who do not stay more than 3 months do not need visas to enter Japan.

 

Seoul, South Korea ($413 via AirAsia)

Singaporean youths are pretty much obsessed with Korea and Kpop. After Girls Generation’s hype, it’s now all about BTS and Black Pink. Aunties are enamoured with Korean drama serials too, so it’s no surprise that Seoul is an immensely popular holiday destination. In fact, most Singaporeans probably wouldn’t even call it exotic since everyone’s going there these days. We’ve included it anyway as it is still a destination in the far east with an almost 7-hour journey.

Scoot and AirAsia fly to Seoul, but currently Scoot’s flights are slightly more expensive at close to $500. Still, compared to the $700-$900 range offered by Asiana Airlines or Korean Airlines, they’re a pretty good deal for no-frills travellers. Scoot also flies to Busan, Gimhae, with a stop in Seoul.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter South Korea?

No, Singapore citizens who do not stay more than 90 days do not need visas to enter South Korea.

 

Sydney, Australia (from $431 via Jetstar)

Sydney is the more expensive cousin of Melbourne, thanks to relatively stable weather and a safe natural harbour that attracts high commercial activity. Somehow, this reflects in its flight prices as well.

Budget flights from Singapore to Sydney are slightly more expensive than to Melbourne. The cheapest month to fly seems to be in March, with deals from $431. The direct flight journey from Singapore to Sydney is just under 8 hours.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter Sydney, Australia?

Yes. Similar to Melbourne, Singaporeans need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) that costs AUD $15.

 

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Athens, Greece (from $658 via Scoot)

Since 2016, the ancient Greek ruins have seen an influx of Singaporeans wandering cluelessly around. This is all thanks to Scoot’s direct flights from Singapore to Athens.

Now, flight prices from Singapore to Athens are going at $658 for a round-trip direct flight, with a journey of 11 hours. Flights are usually on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and sometimes Sundays.

Scoot also offers connecting flights in collaboration with Aegean Airlines to other cities in Greece like Alexandroupoli, Corfu, Ioannina, Kavala, Mykonos, Santorini and Thessaloniki.

Go ahead and book that budget flight to Greece for your honeymoon or grad trip but note that flights to these cities cost more than direct flights to Athens.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter Greece?

If you’re a Singaporean who is not staying more than 90 days in Greece, you do not need a visa to enter.

 

Berlin, Germany (from $714 via Scoot)

After launching Athens, its first direct stop in Europe, Scoot has also launched another attractive intercontinental route to Berlin, Germany. The Singapore to Berlin flight via Scoot only costs $714, which is at least $300 to $400 cheaper than what is offered by full service carriers. Flights (to and fro) are currently offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Scoot also offers flights to a host of other European cities like Rome, but with one-stop at either Athens or Berlin. The cost of these flights are only slightly cheaper than full-service carriers, so if you want to go to those European cities, you’d be better off just waiting for promotions from carriers like finnair or Qatar.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter Germany?

Singaporeans do not need visas to enter Germany if visiting under 90 days.

 

Auckland, New Zealand (from $818 via Scoot)

New Zealand is gaining popularity among Singaporeans for its spectacular scenery. From the city of Auckland, you can take road trips to nearby lakes, glowworm caves, glaciers and villages, or even kayak to a volcanic island.

Flights to New Zealand on full-service carriers are usually pretty exorbitant. Now, you can travel on Scoot from $818 at promo rates without baggage or meals, which is a pretty good deal.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter New Zealand?

No. Singaporeans travelling to New Zealand for less than three months for business, leisure or short-term study purposes enjoy visa waivers.

 

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (from $924 via AirAsia)

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan bin Salman announced that from 2018 the Kingdom will start issuing tourist visas. As of now, tourist visas are not available.

To visit, you need to know someone living in Saudi Arabia who will have to invite you to visit by writing an official letter. But how’s that for exotic?

According to Quran, it is religious duty for Muslims to make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime if it is financially viable. Non-muslims are not allowed to visit Mecca, however, there are talks of non-muslim tourist areas opening up, particularly around the Red Sea port of Jeddah.

If you’re intrigued rather than put off by stringent rules in Saudi Arabia, you can now visit Jeddah on a budget flight to see “Coral Houses” made of blocks of sea-harvested coral, ride on camels and visit nomadic tribes in the desert, or go scuba diving in the Red Sea.

Only the FlyBagEat option is available on Scoot flights. Flights depart on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays only and the journey takes about 17 hours with one stop in Kuala Lumpur.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter Saudi Arabia?

Yes… and no. There are actually no tourists visas available (for now). Muslims must have a valid passport, valid Hajj (or Umrah) visa and a confirmed onward/return ticket. Singaporeans need to obtain a letter from someone living in Saudi Arabia before travelling.

From Scoot’s website: Scoot may deny passengers on board its flight to Jeddah if passengers do not have valid documentations, and/or based on the directives or regulations by Saudi authorities. Scoot shall not accept any liability or complaint in this regard in violation of the rules and regulations as stipulated by the Hajj Ministry.

 

Larnaca, Cyprus (from $1,113 via Scoot)

Larnaca? Where even is that? It’s the capital of the Republic of Cyprus, an island country just like Singapore off the coast of the Turkey. The port city is more well-known for its beaches and nightlife and is a popular holiday island for the Brits.

While there have been rumours about flights being cancelled to Larnaca due to its proximity to war-torn Syria, Cyprus is actually ranked as the 36th safest country in the world according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The flight schedule from Singapore to Larnaca is not that frequent, but you can get flights for as cheap as $1,113 via Scoot if you are diligent. The flight journey is about 17 hours with one stop in Athens.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter Cyprus?

No. Singaporeans are exempted from visas for a period of up to 3 months. If you’re travelling to Cyprus, it’s highly recommended to file a traveller registration service so the Singaporean Embassy is informed of your travel plans.

 

Moscow, Russia (from $1,314 via Scoot)

Yes. You can even fly to Russia on a budget airline! Visit St Basil Cathedral’s and admire the larger-than-life statues and buildings reminiscent of the communist era.

The flight journey is a ridiculous 30-hour affair with one transfer in Athens, but who cares when you can land yourself in Russia for only $1,314? Flight timings are not frequent, however, so you probably only can make use of this option if you are student or unemployed.

Take note that only the flybag option is available, so whether you want it or not you can bring up to 20kg worth of baggage.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter Russia?

Yes. Singaporeans must contact the Russian embassy to obtain Russian tourist visas before entering Russia. To do that, you must fill in an application form and get a tourist invitation letter from an authorised travel agency that states the names of the cities you are visiting, travel dates and number of entries.

 

Honolulu, Hawaii (from $1,323 on Scoot, Jetstar and AirAsia)

Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and a major gateway to other islands. It’s renowned for a vibrant nightlife, an awesome surfing culture at Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach, and being home to Pearl Harbour. You can take day trips from the city to Hawaii’s famous volcanoes, islands and lakes.

Flights to the United States typically range closer to $2,000, but with all three major budget airlines offering flights to Honolulu, Hawaii, you can get there with a combination of airlines (Scoot, Jetstar and AirAsia) for as low as $1323, with just one stop at Osaka International Airport or Tokyo Narita International Airport.

Do Singaporeans need visas to enter the US?

No (but kinda yes). Singaporeans do not require an actual visa, but if you’re travelling to the US, you have to apply for an electronic travel document called the ESTA to enter the US.

Have you ever taken a budget flight to any of the above destinations? Share your experiences in the comments!

 

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