9 long weekends in 2020 and how to maximise your leave

Those who love going on quick and fuss-free getaways (without expending too much of their annual leave) should know this: it hasn't been quite so easy given that there were only four long weekends to play around with. Well, good news – next year will see a whopping nine long weekends!


woman holding calendar

Photo credit: Pexels


There will be 11 public holidays in 2020, four of which will fall on a Friday, while three will fall on a Sunday.

We all know what that means – time to maximise your leave for easy peasy weekend escapes! Here's how we think you should plan your leave to fully make use of what you have.


Long weekends in 2020


1. New Year's Day

Public Holiday date: 1 January 2020 (Wednesday)

Take leave on: 2-3 January 2020 (Thursday & Friday)

No. of days you'll have: 5 days


2. Chinese New Year

Public Holiday date: 25-26 January 2020 (Saturday & Sunday)

Note: 27 January 2020 (Monday) is a public holiday

No. of days you'll have: 3 days


3. Good Friday

Public Holiday date: 10 April 2020 (Friday)

Take leave on: 13 April 2020 (Monday)

No. of days you'll have: 4 days


4. Labour Day & Vesak Day

Public Holiday date: 1 May 2020 (Friday) & 7 May 2020 (Thursday)

Take leave on: 4-6 May 2020 (Monday - Wednesday) & 8 May 2020 (Friday)

No. of days you'll have: 10 days


5. Hari Raya Puasa

Public Holiday date: 24 May 2020 (Sunday)

Notes: 25 May 2020 (Monday) is a public holiday

No. of days you'll have: 3 days


6. Hari Raya Haji

Public Holiday date: 31 July 2020 (Friday)

No. of days you'll have: 3 days


7. National Day

Public Holiday date: 9 August 2020 (Sunday)

Notes: 10 August 2020 (Monday) is a public holiday

Take leave on: 6-7 August 2020 (Thursday and Friday)

No. of days you'll have: 5 days


8. Deepavali

Public Holiday date: 14 November 2020 (Saturday)

Take leave on: 13 November 2020 (Friday)

No. of days you'll have: 3 days


9. Christmas

Public Holiday date: 25 December 2020 (Friday)

No. of days you'll have: 3 days


And now for the most important part – where oh where to go? Whether you're going for just a snappy three-day getaway or you've decided to take a few days off to make it four or five, here are some suggestions.


For a three-day trip:


Luang Prabang, Laos


luang prabang city


For something off-the-beaten track, try the charming Luang Prabang, an ancient city which is also a UNESCO World Hertiage site! The culturally rich spot is sometimes referred to as the "jewel of the Mekong", and is known for its many Buddhist temples, rustic nature and French colonial buildings. 


luang prabang, laos street food


Some must-visits include the local night market at Sisavangvong Road for some authentic street food such as grilled fish or chicken on skewers, sticky white rice, mini coconut pancakes and tomato noodle soup. It's also where you can get your hands on some traditional art, handicraft and traditional Lao Skirts.

Pay a visit to the richly decorated Wat Mai temple, known for its gorgeous bas-relief work and an emerald Buddha statue, too. Don't forget to take it slow at one of its many cafes, where you can enjoy laidback atmosphere with a cup of joe!

Note that there are no direct flights from Singapore to Luang Prabang, but you can take connecting flights on Lao Airlines and SilkAir via Vientiane, or Thai Airways via Bangkok.


Yogyakarta, Indonesia


yogyakarta indonesia sunset temple


Often referred to as Jogja, this spot is chockful of traditional arts, cultural hertiage and adventure. Marvel at its wondrous design of more than 2,600 relief panels and 500 Buddha statues on stacked platforms, but to really soak in its beauty (and avoid the crowds), try to make it before sunrise to catch the moment when sun rays hit the shrouded stupas for a spectacular sight!

temple yogyakarta indonesia


Its most famous sight is the UNESCO World Heritage Borobudur Temple, a three-tier complex that dates back to the 8th and 9th centuries and had been buried under jungle foliage and volcanic ash before it was discovered and restored. Don't forget to visit the 18th century Palace of Yogyakarta and stop by the the iconic Tugu Monument, an elaborate obelisk in the heart of the city!

Round up the trip with a bout of shopping at Malioboro Road – Yogyakarta's major shopping street.


For a five-day trip


Hong Kong


long weekend hong kong shopping market


The vibrant and buzzing Hong Kong is always a great choice for a getaway, with mouthwatering dim sum and roast meats to be had as well as a myriad of shopping options. It's also an eye-opener, thanks to its eclectic mix of towering modern skyscrapers, the worn, cramped housing in the city centre and quaint coffee shops.

A trip to Hong Kong is not complete if you didn't have breakfast at a brisk and no-nonsense cha chaan teng (tea cafe)!


long weekend hong kong skyline


Some places you shouldn't miss include Victoria Peak for a breathtaking sweep of the skyline, the Temple Stret Night Market, for interesting food, clothing, trinkets, electronics and more, Lan Kwai Fond for some of the trendiest restaurants, Mong Kok - a neon-bathed congested shopping and residential district, and Tsim Sha Tsui. 

If you have time, take the ferry (just 60 minutes away) for a day trip to the picturesque Macau for some sightseeing and Portugese egg tarts, or head to Hong Kong Disneyland to satisfy the kids!




osaka castle


With so many things to see, do and eat, you could easily spend five days there without feeling bored. If you're a culture fiend, visit the landmark 16th-century Osaka Castle which is surrounded by a moat and an idyllic park that sprouts bright blooms when it's in season.

We highly recommend you set aside a day for Universal Studios Japan, especially if you're a Harry Potter fan! The Hogwarts castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a magical sight to behold, especially when it's lit in sparkling lights as dusk falls.



For an experience of the senses, visit the bustling Dotonbori that is filled with neon lights and huge billboards. Here's where you can snack on takoyaki, buy souvenirs and take a picture with the giant LED Glico Man – trust us, it's a thing. For freshly grilled seafood, meats, and fresh sashimi bowls, head to Kuromon Ichiba during lunch time for a satisfying meal sampling from various stalls.

Don't forget to pop by Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum where you get to learn all about the history of instant noodles and create your own customised instant noodles with soup boase and ingredients!


For a seven-day trip




bhutan himalayas eastern edge


There's nowhere on earth quite like Bhutan. Often regarded as the happiest place on earth, Bhutan, which is nestled on the Himalaya's eastern edge, is an unspoiled and pristine landscape lost in time. Monasteries, fortresses and dramatic topography make up its chemistry, and it is here where there's an air of tranquility that no other city possesses.


bhutan island


Must-sees include, of course, Bhutan's most recognisable spot – the picturesque Tiger's Nest, which clings to a sheer cliff face above the Paro Valley and the Buddha Dordenma, a gigantic Buddha statue overlooking the city of Thimpu. Don't forget the Dochula Pass, which was built in honour of 108 BHutanese soldieres who died in a military operation, and try your hand at archery at Changlimitchang Stadium in Thimpu!

Note that you'll have to pay between US$200 to US$250 per person per day of stay (depending on the period you're travelling), which includes accommodation, meals, a guide, as well as transport – and make sure to book your holiday through a licensed Bhuatnese tour operator!


Written by Joy Fang.