As 2017 draws near, it is once again time to check out the official publication of Singapore public holidays from the Ministry of Manpower. You know the drill each year. Look out for the dates of the 11 standard holidays, see if the date for Deepavali is confirmed and then determine whether there are any potential long weekends for the coming year.
It is shaping up to be a wonderful year if long weekends are your thing. Jetstar has even planned ahead and rolled out a package offering flights to seven destinations during the seven long weekends for 2017. It’s a great idea but options were only limited to their network.
Here is the list of Singapore public holidays in 2017 according to the Ministry of Manpower:
Given that we’re blessed in the coming year in terms of long weekends, here are some tips to maximize your leaves for the coming year.
New Year’s Day
1 January 2017 (Sunday) — the following day, 2 January 2017 will be a holiday
Long weekend opportunity: 31 December 2016 (Saturday) to 2 January 2017 (Monday)
If you are not already on some Christmas holiday, the three days covering the new year is perfect for a short jaunt somewhere nearby. Several places in Southeast Asia are pleasant at this time including the whole of Indochina, Thailand, Myanmar, The Philippines and the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia. If you prefer to venture somewhere a bit farther, the weather in Hong Kong and Taiwan are pretty crisp at this time. Japan will be very cold (with occasional snow) but otherwise, the skies are at its bluest at this time of the year and you’ll have good chances of viewing Mt. Fuji even from Tokyo.
Where to avoid: Indonesia (monsoon season), East Malaysia (monsoon season) and eastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia (monsoon season)
Lunar New Year
28 and 29 January 2017 (29 January is a Sunday so 30 January will be a holiday instead)
Long weekend opportunity: 28 January 2017 to 30 January 2017 (Saturday to Monday)
The Lunar New Year may be a time of reunions and visiting friends and relatives but there is no denying how the longest stretch of public holidays in Singapore is also very much conducive for traveling. In 2017, it will be relatively shorter – with only one instead of the usual two days of holiday. The bulk of the region will be pretty busy at this time especially Thailand. While the weather will be quite pleasant in the Land of Smiles, expect tourists from nearby countries to descend across the country during this time. Among nearby places with good weather in late January, the Philippines will probably be the least busy.
If you can spare a few more days of leave, India is also relatively cool and sunny at this time of the year. Destinations such as Jaipur, Delhi or Mumbai are also relatively immune from the sky high airfares usually associated with this period.
14 April 2017 (Friday)
Long weekend opportunity: 14 April 2017 to 16 April 2017 (Friday to Sunday)
This is an especially popular time to heard north to places such as Japan and Korea where, depending on the timing, you might find yourself right smack in the middle of cherry blossom season. You can check out this guide for the cherry blossom forecast in Japan (will be made available early next year).
For beach people, the resorts and sunkissed isles around Phuket and Krabi beckon. Same goes for the islands of the Philippines. Parts of Indonesia start welcoming the dry season and this includes Bali.
If you are looking for somewhere farther afield, New Zealand is especially sublime at this time of the year with lots of fall foliage and blue skies in the South Island.
Where to avoid: Laos, Cambodia and Northern/Central Thailand (including Bangkok) are especially hot at this time of the year with temperatures known to exceed 40 degrees Celsius.
Labour Day and Vesak Day
1 May 2017 (Monday) and 10 May 2017 (Wednesday)
Long trip opportunity: 29 April 2017 to 14 May 2017 – 16 trip days that require only 8 days of leave!
If you are planning to take a long trip in 2017 to places such as North America, Europe, Africa or even South America; the most optimal period is in early May where you can get to go off for as much as 16 days and take only 8 days of leave for it. Weather-wise, this is also a great time to go farther afield. The weather will start to turn mild in popular cities such as Paris, London and New York while the days will start to cool down over in the streets of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.
Hari Raya Puasa
25 June 2017 (Sunday) – the following day, 26 June 2017 (Monday) will be a public holiday instead
Long weekend opportunity: 24 to to 26 June 2017 (Saturday to Monday)
The long weekend in late June is conducive for a short and relaxing mid-year break somewhere. You might want to head out for a bit of the resort life. This month is considered part of the rainy season in Maldives but the wet period here is relatively mild with about the same amount of rainfall as Singapore in June and roughly 7 hours of sunshine per day. If you visit Maldives during this month, you get to benefit from relatively lower prices in this traditionally expensive country.
If you prefer to go somewhere nearby, Koh Samui in Thailand has a relatively late monsoon season with the weather still pleasant at this time of the year. Most of Malaysia is also relatively fine while peak season starts to kick-in in Bali.
Where to avoid: Most Middle Eastern destinations (i.e. Dubai, Oman) will be searing hot at this time, with the weather not turning pleasant enough until about late October.
Hari Raya Haji
1 September 2017 (Friday)
Long weekend opportunity: 1 to to 3 September 2017 (Friday to Sunday)
Consider heading down under as Australia goes from winter to spring at just about this time. This is a period of sunny and cool weather with some mountains still snow-capped!
National Day and Deepavali – How to make the most out of mid-week holidays
9 August and 18 October 2017 (both Wednesday)
I lumped together the National Day and Deepavali holidays in 2017 as both of them fall mid-week. This begs the question – should you use your annual leaves during these weeks? If you follow the tips above, you would have found yourself spending only 8 days of leave so far so taking another 4 during one of these weeks would not be such a bad idea.
Apart from this, you might also be thinking which of these two weeks you should use to go on holiday.
Personally, I would choose the October (Deepavali) week and go off between Saturday the preceding week and come back on Sunday of that week. In total, that would give me 9 days which I could use for trips against only 4 days of leave.
My main reason for choosing October over August is that August is still monsoon season in many places – especially around East and Southeast Asia. This is also the middle of summer and super-peak tourist season in North America and Europe. October would be a lot better, weather-wise, whether you choose to go near or far. You’re also less likely to face maddening crowds and airfare would be cheaper as well during this time.
For 9 days, it would be perfect to go to a medium-haul destination such as somewhere in Australia or New Zealand where it’s right smack in the middle of spring. The rainy season would have also tapered at around this time in Korea and Japan.
Another strategy is to take 2 days of leave (either Monday to Tuesday or Thursday to Friday) for each of these 2 weeks which would then allow you to take 5 day trips each in August and October.
25 December 2017 (Monday)
With as many as 7 other trip opportunities taken during the previous months, you could give yourself a breather during the final long weekend of 2017. If you are thinking of going on a hotel staycation, prices are usually cheaper as compared to the New Year’s holiday. Otherwise, you could also stay at home and nua!
Total Leaves Spent: 12
Total Number of Trips:
1 Medium (can be split into 2 5-day trips)