6 Unusual Staycation Experiences In Singapore, From Buses To Garden Pods

Fuss-free getaways that are more exciting than the usual hotel room in town.

By Mandy Lim Beitler        19 February 2024

Everyone loves a staycation. It offers a break from our mundane everyday life, a change of scenery from the usual four walls, and doesn’t even require a passport. But sometimes, you want more than just another hotel stay. Here’s where these six unusual staycation experiences in Singapore come in – and they’re perfect for the upcoming school holidays.

1. Tiny Away Escape @ Lazarus Island

Tiny Away Escape @ Lazarus Island

For an unusual staycation that actually takes you ‘overseas’, book a Tiny Away Escape @ Lazarus Island. You’ve probably heard about the eco-friendly concept that has sprouted up all over the world – and wondered if you could really live in one. Well, just a 20-minute ferry ride from Marina South Pier, you’ll get to experience Tiny House living for yourself.

Each one-bedroom Tiny House (from $284 per night) sleeps two to four guests, and is furnished with all the modern amenities, including air-conditioning, WiFi, bathroom and fully equipped kitchenette. You can even grill up a storm with the provided smokeless barbecue on your private deck. It’s also an opportunity to get close to nature, enjoy sea sports or simply find peace on the island’s pristine white sand beaches.

SAFRA members enjoy 20% off published rates; more info at safra.sg/promotions/tiny-away-escape-@-lazarus-island

Look out for our staycation review of Tiny Away Escape, coming up soon!

1A Pulau Seringat; escapeatlazarus.com

2. Glamping with the penguins

Bird Paradise Glamping with the penguins

One of the most popular attractions at Bird Paradise is the Ocean Network Express Penguin Cove, one of the world’s largest sub-Antarctic saltwater habitats. It’s home to four species, from the majestic king penguin to the feisty Northern rockhopper. Besides a quick visit to watch the birds ‘fly’ effortlessly underwater and waddle adorably on the rocky beach, you can now spend a night with them too.

‘Glamping with the Penguins’ (from $1,699) happens on selected Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays this March, May and June. The package includes a one-night stay in an air-conditioned bell tent for up to four guests, park admission, all meals, as well as guided tours and bird interactions. To top it off, fall asleep to the magical Aurora Australis projected at Penguin Cove.

Why not visit the Singapore Zoo, River Wonders and Night Safari too? SAFRA members enjoy up to 40% prevailing admission rates; more info at safra.sg/promotions/mandai

20 Mandai Lake Road; mandai.com/bird-paradise 

3. A night at the airport

Camping at Changi Airport

As we all know, Changi Airport is the reigning best airport in the world, and has held that title 12 times in Skytrax’s annual World Airport Awards. But how much do you really know about it? One way is to dive into all the nitty gritties at the Changi Experience Studio on Level 4 of Jewel Changi Airport. Even better still, book yourself into ‘A Night at the Airport’.

The perennially sold-out programme lets you go on an Amazing Race-style quest around the airport and participate in themed activities. Then cap the adventure off with a one-of-a-kind sleepover in a cosy tent. A Night at the Airport happens during the June and year-end school holidays every year. Stay tuned to the Jewel Changi Airport website and socials for updates.

SAFRA members also enjoy 10% off individual attraction tickets, plus 25% off Jewel-rassic Quest, at Jewel Changi Airport; more info at safra.sg/promotions/jewel-changi-airport-2 & safra.sg/promotions/jewel-rassic-quest

Level 4, 78 Airport Boulevard; jewelchangiairport.com 

4. Garden Pod @ Gardens by the Bay

Garden Pod @ Gardens by the Bay

Ever thought about staying in a repurposed 40-foot shipping container surrounded by a world-famous and award-winning garden? That’s exactly what you can do in a Garden Pod @ Gardens by the Bay (from $500 per night). Choose from four duplex suites nestled within the Serene Garden, the new horticultural green space inspired by Japanese zen gardens.

There is nothing utilitarian about these Garden Pods either. Each WiFi-enabled suite sleeps up to six, with a king-sized bed and a queen-sized Murphy wall bed on level two, and a sofa bed on level one. It also comes with an ensuite bathroom with sustainable amenities, fully equipped kitchen and indoor dining space, as well as outdoor patio and table grill upon request.

18 Marina Gardens Drive; tinypod.com/garden-pod

5. Kranji Sanctuary Resort: A Farm Stay Experience

Kranji Sanctuary Resort: A Farm Stay Experience

While there is little of the rural lifestyle to experience in the urban jungle we live in, it isn’t impossible to find. You’ll find such refreshing escapes in the Kranji countryside towards the northwest of Singapore. For instance, at the newly renovated Kranji Sanctuary Resort, which combines Bali-style villas surrounded by greenery with a farm stay experience.

From a Standard Villa to the two-room Family Villa, the spacious stay options come with your private veranda. They’re the perfect launching point, whether you’re after farm-hopping activities around the neighbourhood or just chilling out while prawning on-site. After a day among the flora and fauna, luxuriate in outdoor rain showers and Jacuzzi tubs in your villa before retiring for the night.

10 Neo Tiew Lane 2; kranjisanctuaryresort.com

6. The Bus Collective

The Bus Collective

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard about the 20 defunct SBS Transit buses upcycled into hotel suites when it launched last December. Sitting on a 8,600 sq m tract of land next to the bustling Changi Village Hawker Centre, The Bus Collective (current promotional rates from $248 per night) also acts as a gateway to Changi Point Coastal Walk, Changi Beach Park, and even Pulau Ubin.

Not to mention all the dining options in the area, from the famous hawker stalls to Little Island Brewing Co and The Coastal Settlement. But before heading out to explore, step on board your private ‘bus’. There are six different configurations to suit your needs, from plush king-sized beds to fun bunk beds. And yes, each comes with its own luxurious bathroom and bus captain’s station!

5 Telok Paku Road; thebuscollective.com

Save more with SAFRA! Enjoy special deals and discounts on dining, entertainment, travel, fitness and more from over 1,500 merchant outlets islandwide. Sign up or renew your SAFRA membership for one year at $43.60 inclusive of GST) and get two years FREE! Plus, get your spouse and children on board to enjoy the same privileges too at $5.45/year. Visit safra.sg/savemore for more details.

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