Singapore makes a good base for exploring South-East Asia, with nearly all of the region's countries and their main tourist destinations — Bangkok, Phuket, Angkor Wat, Ho Chi Minh City and Bali, just to name a few — under 2 hr away by plane. The advent of budget carriers in recent times means that Singapore is an excellent place for catching cheap flights to China and India, as well as around Southeast Asia. In addition, Singapore has direct flights to many of the smaller cities in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
For day or weekend trips from Singapore, the followings are popular:
Batam — The nearest Indonesian island to Singapore, just a short ferry trip away. Mainly industrial and infamous for its vice trade, but has some resorts.
Bintan — Indonesian island just 55 minutes away by ferry, offering both high-end resorts and the "real Indonesia" experience.
Johor Bahru — Malaysian city just across the Causeway. Just 20 minutes by bus 950 from Woodlands Bus Interchange. Not much to look at, but popular for cheap eats and shopping.
Kuala Lumpur — Malaysia's vibrant capital. 35 min by plane, 4-5 hr by bus or overnight by train.
Malacca — Once one of the three Straits Settlements, now a sleepy colonial town. 3-4 hr by bus.
Tioman — The nearest of Malaysia's East Coast paradise islands, reachable by bus & ferry or plane.
For those who can afford more time to travel, here are several destinations popular among Singaporeans:
Bali — One of Indonesia's biggest tourist draws with its nice beaches and good food. About 2,5 hr away by plane.
Bangkok — Thailand's capital and considered a food,shopping and clubbing paradise by many Singaporeans. It is less then 2 hr flight away, or 2 nights by train, assuming you don't stop off in Kuala Lumpur or Butterworth for Penang.
Phuket — One of the largest islands in Thailand, is another popular destination for Singaporeans. It offers a great weekend getaway and is less than 2 hours flight away. Relatively cheaper than Singapore, it is a great destination to hang around.
Ipoh — The capital of the Malaysian state of Perak, it is famous among Singaporeans for its food. 7-8 hr away by coach, or 1 hour by turboprop flight.
Langkawi — An island in the Malaysian state of Kedah, just south of the Thai border, famed for endless beaches. Just over an 1 hr by plane.
Penang — One of the Straits Settlements, with a rich history and fabulous food. About 12 hr away by coach, or 1 hr if you choose to fly. Also popular for its medical tourism.