Who doesn’t like a tropical island getaway? The golden sands of the beach underneath your bare feet, the crystal clear waters and swaying palms trees….and all those other travellers crowded on the sands, playing in the water, and generally making a ruckus in what was supposed to be your ultimate R&R escape. If you’re looking for an island holiday where it’s only you, your loved ones and the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, you may just want to check out these unique private island escapes close to Singapore yet far from the crowds.
Sink your toes into the powdery white sand, soak in the sea, or explore the rugged natural terrain of Pulau Tengah, an uninhabited island in the South China Sea, all while staying in a beautiful bungalow at Batu Batu. This exclusive private resort features one and two-bedroom villas made from local hardwoods and designed with traditional Malay elements. You will find all the modern comforts here including wi-fi, luxurious bath products, and fine white linens, yet you are surrounded by nature in every direction you look. Batu Batu is also very family-friendly with a number of villas that feature a special children’s annexe.
Getting there: First head to the coastal town of Mersing, Johor, Malaysia, which is approximately 130 kilometres by road from Singapore. From there Batu Batu’s private speedboat from will pick you up and whisk you to Pulau Tengah, about twenty minutes away.
Batu Batu, Malaysia
Wake up in the morning in your own driftwood palace and step out onto the terrace to take in unspoilt views of the pristine white sandy beach and the glittering South China Sea. You can spend your days here reclining on your daybed as the gentle ocean breezes wash over you, swimming in the refreshing 25-metre pool, being pampered with soothing massages, exploring the deserted islands nearby and dining on fresh seafood complemented by cool cocktails. At night, retire to your beautiful bungalow fashioned from salvaged driftwood, and sink into your roomy king-sized bed as you listen to the surf break in the distance.
Getting there: The Pulau Joyo team will meet you at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and whisk you off to the private Pama jetty pier. The boat takes about 3 hours.
Pulau Joyo, Riau Islands, Indonesia
If you really want to get away from it all and relax with nobody else around, you may want to consider Pulau Pangkil, which can only be rented out as a whole island rather than by individual houses. This makes it ideal for honeymoons and romantic getaways. However, the nine separate driftwood cottages are also perfect for corporate team building events, weddings, retreats and killer beach parties. Each of the cottages is just steps from the beach and the sea, and only a short stroll from the gorgeous freshwater swimming pool, sugary white sand beaches, lush jungle and a breezy restaurant serving Western and Asian cuisine.
Getting there: Take the ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to the island of Bintan, and the staff will pick you up from the there and ferry you to the island. The trip takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Pulau Pangkil, Indonesia
Another private tropical gem, Pulau Nikoi is the biggest island in the Riau Archipelago and a stunning mix of deserted beaches, vibrant coral reefs, verdant rainforest and luxurious beach houses made with natural materials and supplied with modern amenities. This is an undisputed haven for some serious rest and relaxation or a pleasant getaway for the whole family. Days can be spent next to the lovely pool situated high above the coastline to allow for views down to the beach and ocean below, at the two restaurants (one for couples and one for families) serving divine dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, or taking part in exciting activities including snorkeling, diving, rock climbing, biking and trekking.
Getting there: Nikoi Island is just a 2.5-hour boat ride from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.
Telunas Beach Resort
Located in a secluded cove surrounded by lush jungle and the azure sea, Telunas Beach Resort is a series of thatched-roof villas designed in the Malay style and built entirely over the water. The Telunas Beach Resort is set up perfectly for groups, families and couples with gorgeous rooms overlooking the ocean and a restaurant serving delicious international cuisine, while the newly opened Telunas Private Island is a great escape for honeymooners and young families with 15 serene sea-facing villas, a stunning infinity pool, and a daily changing blackboard menu.
Getting there: Telunas Beach Resort is located in the Riau Islands in Indonesia, just a 3-hour boat ride from Singapore. You can book round-trip tickets on the Batam Fast ferry from the Harbourfront Ferry Terminal in Singapore to Sekupang, Batam, and the resort boat will pick you up from there.
Telunas Resorts, Indonesia
Bali may be a world-renowned surfing destination, but its popularity means that more often than not you have to wait for ages in lineups just to catch a good wave. For surfers who prefer to skip the crowds and have the breaks all to themselves, Aloita Resort is the perfect spot. Situated on a small island in the Mentawai chain off the west coast of Sumatra, the resort features 10 contemporary beachfront bungalows, a chilled out bar and restaurant overlooking the ocean, a spa, library, watersports centre, and a surf school where you can learn the basics or head out on a speedboat to hit up some of Indonesia’s best breaks and barrels.
Catch a flight to Padang in Sumatra, then take the Mentawai fast ferry to Tua Pejat, the main port in the Mentawais. The ferry takes about 3.5 hours. From Tua Pejat, the Aloita team will take you to the resort in their private boat. Aloita Resort also has a transfer package you can book that includes all transfers from Padang airport to the resort.
Aloita Resort, Simakakang Island, Tuapejat, Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra, Indonesia. p. +62 813 2097 1810
Bawah Island Resort
A private island is one thing, but a whole archipelago to yourself? Now we’re talking! Bawah is a string of six pristine islands set in a marine conservation zone that can only be accessed by sea plane. Here you’ll find 13 sparkling white sand beaches, three aquamarine lagoons teeming with fish and coral, and 35 stunning villas, some of which are on stilts over the water. The vibe here is eco-chic with suites and villas constructed from natural materials, a restaurant that serves up delish dishes made from locally grown organic ingredients, and a holistic wellness centre offering ancient healing therapies. Plus, you’ve got miles of jungles, coastlines, and underwater worlds to explore.
The package rates for Bawah include round-trip transfers from Singapore. The Bawah team will pick you up right at your door in a luxury car, then whisk you off to the ferry terminal for a boat trip to Batam. After fast-tracking through Indonesian immigration, they’ll take you to the Batam airport to catch a private plane that touches down on the water right in front of your suite. The total travel time takes about 3.5 hours.
Bawah Island Resort, 1 Desa Kiabu Siantan Selatan, Anambas archipelago, Pulau Bawah, Riau, Indonesia. p. +65 6322 3132
Cempedak Private Island
Brought to us by the same group behind Nikoi Island, Cempedak is a 17-hectare pocket of paradise surrounded by white sand beaches and cloaked with rainforest. There are no hotels, restaurants, or shops on the island; just a beautiful eco-conscious resort featuring handcrafted villas with huge decks and private plunge pools. Each villa was designed with local materials like bamboo pillars, thatched alang alang roofs, and bathrooms featuring stone and recycled teak wood, which allows them to blend into the natural surroundings. Even better, each villa has either direct beach access or sweeping views of the sea.
Getting there: Cempedak is about 2.5 hours from the Tanah Merah ferry terminal. The easiest way to get here is to take a ferry to Bintan Island where one of the friendly staff members will meet you and take you to the Cempedak jetty. The private boat ride over to Cempedak takes about 25 minutes.
Cempedak Private Island, Air Gelubi, Bintan Pesisir, Riau Islands, Indonesia. p. +62 811 7008 040
Looking for a tropical island escape just for you and your crew? Ariara Island is an exclusive property set on a 600-metre white sand beach that can accommodate up to 18 people, making it a great private party pad or a peaceful escape for groups and families. For sleeping you have your choice of bright and breezy beach cottages with huge bathrooms outfitted in marble or one of the jungle villas on stilts that have shady terraces with hammocks and hanging chairs. During your stay, the owner’s personal staff will tend to your every need including cooking gourmet meals, taking you on amazing dive trips, and setting you up with sunset cocktails next to the infinity pool.
Arrange a flight to Busuanga (Coron) airport (the flight takes about 8.5 hours from Singapore with a stopover in Manila) and a member of the Ariara staff will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to the island via private vehicle and yacht. If you’re pressed for time and don’t mind splashing out more, you can also book a private plane or helicopter from Manila to Ariara.
Ariara Island, Linapacan, Philippines
Set on a tiny island in the middle of the Sulu Sea, Amanpulo is the stuff castaway dreams are made of… that is if your dream includes luxury digs instead of a makeshift beach hut. Your journey begins when the Amanpulo team picks you up at the airport in Manila and accompanies you on a private plane to the resort. Here gorgeous villas and casitas sit either steps from the sand, high on the hillside for incredible views, or nestled in the privacy of the jungle canopy. By day you can dive coral reefs surrounding the island, get pampered at the award-winning spa, and indulge in gourmet meals. By night it’s all about stargazing on your spacious deck and listening to the sounds of nature.
Catch a flight to Manila where the Amanpulo team will meet and take you to the island in their private plane.
Amanpulo, Pamalican Island, Sulu Archipelago, Palawan, Philippines. p. +63 2 976 5200
Just off the coast of Sihanoukville in Cambodia lies the magnificent Song Saa Private Island Resort, a tiny island boasting a stunning collection of open-plan villas that rest either directly on the beach, on stilts over the water, or hidden away in the jungle. Lazy days here could include swimming in the clear waters, kayaking to hidden coves, and indulging in contemporary gourmet bites and glasses of wine at the spectacular stilted restaurant surrounded by the sea. As an added bonus, Song Saa is all about conservation-based luxury tourism, so the resort sports sustainable materials and a portion of the profit goes to initiatives that support the Cambodian people and environment.
From Singapore, you can jump on a private jet that will take you to Sihanoukville, and then Song Saa is just a short boat ride away. Alternatively, you can fly into Phnom Penh, and then take a taxi or a bus to Sihanoukville, which takes about 4.5 hours.
Song Saa, Koh Rong, Cambodia. +855 92 609 488
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