Here at Urban Journey HQ, vacays are up there on our favourite things list (that, plus eating and drinking, obvs). But though we love being on holiday, the travelling to get there part is rarely fun. Which is why we make it our biz to scout out the best weekend escapeswithin three-hours travelling time from Singapore. And when it comes to easy long-weekend getaways, neighbouring Malaysian and Indonesian islands are often the best bet. Cue Rimba Resort on Sibu Island; a beautiful speck off the coast of Johor that is startlingly beautiful and perfect for a romantic getaway. The best part? It’s a mere 2.5-hour drive from Singers. Boom.
Rimba is one of only a handful of resorts to be found on Sibu, and we were swayed to plump for it over others by the glowing reviews we’d found online and its snazzy website (not to mention the rustic chic Kenyan-inspired beachfront chalets, secluded beach, and bargain price – more on that later).
In terms of convenience, it doesn’t get easier than this to go on holiday; upon booking online, we were contacted by #TeamRimba who helpfully organised a car to pick us up from the front door of our condo and arranged our ferry crossing. At the agreed date and time we hopped in said car and off we went. 2.5 hours later we were at the Malaysian ferry port, and after a further 25-minute speedboat ride we set food on the idyllic Sibu Island refreshed and ready to start our holiday.
If you’re looking for 5* luxury you won’t find it here. But if rustic, boho, beach chic works for you, you’ll love Rimba. There’re four chalet options to choose from (twin, double, family, and sea view island suites), all of which are within a stone’s throw of the private beach and embrace a back-to-nature philosophy. You’ll initially be alarmed by the lack of aircon, windows, and doors (told you it was rustic) but rest assured the open style chalets, sea breeze, and fans ensure you’ll get a decent night’s sleep. It transpires the sound of waves crashing against the shore is strangely therapeutic; who knew? Cold water showers are also to be expected (aside from in the suites), but hey – you’re on a beautiful island, chill out and go with the flow. We stayed in a sea view double chalet and fell in love with our beachy base.
The food situation
The food on Rimba is included in the price of your stay and is plentiful (not to mention delicious!). For breakfast expect the full works to be laid on; eggs, steak bacon, sausages, baked beans, fresh fruit, yoghurt, granolas (we could go on, you get the gist). Lunch is also served buffet style and features the likes of Malay style curries, BBQ chicken, prata, salads, and more. And for dinner, the feasting continues with four-course Western style meals under candlelight. The team here are also happy to cater to dietary requests, just let ‘em know when booking if you’re vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or just ridiculously fussy, and they’ll hook you up with tasty grub you’ll love when you get there.
Things to do
The main activities we participated in during our stay were eating, drinking, and relaxing (tough gig). We definitely recommend bringing a good book to help you while away the lazy days. Massages and facials are also available at the onsite bamboo bliss spa if you want to take your zen to the next level. For the less sedentary, there’re a ton of activities to try your hand at including paddle boarding, kayaking, jungle trekking, beach volleyball, and board games in the bar.
If you’re into diving, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to indulge in your favourite pastime thanks to Hi-Tide Divers. Plus, you can get your PADI certification sorted if you’re not fully qualified. Snorkelling is also possible at Rimba; there’s a 200m vibrant house reef in the bay just in front of the resort.
We’d definitely recommend heading out on a snorkelling trip to neighbouring islands. We gave this trip a whirl and, aside from some top snorkelling action, we also enjoyed time on a stunning private island complete with beach mats, freshly cut fruit, ice-cold water and nothing to do but enjoy the moment. Bliss.
Rates for our sea view double chalet start at RM300++ per adult, per night (about $100). The rate includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Booze is available at Rimba, but you’ll need to purchase this separately (rest assured it’s a lot cheaper than SG prices!). Can you say bargain?
A trip to Rimba is a totally unique experience and one we’d definitely recommend. But be sure to leave your 5* expectations in Singapore; this is a back to basics vacay and you’ll need to embrace the chilled vibes and laid-back approach. The team behind Rimba are incredibly friendly and helpful and will do their utmost to ensure your stay is epic. For low-key beachy bliss in a beautiful setting, Rimba is where it’s at. And it’s a total bargain.