There’s no need to head to far-flung lands – or even take a flight – to experience secluded beaches and private villas located just hours by sea from Singapore. Here are some private islands in Indonesia and Malaysia where you can easily visit as a weekend jaunt (most villas impose a 2-night minimum stay) for that relationship refresher.
Unveiled in 2017, this private island retreat set in a marine conservation zone across five islands, three lagoons and 13 beaches. The eco-friendly resort (zero-waste, pesticide-free, no fishing allowed) has 35 villas (overwater bungalows and villas) made by hand with upcycled materials. In addition to paddle-boarding or hiking, there’s a spa and yoga pavilion. Only accessible by seaplane from Batam, it takes 3.5 hours to get there.
From US$1,960/night per couple (includes round-trip transfers from Singapore & meals)
Launched in 2017, the resort has 20 private bamboo villas cooled by natural ventilation. Each crescent-shaped, double-storey villa has its own tear-shaped plunge pool with the bedrooms upstairs, complete with balcony. The island, with its white sandy beaches, granite boulders and lush rainforest, is home to wildlife like hornbills, kingfishers, otters, and rare pangolins. Cempedak is located 2.5 hours by boat from Singapore (via ferry to Bintan and a 25-minute boat transfer).
From S$450/night per room; daily board S$95/person
Located in Indonesia’s Riau archipelago, Pulau Joyo’s accommodation consists of stilted beach palaces, traditional Javanese joglos and a driftwood palace. A plethora of activities are on offer, from a traditional massage at the balé to sea kayaking. From Tanah Merah, take the ferry to Tanjung Pinang where you’ll be taken to their private dock for a ride to the island – the entire journey takes about 3 hours.
From S$322/night per person (includes all meals & transfers from Tanjung Pinang)
Located 85km (2 hours) away from Singapore just off Bintan, each of the 15 stilted beach houses can accommodate two to six people. The island is a sea turtle conservation area and emphasises environmental conservation; thus instead of air conditioning, the houses rely on the sea breeze, double-vaulted roofs and fans. An array of water activities (kayaking, diving, etc), as well as hiking and rock climbing, are on offer.
From S$390/night per room; daily board S$95/person; transfers from Bintan S$90/person
Telunas Resorts sits within a cove, surrounded by greenery that’s home to wildlife like hawks, eagles, kingfishers, and Grey-back monkeys. Of the 2 locations, Private Island is more catered for couples with 15 stilted sea villas. You can relax at the infinity pool, go for a massage at the overwater spa, or head out or water activities. To get there you’ll need to first get to Sekupang, from where there’s another boat ride to Sugi; the journey is 3 hours.
From S$295/night per room; daily board S$85/person; transfers from Sekupang S$85/person
Located just offshore from Johor’s east coast, Batu Batu is a private island resort set amongst coconut groves, rocky outcrops and eight white-sand beaches. There are 20 one-bedroom and 2 two-bedroom villas constructed in the style of a Malay kampung. Snorkel or dive amongst colourful coral reefs, and kayak or walk around its 3km perimeter. To get to the islands, you’ll need to make your own way to Johor’s Mersing Jetty from where you take the resort’s speedboat.
From RM230/night per person (includes all meals); transfers from Mersing RM55/single boat trip