We’re returning from a long weekend, having enjoyed the beach, basked in the sun, swam with sharks, and savored cocktails. Now, it’s time to plan your getaways for 2023/2024. We recommend Rawa Island, and here’s why we strongly recommend this hot travel spot.
A Secluded Gem near Singapore: Located on a protected marine park just off the east coast of Malaysia, the tiny island of Rawa boasts a beautiful white sandy beach on one side and a rocky cliff on the other. It’s easily accessible from Singapore. Start by driving or taking a bus to Mersing Port, and then hop on a 20-30 minute boat ride.
Soft, White Sands:Rawa Island Resort has been preserving the island’s wildlife and flora for two decades. With natural or recycled materials used for construction, rainwater harvesting, reverse osmosis water production, and laundry services on the mainland, the island keeps things eco-friendly. There’s just one path that allows you to circumnavigate the island, summit included, in under half an hour. No engine noises, only the soothing sound of waves, birdsong, and the occasional giant bat.
Pulau Rawa Resort
A Coral Reef Encompassing the Island: Arriving at Rawa on a clear day is enchanting. As soon as you step onto the jetty, you’ll see exotic marine life in crystal-clear waters, enticing you for a closer look. Put down your luggage, don your swimsuit, mask, and snorkel, and dive in. Just a few strokes from the beach, you’ll be amazed by the colorful and varied underwater world. Long, short, flat, plump, striped, plain, or multicolored fish of all shapes and sizes, along with an impressive variety of corals. The shallow reef, renowned for its beautiful anemones and clownfish colonies, is perfect for family snorkeling or beginner diving.
You might also encounter turtles and rays, but that’s more exceptional. For larger marine life, head further offshore. Diving enthusiasts can rent equipment on-site. But be cautious not to get too lost in the underwater spectacle. With your face in the water, eyes fixed on the corals, and back exposed to the sun, you can easily get sunburned, even in saltwater. Don’t forget your sunscreen, or even better, a UV protective shirt.
small shark waiting to to feed them
If you’re a fan of marine life, also consider destinations like Raja Ampat or Palawan, but they’re farther away.
Rawa Island Resort, Suitable for Everyone, Especially Families: Ideal for families, Rawa Island Resort offers family-friendly accommodations. We recommend the beach view/beachfront chalets. You’ll have the beach at your doorstep, two spacious bedrooms, a shared bathroom, and a sheltered terrace with a beautiful view of the sea and the occasional distant thunderstorm (well, rarely if you choose the right season!). Avoid the Frangipani rooms, as they lack adequate lighting.
Beach view/beachfront chalets:
The dining options are quite reasonable, with buffets for all meals, local dishes, and basics (they’ve thought of Sam Sool). Every Saturday evening, there’s a mega barbecue that allows Sam to load up on protein. Chicken satays, beef satays, lamb chops, chicken thighs – it’s a meat lover’s paradise. You can also start or end your evening (or both) with a cocktail facing the sea – perfect for total relaxation.
Sun, Sand, Sea, and Cocktails:
Two slides on the jetty, one big and one small, might surprise you upon arrival. Why have these in such a beautiful environment? Well, they keep Sam Sool and Agathe Zeblouse occupied, and it works. When the tide rises, the slides are put into action, providing some thrills for our teens. Ultimately, the slides serve a purpose. Other amenities include a volleyball court, two ping pong tables, trampolines, a billiard table, foosball, and of course, a watersports club for renting all things that glide!
For Water Sports Enthusiasts… There Are Slides!
Practical Tips: Choose your season wisely. Ideally, visit between March and August. The island is closed from November 15th to January 15th. In September and October, the sea is rougher, and visibility for snorkeling is poor.
Accommodation options include a large resort or a small guesthouse. For Island Rawa Resort, for four people, including 2 nights, 6 meals, and boat transfers, budget around 1500 SGD. Be sure to book in advance.
On the island, right next to Island Rawa Resort, you’ll find Alang’s Rawa guesthouse. It’s less equipped but more budget-friendly and ideal for group travel – without children, or almost none, as they are only allowed from Monday to Friday.
Getting There: The drive between Singapore and Mersing Port takes three hours in smooth traffic. Plan ahead for border crossings on busy days. Taxi drivers can offer valuable advice on scheduling, as they are experienced in this.
For a taxi, budget around 400 SGD for a round trip from Singapore to Mersing. you can use the services of rickshawasia, a reliable, easy-to-contact, and responsive company. You can find their WhatsApp link on their website. If you have your own car, there is dedicated parking available at Mersing Port.
Equipment: Don’t forget your easybreath mask, much more comfortable than traditional snorkeling masks. They come in child and adult sizes. Choose a surface mask or one for diving up to three meters.
Enjoy your adventure on Rawa Island!