Travel // 11 Island Holidays just a Short Hop Away from Singapore, South East Asia {2019}

Not many people know this (myself included before we moved here) but Singapore is actually the perfect base for some relaxing island hopping holidays. There are 100s of beautiful islands which can be reached by boat from this city island.

We’ve been lucky enough to escape to a few of them but there are lots more on our list to travel to. From Singapore you can choose to go up into Malaysia or down into Indonesia. Both are accessible in a few hours by car/boat.

Here are my top 11 islands to visit from Singapore in South East Asia including something for everyone; couples, families, high budget, low budget, adventurers, those who want to relax and more.

1. Bintan, Indonesia

The Sanchaya - 02
The Sanchaya Resort, Bintan, Indonesia (Image courtesy of The Sanchaya)
The Sanchaya - 24
Room at The Sanchaya Resort, Bintan, Indonesia (Image courtesy of The Sanchaya)
Pool at The Sanchaya Resort, Bintan, Indonesia (Image courtesy of The Sanchaya)
Pool at The Sanchaya Resort, Bintan, Indonesia (Image courtesy of The Sanchaya)

Bintan, Indonesia is just to the south of Singapore and is less than an hour by boat. The northern palm tree lined coast of Lepaking is host to lots of upscale resorts.

Stay at: Banyan Tree, The Canopi, The Residences Bintan, The Sanchaya, and ClubMed Bintan.

2. Batam, Indonesia

Adult Pool at Montigo Resorts, Batam
Adult Pool at Montigo Resorts, Batam

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Adult Pool at Montigo Resorts, Batam
Adult Pool at Montigo Resorts, Batam

Batam, Indonesia is even closer than Bintan, you can leave home in Singapore and be on the beach in Batam within 2-hours as it’s only a 30min ferry ride away.

Stay at: Montigo Bay Resorts (see full review of Montigo Bay Resort here)

3. Sibu, Malaysia

The view from our hut Sea Gypsy
The view from the huts, Sea Gypsy
Our little hut on Sea Gypsy Village Island
Little hut on Sea Gypsy
Local harbour on the Kampong Walk
Local harbour on the Kampong Walk in Sibu

Sibu, Malaysia is a 2-3 hour drive into Malaysia and then a short 20min boat ride from Mersing harbour. There are a few resorts on the island but the most popular are Sea Gypsy Village (see full review of Sea Gypsy here) and Rimba.

Stay at: Sea Gypsy Village or Rimba.

4. Rawa, Malaysia

Alang's Rawa
Alang’s Rawa
Beach at Rawa Island Resort, Malaysia
Beach at Rawa Island Resort, Malaysia
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Rawa Island Resort

Rawa, Malaysia is the same distance as Sibu, 2-3 hour drive into Malaysia and then a short 20min boat ride from Mersing harbour. There are two resorts on Rawa. Rawa Island Resort and Alang’s Rawa. Alana’s Rawa is on the far side of the beach, it has fewer huts and a smaller beach area but doesn’t allow kids at the weekend. Rawa Island Resort is bigger and has more for kids to do. See full review of Rawa Island Resort here>>

Stay at: Alang’s Rawa or Rawa Island Resort.

5. Pulau Tengah, Malaysia.

Batu Batu Resort, Malaysia (Image courtesy of Batu Batu)
Batu Batu Resort, Malaysia (Image courtesy of Batu Batu)
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The pool at Batu Batu Resort, Malaysia (Image courtesy of Batu Batu)
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Sunset at Batu Batu Resort, Malaysia (Image courtesy of Batu Batu)
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Bedroom at Batu Batu Resort, Malaysia (Image courtesy of Batu Batu)

Batu Batu Private Island Resort is the only place to stay on Pulau Tengah island. It’s the same distance as Sibu, 2-3 hour drive into Malaysia and then a short 20min boat ride from Mersing harbour. They undertake some amazing marine conservation work and teaching nature.  We have friends who say this island is better than the Maldives!

Stay at: Batu Batu Private Island Resort.

6. Telunas, Indonesia.

Telunas Beach Resort, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Telunas Beach Resort)
Telunas Beach Resort, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Telunas Beach Resort)
Balcony at Telunas Beach Resort, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Telunas Beach Resort)
Balcony at Telunas Beach Resort, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Telunas Beach Resort)
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Spa at Telunas Private Island Resort, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Telunas Private Island Resort)
Telunas Private Island Resort, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Telunas Beach Resort)
Aerial view of Telunas Private Island Resort, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Telunas Beach Resort)

You have two options at Telunas, Indonesia, stay on their private island or at the beach resort a short boat ride away from each other. You get a boat to Batam and then take their transfer and jet boat across.

Stay at: Telunas Resorts.

7. Tioman, Malaysia.

Welcome jetty at Japamala Resort, Tioman, Malaysia (Image courtesy of Japamala Resort)
Welcome jetty at Japamala Resort, Tioman, Malaysia (Image courtesy of Japamala Resort)
Pool at Japamala Resort, Tioman, Malaysia (Image courtesy of Japamala Resort)
Pool at Japamala Resort, Tioman, Malaysia (Image courtesy of Japamala Resort)
Chalet at Japamala Resort, Tioman, Malaysia (Image courtesy of Japamala Resort)
Chalet at Japamala Resort, Tioman, Malaysia (Image courtesy of Japamala Resort)

Tioman, Malaysia is cited as one of the most beautiful islands in Malaysia with lots of wild jungle, sweeping beaches and great diving spots. It’s the same distance as Sibu, 2-3 hour drive into Malaysia and then a short 20min boat ride from Mersing harbour.

Stay at: Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort, Japamala Resorts – By Samadhi or Bagus Place Retreat.

8. Nikoi Island, Indonesia.

Aerial view of Nikoi, Indonesia. (Image courtesy of Nikoi Island)
Aerial view of Nikoi, Indonesia. (Image courtesy of Nikoi Island)
Kids Club at Nikoi, Indonesia. (Image courtesy of Nikoi Island)
Kids Club at Nikoi, Indonesia. (Image courtesy of Nikoi Island)
Spa at Nikoi, Indonesia. (Image courtesy of Nikoi Island)
Spa at Nikoi, Indonesia. (Image courtesy of Nikoi Island)

Ok Nikoi, Indonesia is top of my list at the moment as a luxury escape for families, only a short boat ride to Bintan then their private boat transfer to this luxury family friendly island. Kids club, Spa, fine dining, snorkelling and more you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Stay at: Nikoi Private Island.

9. Cempedak Island, Indonesia.

Rooftops at Chempadek Island (image courtesy of Chempadek Island)
Rooftops at Cempedak Island (image courtesy of Cempadek Island)
Stunning bedroom at Chempadek Island (image courtesy of Chempadek Island)
Stunning bedroom at Cempedak Island (image courtesy of Cempedak Island)
Sunrise Rock Spa, Chempadek Island
Sunrise at The Rock Spa, Cempedak Island (image courtesy of Cempedak Island)

Cempedak, Indonesia is the sister resort to Nikoi above but it’s just for couples, no kids allowed. Pure luxury, bliss and quiet. Only a short boat ride to Bintan then their private boat transfer to the out-of-this-world island.

Stay at: Cempedak Private Island.

10. Joyo Island, Indonesia.

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Aerial view of Joyo Island, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Joyo Island)
Sumptuous bedroom at Joyo Island, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Joyo Island)
Sumptuous bedroom at Joyo Island, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Joyo Island)
Photography By Moomedia
Bathroom at Joyo Island, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Joyo Island)
Pool at Joyo Island, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Joyo Island)
Pool at Joyo Island, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Joyo Island)

To get to Joyo Island, Indonesia it’s a 1 hour boat ride to Bintan from Singapore, then a 1 hour land transfer then a private boat transfer for 30 mins and you’ll arrive in absolute paradise. Just 8 stunning tree houses, dotted around this idyllic island.

Stay at: Joyo Resort.

11. Pangkil Island, Indonesia.

Pulau Pangkil Private Island Resort, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Pangkil Island)
Pulau Pangkil Private Island Resort, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Pangkil Island)
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Bedroom at Pulau Pangkil Private Island Resort, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Pangkil Island)
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Beach at Pulau Pangkil Private Island Resort, Indonesia (Image courtesy of Pangkil Island)

Pangkil Island is the sister resort to Joyo Island and is an exclusive tropical island resort located off the South Eastern corner of Bintan Island, Indonesia. Its beauty, simplicity, and ambiance – together with personalized service and good food have made it extremely popular over the past decade.

Stay at: Pangkil Island Resort.

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