Travel// 5 Unique Islands in Indonesia to Dream About Visiting {2020}

I’ve been tormenting myself during this lockdown, I have been creating Pinterest boards, instagram folders and even set-up trello boards for trips I can’t yet go on due to Covid-19. I’m planning on being well prepared for when the needle moves and we can jump on a plane. As my mother would say… preparation is key.

You may not yet know that I live in Singapore, we moved here almost three years ago to be able to travel around Asia and show our kids this part of the world. I love nothing more than packing a bag and going off exploring as a family. Our friends and family keep calling us home saying that three years is surely enough. But there are still a few trips we’d like to do and this pandemic is seriously messing with our plans.

We’re lucky that flights out of Singapore (pre Covid) were plentiful and reasonably priced. So once in a lifetime trips become weekend breaks. So whilst I have a wanderlust travel list, which includes shorter trips to places like Laos, Lombok and Bali, there are some really special locations on there too.

The list below includes islands I’d like to visit which not many people have even heard of, let alone visited. Really unique islands, not your cookie cutter islands but islands with their own personalities, with experiences that can’t be matched anywhere else, ones that are close to nature, animals and the sea. Resorts that are trying to reduce their carbon footprints and their impact on the world for the better.

So rather than keep this dream list of islands to myself I’ve decided to share this with you so that we can wallow in some holiday wanderlust together and keep the hope alive that one day soon we’ll be able to walk barefoot on these beaches.

1. Amanwana, Moyo Island

Pulaul Padar sunset (Image courtesy of Amanwana)
Pulaul Padar sunset (Image courtesy of Amanwana)
Amanwana Resort, Moyo Island (Image courtesy of Amanwana)
Amanwana Resort, Moyo Island (Image courtesy of Amanwana)
Dusk settles Amanwana Resort, Moyo Island (Image courtesy of Amanwana)
Dusk settles on Amanwana Resort, Moyo Island (Image courtesy of Amanwana)
Rusa Deer, Amanwana Resort, Moyo Island (Image courtesy of Amanwana)
Rusa Deer, Amanwana Resort, Moyo Island (Image courtesy of Amanwana)

This one had me at nature reserve and then cemented its place in my top 5 island list with safari tents, arrival by sea plane, sailing expeditions to Komodo National Park (my kids dream of seeing the Komodo Dragons) and if that wasn’t enough, it also has pristine beaches, nature walks and a jungle waterfall to boot. Oh and not forgetting the Rusa deer who casually stroll around camp in the mornings.

90 mins from Bali in Indonesia, Moyo Island, West Sumbawa Regency, Indonesia

2. Nihi Sumba

James McBride, Nihi Sumba Founder (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba)
James McBride, Nihi Sumba Founder (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba Island)
James McBride, Nihi Sumba Founder (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba)
James McBride, Nihi Sumba Founder (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba Island)
The surf at Nihi Sumba (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba)
The surf at Nihi Sumba (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba Island)
Nihi Nio Beach Club Pool, Nihi Sumba (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba)
Nihi Nio Beach Club Pool, Nihi Sumba (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba Island)
Nihi Treehouse Villa, Nihi Sumba (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba Island)
Nihi Treehouse Villa, Nihi Sumba (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba Island)
Nihi Treehouse Villa, Nihi Sumba (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba Island)
Nihi Treehouse Villa, Nihi Sumba (Image courtesy of Nihi Sumba Island)

This one stopped me in my instagram scrolling with horses that run free along the beach, to be fair I didn’t need much else to persuade me to put it on my list. Back when I had my own horse in my 20s it was always my dream to gallop her along a beach just like this.

Nihi has flawless beaches, surfing, swimming with horses (yes, this is a thing now), yoga, trekking, SUP boarding down the river, kitesurfing (not sure I’m that brave yet, but never say never), and their cherry on the cake is a unique 90min trek to a secluded spa through rice fields and local villages (I did read that you can get a car ride back).

Hoba Wawi, Wanokaka, West Sumba Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, 87272

3. Misool

Misool island, Indonesia
Misool island, Indonesia
Misool Lagoon (Image courtesy of Misool Island, Photographer Ryan Salm)
Misool Lagoon (Image courtesy of Misool Island, photographer Ryan Salm)
SUP at Misool Island (Image courtesy of Misool Island, Photographer Shawn Heinrichs)
SUP at Misool Island (Image courtesy of Misool Island, Photographer Shawn Heinrichs)
Water Bungalows at Misool Island (Image courtesy of Misool Island, Photographer Tobias Zimmer)
Water Bungalows at Misool Island (Image courtesy of Misool Island, Photographer Tobias Zimmer)

I watched the video from their website home page and immediately called to the kids and my husband to come look. The kids were jumping up and down in excitement at the prospect of swimming in the crystal clear waters with manta rays, turtles, exotic fish, even the baby reef sharks. I must admit my heart skipped a beat at this beauty too. It ticks so many of our travel boxes, water, nature, eco tourism and good food.

They claim to have one of the most pristine reef systems left on earth, and from the pictures I can see why. Offering its guests private huts out over the water, incredible Indonesian cooking, SUP boarding in the bays and a wellness spa, just in case all that nature and water isn’t relaxing enough.

Misol, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

4. Mentawi Islands 

Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
Image courtesy of Kandui Villa
Catching waves, Image courtesy of Kandui Villa
Image courtesy of Kandui Villa
Image courtesy of Kandui Villa

Now this isn’t just one island but a whole string of islands off the coast of Sumatra. There are a lot of private island resorts to tempt you but the one I want to bring to your attention is Kandui Villas. Suitable for beginner surfers (yup, that’s me) right up to the more experienced, they take you to all the best wave spots according to your ability. If you’d rather relax, there are sweeping soft beaches, a spa, pool and more to keep you occupied. Plus, kids are extremely welcome and can also learn to surf.

This is on my list as I like the idea of learning to surf in the warm waters and also thought it would be fun to tag on an exploration of Sumatra (and hopefully the orang-utans) onto the trip.

Karangmajat Island, Sikerei, Kepulauan Mentawai, West Sumatra 25393, Indonesia

5. Bawah Reserve

The long jetty at Bawah Reserve (Image courtesy of Bawah Reserve)
The long jetty at Bawah Reserve (Image courtesy of Bawah Reserve)
enjoying_sunrise_at_the_beach
Sunrise, Bawah Reserve (Image courtesy of Bawah Reserve)
Jules Bar, Bawah Reserve (Image courtesy of Bawah Reserve)
Jules Bar, Bawah Reserve (Image courtesy of Bawah Reserve)
Private lookout deck, Bawah Reserve (Image courtesy of Bawah Reserve)
Private lookout deck, Bawah Reserve (Image courtesy of Bawah Reserve)
sunset_boat_trip
Sunset boat ride, Bawah Reserve (Image courtesy of Bawah Reserve)
jetty_view_from_treetop_at_dusk
Jetty views, Bawah Reserve (Image courtesy of Bawah Reserve)

As if one island wasn’t enough but oh no Bawah Reserve is a collection of six islands with 3 turquoise lagoons and 13 immaculate beaches. Accommodation is in over water bungalows or luxury safari tents, both boast uninterrupted views over crystal clear turquoise waters, blue lagoons and coral reefs.

Like Moyo island above you arrive at Bawah on a private sea plane, such an exhilarating way to start and end your trip! If unwinding on one of the 13 beaches isn’t enough, you can take part in treks through the tropical rain-forest, cooking classes, picnics and dining on private beaches with open-air cinema nights.

Bawah Reserve Anambas Kiabu, Pulau Bawah, Siantan Sel., Kabupaten Kepulauan Anambas, Kepulauan Riau 29791, Indonesia

What’s your Favourite Island?

Now I’ve shared my favourite islands with you, do you have an island you’re dreaming of? I’d love to hear about them, please drop me a line in the comment below.

 

 

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