Malaysia remains one of Southeast Asia’s favorite beach vacation destinations because of its history and culture that is infused with Chinese, Malay and Indian influences. Its tropical climate coupled with its location near the South China Sea offers beach bums abundant opportunities to soak up the sun. The top beaches in Malaysia are large, unspoiled and look as they should be on a postcard, in addition to offering some distinctive qualities. There are a few isolated islands that may be worth exploring around … A day trip or overnight stay at this isolated island is a good experience to get away from city life.
Rawa Island would be a rocky, inaccessible islet in the South China Sea if it were not for its idyllic beach. Steep jungle clad slopes embrace the sweep of powdery white beach from behind and land meets water in smooth ripples of soft sand and gently lapping waves. At the far edges of the palm-dotted beach, jagged rocks lay strewn in the sea at the bottom of straight cliffs.
Remote island paradise does not have to be so remote after all. The swaying palms, heavenly beach and island breezes of Rawa are within four hours of Singapore and less than 45 minutes from Mersing on the mainland of peninsular Malaysia.
The crown jewel of the Seribuat Archipelago, Rawa is a private island, fittingly owned by family of the Sultanate of Johor. The main resort on the island is Rawa Safaris, which has a wide selection of rooms that are tucked in the hillside, right on the beach or perched over the water on stilts. It is a popular weekend destination, particularly for expatriates residing in Singapore.
Rawa is a relaxing, easy-going getaway and most of its visitors spend their days sunbathing, napping in hammocks or cooling off in the clear turquoise water. You can read more about things to see and do on this tiny island.
Speedboats and ferries to Rawa
All boats and ferries depart from Mersing.
When booking your stay on Rawa, a speedboat transfer between Mersing and Rawa can be included in your package. The departure time is dependent on availability of boats, tidal conditions and the size of your group and cost about RM 35-45.
Alternatively, ferry services between Mersing and Tioman Island can make a stop at Rawa on your request. Tickets cost RM 45 each way and ferries leave every one to two hours between 09:30 and 17:30.
- Rawa Island closes during the monsoon season (November to March)
- Tidal conditions may influence the departure time of your boat
- Ferries are often delayed and there are sometimes cancellations.
- Book your ferry ticket in advance if travelling over weekends, public holidays and Singaporean and Malaysian school holidays.
Pemanggil Island sits 45kms east of Mersing, the take-off point to most islands off the Southern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is situated next to Tioman, requires a 4 to 5 hours ride by boat from Mersing. To get to Mersing itself takes 4½ hours by car or roughly 6 hours by coach from KL.
As with most inhabited islands in Malaysian waters, Pemanggil has its fair share of history, mystery and spookytales. The island is fishermen’s best-kept secret. It is well known for deep sea fishing and good hunting grounds for marlins, black ones if you”re fortunate, and mackerels.
This remote island is also famed for the beauty and abundance of marine life within its clear emerald waters. Its other magnetic charms include endless stretches of white sandy beaches and awesome snorkeling spots. Fishing and diving is excellent here.
For the adventurous, the hill outcrop of the island makes for a challenging climb and the summit holds an inherent scenic beauty of the far reaching ocean.
On the north-eastern coast of Pemanggil Island is Teluk Lancang, an isolated bay whew coconut trees grow in abundance admist the tropical vegetation. At the heart of the island, there is a huge boulder known locally as Batu Buau which locals regard as sacred. It would definitely not go unnoticed and is clearly visible as far as 50 km from the south of Tioman Island.
From Johor Bahru city centre, take the Johor Bahru-Kota Tinggi trunk road and on through the Kota Tinggi-Mersing trunk road (Highway 3). From North-South Expressway take the Ayer Hitam exit (Interchange 244) and drive towards toward Kluang and onwards using the Kluang-Jemaluang trunk road (Highway 50). After Jemaluang town, get onto the Kota Tinggi-Mersing trunk road, heading towards Mersing. Look out for signboards that will lead you to Mersing Jetty.
Pulau Sibu, also known as Sibu Island, is a small island off Malaysia’s eastern coast, facing the South China Sea. It is actually made up of several islands namely Sibu Besar Island, Sibu Tengah Island, Sibu Kukus Island and Sibu Hujung Island.
Sibu Besar, the main island, is approximately 6 km long and 1 km wide, and for the most part covered by tropical vegetation. On the southern end there is a small fishing village called Kampong Duku with a population of fewer than a hundred people (about 40 families).
There are a number of small resorts on the island, typically used as a weekend or short vacation destination from Singapore, since the closest mainland jetty Tanjong Leman is only a roughly 3 hour drive from Singapore via Johor Bahru. The main leisure activities on the island are watersports such as snorkeling and diving – not surprising since the area was designated a Marine Park in 1993 and numerous coral reefs are close to hand.
There are four main beaches on the eastern side of Sibu, where most of the beach resorts are located. Sea Gypsy Village Resort and Dive Base and Sibu Island Cabanas are situated on a beach facing Tinggi Island. Other resorts, such as Rimba Resort, are on the opposite side. Resorts facing the mainland are Coconut Village Resort, Junansa Villa and Twin Beach Resort. Most of the resorts are closed during the annual 3-month monsoon period, save for those facing the mainland.
There is no direct flight fly to Sibu Island. The nearest airport is Johor Bahru airport. From Johor Bahru, you can a taxi to Tanjung Leman Jetty, which takes about 2 hours
Tanjung Leman is off Route 3, the main Johor Bahru – Mersing road. It is approximately 45 minutes south of Mersing. From Mersing there are taxis or local buses to Tanjung Leman. There are express buses to Kluang or Johor Bahru. Connect to Tanjung Leman with local bus or taxi.
You can catch a Mersing Omnibus from the local bus station within Mersing town (The local bus station is not at the R&R Mersing Bus Terminal). From here, take a bus heading for Bukit Tinggi. There should be taxis waiting at this junction to take passengers onwards. Taxi fare should be about RM10 – RM15 per taxi per way.
The East coast of Tioman is still an undiscovered part of the island. There’s only one kampong, which you can reach by road recently. This kampong Juara has the most quiet beach on the island. Its palm fringed shores, fine white sand and crystal clear sea make this beach one of Malaysia’s best. Activities such as swimming, snorkelling in nearby coral reefs and canoeing also make it a popular choice. It’s ideal for those in search of peace and tranquillity, and here is nature of Tioman on his best!
Until recently Juara could only be reached by sea-taxi or by a jungle path. Nowadays they have build a new road, which looks like a dried river bed. But they are improving this road already. They want to make the road entirely of concrete. The trip to Juara is quiet an experience. The distance from Tekek to Juara is about 7 kilometres, but by car it takes still 40 minutes. The prices of such a trip (one way) are: at four persons the car RM100 costs, – (approx. 20 euro) and at two persons the car costs RM70.
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