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Rawa Island Is A Hidden Gem Near SG For A Long Weekend Vacay Without Flights Or Crowds

Rawa Island, ~3H from Singapore

With the end of the year fast approaching, you may be dreaming of clear blue waters and white sandy beaches. But before you book that flight ticket to Phuket or Bali to satiate your wanderlust, there’s a lesser-known “Maldives” in Malaysia with all the beach vibes you need. 

Located in the Straits of Johor, Rawa Island can be reached in around 3 hours via bus or car, followed by a 30-minute boat ride from Mersing Jetty. There’s a caveat, though. This is a private island – so you can only visit if you’ve booked a stay at either of the 2 resorts there. 

How to get to Rawa Island from Singapore

Rawa Island Without Flights - KKKL Bus Tours & TravelImage adapted from: KKKL Tours and Travel

To get to Rawa Island, you’ll first have to head to Mersing, a town in Johor. There are a few buses from Singapore to Malaysia – such as KKKL Tours and Travel – that will take you there. This will take you around 3-5 hours, depending on the traffic. 

You don’t have to panic about having to switch buses to get to your destination – the bus operator offers direct transfers that leave from accessible places in Singapore like Kovan Hub or Bugis MRT to Mersing Harbour Centre. A 1-way bus ticket costs about RM133/person (~S$39).

Alternatively, drive for 2 hours 15 minutes to Mersing Jetty from Woodlands Checkpoint.

Rawa Island Without Flights - Resort's private speedboat transferWith a transfer like this, who can complain?Image credit: @elyna via InstagramOnce you’re at Mersing Harbour Centre, hop on a 30-minute speedboat arranged by the resort you’ll be staying at.

Where to stay on Rawa Island?

Rawa Island Without Flights - The Rawa IslandImage credit: @rawaislandresort via Instagram

Now, the more important question: What’s accommodation like on Rawa Island? 

Here, you can choose from 2 resorts: Alang’s Rawa and Rawa Island Resort

Rawa Island Without Flights - Waterfront Bungalow RoomImage credit: Rawa Island Resort 

The latter, Rawa Island Resort, offers full board packages in 4 different room categories. A popular option is the Waterfront Bungalow, which comes with a private deck for sunbathing, an open-air bathroom, and uninterrupted views of the South China Sea from the comfort of your bed. 

The package for 2 adults in this room costs RM3,610 (~S$1,046.88) for 2 nights, inclusive of 3 daily meals per person, a welcome drink, and a 2-way boat transfer from Mersing. Should you miss the resort-scheduled boat ride, you’ll have to shell out an extra RM500 (~S$145.41) for a private 1-way speedboat ride.

Rawa Island Without Flights - Alang's Rawa RoomImage adapted from: @alangsrawa via Instagram

Besides Rawa Island Resort, another accommodation option is Alang’s Rawa, which has an all-inclusive Beach House Rooms package from RM1,120/night (~S$325) per person. The smaller resort has an adults-only policy on weekends, so this may be a better option for those travelling without kids.

What can you do on Rawa Island?

Snorkelling, diving & other water sports

And, of course, what’s an island vacation without spending time in the water? There’s a selection of sea sports activities, such as snorkelling, kayaking, and island-hopping, that you can book at an additional cost. 

Rawa Island Without Flights - Snorkelling in Rawa IslandImage credit: @matildebrazzini via Instagram

If you’ve never tried snorkelling or scuba diving, Rawa Island is a safe place to try. The house reef around the island is naturally shallow, and ocean currents are rather calm – making it safe for your kiddos as well. 

You can also say “hello” to the reef fish, including lionfish, stingrays, jellyfish, and even blacktip reef sharks. Rent snorkelling gear at RM17/hour (~S$4.94) from your resort and head straight into the ocean. 

Rawa Island Without Flights - Scuba diving with OrcaNationImage credit: @orcanationofficial via Instagram

If you wish to dive, take up diving courses from OrcaNation Dive Centre, a PADI diving centre that specialises in teaching scuba diving beginners. With their courses, you can become a certified diver in just 4 days. 

Rawa Island Without Flights - Water sports, kayakingImage credit: @raelenel via Instagram

If you prefer being on the surface of the water, kayaking is a fun way to explore and take in the beauty of the island. Rent a kayak boat and pedal from the Rawa Island Resort, which costs you from RM28/hour (~S$8.15)

Hiking & walking trails

Rawa Island Without Flights -Trail for hiking and jungle walking around Rawa IslandTrail for hiking and jungle walking around Rawa Island.Image credit: @wanderlustwatts via Instagram

There’s always that one buddy who gets up super early on group trips. If it happens to be you, you can start your morning at Rawa Island by hiking up the Hilltop Walk, a 2.3km walking trail. The trail takes about 40 minutes to complete. 

Rawa Island Without Flights - Hiking to the peak of Rawa IslandViewing deck at the peak of Rawa Island.Image credit: @_huayshan_ via Instagram

Be mentally prepared, though; there’s a flight of stairs that’ll take you to a viewing point. So you may want to come prepared in a pair of sports shoes rather than your flip-flops. We also recommend you start your hike a little earlier if you’re chasing the sunrise.

Kid-friendly activities

Rawa Island Without Flights - Public orang slide in Rawa IslandImage credit: @khairy.a.b via Instagram

The kids aren’t left out of the fun, either. Rawa Island Resort has vibrant orange and blue slides for them to whoosh down on. The orange slide is slightly more thrilling with twists and turns, while the blue one is shorter and smaller for kids.

Rawa Island Without Flights - Shorter blue slide in Rawa Island is for kidsImage credit: @ojaboom via Instagram

You don’t have to worry if they’re not that great of a swimmer because both slides will “plop” you into the shallower part of the ocean, near the beachline. Just remember to keep an eye out for them.

When’s the best time to go to Rawa Island?

Rawa Island Without Flights - Walking by the Rawa Island's beachlineImage credit: @jennywans via Instagram

The best time to plan your Rawa Island beach vacation is from March to September. Outside of that, do keep in mind that Malaysia’s monsoon season is typically from November to December. There may also be a chance of strong waves in May and June if you’re planning to dive and snorkel. 

Additionally, don’t leave home without your sunhats, swimwear, and loads of sunblock. Those will be your best buddies during the trip, especially in the scorching heat.

Escape to Rawa Island for your next weekend getaway

If all you want is a quick vacay, skip the long airport queues and endless flights and head to Rawa Island to experience a mini “Maldives”. 

Whether you’re visiting with bae, your family, or a group of friends, Rawa Island has plenty of things to do, including various shore and on-land activities. Plus, you can get there within 4 hours from Singapore – a win-win on all fronts. 

Rawa Island ResortADDRESSRawa Island, 86800 Mersing, Johor, Malaysia Opening Hours:Saturday 08:30-17:00 Show Time Hide

Monday 08:30 AM-05:00 PM
Tuesday 08:30 AM-05:00 PM
Wednesday 08:30 AM-05:00 PM
Thursday 08:30 AM-05:00 PM
Friday 08:30 AM-05:00 PM
Saturday 08:30 AM-05:00 PM
Sunday 08:30 AM-05:00 PM

GOOGLE REVIEWS4.7 (900)CONTACT INFORMATION+60 07-799 1204 ALANGS RAWA RESORTADDRESSRawa Island, Mersing, Johor, Malaysia Opening Hours:Saturday 00:00-00:00 Show Time Hide

Monday 12:00 AM-12:00 AM
Tuesday 12:00 AM-12:00 AM
Wednesday 12:00 AM-12:00 AM
Thursday 12:00 AM-12:00 AM
Friday 12:00 AM-12:00 AM
Saturday 12:00 AM-12:00 AM
Sunday 12:00 AM-12:00 AM

GOOGLE REVIEWS4.4 (167)CONTACT INFORMATION+60 16-729 7383 reservations@alangsrawa.com

More islands near SG for your next weekend getaway:

Nikoi Island near BintanMarina South Pier GuideBawah Reserve private islandAffordable Bintan resorts Lesser-known islands near Singapore 

Cover image adapted from: @khairy.a.b, @_huayshan_, & @matildebrazzini via Instagram.


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