Sadly, many of us do not have the privilege to take time off as and when we like — #adulting is tough and #parenting tougher still! Still, if you find time for a little weekend getaway, good news! We’ve pinpointed 11 beautiful islands near Singapore that won’t require you to get on a plane to experience them.


Indonesia

We’re pretty sure Batam and Bintan will come to mind the moment you read the word “Indonesia”. Read on to add a few other less well-known but perfectly picturesque places to your travel bucket list.

Pulau Pangkil

Pulau Pangkil
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Ever had the dream where you and your friends had an entire island and its facilities all to yourself? The team at Pulau Pangkil is making that dream a reality! Over at Pulau Pangkil, you (and up to nine friends and family) can have exactly that. You read that right! You will be the only paying visitors on the whole island and all the staff will be dedicated to you.

You’ll also enjoy all the facilities — kayaks, indoor movie screen, bar, volleyball nets, pool table, swimming pool, snorkelling equipment and more — for zero additional dollars. Even though this private island might seem to be heftily priced at $4,542.50 per night, it actually amounts to only $454.25 per person if you manage to gather nine other friends. That doesn’t seem too bad, does it?

How much $4,542.50 per night
Travel time 3 hours
Getting there Take a ferry from Singapore to Bandar Bintan Telani in Northern Bintan (about 1 hour). Thereafter, you transit to a land transfer to Pulau Pangkil Jetty (Pama Jetty) (about 1.5 hours). From Pama Jetty, it will be another 15-30 minute ferry ride to Pulau Pangkil.

Nikoi Island

Nikoi Island
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Nikoi has always been recognised as one of the more stunning islands along these coasts and for good reason too. Unending white sandy beaches and beautiful coral reefs ringing the island will make you feel like you’re in your own Hollywood set. Like Pulau Pangkil, it is also an exclusive private island that you can rent as a whole. Otherwise, you can also share the island with a few other occupants by renting a beach house.

A horde of activities are available, from relaxing massages to water sports like windsurfing and stand-up paddle boarding. If this has not enticed you, Nikoi Island is also one of the few islands with sea turtles! If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to see these precious ones up close. Just a little note though, these activities do not come cheap and will be charged separately.

How much $500 per night for a 1-bedroom beach house to $1,150 per night for a 3-bedroom beach house
Travel time 2.5 hours
Getting there Take a ferry from Singapore to Bintan (about 1 hour) and then a taxi to the jetty (about 1 hour). From the jetty, take a 20-minute ferry ride to Nikoi.

(See also: 10 Family-Friendly Cultural Holidays in Southeast Asia to Take with the Kids this year!)

Pulau Joyo

Pulau Joyo
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Dubbed as the sister and more “grown-up” island of Pulau Pangkil, Pulau Joyo is a private island that can be either rented as a whole (it can accommodate up to 45 people) or as individual beach houses, which are aptly called “beach palaces”. Each palace is essentially a house on stilts that is designed intricately to remain true to Indonesian architecture.

During the day, you can choose from an array of activities. These range from stand-up paddle boarding to simply relaxing and floating on giant floats in the island’s swimming pool. At night, relax and chill by the island’s Cinema Paradiso, under the starry skies. If Pulau Pangkil is booked, we say this is your next best alternative!

How much $4,600 per night for the whole island
Travel time 4 hours
Getting there Take a ferry from Singapore to Bintan (about 1 hour) and then a bus ride to the jetty (about 1.5 hours). From the jetty, take a 20-minute speedboat ride to Pulau Joyo.

Pulau Sugi

Pulau Sugi
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Unlike many others mentioned in this article, Pulau Sugi is not a private island. However, it is exclusive to one main hotel — the Telunas Beach Resort. Prices range from an affordable $155 per night for a family deluxe room to a heftier $213 per night for an entire luxurious beach chalet complete with private beach balcony. With all the activities that you can do on the island, from thrilling dock- and tower-jumping to relaxing traditional fishing and shrimping, we guarantee you will never get bored.

Psst, if you’re feeling rich, you can even opt to stay at the Telunas Private Island from $300 per night. Enjoy super shiok amenities like a freshwater infinity pool and personalised massages at the in-house spa.

How much $155 per night for a deluxe family room to $213 per night for a beach chalet
Travel time 2 hours 40 minutes
Getting there Take a ferry from Singapore to Batam (about 1 hour). A resort staff will pick you up and accompany on your trip to Pulau Sugi’s Telunas Beach Resort (about 1 hour 40 minutes).

(See also: The Residence Bintan, the new Family-Friendly Holiday Destination you have to know)

Pulau Karimun

islands near Singapore - Pulau Karimun
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If your idea of a perfect getaway is to island-hop, then Pulau Karimun might be just the place for you. Perfectly situated among the Riau Islands, there are plenty of islands nearby, such as the beautiful Terkulai and Soreh. Pulau Karimun itself also boasts long stretches of white sandy beaches and snorkelling opportunities. It offers succulent seafood dishes too, guaranteed to please anyone, especially the foodie that resides in all of us.

Unfortunately, Pulau Karimun does not house a resort yet. But since it is near to Pulau Sugi, we’ll actually recommend heading over to Telunas Beach Resort for the night!

How much $155 per night for a deluxe family room to $213 per night for a beach chalet
Travel time 2 hours 40 minutes
Getting there Take a ferry from Singapore to Batam (about 1 hour). A resort staff will pick you up and accompany on your trip to Pulau Sugi’s Telunas Beach Resort (about 1 hour 40 minutes).

Cempedak Island

Cempedak island
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If you’re looking for a private island getaway for you and your little ones, you’ll have to look elsewhere. No children under 16 years are allowed at Cempedak Island. But if you’re already a fan of Nikoi Island, you will be delighted to know that this island is managed by the same group of owners, so you’ll definitely be greeted with the same standard of service.

You can choose to stay in either a Sea Villa or a Beach Villa, depending on your view preference. Both cost about the same, with similar amenities, including a master bedroom on the second floor and a guest room below. Not forgetting a private plunge pool and direct access to the beach. If you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway sans kids, this is definitely for you!

How much $550 per night
Travel time 2.5 hours
Getting there Take a ferry from Singapore to Bintan (about 1 hour) and then a taxi to the jetty (about 1 hour). Thereafter, take a 30-minute ferry ride to Cempedak Island.

(See also: A Glamping Adventure for The Family at The Canopi Bintan – See What a 3D2N Stay Here is Like!)

Malaysia

Other than good ol’ Johor Bahru, our friendly neighbour across the causeway has much to offer too!

Pulau Sibu

islands near Singapore - Pulau Sibu

Did you know? The area around Pulau Sibu was actually appointed as a Marine Park back in 1993. You can just imagine the treat you’ll get when you snorkel among these beautiful corals. Besides this, there are other beach and water activities that can be arranged with whichever resort you’re staying with. If you’re into water sports, you can try out adrenaline-pumping banana boating or jet-skiing. Or perhaps you’d prefer the slower-paced island-hopping and diving.

Pulau Sibu is not a private island. However, there are various resort alternatives available. You can opt for budget stays such as Sibu Coconut Village Homestay and Rimba Resort. Or go for more luxurious options like Sari Pacifica Hotel Resort & Spa.

How much $84 per night for a room at Sibu Coconut Village Homestay to $330 per night for a room at Sari Pacifica Hotel Resort & Spa
Travel time 3.5 hours
Getting there Drive or take a bus to Tanjung Leman (about 3 hours) and then a quick boat ride to Pulau Sibu.

Rawa Island

Rawa Island
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Albeit tiny, Rawa Island is packed with everything you need for a weekend getaway. Two kinds of accommodation are available on the island — small beach houses or hotel rooms at Rawa Island Resort. Whichever you opt for, you’ll be guaranteed a night of unwinding from the stress and strain of the Singapore life. You can engage in activities ranging from snorkelling along the natural coral reef to just relaxing at the beach. There is surely something for everyone!

How much $600 per night for a hillside deluxe room to $2083 per night for a waterfront 3-bedroom
Travel time 4.5 hours
Getting there Take a bus from Singapore to Mersing (about 4 hours) and then a quick boat ride to Rawa Island.

(See also: Best Family Road Trip Destinations from Singapore to Malaysia)

Pulau Aur

islands near Singapore - Pulau Aur
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While it’s a little farther away than the other islands, Pulau Aur is a rustic little island that promises to give you the best tropical experience you could ever hope for. There are also no roads here, in keeping true to the traditional Malay roots that the island holds dear. The island is also part of the Johor Marine Park, making it the perfect spot for diving enthusiasts. Avoid visiting during the monsoon season (November to March) because the waters might be too choppy for boats to operate.

How much $200 for a 3D2N diving trip at Atlantis Bay Resort
Travel time 7 hours
Getting there Take a bus from Singapore to Mersing (about 4 hours) and then a 3-hour boat ride to Pulau Aur.

Gemia Island

Gemia Island
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Okay, this island might require you to take a plane to KL (or you could still drive or bus to KL and then further up north to Merang Jetty), but we assure you, it will be worth it! One of the few private islands in Malaysia, it promises crystal clear waters with beautiful corals and marine life. It’s perfect for snorkelling or diving enthusiasts.

Each villa at Gem Island Resort & Spa is also fully furnished with air-conditioning. Us, spoilt Singaporeans, can truly enjoy a home away from home. There are various packages available, ranging from a normal recreational package, which includes scuba diving trips, to specially catered honeymoon packages for newlyweds.

How much $600 for a 3D2N recreation package
Travel time 4 to 11 hours
Getting there Travel by bus (about 10 hours) or flight (about 3 hours) from Singapore to Kuala Trengganu, then take a taxi to Merang Jetty (about 20 minutes). Thereafter, take a 15-minute boat ride to Gemia Island.

(See also: Why Kid-friendly Colmar Tropicale Should Be Your Next Family Holiday Destination)

Pulau Lang Tengah

islands near Singapore - Pulau Lang Tengah
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Situated between the more well-known Redang and Perhentian islands in Trengganu, Pulau Lang Tengah is the quintessential tropical paradise. Besides an (almost) untouched tropical jungle, the island also boasts excellent marine life. If you’re into diving or snorkelling, schedule your trip from April to October to coincide with the nesting season for sea turtles.

Pulau Lang Tengah is not an exclusive private island. However, you will get to choose your favourite accommodation from four resorts on the island. Each resort has its own private beach. This means that you will never have to face overcrowded beaches. You can choose from the wallet-friendly Summer Bay Resort or the slightly more atas D’Coconut Lagoon.

How much $100 per night for a standard room to $250 per night for a family room
Travel time 4.5 to 11.5 hours
Getting there Travel by bus (about 10 hours) or flight (about 3 hours) from Singapore to Kuala Trengganu, then take a taxi to Merang Jetty (about 20 minutes). Thereafter, take a 1-hour boat ride to Pulau Lang Tengah.

This story first appeared on Shopee.

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