Best Islands Near Singapore For Families

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I started searching for the Best Islands near Singapore as soon as our flights were booked.  Sure I wanted to visit the highlights of Singapore with Kids like the Gardens by the Bay, but I also wanted a tropical beach escape as well.

In fact, if you combine the city with the island resorts near Singapore you have a nearly PERFECT family holiday destination in our opinion.  That is, we love visiting Singapore.  However, we think that combining a short getaway from Singapore for the family to an island is how to get the best of both worlds.  You will find plenty of posts out there that talk about island getaways from Singapore but many listed can only be reached by plane.  We haven’t done that.  All of the islands around Singapore that we recommend can be reached without taking a flight.

I’ve asked other family travel bloggers to help me out with this wonderful roundup of beach resorts near Singapore that include both islands off Singapore,  and also Malaysian resorts near Singapore.

This post may contain affiliate links, from which we would earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. More info in my disclaimer.

Best Time Of The Year To Visit Islands Near Singapore

Singapore, and the islands near Singapore, are located in a warm, tropical climate.  Many tourists flock to Singapore and the surrounding islands year-round as there really is no “bad” time to visit.  Located close to the equator, there is not a typical “wet” or “dry” season.  The temperature does not fluctuate widely between months, nor does the chances of rain.  However, there are times that are more popular than others to visit Singapore and the surrounding islands.

Since the weather doesn’t sway much from month to month, the top consideration of the best time of the year to visit the island resorts near Singapore would be cost and tourism levels.  Typically, the “peak” holiday period would be between December and June.  This would be the time that people in the Northern Hemisphere are looking to escape the winter blues and also when most major holidays fall.

If cost is a consideration and/or you prefer to visit during a quieter time, avoid the holiday period from December to early February.  This time period would coincide with Christmas, New Year, and the Chinese Lunar New Year (which is a popular celebration).

Geography and Practical Considerations

Singapore is located in South East Asia.  While technically its own island nation, Singapore is geographically located on the southern-most tip of Malaysia.  Most of the best beach resorts near Singapore will be located south of Singapore across the Singapore Strait in the South China Sea.  Though a few, like Sentosa Island, that is located quite near to downtown Singapore.

Be mindful that some of our suggestions are located in Malaysia and others in Indonesia.  Make sure you check passport and visa requirements for entry and exit to each country and island.  The last thing you want is to be excited about your islands getaway from Singapore only to run into a snafu with your passport or visa.  When in doubt ask.  If you are staying in one of the beach resorts near Singapore check with them.  Often times they can give you very practical information about entry requirements and travel logistics.

For Malaysia, the vast majority of citizens (apart from 35 smaller countries) are able to receive a tourist visa on arrival, and this includes Singapore, Australia, and the USA.  

For travel to Bintan and Bantam Islands,  Indonesia offers special Short-Stay Visa-Free facilities to nationalities of up to 169 countries for up to 30 days.  This is perfect for a short Singapore Island getaway.  The good news is that these 169 countries include Singapore,  Australia, New Zealand the United States. 

Having recently traveled by road from Singapore to Malaysia the process was very straightforward.  As we were traveling with two children and an infant we opted for private transport.  Our driver checked our passports when we got in at the hotel and before we headed off to the border.  There were small lines at the border, but when our turn came the immigration official checked each one of us, and we held the baby for him to see.  It was the same process coming back, very easy. 

When we traveled to Bintan Island the process was very similar – on purchasing our ferry tickets the person checked our passports had the correct validity.  Once arriving on Bintan the immigration process was very fast, as there were not a lot of people on the ferry at the time.

Which Are The Best Islands Near Singapore For Families

 

Best Islands Near Singapore For Families

Palau Besar, Malaysia

Palau Besar lies on the East Coast of Malaysia and is a short boat ride from the port of Mersing. Mersing can be reached from Singapore by bus which takes around 3.5 hours or car in around 3 hours.  We came across from Kuala Lumpur by bus which takes 4.5 hours.
Palau Besar has a few different accommodation options, and we chose to stay at the Aseania resort.  The resort is favored by locals who are having a weekend away from the mainland.  It was popular with extended families traveling together and most of the guests were families.  We traveled to Palau Besar for a weekend in August with three children aged 12,8 and 5.   The package we got was all-inclusive for 2 nights with all meals.  Currently, that package price is 546 MYR ($195 AUD) per adult (kids were half). This is about $300 AU ($215 USD) per night.
We stayed in a little chalet hut that had two double beds, a bathroom, and a balcony.  For mealtimes, it was a buffet style with many choices of Malaysian dishes like rice and curry.  All meals are included in the price of the weekend package which we booked online within Malaysia.
My kids loved meeting new friends on the beach and spent the evening playing with them on the rope swing and in the pool.  Included in the package was also a day trip of snorkeling around the island where we saw fish amongst the coral.
Best Islands Near Singapore For Families

Tioman Island, Malaysia

If you are looking for a great island destination near Singapore then consider Tioman Island!

Located off the east coast of Malaysia, it’s a 3.5-hour bus trip to Mersing or a shorter car ride.  From Mersing, you can take a ferry across to Tioman Island. The ferry ride takes about 1.5 – 2 hours depending on where you are getting off on the island.

Tioman Island itself is relatively big and there is a choice of resorts and locations. I  stayed just south of the main town, Tekek, at the Berjaya Tioman Resort with my 7-year-old son. This is a handy location if you want to explore more of the island as there are only a couple of roads on Tioman and the Berjaya is on one of them. Otherwise, you can only get other places via sea taxis which are expensive.

Berjaya Tioman Island is perfect for families. It’s on a great beach, it has multiple pools, restaurants, a games room, a playground, and more.  There is a variety of room types including two-bedroom chalets.

The Berjaya is on the pricey side but there is a range of accommodation on Tioman for all budgets. You can see some top choices here.

My son loved hanging out at the resort as well as exploring the rest of the island.  There is a walkway between Tekek and ABC Beach which he particularly enjoyed as it’s over the water and it’s easy to spot fish.  Perfect for kids who are too young or don’t want to snorkel. He also loved the car ride over the Juara beach. This goes up and down a very mountainous road and is like being on a roller coaster!

Contributed by Dive Into Malaysia

Best Islands Near Singapore For Families

Bintan Island, Indonesia

The family-friendly Indonesian island of Bintan Island is around an hour south of Singapore by ferry.

There are many family-friendly hotels on the island including a Club Med.  Most are close to the ferry terminal.  We found a great deal at The Residence Bintan (90-minute shuttle bus away).

The hotel is an amazing, laid back but high-quality resort.  The rooms are in small buildings (no tower blocks!) and feel really secluded.  The rooms and communal areas are all gorgeous. There’s an enormous pool, which our kids (aged seven and five) loved, as well as a water sports center where you can do everything from borrowing kayaks to going diving (extra charge).  The beach has tiny waves so perfect for little travelers and there are even hammocks and a swing not far from the shore.  The kids club was well organized with great activities meaning we could take advantage of the spa which was fabulous!

A 4-night stay in March starts at SGD 131 ($95 USD) for a family of 4 including a 22% discount for staying a long stay.  Booking.com often has good deals too.  Disappointingly, prices for food and drink were more like Singaporean prices than Indonesian.  Consequently, we spent much more than we expected to.

Logistics – regular departures from Changi Ferry Terminal.  It’s an international destination so you need passports.

Contributed By Wanderlust And Wet Wipes

islands near singapore for vacation

Bawah Reserve, Indonesia

Bawah Reserve is a gorgeous island in Indonesia’s Anambas Archipelago that promises a rustic-chic getaway where shoes are optional.  This island is breathtaking and from the moment your seaplane circles the island until you leave, you are spellbound by its beauty.  The food is some of the best in Indonesia.  There are even cooking classes available which could be fun for the little ones.  There are water-based activities galore from fishing and snorkeling to kayaking and SUPing.  Go on a  smaller walk through the lush jungle or longer hikes for older children. The picnics on the deserted beaches are just fabulous.  As for the staff, they are exceptional and work as a single unit.  With no reception, you can ask anything from anyone, and they will oblige.

Getting to Bawah from Singapore is a hassle-free experience.  Yet it does take some time and a few modes of transportation.  First, you’re picked up in Singapore by a Mercedes taxi at around 7 am. You’re then taken to Tanah Merah ferry terminal and escorted to Batam where Bawah will handle all your procedures for Indonesia immigration.  You’ll take breakfast at a reserved table at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and board the 10-seater amphibious plane owned by the resort.  The flight is one hour and fifteen minutes of scenic beauty.  You’ll land smoothly at Bawah’s pier and be greeted by the entire staff and a buggy.

Prices at Bawah Island will differ depending on how many kids you have in tow as prices include transfers from Singapore, all meals and non-alcoholic drinks as well as all activities and unlimited use of the spa.  The 70sqm Garden Suite is the entry-level room, starting from $1800 ($1295 USD) for 2 adults and 1 child.  The 105sqm Overwater Bungalow (with aircon) starts at $2520 ($1813 USD).

Contributed by Once In A Lifetime Journey

pulua rawa

Pulau Rawa, Malaysia

Pulau Rawa is a tiny coral island just off the coast of Mersing, Malaysia. It takes around three hours to get to Mersing from Singapore by bus or car, and then it’s an hour on the boat to Rawa from Mersing Jetty.  Once you’re there it’s well worth the trip, as Rawa is a stunning secluded island with white sand and clear water, perfect for relaxing, swinging in hammocks under palm trees, and snorkeling off the beach.

Kids love the freedom and the waterslide from the jetty into the ocean at Rawa Island Resort, climbing to the top of the island, spotting peacocks, and playing on the beach.  We stay at Alangs which has gorgeous white bungalows and A-frames on the beach and is more rustic than its resort neighbor. Weekends here are for adults only but the weekdays are a family paradise. Both Alangs Rawa and Alangs Island Resort offer packages including full board and prices vary depending on the time of year and accommodation you choose. The food is delicious and is eaten in an open-air restaurant overlooking the beach. There are lots of beach toys for the kids, as well as darts for adults and volleyball on the beach. We love Rawa Island and hope you will too.

Contributed by Mum Pack Travel

Best Islands Near Singapore For Families

Pulau Sibu, Malaysia

With rustic family bungalows, the Sea Gypsy Resort on Pulau Sibu is a place that your family can go and seriously unplug, connect with nature – and with each other.  All their thatched bungalows have beach views and within a few seconds, you are on the beach! What could be more blissful?

All agree that the Sea Gypsy Resort has a special vibe and that they connected with other like-minded people.  Also, kids are just happy to play in the ocean and take part in their kid’s club.

The resort is full-board only.  Reviews are glowing about the restaurant, and its attention to detail, including catering for children that are picky eaters.

The Sea Gypsy is not a luxurious resort – there is no Aircon and the showers are cold.  There is No Wifi and mobile coverage is spotty.  The absence of these things helps you focus on what matters in life.

If you are planning a short getaway from Singapore for the family to unwind and connect, this is a great place.  In our last quote, we were looking at $490/Au a night for a family of 2 A and 2 C  or $122 per adult which makes it a good deal considering all meals, ferry transfers, and transport are included.

Sea Gypsy resort is based on the island of Pulau Sibu and conveniently offers a daily transfer from Somerset MRT in Singapore to the port at Tanjong Leman,  an easy 2.5-hour transfer including a stop at the Malay border.   If you are looking for rustic Malay style cottages and a laid back dive resort the Sea Gypsy is for you.

short getaway from singapore for family

Batam Island, Indonesia

Batam Island is the closest Indonesia island near Singapore, just a 30-minute ferry ride away.  As such it is also extremely popular with Singaporeans looking for a weekend getaway.   If you are like us,  you will immediately ask – which of the islands off Singapore are best?  Bintan Island vs Batam Island.

In a nutshell, Batam Island offers a more local flavor with lower-priced – less luxurious resorts catering to a Singaporean market. If shopping malls are your thing, then you’d definitely prefer Batam!  Plus in general, Batam is considered much livelier with more to do!

Bintan has some fabulous resorts – but you will be paying more for this luxury.  On the other hand for those looking for a value for money island resorts near Singapore then Batam might be more your thing.   KTM Resort gets good reviews for families and is only around the $100 SGD ($72 USD) night mark, while the extremely fun looking Harris Resort Waterfront is around the $150 SGD ($108 USD) mark.

Note, these prices don’t include meals or ferry transfers per person (about $35 SG or $25 USD), so when comparing with the Malaysian beach resorts you would need to take that into account.

Tanjung Balai Karimun, Indonesia

Looking for something different?   Tanjung Balai Karimun sounds interesting and a few hours travel from Singapore  – though you will need to do your research.

The Verdict – Best Islands Near Singapore

So there you have it – our summary of the best islands near Singapore for Vacation!  Within 3-4 hours of travel, you can be enjoying the best island resorts near Singapore.  With the exception of Sentosa Island,  all these options require traveling to either Malaysia or Singapore and you have a range of budget options to chose from.  We hope you’ve found our summary of the island resorts near Singapore to be useful!

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Hi! We are a multicultural family from Peru, Nicaragua & Australia. We believe adventures can be global – and local – and are one part of our sustainable lifestyle, and raising children who are global eco-citizens.