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.
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.
Which Are The Best Islands Near Singapore For Families
Palau Besar, Malaysia
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 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, 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
Bintan Island, Indonesia
The family-friendly Indonesian island of Bintan Island is around an hour south of Singapore by ferry.
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, and 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
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 and 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. There are smaller walks 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
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
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 fullboard only – and 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.
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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