A hidden gem to discover in a remote corner of Indonesia within a tropical archipelago of pristine islands, Bawah is an eco-friendly luxury retreat that promises an unforgettable adventure in contact with nature.
The remote Anambas archipelago, where the resort is located, was one of Indonesia's first marine protected areas. You arrive from Singapore, travelling north by ferry (1 hour) to Batam Island, before boarding the private seaplane that in 1 hour and 15 minutes takes you over the South China Sea to the Resort. The total time of the trip is about four hours but it is really worth the effort.
Magic is the word. Five lush islands nestled in dense jungle overlooking three sapphire-blue lagoons and surrounded by 13 white beaches, a landscape that has remained virtually untouched for almost 10,000 years. The resort was built five years ago and the owners and architect (Singaporean designer Sim Boon Yang) have worked hard to maintain a balanced ecosystem on these islands' unique natural environment. The villas have been built around large trees, the thatched roofs are covered with huge palm leaves from a nearby island and the tables and chairs were made from local wrecks. The result is a resort linked to the land, at one with the surrounding nature, but also cool and welcoming.
However, even in such a remote place there is no time to get bored, you can hike through the rainforest, observe the endemic fauna and flora such as the over 2000-year old palm trees, reach the completely deserted Coconut Beach; windsurf, kayak or paddle-board between five islands, stopping in a cave populated by hundreds of bats; snorkel among parrot fish, clown fish and turtles, or simply relax on the beach reading a good book taken from the Resort's library. Most recreational activities are included in the price, as well as daily treatments at the Aura spa, yoga, Pilates, meditation sessions and massage.
Bawah island Reserve
THE BEACH SUITES
Beach Suite Bawah Island Reserve
THE POOL VILLAS
The two-bedroom Pool Villas are a real home away from home. Two beach suites, a separate living area to entertain friends or dine with the whole family and a private pool to cool off from the tropical heat. The lounge and dining area are designed to make the most of the magnificent views and the perfect place for breakfast at dawn or dinner at sunset.
Pool Villa Bawah Island Reserve
THE OVERWATER BUNGALOWS
For a romantic getaway or a dream honeymoon, upgrading to a beautiful Overwater Bungalow is a must. Accessible only by wooden walkways, the 11 Overwater Bungalows of 105 square meters have a beautiful view of the lagoon and the outer islands, and are divided into six suites located on the east side where you can admire the sunrise and five on the west side, perfect to enjoy unforgettable sunsets.
The sliding doors open into an air-conditioned interior decorated with pastel hues and murals reminiscent of the surrounding jungle. From the external deck you can directly access the tropical waters of the lagoon. The overwaters are the perfect choice for a personalized holiday in total privacy.
Pool Villa Bawah Island Reserve
The four bars and restaurants of Bawah Island Resort serve idyllic tropical fruit breakfasts, homemade yogurt, freshly baked bread and eggs. The Boat House on the beach or the Grouper Bar are the perfect place for a lunch (try the deliciousgrilled fish and laksa while in the evening, a mouthwatering tropical cocktail by barman Marcin Grell at the Jules Verne Bar is a must, before being escorted to the Treetops restaurant for an unforgettable four or five-course dinner showing the best of the resort’s fine dining: Hainan rice and lemongrass sauce, Thai beef salad, followed by apple pie with ginger ice cream, just to name a few.
Bawah Island Reserve
HOW TO GET THERE
The Resort arranges a no-stress transfer for its guests from any hotel in Singapore or Changi International Airport to the Tanah Merah ferry terminal. Here a member of Bawah's team will welcome you and accompany you on a short ferry trip to Batam, Indonesia. Once the immigration formalities have been completed, you will meet another member of the staff who will take care of you for the rest of the trip. From the private lounge at Batam airport, you will get on the resort's seaplane for a 80-minute flight. The journey takes a total of approximately 4 and a half hours but is undoubtedly exciting.
Upon return, you leave the resort at 13:30 (Bawah time) to return to Batam and take the ferry that arrives in Singapore at 16:45 (Singapore time).
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT
Considering humidity, temperatures feel hot all year with a chance of rain throughout most of the year.
WHAT TO PACK
We recommend light clothing and natural fabrics, T-shirts and shorts, and some glamorous dresses for ladies. Sandals, flip-flops or beach shoes, hiking shoes or sneakers if you wish to go around. Don't forget swimsuits, pareos, sunglasses, and high SPF lotion.
Photo courtesy of Bawah Island Reserve Resort