Dropped by Rawa Island for a good dose of Vitamin D and endorphins, and to repay some sleep debt.
It was a place for simple pleasures: swimming in the sea, snorkelling over coral reefs, feeding fishes with stale bread, kayaking round the island, sliding backwards down the sea slide, screaming while being pushed into the sea from the jetty, swinging in a hammock with a good book and an icy margarita, lying on the white sand and chatting and watching a sea eagle or two circling distant cliffs, playing pingpong with random kids, just generally lazing and watching the resident peacock strut around:
As we were driving back, we talked about how we were in awe of this wonderful world God had created. And this was but a small island in the large world, and this world a mere speck in the vast universe, and this universe but a dot (though a precious one, He says) in the mind of God.
And it was clear that the azure waters and blinding white beach wasn’t absolute paradise – there were reports of guests at a wedding of a Brazilian couple being set upon by men wielding sharp objects in 2005 and a Brit and German being beaten up earlier this year. So we look forward to the day when justice will be done, when all human sin and therefore all hurt and pain will cease, when there will be freedom and liberation for the earth, and we will see Him as He is.
Alright, you can’t just drop in on Pulau Rawa. It’s a tiny island and there are only 2 accommodation options there: the larger Rawa Island Resort (also known as Rawa Safaris Resort) and Alang’s Rawa. Several people have said that management of the two resorts try to keep the place exclusive and would usually accept reservations from non-locals.
Getting to Rawa Island
So you’ll have to book ahead and reserve a space on the ferry from Mersing jetty (Johor) there at the same time. You can also get the resort to book a mini-bus from Singapore to Mersing jetty for you.
Once at the jetty, check-in at the office there, you can leave your tagged luggage on the buggy and go grab a bite at the food centre. This time, the mee goreng from the stalls on the left was cold but the pratas were freshly made and fluffy.
Sensible footwear useful for clambering through two other boats to get to designated vessel. In case of engine failure, do not panic even if no land is in sight: a replacement vessel is just a phone call away.
Accommodation on Rawa Island
If staying at Rawa Safaris Resort, welcome drinks (“fruit punch”) while waiting for your keys.
Hillside Chalets were basic – no telly or internet connection. The new ones (Hillside Deluxe) were less buggy than the old. In any case, we hardly spent any time in the rooms. For the periods we did, there was air-conditioning and hot water. Apparently their water is shipped over from mainland, though the high sodium content suggested a desal plant in need of servicing.
Food on Rawa Island
We took the full board package since there wasn’t anywhere else to eat on the island (except over at Alang’s Rawa but they proved rather reluctant to do business with non-guests). The buffet spread was definitely decent and we liked the different renditions of fresh fish and sotong that were offered at each meal after breakfast.
Rawa Island Resort has a proper coffee machine so people who need them can order espresso-based drinks and charge them to their room. They also have a pre-recorded jazzy birthday song and can order a cake from the mainland for the birthday boy/girl:
Cocktails were available at both resorts but we liked the ones at Alang’s Rawa much better – more alcohol without sacrificing taste. Good to sit around with your feet in the sand under the stars. Lovely pina colada, long island tea. It got quite crowded on Saturday night, thumping music blasting down the beach.
Rawa Island Resort rents the equipment but you create your own activities. There was a playroom above but no kids club as far as we could tell. But it’s the beach! Kids will find their own fun!
- Lagu Beach Blanket – claims to repel sand, dry quickly, and be made of allergen-free material. A little additional length would have made this perfect.
- Sunplay Sunblock
- Les Artisans Lao Mosquito Repellant – fair trade, social venture, essential oils etc
- Bobble filtered water bottle
- GoPro HD Hero 2 Camera – with underwater casing for snorkelling shots
- Baggu bag – in, err, sailor stripes
- Oceanic Shadow series dive mask – great vision, very good fit
- Powerful small torch – S$2 from Daiso. Good for finding our way back after drinks and for climbing hills to see the sun rise
- surf hat
- ESV Bible