The weight of your luggage case can make all the difference in determining how...
Pause. Drift. Go.
Imagine a tangerine tinted horizon dipping beneath a cerulean-blue sky as the canvas you fix your eyes on as you lie on a floating bed and bob along wherever the wind takes the ripples in the pool. This is a place where you can hear yourself think (amidst the crickets) at night, where you can lie under a blanket of stars and where you’re not distracted by the steady drone of motorcycles or impatient horns on the road.
If you’re thinking of escaping this Chinese New Year because you’ve tried every excuse in our Chinese New Year Excusebook in previous years, there’s nothing more delectable than running off to a private island in the region. Private islands are the new fad these days. When you have a huge wad of cash and nothing to do, you buy an island, call it some swanky name, and build a resort on it. It then becomes known as a “private island”. These islands are mostly hush-hush, their publicity only done by word-of-mouth, and that’s how they retain their exclusive clientele and tranquillity. We’re not talking islands like the party till dawn, jam-packed with sweaty bodies Bali (we’ll do another story on that soon), but an idyllic island where you’ll be getting sleep like never before.
You’ll actually see less people than you will birds. To sum it up, we’re awfully charmed and we wish we lived permanently on one of these private islands. Mail might not come as frequently, but that’s not such a bad thing, is it?
All less than three hours away from home, here are three sweet spots to escape to over the Chinese New Year break.
Flaunting only a total of 15 beach houses, you’re well assured that privacy is the least of your problems here. Nikoi is a 15-hectare private island located less than 85km from Singapore, and is known to boast stunning views of an unspoilt coast, a large expanse of pristinely white beaches and vibrantly colourful coral reefs. The development has been limited to a small area on the island to minimise any impact on the environment and maintain seclusion for their guests.
You’ll feel like you stepped off the boat and into a massive beach hut. The design remains simple with simple wood-panelled walls and flooring, but it is in that delicate minimalism which Nikoi’s allure shines through. The beach houses also makes use of a double-layered roof design to promote natural ventilation, and coupled with overhead fans and proximity to the beach, you’ll love the cool ocean breezes which will gently tickle your toes at night.
When you’re finally ready to get out of your beach house (I dare say it might take an entire day), the pool overlooks a gorgeous view of the South China Sea. Don’t forget to try your hands at diving, nature discovery, snorkelling or yoga as well.
How to get there: Hop onto a ferry from Singapore to Bintan Resorts, then grab a taxi from the ferry terminal to a specified jetty which will have a launch waiting for you to Nikoi. Please visit www.nikoi.com for more information and to make arrangements prior to your trip.
This private island located three miles off the West Coast of Malaysia is a piece of paradise. Pangkor Laut boasts 300 acres of land, but only one-quarter of the island has been dedicated to the resort and the rest is fringed by a beautiful rain forest.
If you have trouble choosing which M&M colour to eat first from the packet, you might have an issue with choice of villas at the Pangkor Laut Resort. There are seven different types of accommodation, namely the spa villas, sea villas, beach villas, hill villas, garden villas, the Suria and Purnama Suites and the Pavarotti Suite. Pick one according to whether you want to wake up to the crashing waves along the shore or the birds chirping amidst the foliage. Personally, the sea villa is my favourite, because the view from the sea villa is nothing short of breathtaking, as these villas are perched on stilts and linked by wooden walkways. What’s better, the bathroom is fitted with a luxurious oversized tub that opens into the gleaming sea.
Over at Pangkor Laut, recommended activities include chartering a cruise, indulging in water activities like kayaking and wakeboarding, going fishing or getting yourself a hole-in-one if you fancy a game of golf.
How to get there: From Singapore, fly into KLIA, Ipoh Airport or Skypark Subang Terminal and continue the journey by land towards Pangkor Laut. Please visit www.pangkorlautresort.com for more information and to make arrangements prior to your trip.
Situated on its own island of Pamalican in the Cuyo Islands south-west of Manila, this staggeringly striking archipelago is home to Amanpulo. Part of the Amanresorts hotel chain, Amanpulo is hardly touched by tourism and whales, dolphins and sea cows have been spotted beyond the sandbanks.
Amanpulo means “peaceful island”, and it certainly lives up to its name. There are five hillside casitas with stunning sea views, four treetop casitas for those who have always had treehouse-living dreams and 29 beach casitas which have individual paths down to the beach. Each casita also comes with a private buggy for island exploration and just standing there, you’ll feel like you’ve just been swept into a warm cocoon of the finest luxuries, in calming shades of caramel and bamboo.
The vibe at Amanpulo is utterly magical. When you’re not enjoying a sun-dappled bath on your private sun deck or lapping it up by the pool, allow yourself to be whisked away on a cruise, massaged at the Aman Spa or scuba-dive into the deep blue.
How to get there: Fly into the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and the resort will have arranged a scheduled charter flight from Manila to Amanpulo. Please visit http://www.amanresorts.com/amanpulo/ for more information and to make arrangements prior to your trip.
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