5 Awesome Islands To Visit Near Singapore (That Aren’t Part of It)

Island in Malaysia
Island in Malaysia | © mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re planning on a more regional trip while in Singapore and have already explored its southern islands, consider these ones just beyond the city state’s official borders. Easily accessible by boat, they offer pristine beaches and vast expanses of land for continued exploration.

Don’t just stop when you come to Singapore: make the effort to see some of the other offerings in the region and you will be glad for it. Away from the hustle and bustle, discover hidden treasures in these islands to the south, mostly falling under Indonesia, and with little or no habitation.

1. Pulau Layang-Layang

Natural Feature

Popular with divers, this island is the perfect spot for discovering rare species of marine life, and enjoying amazing adventures under the sea. Located in the South China Sea, this isolated Malaysian paradise has managed to preserve its natural appearance and heritage, consistently amazing travelers dipping between its breathtaking coral colonies. In terms of directions, a flight from Kota Kinabalu is the only civilian route to take, due to its remote location. Make sure to get return flights before departure.

2. Pulau Lingga

Natural Feature

The most popular attraction on this island is the famed Resun Waterfall that flows from Mount Daik. The dazzling waters fall from an elevated height, and due to the lack of human intervention it remains a sight of remarkable beauty with clean, natural waters that constantly flow regardless of the season. Coming here during late November is ideal as you get to see the fascinating Mount Daik Festival as well. Directions: Head to Tanjung Pinang in Bintan and get a ferry from there to bring you straight to the island.

3. Pulau Nikoi

Natural Feature

If you tend to prefer a resort stay on an island, rather than an underwater adventure or jungle exploration, then Nikoi Island is absolutely perfect. Pulau Nikoi emphasises sustainable infrastructure, the resort on it is built with driftwood and Alang Alang (a type of grass), while solar panels are used to supply power. You will get the full pampering treatment here with the open air villa providing you with private space to unwind and escape. Directions: From Bintan, a ferry will take you there in about 20 minutes.

4. Pulau Bawah

Natural Feature

A stunning island that you see very often in postcards of tropical paradise, Pulau Bawah is a sight to behold off the coast of Indonesia. The waters are so clear that you don’t even need to dive to see marine wildlife gliding about the coral reefs. Enjoy swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving in the sparkling azure sea. Even if physical activities don’t excite you, just walk along the shoreline, ankle-deep and be amazed by the sights in front of you. Directions: Head to Tanjung Pinang in Bintan and get a ferry from there that will bring you straight to the island.

5. Pulau Benan

Natural Feature

Another island located in the idyllic Riau Peninsula, Pulau Benan is bursting with life. The native Riau population strongly maintains its traditions, and you can catch a glimpse of some authentic performances and become immersed in the culture of the local people. There are boat rides offered that allow you to see the length and breadth of the island, but it’s perfectly acceptable to sit in one spot and be a beach bum too.

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