Here’s the first of our ten part blog posts reviewing our six day stay at Telunas Beach Resort. Enjoy!
It might just be a Singaporean thing. But every school holiday season, thousands of Singaporean families make a beeline for the numerous beach resorts and hangouts around South-East Asia. Between the two of us, Ling is – by a long short – significantly the more experienced and worldly-wise when it comes to tropical beach resorts, having visited many. As for myself, my only point of reference is Rawa Island, which we visited in 2007 and I still have vivid memories of the pristine water and white sand. Never mind though that if you’re an Ang Mo and you happen to get into an altercation with Royalty, you might get beaten into pulp while there. But the place is easy to get to and beach is to die for.
For Hannah’s first vacation out of the country, we wanted somewhere nearby and that didn’t involve air travel. We looked at Bintan (horrendously expensive for mediocre beaches) and almost booked Tioman (cheap but so-so environment). But after taking a look at our Ang Mo friend’s pictures when he was here in 2008, I hastily canceled our reservation and looked elsewhere! I Googled about and found a relatively unknown island off Batam, which apparently has escaped many people’s radar even though it’s been rated as one of the best family beach resorts around the world. The place was Telunas Beach Resort. The resort itself is located on Sugi island (mostly not inhabited except the Resort and a village several kilometers away), and accessible from Singapore by a 3 hour boat ride.
The place has several classes of accommodation, and we went for the more pricey one – a Chalet – which was SGD205+ per weekday. Our Ang Mo bud went for the same option too. The Resort was apparently started by three Americans in 2004, and throughout the entire process of making reservations and going for the private ferry to bring us from the main Batam island to Telunas, I felt really taken care of by the speedy responses from the Resort which clearly was going out on a limb to customize our experience.
Arrival to the Resort involved a 50 minute ferry ride from Harborfront to Sekupang, where we were received by a Telunas staff member. We were guided out of the International ferry terminal to the domestic one, where we boarded the private boat, essentially one of three converted Malay fishing boats the Resort owned. The private boat is pretty pricey at SGD270+ per ride and not initially our first choice. But several Tripadvisor reviews noted that the private boat option is well-worth the additional expense, and after trying it out for ourselves, we agree. The boat was operated by three boatsmen who adeptly made numerous course adjustments to ensure that we didn’t get wet from the waves nor seasick from too much bopping! This second private ferry leg took about 100 minutes, and we reached the island at about 10:50 AM on Sunday morning.
The Resort’s dock is elevated on stilts, and accessible by a more than 2 meter high near vertical wooden ladder. One look at it and we were wondering how on earth Hannah was going to get up there! But the boatsmen came to the rescue again, and between the three of them, they managed to get Hannah up quite well. Our girl even seemed bemused to get man-handled by three very dark-skinned and tanned men.=)
The Welcome Drink, like what our visitors have noted before, was indeed ‘shiok’, and Matt was quite interested to see what concoction that was. I think it’s a mix of orange and mango pulp and juices, mashed together with other condiments. We were received by our Telunas host, a girl also named Hanna, who welcomed us and explained the general facilities, meal times, and our accommodation arrangements.
Our Chalet came with an adjourning side room with a double-deck bed, a private sea-viewing balcony, and a bathroom area with a standing bath stall and toilet. The Resort had not fitted in a baby cot despite our request, but it was a small matter as one was brought in within minutes. The cot wasn’t needed finally, as Hannah was too big for it anyway! She adjusted to the lower deck of the bunk bed just fine though, every time knocking out within minutes.
The Chalets and other units are all mostly constructed from wood, and the bathroom is quite modern with porcelain basin and toilet, and a modern water shower heater (ours had a really powerful showerhead – hooray!). There were numerous windows, and when you leave them open, alongside the main and balcony doors, there’s sufficient sea breezes to keep the room reasonably cool. No mosquitoes either. It was quite a treat to take lazy afternoon naps listening to the gentle waves crashing against the numerous stilts and pylons. The room floor comprises wooden flooring too, and you can see the water waves below through the many cracks,
In all; the both of us thought the accommodation was pretty good, and unlike the air-conditioned chalets on Rawa, the Telunas Chalets gave us that great feeling of living above water. More on our stay in the next post!