By Tan Yi Hui
Pulau Nikoi, Indonesia
If you do not mind splurging a little - you are saving on the cost of a plane ride after all - pack the shades, swimwear and sun-tan lotion, then make it down pronto to Pulau Nikoi, or Nikoi Island, just off Bintan.
At the size of 30 football fields, Nikoi is an exclusive private island ideal for a three-day getaway.
What you have is the sun and sand without the buzz of a hundred other beach bodies sun-tanning and building sand castles around your picnic mat.
The operators of Nikoi take pride in blending their resort into the natural landscape, with as little disturbance to the island as possible. Co-owner Andrew Dixon says: 'We have become very popular with families who are tired of the run-of- the-mill resorts.'
It is a 'luxury-meets-Robinson Crusoe' concept, with beach houses handcrafted from massive driftwood pieces and vernacular 'alang alang' grass roofs over spacious interiors. The island can accommodate over 22 guests and is set to increase to 50 by next year.
Beach house facilities include luxurious tropical-style bathrooms, king-sized beds and balconies with ocean views. The main reception building of the resort boasts lounges and bars.
Pools for adults and kids are on the northern side of the island, a few minutes' walk from the beach houses through the jungle on purpose-built trails.
A range of watersports from sailing to snorkelling are available at no additional charge. Other activities include boat rides to explore nearby islands.
There are also thrills for kids such as treasure hunts and movie screenings at the reception building.
Getting there: Take a 55-minute ferry ride from Singapore to Bintan (S$46- S$60). The resort will arrange for drivers to take you on a one-hour journey through Bintan's villages to a dock at Kawal. It is then a 30-minute boat ride to Nikoi. VIP clearance at the ferry terminal on Bintan is included in the transport package.
The two-way transfer costs S$70 per adult and S$35 per child. This includes the land ride and the boat ride between Bintan and Nikoi.
Stay at: One- to three-room beach houses are sprawled over a 5ha site on the western end of the island. Prices start from S$300 per night for the one- bedroom beach house. A minimum stay of two nights is required.
Meals are S$80 per adult daily and S$40 for children (free for those under four years old). This includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. On the menu are barbecued seafood, local dishes and tropical fruits. There is also a selection of beer, wine and soft drinks.
Cost: S$1,828 for a family of four, for three days and two nights. For more information, visit www.nikoi.com
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This articles was first published in The Straits Times on August 19, 2008.