Not all of us have opportunities to stay in a sultan’s lair. Rawa is the next best thing.
There aren’t many chances to stay on a Sultan’s private island. Rawa is one. Owned by the family of the Sultanate of Johor, Rawa is a small island 16 kilometers off the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia.
Only two resorts hug its white-sand fringed west coast, which is accessible by boat from the mainland port of Mersing (also the departure point for more distant Tioman).
Because of this exclusivity, Rawa attracts tourists looking for a more secluded vacation. While the west coast is postcard perfect, the rest of the shoreline consists of inaccessible, dramatic rocky cliffs that plunge directly into the sea.
To check these out, take the easy way and rent a canoe or hike up steep steps to the summit of the island, from where you have vantages of the eastern shore, the coast of Johor and the other 12 small islands that make up the Johor Marine Park.
As your choice of accommodation is limited — it can often fill up quick with young Singaporeans looking for a weekend getaway — so book up early.
Where to stay: There are only two places to stay on the island: Rawa Island Resort or the smaller Alang’s Rawa.
Getting there: From Kuala Lumpur, catch a bus or drive to Mersing, from where regular ferries depart. Note that during low season (November to March), ferry frequency can drop sharply.