Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sibu Island : Tropical heaven right next to Singapore

Singapore lacks the beaches and resorts nested in lush tropical forests you would expect from a tropical island, thanks to its heavy urbanization. When in Singapore for a mid or long term, you need to fly to Thailand, Indonesia or Malaysia to experience a tropical island holiday. If you do not want a flight, Bintan, Batam and Tioman Islands are accessible from Singapore with ferry and bus.

Malaysia's Sibu Island is not a very well known getaway destination from Singapore. But this small tropical island, about 130 km north of Johor Bahru,  is just 3 hours away from Singapore with a bus + half an hour boat travel. In fact Sibu Island is the closest island to Singapore for skuba diving and it offers excellent skuba diving and snorkeling experience.

Sibu is actually an archipielago made up of Pulau Sibu Besar (base island), Pulau Sibu Tengah, Pulau Sibu Hujung, Pulau Kukus and Pulau Tinggi. There are several resorts on the islands (most of them on base island) to stay such as Sea Gyspsy Village Resort, Rimba Island Resort, Sibu Island Cabanas, Kambau Bay Beach Resort, Twin Beach Resort, Sibu Coconut Village Resort, Junansa Villa Resort and Sibu Island Resort.

Sibu Island Malaysia Map
This map shows the location of Pulau Sibu (Sibu Island).
It is just 130 km north of Johor Bahru and is only
3 hours away from Singapore.

We have had a 3 days-2 nights tour to Sibu Island Resort on one of the islands of Sibu. We have paid 661 SGD for 2 people (quite expensive in my opinion but still in the OK region).

Map of Sibu Island.

Since the island is near Singapore it is not hard to access it if you get a tour package. Our journey started very early in the night from the car park of Newton Hawker Center. As in our Tioman Island tour, we were the only people heading there in the bus. It took us half an hour to arrive to Malaysia and another 2 hours from Johor to the ferry we would take to the island.

Sibu Island Resort is on a small and lovely island full of small goats, peacocks and even gazelles. The sea is very near to the rooms and it takes 2-3 minutes from the rooms to the islands beach. The beach is quite and nice and the sea is clear. There are also some other resorts on Sibu Island to choose among.

Many people in Singapore are not aware of this small paradise just next to Singapore. Tioman Island is known to be near but it takes nearly 7 hours to arrive a northern resort on Tioman from Singapore by bus and ferry. In that sense, Sibu Island is much better since it takes only 3 hours to arrive to your destination on this island. So unlike Tioman Island, the day you are going to the island and returning from the island can be included into your relaxation time and you feel less tired.

But unlike Tioman there is no public transportation option to Sibu Island. There is no public transportation to Tanjung Leman, the access point to Sibu Island 130 km north of Johor. There is also no regular ferry and the boat must be arranged by the resort you are dealing with (but tour agents of course handle this).

For other nearby destinations to getaway from Singapore, see our Weekend getaways from Singapore post.

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