If you haven’t figured out by now, I’m big on holiday getaways. Last year, I wanted to surprise my significant other by celebrating the end of 2008 and the arrival of 2009 out of Singapore, while keeping a lid on travel expenses. We’d tried out Angsana Bintan earlier in the year, so the more up-market Bintan was out. My girl’s always been averse to Malaysia, so that didn’t really leave me with a lot of choices apart from Batam.
Batam’s never really had much of a reputation as a couple getaway destination, being more the to-go place for golfing and short family getaways (think Harris Resort, Batam View and the likes). I wanted a unique and romantic experience, not a mass orgy with the general Batam crowd. Forays into Tripadvisor soon threw up Telunas Beach Resort as a possibility; Its chart-topping status on Tripadvisor’s Popularity Index was all the reason I needed to place my reservation – the long list of favourable reviews only helped to affirm my choice. I looked past the resort’s crummy website, and bit the bullet for a Private Chalet at S$165/S$185 (weekday/weekend) a night for 2 – not too shabby, considering that all your (three) meals are taken care of. No fuss, cost-contained goodness in a single package a stone’s throw from Singapore
The only drawback to the trip were the back-to-back boat rides; starting with the initial 40-min ride from Harbourfront to Sekupang, and the 2-hour mildly bumpy ride from the local pier at Sekupang (10 mins walk from Sekupang ferry terminal) to Telunas Beach. We got lucky on our trip – the all-American but very Batamized resort owners and their families were spending the weekend at Telunas, so we got picked up from Sekupang by one of the owners themselves! When we enquired, Eric told us about their plans for their very own hovercraft, which would cut traveling time from Sekupang by more than half – bring it on I’d say! Business aside, it appears life on Batam and running a resort operations makes the men especially virile – all 3 owners had at least 3 kids, a majority of which were born while at Batam/Telunas, and all of them were sun-kissed and positively glowing – nothing like the sun, the sand and the sea eh?
Tucked away on Suji Island amidst the Riau Islands, the 4-ha Telunas Beach Resort is a resort-on-stilts that extends about 400m out into the sea with its very own private beach and an unblocked view of the South China Sea. You can choose your accomodations between the Private Chalets, Multi-Family Suites, or Deluxe Family Rooms. As a general rule of thumb, Private Chalets work great for couples and a single family with a kid/helper or two kids, while Multi-Family suites are superb for extended family getaways. If you’re a large group of friends, it makes sense to consider the cheaper and more communal Deluxe Family Rooms. Unlike Multi and Deluxe Family rooms, Private Chalets are standalone structures with their own roofs that (as its name suggests) afford a more private experience.
As serene and exclusive as it may seem in the photos, things never really get too private at Telunas Beach Resort. The lack of air conditioning is made up for by the constant sea breeze, but that also meant our room curtains ended up flapping helplessly in the wind the whole time, exposing our room for whomever may be passing by. There were only 2 other chalets occupied by 2 couples after our unit, so it wasn’t that bad – but still! We were also paid a visit by a boisterous storm on our the first night – the rain was blowing in from under the thatched roof just a ‘lil bit. If our newer room hadn’t been built on concrete foundations but on stilts, I bet the entire room would have been swaying quite a bit. An awesome and cool experience for me but a harrowing and sleepless one for my girl *grin*.
Food was tasty and very home-styled, albeit limited in choices. The waters off the resort weren’t fantastic for snorkeling, so we gave that a miss and focused on what we came here for. If you find that you’ve not been having enough time to yourself, a 3D2N trip to Telunas will quickly change that. I went through the more interesting books from the resort’s meagre library, slacked around the resort and the beach, fished with a line or simply did…nothing. It wasn’t all sitting around though – the three resort owners rounded up a group of 20-odd adults and kids on a short 20-minute trek to the forests behind the resort where we ate a bunch of termites (yum!) and went through the resident obstacle/height confidence course. My girlfriend and I also visited a nearby 2,000-strong fishing village where we learnt quite a bit about life on and around the Riau Islands.
Don’t you just love getaways? 🙂[slideshow id=11]