During our first year teaching in Hong Kong, we got to go on a school trip to Indonesia (perks of teaching in an International school!). However, unlike the usual touristy destinations of Bali, the Gilis, etc, we visited a small island called Telunas. It was a short trip from Hong Kong and the island itself is so close to Singapore, no flights are necessary. Boats provide access to the beautiful and tranquil island where there are two resorts to choose from. Because we were on a school trip, we stayed at the eco-friendly resort that catered towards large group. Once we had loaded the students on to the wooden boats, we arrived at the most stunning destination; white sandy beaches and rustic wooden lodges that jutted out in to the sea.
We spent our days working at a local school on a nearby island doing various volunteer work around the grounds- building a wall, teaching English to the students that attended; and the evenings were dedicated to group challenges, team building exercises, etc. We spent a morning hiking through a jungle to some beautiful waterfalls that were close by, went shrimp fishing at night and built up the nerve to jump from the platforms that were raised to different heights specifically for this.
The rooms were comfortable- simple and rustic-chic with hammocks and some with balconies. The most beautiful aspect of this island, though, was the peacefulness. There was weak wifi, not too many other guests and simplicity ruled in this tranquil getaway. Even though it was only a short journey from the bustle of Singapore, it felt like a million miles away.
You can also choose to stay at the neighbouring resort (still part of the same company), which is much more catered for couples and young families- the activities to choose from being similar as that on the other group-centered island. This resort feels more upmarket with a pool, a spa and varying romantic meal options.
If you’re looking for a family/couples getaway to a fairly unknown destination that is breathtakingly beautiful for some quality time with whoever, this should definitely be top of the list. Likewise, if you’re a teacher planning a getaway with a bunch of students, there’s a lot to do here with excellent guides, food and sleeping/activity arrangements.