An impossible choice?

You’re looking for a great weekend getaway on a beach but don’t feel like taking another flight to get there? Don’t worry, you still have many options.

Pulau Tioman, Pulau Rawa, Batu Batu, Pulau Besar, Pulau Sibu? 5 islands and only that one weekend with your loved one, your kids, your friends. Which one will you pick?

To help you with this tricky question, we’ve put together this little destination battle so that you can pick the right island for your next getaway from Singapore.

Travel time, beach and island activities, snorkeling and diving quality, accommodation options and prices, it’s all there. We even added a score for each island and category so that you can easily compare them. Too long? Too complex? Don’t worry, just jump to the “best for” column on the right to find YOUR island in 5.27 seconds.

The best part? You can download the PDF and click on the links to access a detailed description (and a few pictures) of each of them to make it happen!

Tripinasia - Destination battle - Islands in Johor, Malaysia

Click PDF downloadto open and download the free PDF document

(and no the painting on the left is not a father’s day gift. It’s a little map to help you figure out where you’re going). 

Same Same…

Just a quick reminder in case you wonder why these islands are on this comparison and not Perhentians, PenangLangkawi or the Maldives. We compared these islands because they share a few things in common. These islands:

  • Are great destinations for a nice weekend getaway from Singapore (otherwise, they would not be on tripinasia!)
  • Are accessible by road and sea  (so you can even take or send your mother in law who has a fear of flying). All islands are accessible from Mersing (with the exception of Pulau Sibu – from Tanjung Leman)
  • Are best visited during the months of April, May, June, July, August, September. You can also try your luck in March and October but forget about December, and January since it’s the monsoon (most resorts are actually closed on the islands – except for Tioman).
  • Are kids and babies friendly (at least per our standards) so that you can take the whole family (or send your in-law with the kids).

…But different

Waking up on the beach

Keep in mind that although they are close by, these islands are not accessible 24/7. Most boat transfers are only available at given time (because of the tides) and during daylight hours. So if you plan to leave on a Friday night to enjoy 2 nights on the islands, you may have to take a (half) day off on Friday. You can see the details on the Access from Singapore column.

Tides are no joke. We were complaining about resorts that did not want to arrange transfers at convenient time thinking they just wanted to group people together to make their lives easier. That was until some of our friends, on their way to Rawa, spent the night in the middle of the sea, stuck on a sandbank because their boat left at low tide…

“So how?”

Book your hotel! You can find hotels and resorts on these islands on Agoda and Booking. You will also be able to see reviews from other tourists who stayed there. Note that the hotels on Pulau Rawa and Batu Batu are not available on these plateforms that you will need to contact them direcly to book a room.

I totally disagree with the ratings, I find the sand on Sibu better than on Besar!

Although we try to be as fair and objective as possible, these ratings are subjective and based on our own first-hand experience (tough life). If you disagree (or agree!) we would be very happy to read your views on these islands (don’t be shy, it’s OK to say that the abandoned resorts on Sibu turned you off). Not to forget there are also a few other islands we are (yet) to discover… Have you visited them?

Feel free to use the comments below to share your view. What’s your favorite island? Why?

Been there, done that?

So you have already visited all these islands? Not a problem, just pick another one by filtering our destinations on tripinasia. There are more than 50 destinations available and we keep adding more regularly. If you’ve visited all of them, send us an email, we need to talk!


We’ve updated these 5 islands pages. We are testing a new overview to give you more info to better pick your trip. We hope you like it! Let us know your feedback. Is anything missing for you to make a decision?

Tic Tac

Remember, although there are only 5.4 millions of us in Singapore, not all can fit on these tiny islands so plan and book early. By the way, out of these few millions, only 500+ of  you have liked our facebook page? What are you waiting for? Subscribe to our montly newsletter (100% travel – 0% spam) to get these great articles in your inbox!

Oh, one last thing. We have a secret hope. We hope that this comparison will be even more successful than our 2015 Kiasu Travel plan! So don’t forget to share the love!

See you there.
Jacques & Valentine