Heard of Telunas, mama? It’s the remote island you and your family have always dreamed of – no flights required.
Telunas Resorts is one of those places that I kept hearing about and always wanted to try. Last weekend I finally made it there and I now understand why people love it so much.
Telunas Resorts is located about two and half hours by sea from Singapore in the Riau Islands of Indonesia. To get there you catch a ferry from the Singapore Cruise Centre (Vivo City) to Sekupang, Batam – about 50 minutes. Then you have to walk (10 min) from the ferry terminal to another local ferry pier to catch a smaller wooden long boat that will get you to the resort – about 90 minutes.
With two small kids suffering from travel sickness I dreaded the boat rides, but we gave them motion sickness medicine and they both ended up sleeping most of the way. This is the kind of boat you will be taking from Batam to the resort. It’s actually quite comfortable and the staff will provide you and your kids with safety vests.
In terms of when to go, you’ll find the clearest waters between November and April, but May through September or October usually offers brighter days with less rain. So there’s an upside no matter what time of year you decide to visit!
Telunas offers two resort options: Telunas Beach or Telunas Private Island. Telunas Beach is the original resort that was founded over 10 years ago by three college friends. Picture wooden stilt houses, hammocks and a long white-sand beach. Telunas Beach is ideal for groups and large families, and for people seeking a back-to-basics kind of experience.
Two years ago Telunas Resorts opened Telunas Private Island, which is located just across from Telunas Beach – literally five minutes by boat. It offers 15 beautiful overwater sea villas that can accommodate couples and families. Each sea villa includes a sitting room, private balcony, king size bed, and a children’s loft that can sleep up to 3 kids.
The villas are spacious and beautifully decorated. We particularly loved our balcony, which boasted stunning views over the water during the day and incredible star-filled skies at night. Villas don’t come with air-conditioning but they have fans. To be honest the wind was so strong we didn’t even need to use our fans! The bathroom is pretty basic with a sink, toilet and a big rain shower and it comes with a stepping stool so the little ones can easily access the sink.
The layout of the villa is great for families. Adults sleep on the ground floor and kids up in the loft. The ladder to the loft is securely attached to the wall so no need to worry, and there is a sliding wooden gate at the top to close off the entrance at night to keep the kids safe. The ladder is a little steep so smaller kids might need help to get up and down.
Sadly we didn’t get to spend much time in our villa as there were so many other things we wanted to do. The resort has a lovely beach and offers water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding. It also has a nice infinity pool that overlooks the beach. There is a track around the island to take your family out on a walk or to jog/run if that’s your thing. And starting from late March they will have a complete spa to pamper yourself (currently they offer in-room massages).
The resort organises daily activities like cooking classes, low rope courses, village tours and also has a kids’ club whose staff manages to keep little ones busy for hours with games, arts and crafts and movie nights. We were lucky to experience their bonfire night where the kids got to roast and eat marshmallows. Total success! Note that guests of Telunas Private Island get complimentary access to these various activities, while they’re chargeable for guests at Telunas Beach.
Somehow, out of all the activities available, my kids’ favourite was jumping off the pier or fishing off the pier. Simple pleasures.
Meal times are prepared with families in mind. Kids have a separate menu with simple yet healthy meals that come quite quickly. Adults get to choose from a limited menu for breakfast and dinner, whilst lunch is fixed. There is a salad bar for lunch and dinner with lots of fresh vegetables to choose from. Note that the resort doesn’t charge for corkage (except on group bookings), which in my opinion is brilliant! So you’re allowed to bring any liquor within the legal limits. Indonesian customs allows for 1L of liquor per adult. As for food allergies, they are able to cater to almost any food allergies, you just need to inform the reservations team in advance.
Whilst there we found out from Nathan (the Resident Manager) that Telunas Resorts is more than just another island escape. The resort has been one of the pioneers of geotourism in the region, meaning that they strive to be both culturally responsible (committed to respecting local sensibilities and building on local heritage) and environmentally responsible (committed to conserving resources and maintaining biodiversity). They hire staff from local villages and offer them training, they buy local food and goods and they try to have a positive impact on their environment. This to me was the cherry on the cake — it’s a vacation you can truly feel good about!
We stayed for two nights and thought it was the perfect getaway from Singapore. We have to thank Nathan and all of the wonderful staff that made us feel so welcome. I wish this place could remain a secret but I’m afraid the word is out so you’re going to have to plan and book ASAP Mama!
Tip: Beware that Telunas Resorts has a no Wi-Fi policy which can be a blessing or a curse. For me it meant total relaxation and true quality time with my family.
Telunas Beach rates start from 80 SGD for a Deluxe Room and 120 SGD for a Chalet. Telunas Private Island rates start from 295 SGD for weekdays. Meals and transfers at additional cost, click the respective links for more info.