Do you ever just find yourself wanting to bugger off from work and escape from reality for a while?
My life is pretty bloody wonderful, but every so often, even I just find myself wanting to disconnect from the world, at least for a little while.
So, where does someone looking to get off the grid go?
As I found out in 2019, Joyo Island (also known as Palau Joyo) in Bintan is a pretty wonderful option.
Despite being in Indonesia, most visitors to Bintan and the wider Riau archipelago are from Singapore; which is due to its fantastic accessibility! Bintan itself is a comfortable 60 minute ferry from the Tanah Merah ferry terminal, which explains why it is a popular playground for Singaporeans. From Bintan itself, it is about an 80 minute drive and a further 25 minute boat ride to the island. It sounds like quite the journey, but I landed from Darwin into Singapore at around 9am and was at Joyo in time for lunch.
Please note, due to Covid-19, travel between Singapore and Bintan is currently restricted and thus, Palau Joyo is presently not open for guests. Please use this post as inspiration for your holidays in times to come, hotels and resorts like this one will be in need of your business and support when they can reopen.
The island can only be described as Robinson Crusoe-esque. Lush tropical greens hug houses made of driftwood whilst the entire island is surrounded by pristine white sand.
When I arrived, I was immediately whisked away to the main house for my lunch. The resort is all-inclusive and all meals are prepared with love by the house chef. My meals were usually Indonesian classics with some kind of modern dessert – and they were wonderful!
Villas aren’t air conditioned, but they don’t need to be. Each villa is built on stilts with an open and airy design – fans circulate the tropical air into the perfect climate for sleeping and relaxing.
I stayed in one of the ‘Driftwood Palaces’ which was such a stunningly rustic stay. Made almost entirely from wood, these palaces feature a private balcony, a huge and perfectly comfy bed, a lovely day bed and a beautiful stone adorned bathroom.
I spent my first day enjoying my villa, reading a book, wandering along the beach and watching an absolutely glorious sunset.
The next day, I decided that it was time to take le drone for a spin and get an aerial view of this tiny island and resort, and holy moly, the views did not disappoint!
How gorgeous is this view?! Naturally shaped like a fish, a beautiful reef surrounds this absolutely teeny island hideaway.
Fringed with palm trees and perfectly white sand, villas are hidden away and provide utmost privacy.
The water is inviting, warm and oh so wonderful. I was living in Darwin when I visited Joyo and being able to swim in an ocean that wasn’t croc-infested felt like the biggest luxury imaginable.
I spent three days on Joyo Island. Those days were spent, swimming, eating delicious Indonesian cuisine, reading books, drinking coconuts, having incredible massages on the beach and just really relaxing and rejuvenating. The island isn’t the place for someone wanting an adventurous getaway, but it is perfect for those who need to just get away from it all for a while. To make things even better, the entire island can be rented out for big groups looking to get away from it all, together.
I really cannot wait for Indonesia to reopen fully for international travel, there is so much more to Indonesia than just Bali, and Bintan is one fantastic example of this.
Would you like to get away to a place like Palau Joyo?
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Palau Joyo: This lovely island getaway is presently closed due to Singaporean and Indonesian travel restrictions, but I am extremely hopeful that they will be able to reopen soon. Rates start at $322 SGD per night, and this is an all inclusive rate! Click here to learn more about Palau Joyo
Getting there: Access to Bintan from Singapore involves a super comfy ferry journey, click here to learn more
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 lenses and a (now discontinued) DJI Mavic Pro drone
Remember: The mosquitoes in Bintan are no joke – bring some serious deet!