Pulau Rawa is an idyllic tropical island paradise off the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is a small island about 1 km long and 200 or so metres wide on average.
It lies some 20 km offshore from the Johor port town of Mersing, which is where you have to catch the boat to the island since there is no airport.
Why Pulau Rawa beats all others
Pulau Rawa is heads and shoulders above others like Perhentian, Redang, Kapas, Langkawi, Pangkor and Sapi but here’s why:
- Beach: Pulau Rawa’s beaches have fine, powdery white sand and is probably the best in all Malaysia. Pulau Rawa is sometimes referred to as “Little Boracay” and compared with the Maldives.
- Sea conditions: The main beach in front of the resort is usually calm and is safe for swimming, kayaking and snorkelling activities for all ages.
- Sea colour and clarity: Perhaps not quite as clear as Perhentian but still excellent.
- Marine life/fish: Again not as plentiful as Perhentian but there are fish to see just by standing on the jetty or swimming in the shallows. Pulau Rawa is the only place in Malaysia where a shark (only a baby one) was spotted while standing on the water’s edge (see the video below).
- Coral: Coral reefs are sadly in decline all over the world and dead corals are more common than living ones. However Orca Scuba, a PADI five-star scuba diving centre, chooses to maintain its open water school at Pulau Rawa, and rates it as the best place to learn to dive in South East Asia.
- Topography: The island is a good shape and size with an enjoyable Hilltop Walk and Island Walk to provide an alternative to relaxing on the beach.
- Flora and fauna: Here you can see peacocks wandering freely, colonies of fruit bats squeaking away in the trees, barn owls (introduced to control the rat population), kingfishers, black and white doves and many other types of bird. There is also a wide variety of vegetation including a fabulous cacti garden.
There are only two choices for accommodation on the island, Alang’s Rawa and Rawa Island Resort, which Google rates as a three-star hotel.
Here are some of Rawa Island Resort’s main features:
A good range of rooms: Beachfront Chalet, Hillside Deluxe, Waterfront Bungalow and Frangipani Villa. The Hillside Deluxe chalet has a double bed and a single bed, making it ideal for a small family.
It is clean and comfortable with air-conditioning and a ceiling fan. The bathroom is rather basic but has all you need including hot water. Plenty of drinking water is provided free.
Food. There is one restaurant serving buffet meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner which are all included in the package rate. Plenty of choices on the buffet, and vegetarians are well catered for as well. The food was nothing fancy but perfectly fine for recharging for another round of beach activities.
Staff. The service was quietly efficient and all arrangements for baggage and boat transfers function like clockwork.
- A great waterslide on the jetty.
- Badminton courts
- Beach volleyball
- Hobie cat sailing
- Pool tables
- Baby football fields
Who is Rawa Island Resort good for?
- Families with younger children.
- Parents who want their children to have a break from their devices.
- Romantic couples, newlyweds or old timers.
- Not really a place for partying (try Alang’s next door).
From Mersing you will take the resort’s speed boat, a sturdy double-hulled steel and fibre glass boat capable of holding 20 passengers. It is covered so you should not get wet. The trip takes about 30 minutes and can be a little bumpy in rough seas.
Pulau Rawa is a protected marine sanctuary
Pulau Rawa is located within the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park, a conservation area under the protection of the Malaysian Department of Marine Parks.
To ensure the natural beauty of the island remains pristine for future visitors, the following activities are prohibited by law within the marine park:
- Fishing, whether by rod, speargun, net or any other means.
- Fish feeding.
- Littering and discharging or deposit of any pollutants.
- Jet-skiing or any other motorised water sports.
- Any contact with corals – no touching or stepping on corals.
- Anchoring and vessel to any coral or rock.
- Taking, collecting or removing an aquatic animal or aquatic plant, whether dead or alive.
- Destroying, defacing or removing any object, whether animate or inanimate.
- Doing any act which results in damage to marine life or the Marine Park.
Rawa Island Resort Sdn Bhd,
Tourist Centre, Jalan Abu Bakar,
Mersing 86800, Johor, Malaysia
Telephone: +607 799 1204 / +607 799 1205
Email: [email protected]
Fax: +607 799 3848
This article first appeared in malaysia-traveller.com