Pulau Joyo, Indonesia:
Towards the end of 2016, I was nearing the big 3-0 birthday. Not one for big bashes, I wanted to go away with a small group of friends, and ended up spending a long weekend at the beautiful, unspoilt, Robinson Crusoe-esque island, Pulau Joyo, in Indonesia.
I previously visited the sister island, Pulau Pangkil, for some friends’ ‘Asian wedding’, with Joyo being the slightly more grown-up of the two.
Located in Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago, Pulau Joyo is as close as you can get to paradise, a tiny island surrounded by soft white sand, warm turquoise waters and lush tropical foliage.
Bedrooms are in big ‘beach palaces’, houses on stilts made using driftwood salvaged from the sea, and there’s a couple of traditional Javanese joglos, which have been reassembled on the island. Pulau Joyo sleeps up to 45 people, if you hire the whole island, although we had a small group of 15.
Days were spent paddle-boarding on the calm waters, or floating on food-themed inflatables in the mid-island swimming pool. Evenings were obviously slightly more rowdy, with rum-punches and our own concoction, the ‘Pulau Joyo iced tea‘. The first night, we had a candle-lit table by the pool, and on the main party night, we were on the beach, with a blazing bonfire and lanterns that we lit and sent up into the starry sky.
Now someone else needs to book their birthday there so I can go back again!
Need to know
Getting here: Take a ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore to Bintan. After a bus ride, there’s another speed boat to the island. It took us about 4 hours door to door. The resort help you coordinate transfers
Price: 3 days, 2 nights comes to about $700SGD per person including food.