On the beach holidays are some of the most relaxing for parents and most memorable for kids. Just over the Malaysian border and a short road trip with kids from Singapore, Rawa Island Resort is a popular family resort because it has just the right combination of chillax vibe, activities for the entire family and entertainment for kids that require minimal supervision. This is one of the best family beaches you will find anywhere near Singapore and because it is such a family friendly resort, you may just never want to leave.

To get to Rawa Island Resort head straight to Mersing in Johor, Malaysia and from there it is a short boat ride into paradise. Located in the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park in the South China Sea is a rustic and homely oasis that is the perfect place to unwind from the stresses of city living. What makes this one of the best beach holiday destinations close to Singapore is the back-to-basics feel – instead of screens and urban chaos, at Rawa the kids will play in the sun and really spend their time enjoying being outdoors.

Activities on Rawa Island Resort for Kids

On the beach holidays must start with a beautiful beach and Rawa certainly has that. The water is warm and flat so at high tide the kids can safely go paddling, snorkeling, ride the kayaks, jump off the jetty or do laps round and round the two fantastic waterslides. At low tide you can walk right out into the reef to explore the rock pools or take advantage of the expanded sand to play football or beach cricket.

Rawa is one of the more memorable family friendly resorts because the natural beauty is quite remarkable. For the more intrepid, organise a SCUBA course with the new resident dive master, Adam, or ask him to take you out to try other snorkeling spots. He can show you how Rawa’s marine biodiversity has really come alive again in its surrounding reefs. Or, if you prefer to be above the water, go island hopping or hobie cat sailing.

[Rawa Island Resort was name the “favourite family holiday destination” by suitcases&strollers kid Josie (11). To find out why she loves it, read the suitcases&strollers story Little Globetrotter: Josie Burke.] 

On land, there’s plenty to entertain the kids as well. On a windy day the beach is the perfect spot to fly a kite. Otherwise try your hand at beach volleyball, jump on the large trampoline or follow the resident peacocks as they strut their stuff around the island.

When you really need some downtime, send the kids off to the play area to find some board games, play table tennis or enjoy some communal TV time while you indulge in the new spa services being provided by Chirawan Spa from Singapore.

The Food on Rawa Island Resort

Family friendly resorts should mean everyone gets a break so at Rawa this means absolutely no planning or decision making is required – even at mealtimes. Every meal here is buffet style which means you never need consult a menu – just grab a plate and take what you like.

The restaurant has just brought in a new manager and executive chef trained in Switzerland. This means the meals will be more varied and better quality and you can expect a high level of service inside the restaurant.

The menu is always a good mixture of Western and local savoury and sweet dishes and once a week there is usually a barbeque night. If your kids eat early, talk to the restaurant in advance about what time suits you and they can set up an early kids meal in the evenings. Sandwiches can be provided in between mealtimes at request or you can buy snacks and ice creams from the small shop (that also sells swimmers and swimming toys).

If you are traveling with a baby, let the resort know and they can accommodate space in their fridge for infant milk and food.

To read more about the food on Rawa Island Resort, see the suitcases&strollers story here.

Family Friendly Accommodation: Rawa Island Resort

Rawa Island Resort really is all about on the beach holidays; they offer a range of accommodation across their 77 rooms including chalets that are right on the beach (four of these were just recently renovated with an added bedroom to be more comfortable for families). Prefer to try an over-the-water villa experience? Rawa has these as well (they come with their own private beach and tropical outdoor showers) or you can opt for a hillside villa for a more tropical jungle feel.

All the rooms come with air conditioning and hot water and while there are no baths in the rooms, for instance, this is very much in keeping with Rawa’s chilled out philosophy. You will rarely even need to wear your flip flops here. Just rinse the kids off and throw on a sun dress and that’s all you’ll be expected to do to come to dinner. And with the variety and volume of beach centric activities on offer, you will rarely spend any time in the rooms anyway!

The Practicalities of Rawa Island Resort With Kids

The best way to book a room at Rawa is to email them at here rawaisland@live.com or otherwise call on +60 7 799 1205 or +60 7 799 1204.

Everything is very casual at Rawa, including the ability to contact the outside world. While you can get mobile phone and internet reception near the bar/restaurant area, it is patchy at best. Instead, come with the mindset that you want to escape city life and retreat back to a less complicated way of living for a few days and then you will avoid any unnecessary frustration.

The staff at Rawa aim to be friendly and encourage you to treat the island like home. If you have special requests for baby’s food or kids meals, speak to the manager and they will do their best to accommodate your requests.

While the shop on the island does stock clothes and beach needs (like sunscreen), you should bring your own nappies, wipes and other essential children’s medical supplies (such an children’s paracetamol) with you. [For more family travel tips on what to pack in your emergency medical travel kit for kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.] 

Rawa Island Resort is located in Johor, a short 20 minute ride by boat from the Mersing jetty. The island picks up guests at prearranged times (which change depending on the tides) to minimise the number of trips they need to make; you need to prebook your preferred time at the time you book your room. If you want to travel outside these times, the island can organise a private charter boat for an additional cost.

If you are driving your own car to Mersing there is secure car parking at the terminal for a small fee. Otherwise you can coordinate a driver service through a taxi company in Singapore. For family travel tips on the best way to cross the Malaysian-Singaporean border as well as a list of taxi companies, see the suitcases&strollers story here

This story is sponsored by Rawa Island Resort