Skip to content

Indulge in an exclusive escape at these 5 best private islands in Southeast Asia

Private islands in Southeast Asia

Looking for an undisturbed getaway? These private islands in Southeast Asia offer unrivalled exclusivity for discerning jetsetters.

A sojourn at an exclusive beach resort offers an incomparable reset for the mind, body, and soul. You’ve got a cocktail in hand, a good book to devour in another, a gentle breeze against your skin, and the sound of waves softly crashing onto the sandy beach. The last thing you want is your tranquility pierced by the clamour of tourists. For those in search of such sanctuary, private islands offer an elevated experience in luxury.

Think lavish villas, world-class dining, unparalleled experiences amidst nature, and bespoke services to help you disappear into serenity. After all, it is the intimate experiences and quality time with our loved ones that define a vacation well spent. 

Here, we present our handpicked selection of five private islands in Southeast Asia, each a haven in its own right.

1. Bawah Reserve, Indonesia 

Door-to-door transport service with seaplane

Private Islands - Bawah Reserve
Image: Bawah Reserve

Bawah Reserve is so exclusive that guests can only reach it via the resort’s private seaplane. This small cluster of mostly untouched private islands sits far out at sea in Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago, and is accessible from Batam. Rest assured that your journey over will be a smooth one with Bawah Reserve’s door-to-door transport package that whisks you away to the island right from your doorstep in Singapore. 

Private Islands - Bawah Reserve services and activities
Bespoke dining and wellness experiences can be arranged at the resort. Image: Bawah Reserve

Once you reach the island, you can continue to kick back and relax. Nearly everything from your meals to daily activities is included in your stay. Feast on carefully crafted Indonesian and Mediterranean dishes made from fresh ingredients sourced locally at one of the four dining options at the resort. 

Private Islands - Bawah Reserve beach
Image: Bawah Reserve

During the day, you’ll be pampered to the nines with complimentary daily spa treatments and wellness activities. Clear your mind and soul by exploring the islands and lagoons of the reserve. You can go trekking through the jungle, snorkel or dive to admire the island’s untouched reefs, or explore the clear blue waters on a catamaran.

Bawah Reserve pool villa
Image: Bawah Reserve

After a day spent amid nature, wind down in a villa that’s modelled after a rustic hut but doesn’t sacrifice modern comfort and luxury. For the full “Maldives” experience, you can choose to stay in an overwater villa that gives you direct access to the sea below. 

How to get to Bawah Reserve: A seaplane from Batam with door-to-door pickup service from Singapore costs USD950 (~S$1,295). The journey takes about 4.5 hours each way and includes expedited immigration clearance.

Rates: From USD1,780/night (S$2,424), with a minimum stay of 3 nights. 

Bawah Reserve website

2. Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia

Affordable option from S$289/night

Pangkor Laut Resort beach
Image: Pangkor Laut Resort

Nestled on a private island behind Pangkor Island in Perak, Malaysia, Pangkor Laut Resort is a hidden tropical enclave that doesn’t sacrifice exclusivity despite its reasonable price point. Each suite and villa embodies traditional Malaysian architecture blended with modern luxury. 

Private Islands - The Estates Pangkor Laut Resort
The Estates at Pangkor Laut. Image: Pangkor Laut Resort

You can also opt for a private bungalow at The Estates at Pangkor Laut that comes with its own swimming pool and butler services for an even more undisturbed experience.

Private Islands - Pangkor Laut Resort swimming pool
Image: Pangkor Laut Resort

Roll out of bed and you’ll be greeted with glorious views of the sea and the neighbouring Pangkor Island giving you a stunning backdrop of rolling hills. You’ll also be able to wine and dine your days away with six restaurants to choose from, offering an array of cuisines – including Malay, Nyonya, and Western favourites – to tantalise your tastebuds. Should you have a special occasion to celebrate, private dining experiences by the beach are available.

The Spa Village at Pangkor Laut Resort
The Spa Village at Pangkor Laut Resort. Image: Pangkor Laut Resort.

For those in need of some rejuvenation, take solace in the resort’s PURE offerings. Engage the resort for private jungle trekking sessions through an untouched rainforest, catch the morning sea breeze with a yoga session, or indulge in your adventurous side by booking an island excursion. 

How to get to Pangkor Laut Resort: The most convenient way to get to the resort is to take a flight to Ipoh, followed by a 1.5-hour drive to Marina Island Pangkor. The resort is then a 15-minute boat ride away. Transfers to Pangkor Laut Resort can be arranged with the resort from RM400 (S$116). Helicopter transfers can also be arranged.

Rates: From RM1,000/night (S$289)

Pangkor Laut Resort website

3. Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia

Bioluminescent waters that light up at night

Song Saa Private Island
Image: Song Saa Private Island

A stay at a beach resort usually entails days spent chasing the sun. After all, getting that glowing tan and soaking up the calm ocean vibes is what fuels many of us. Well, at Song Saa Private Island, it doesn’t have to end once the sun goes down. Once it’s dark out, you won’t just get to gaze at the blanket of stars above you, but you’ll also be able to witness the magnificent glow of bioluminescent plankton in the resort’s waters. 

Song Saa Private Island glowing plankton
Image: Song Saa Private Island

This rare phenomenon isn’t the only reason why you should bookmark this private island in Cambodia for your next retreat. Sustainability is a theme that rings true throughout the island, where villas and resort areas have been built to blend in with its natural surroundings. The resort also organises tours where you can show your support to the local community in the conservation of neighbouring islands.

Song Saa Private Island outdoor spa
The outdoor spa. Image: Song Saa Private Island

It’s no surprise then, that the mostly untouched natural beauty of Song Saa Private Island is unrivalled. Explore the waters surrounding the island and marvel at colourful corals that have been rehabilitated by the resort. Or, let your troubles melt away with a massage at the outdoor spa, take up a morning yoga session by the beach, or engage a wellbeing therapist for a private meditation session.

Song Saa Private Island pool villa
Image: Song Saa Private Island

For those who just want to hide away in their villas, you’ll be basking in plush comfort. Each villa is generous with space, offering magnificent views of the sea. Every choice comes with a private plunge pool and sundeck, as well as an outdoor shower where you can be one with nature.  

How to get to Song Saa: From Phnom Penh International Airport, take a 40-minute flight to Sihanoukville International Airport (KOS) or drive 2.5 hours to Sihanoukville Port. The port is a 30-minute drive from KOS. The island is a 45-minute speedboat ride from the port. Helicopter transfers can be arranged.

Rates: From S$1,993.86/night, inclusive of breakfast and speedboat transfers. All-inclusive options are available from S$2,871.21.

Song Saa Private Island website

4. Cempedak Island, Indonesia

Adults-only resort located near Singapore

Cempedak Island villa
Image: Cempedak Island

Quick getaways are essential for a reset amidst your busy schedule. That said, it’s entirely possible to be able to escape to a private island for a weekend with options such as Cempedak Island just two and a half hours away from Singapore. 

Cempedak Island villa interior
Image: Cempedak Island

Privacy is key when you book a stay here. Not only does the resort only allow guests aged above 16, but you’ll also be able to check into a spacious handcrafted bamboo villa that’s nestled amongst the island’s lush greenery. Each abode is generously spaced out, ensuring an undisturbed experience, with a view of the brilliant blue ocean right in front of you. 

Cempedak Island complimentary catamaran rental
Complimentary catamaran rentals are available at the resort. Image: Cempedak

If you can find it in your heart to peel yourself away from your villa, there’s plenty to keep you occupied on the island. Stroll through jungles and mangroves and see if you can spot wildlife such as hornbills and sea otters. Or, take to the waters on a kayak or sailboat. Snorkelling and diving can be arranged at the resort, too. After that, soak away your troubles at the Rock SPa which overlooks the ocean. 

Cempedak Island spa
Image: Cempedak Island

You won’t have to worry about planning your meals, either. With the resort’s daily board packages, you can wine and dine on meals crafted by the freshest of ingredienced, sourced from the resort’s farm in Bintan. Expect to indulge in delicious local fare and hearty barbecued seafood. 

For those with kids who don’t want to miss out on the private island experience, head to Cempedak Island’s sister island, Nikoi Island. Room rates here start from S$390, with similar activities. Nikoi Island also has a house reef that’s more suitable for beginners and children.

How to get to Cempedak Island: From Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, take a 1-hour ferry to Bintan. You’ll then take a 1-hour car ride to another port, followed by a 30-minute boat ride to Cempedak Island. The resort can arrange a round-trip transfer for S$95++ per adult.

Rates: From S$475/night, with a minimum stay of 2 nights. The daily board charge of S$95/adult per day includes 3 meals and most activities at the resort.

Cempedak Island website

5. Banwa Private Island, the Philippines

All-inclusive boarding with scuba diving

Banwa Private Island aerial view
There’s a golf course and tennis court on the island too. Image: Banwa Private Island

With only six villas on Banwa Private Island in the Philippines, it doesn’t get more exclusive than this. Expect to have your own little enclave by the beach, with the villas spread out across the island. So, rest assured that you’ll have a space all to yourself, without noisy neighbours interrupting your quiet time of soaking up the sun on your private sundeck.

Banwa Private Island pool villa
Image: Banwa Private Island

Featuring no less than one bedroom, each abode comes with a private pool and beach shower, with some including a jacuzzi deck. Unlike a typical beach resort, the villas here take on a modern spin, reminiscent of a Mediterranean getaway. Expect a calming theme of white dotted with blue, accentuated by comfortable furnishings that make it a home away from home.

Banwa Private Island villa interior
Image: Banwa Private Island

You can expect to experience relaxation to the fullest, especially with your stay being inclusive of daily spa treatments and meals. Expect to have an array of international and local cuisine that’s constantly updated each day. A private Chef can be engaged to whip up a feast in your room, at an additional fee. 

Banwa Private Island scuba diving
Image: Banwa Private Island

Adventurous folks will ease right into the plethora of offerings the resort has. Included in your stay are select activities and excursions that bring you to the likes of river mouths and neighbouring islands. This also includes scuba diving, where you’ll get to explore a shipwreck and reef wall and spot all sorts of exotic marine creatures from sharks to colourful tropical fish.

Be sure to stay hydrated with Banwater, fresh spring water derived from Banwa Island’s very own Artesian Well. 

How to get to Banwa Private Island: From Manila, you can take a private plane or helicopter to the island. The journey will take 50 minutes to 2.5 hours depending on which mode you choose. You can also fly from Manila to San Vicente or Puerto Princesa, then travel by land to Roxas Pier or Tumarbong Beach, followed by a 40-minute boat ride to Banwa Private Island.

Rates: From USD2,650/night (~S$3,542) for 2 guests. 

Banwa Private Island website

Luxury private islands in Southeast Asia for an exclusive holiday

An exclusive getaway is within your reach with these luxury private islands in Southeast Asia. With these resorts being accessible only to those staying on these private islands, rest assured that you’ll have an undisturbed and unforgettable holiday amidst the sun, sand, and sea. 

Cover image: Song Saa Private Island

✦ Exclusive VIP Access ✦

Subscribe to be the first one to receive latest news, exclusive updates and member-only offers and promotions.