Telunas Private Island Villas Row

Going offline at Telunas Resorts

In Indonesia, Sponsored by Jaclynn Seah10 Comments

If you are thinking about a tranquil beach resort vacation without the crowds, how about heading over to the island paradise of Telunas Resorts? The good folk from The Culture Trip sent me on assignment to check out this beautiful resort just 50km and 3 hours away from Singapore – that’s the same time you’ll take to get to Bali – and I thought I’d do a bit of a review of Telunas Resorts so you know what to expect if you are considering a getaway from Singapore where you can really drop off the grid for a little bit.

Pin it: Telunas Resorts, a private island resort in Indonesia

Where is Telunas?

Telunas is located 50km south of Singapore, one of Indonesia’s Riau Islands alongside the more popular Batam and Bintan that Singaporeans love. Getting there involves hopping on an hour-long ferry ride to meet the Telunas staff at Batam’s Sekupang Ferry Terminal. Then a quick walk across to the more dinky pier just next door where you board a smaller wooden speed boat that takes about 70-90 minutes to get you to Telunas.

I took the 11.10am BATAMFAST ferry from Singapore’s Harbourfront Terminal to Batam’s Sekupang Ferry Terminal. The roundtrip ticket on its own only costs S$20, but came to a grand total of S$49 after the additional mandatory fees. The transfer boat ride was pretty smooth because we had great sunny weather, and we reached Telunas Resorts at about 1pm in time for lunch (Note that Indonesia’s time is 1 hour ahead of Singapore’s, so it took about 3 hours of actual travel time)

Telunas Resorts Boat

That’s the boat that transfers you from Sekupang to Telunas. The seats are basically a wooden bench – not the most comfortable tbh, and there are plastic screens to help keep the spray from your face on both sides of the boat.

The typical return ticket is timed for 5.10pm from Sekupang to Singapore – your boat typically leaves Telunas at around 2pm just to account for any unexpected delays, and if there are available tickets when you reach Sekupang, the staff are happy to arrange to shift your return ticket to an earlier timing there and then. I got bumped up to the 4.10pm ferry because our ride back was faster than expected.


Chill out at Telunas Beach

I spent my first night Telunas Beach, the original property built in 2004 that is actually located on the southern coast of a larger island called Pulau Sugi. Most of the resort is built entirely over the water and connected by wooden planks, akin to the traditional kelongs or fishermen’s huts that you often see in this part of the world. There is no air-conditioning, and the sunlight reflects off the water through your floorboards, but there is some netting around the rooftops to prevent birds from flying into your room.

Telunas Beach Resort View

Each hut here is an individual room, but there are dorm rooms available too. My room was the single hut on the far left

Telunas Beach is always where you tend to get schools groups as there are dormitory like rooms available with shared bathrooms. Usually these groups are out for most of the day, but it can get a little more rowdy when they return in the late afternoon and head to the beach.

Telunas Beach Chalet

I had a Chalet room with balcony located right at the end of the pier, so lots of privacy without people walking by my doorway – those wooden floorboards creak quite a bit. Each room is named after islands in the Indonesian archipelago – mine was called Nias. In the past the resort never bothered with keys, but you can request for one if you want, and you can lock your door at night. I actually liked having the door open in the day  because it made the room really windy and cool.

Telunas Beach Resort Room Bed Me

Me on the queen bed which faces the balcony. The nook + bathroom is on the left of this picture

My chalet room had a big queen bed right in front of the west-facing balcony, which basically looked out to sea and is perfect for sunset. There are 2 chairs in the balcony but my favourite feature was being able to pull out the hammock and stringing it across the balcony so I could kick back and read.

Telunas Beach Resort Room Balcony Me

Me chilling out on my balcony – after this, I strung the hammock right across the balcony :)

Each chalet can actually house up to 4 people – there is a little nook to the side which has a bunk bed, and its own ensuite bathroom that has hot water and a tiled floor.

Telunas Beach Resort Room Bathroom

Ok the lighting was terrible, but this is a pretty nice toilet!

Facilities

There is a main dining area that you head to for all your meals which are served buffet style. Typically there is an eclectic mix of western style cuisine with some local food, about 4-5 dishes in total, as well as some fruits and desserts. Water is free but soft drinks and alcohol are additional cost from the front desk, where you can pick up some snacks as well.

Telunas Beach Resort Entrance

The front entrance to the dining hall

Telunas Beach Resort Breakfast

Breakfast – eggs were cooked to order

Telunas Beach Resort Dinner

Dinner was a mishmash of stuff – there’s a beef burrito of sorts alongside more traditional Indonesian cuisine like tempeh and fish and keropok

You can swim around the front deck area where there are some nice deckchairs to lounge on, as well as a high deck you can jump off during high tide.

Telunas Beach Resort Front Deck

The high deck

Telunas Beach Resort High Deck Jump

Only jump at high tide!

The best thing of course is going to the beach where the beach club is – you can rent a stand up paddle board or kayak from here, and play other games like table tennis and some weird trampoline ball game I saw the staff playing. I mostly kicked back on the beach and waded in the water – it’s pretty shallow and the tide is very low at sunset.

Telunas Beach Resort Wooden Walkway

Walkway connecting the rooms to the beach

Telunas Beach Resort Beach

Deckchairs and hammocks! You could take a stroll further north to the more forested area, but I was pretty lazy

Telunas Beach Resort Deckchair View

My deckchair view – those huts you see mostly contain either the dormitory rooms or a staff common areas

Telunas Beach Resort Sunset

Lovely sunset


Live the luxe life on Telunas Private Island

Across the water from Telunas Beach is the Telunas Private Island, constructed in 2014 for a more exclusive experience. There are just 15 villas on this private island, so small you can easily walk around it in less than an hour.

Telunas Private Island Villas

Row of villas – mine was #10

Telunas Private Island Pier

The pier that you arrive on – the Beach Resort is right across the water and to the right of this picture


Telunas Private Island Villa

The villas here are much newer than the ones at Telunas Beach, so it’s pretty luxe and quite modern looking. My villa came with a living room and a loft bedroom, as well as a huge bedroom that faced the sea with a sizeable ensuite bathroom and a balcony with its own sunbed, so you barely have to leave the room if you don’t want to.

What I liked was the hot/cold water dispenser – the Beach resort side had a flask they would top up, but this one was a dispenser and you didn’t need to boil water separately. I do love how the resort is going green and doing away with plastic bottles when it comes to water and toiletries.

Telunas Private Island Villa Living Room

Living room from the entrance with the ladder leading up to the loft bedroom right under the roof with 2 single beds

Telunas Private Island Villa Bedroom

I only remembered to take pix before I was left – you can see the sunbed mattress on the left because it was drizzling that morning. The room was so windy I slept with the balcony door ajar

Telunas Private Island Villa Balcony

Look at that lovely balcony! It has a privacy wall on one side that doesn’t block the wind but still keeps your neighbours from peeking over. The rooms are sunrise facing.

Facilities

The dining room is pretty big, and there is a little buffet for entrees and breakfast but most of the meals are plated and served, definitely fancier than the Beach Resort.

Telunas Private Island Dining Area

The dining area where all the meals are had. The staff usually sits you at a ‘regular’ table depending on where you sit the first day you arrive.

Telunas Private Island Lunch

A very Indonesian lunch. Lunch and dinners are 3 course affairs with a starter, main and dessert.

If you don’t like being in the sea (why are you at a beach resort then), there is a nice pool with an infinity like edge that you can swim in here, with chairs all around for sun bathing as well. There is a beach club with kayaks and paddleboards and other leisure activities, as well as a sand bar (with actual white sand floors) where you can get a drink.

Side note: consider bringing your own booze because they don’t charge corkage here, yay!

Telunas Private Island Pool

The pool

One thing you can do is take a walk around the entire Telunas Private Island – the resort is mostly located in the northeastern corner – I headed south down a forested path to see what there is to see. Spray that mosquito repellent and I think long pants helps if you don’t like plants brushing up against your legs.

Telunas Private Island Jungle Path

There are paths that you can follow quite easily

The western side of the island takes you to a beach which is pretty empty and apparently there is a turtle hatchery around here – ask the staff about it, but it wasn’t quite turtle hatching season when I was there so I didn’t see it. I  wandered along the shoreline for a bit before continuing northwards and the path started to get slopey. Not much of a viewpoint though with the dense trees – I climbed back down the stairs to get back to the resort.

Telunas Private Island Beach

Lovely empty beach. Not much in terms of shade unless you don’t mind the forested foliage

And I was scheduled for a lovely spa session – this newly built spa doesn’t quite have rooms, but little open air huts that sit right on top of the water. It’s a lovely relaxing time with just the sound of nature around you. Also, best spot for phone signal here – I hung out on the swings at the reception area for an hour or two because I needed some connection desperately for work stuff.

Telunas Private Island Spa

Spa on the water

Telunas Private Island Sunset

Sunsets are best taken in from the arrival pier. There’s a nice deck chair there facing the spa in the distance.


Staying connected and other activities

Telunas is a tad remote so internet connectivity is not the best, not ideal if you had online work to do like me, so make sure you can afford to disconnect for a bit when you head here. The resort does not have wifi, so the only way you can connect is through your phone’s global roaming.

My Singtel Roaming (Telkomsel) didn’t work here AT ALL, so I bought an IM3 SIM card from the Telunas Beach Resort front desk for 55,000 IDR (S$9) which worked pretty well both in my room and on the beach, but the signal was pretty patchy on the Private Island side – I couldn’t use it at all in my room, and the best signal I had was when I was in the spa reception area on the north-eastern side of the island.

My advice? Pick a time where you can really disconnect and just go offline. There is no wifi to distract. I managed to catch up on some reading on the beach.

The resort actually does have a variety of activities that you can partake in for free, like fishing and bonfires and sea sports for example, but other activities like trekking to a waterfall or eating lunch in a local village need to be arranged beforehand. Ideally, make these arrangements when you make your booking beforehand – it might be a bit too last minute to arrange some of these excursions when you are already at the resort.


Cost

Telunas Resorts has a pricing tier that’s a bit complex to layout, but the sum of it is that weekdays are cheapest, holidays are most expensive. Click for the Beach Resort pricing and the Private Island pricing.  There is a minimum 2-night stay at Telunas Resorts – I used a Friday to Sunday period in June 2018 (that’s when Singapore’s school holidays are) to estimate the prices.

Telunas Beach

  • Chalet Room with Balcony: 3,900K IDR (about S$370) for 2 pax – this price fluctuates depending on weekday/weekends/holiday pricing tiers. Chalets and Family Rooms are cheaper and additional people/children cost extra.
  • Full Board Dining: 600k IDR (S$57) per pax – you kinda have to go with this option because there just isn’t anywhere nearby you can go to. It’s really remote!
  • Round trip transfer from Sekupang to Telunas: 900k IDR (S$86) per pax – unless you are arranging for your own private charter, there are no other public transport options to get to the resort
  • Taxes: 10% Indonesian tax + 8% Govt Tax

The booking platform does calculate all this for you, but all in a trip for 2 would cost about 7,080K IDR (S$680) for the weekend, or S$340 per person. A family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 children (5-17 years) would cost 13,240k IDR (S$1,270).

Telunas Private Island

  • Sea Villa: 7,700K IDR (about S$740) for 2 pax – this price fluctuates depending on weekday/weekends/holiday pricing tiers.Additional people/children cost extra.
  • Full Board Dining: 1,800k IDR (S$170) per pax – you kinda have to go with this option because there just isn’t anywhere nearby you can go to. It’s really remote. The food is pretty fancy, though if you have certain dietary concerns you need to let them know early as the food is specially brought in from the surrounding islands.
  • Round trip transfer from Sekupang to Telunas: 900k IDR (S$86) per pax – unless you are arranging for your own private charter, there are no other public transport options to get to the resort
  • Optional 60-min massage: 600k IDR (S$57) – the 90min option is 800k IDR
  • Taxes: 10% Indonesian tax + 8% Govt Tax

All in for 2 pax over a weekend in June, Telunas Private Island will cost about 15,458K IDR (S$1,480) or S$740 per pax. A family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 children (5-17 years) would cost 20,840k IDR (almost S$2k).

The Private Island costs about 2x as much as the Beach Resort, but if you can afford it, have a special occasion that you are celebrating or you are planning to spend most of your time holed up in the room, definitely worth shelling out for the privacy and luxury.

My trip and 2 nights stay at Telunas Resorts was sponsored. I was on assignment for The Culture Trip – see the original article I wrote about my stay.

Looking for somewhere closer to Singapore? Batam and Bintan always offer easy, cheap and plentiful options for Singaporeans, while Bali is a failsafe with many budget airline options :)

Comments

  1. This is a nice resort and has a wonderful review, There is so much peace and I think you would touch the deep nature there.

  2. I adore Singapore and would love to go back for an extended period of time. If I do I’ll have to plan a little getaway here, so gorgeous!

  3. omg this place actually looks AMAZING! I’m headed to Singapore this year and now I’m thinking about staying here for a day or two! Are there any planes that would get there faster?

    1. Author

      It’s a really tiny island so unfortunately you can’t fly there directly – closest airport would probably be Batam? But even Batam is like 50mins by ferry from Singapore so it might not make sense to fly :)

  4. WOW – this looks like paradise on earth! That spa on the water looks so so beautiful. What a perfect escape, a definite addition to my never ending bucket list.

    1. Author

      yeah the spa is really picturesque :) what’s really nice is that there’s no other sign of resorts or people within sight!

  5. That looks beautiful and perfect for my husband so I can force him to disconnect from the internet world. You probably mention this somewhere, I’m sorry to ask if you did but is it still part of Singapore?

    That place is perfect for the very modern Singapore.

    1. Author

      It’s actually part of the Riau islands in Indonesia! But because of its proximity to Singapore, it does see more Singaporean tourists :)

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