Rawa Island 2018 Day 2 – Cactus garden and a walk to the owl habitat

The night was peppered with sleep interruptions as K suddenly wanted night light. Woke up to turn on my iPhone light before going back to sleep.

Awoken at around 620 by my alarm clock which i forgotten to switch off and left quietly to find sunrise. According to the map, there was supposed to be a hill trek to other site of the island where we could see the sun rises. 5mins of walking brought me to a route up and then to a long stairway up the hill side. It wasn’t a difficult climb, and I did it with slippers as I didn’t really plan to climb a hill early in the morning.

After scaling some number of steps, I found myself with another 4 people there, looking into the horizon full of clouds. It was disappointing but nature is unpredictable. Breathless due to my lack of cardio, I sat for a while before the 4 people asked me to take photos for them before I returned to the villa.

Hilltop view steps.
Steps to hilltop view.
Closer to the top.
View from the top.
Cloudy Sunrise
Standing area to watch sunrise.
Peacock morning stroll.
Beach in the morning.

Mommy was awoke by then and had already fixed and fed a bottle to K who was still asleep. Went back to bed to snooze until mommy woke me up at 9am. We had to go for breakfast already as breakfast end at 10am. While mommy went ahead to get some food for K first, I spent my time at the villa getting K ready and bringing him to the restaurant.

Upon arriving, we found the same family yesterday having breakfast next to us and K was already excited, wanting to play with L. Had to sit him down to have him finish his breakfast.

It was the same buffet table and there were the standard fare of continental breakfast and fried noodles. Nothing fantastic but was adequate. Made myself some coffee before we left.

K met up with L as we were about to leave before we went back to get ready for the beach. K wore his swimsuit and we walked back to the slides. I borrowed the life jacket for K at 9RM which we had to return by 1pm because of low tide in the afternoon and we were off to the lower blue slide and which at this time, the water level was just underneath the end of the slide.

Sea sport center was where to borrow life jacket.

I carried K and have him sat on me, whooshed down the slide, and splashed into the water. It was really deep and upon entering the water I am sure we both had a few gulps of water. K immediately said he had enough of the slide as the slide might have already frightened him but he was ok to stay in the water hugging me like a koala, cos frankly dipping inside the warm sea water felt really therapeutic.

We spent some time there moving around the waters and K later joined L with his sand presses, then these chaotic pair started to throw sand at me. They really enjoyed each other’s company and even playing close to the water with the parents watching close by. L was confident in waters, even swimming a bit while K wanted me to carry him mostly and together we went into the deeper parts.

We stayed in the water till 12pm and returned the life jacket before heading back to the villa to wash up. We returned to the restaurant past 1pm and it was still crowded. Managed to find a seat, coincidentally again next to L’s family and K showed off his favorite cartoon on iPad to L while having his lunch. I chose Asian over the pasta and K had taken his food more easily than previous times, maybe he was really hungry from the morning dip.


After lunch that we ended off with juicy cold watermelons, K went in search of his playmate L and found her at the kids room. It was filled with many older kids and they were having fun playing some sort of catch while K tried to get L’s attention with his cartoon. Realizing that she wasn’t particularly interested, K joined her in their own creative games, hiding behind tables and clapping with plastic round caps and generally in their own world of kids play. I was chatting with L’s dad as they enjoyed themselves till mommy came to get K to go.

After bidding farewell, K spent some time in front of the TV near the reception watching cartoons and then we left to explore the other parts of this island.

The only TV at the reception area.

Carrying K on my shoulder, we headed past the Rock bar and found the Padi building round the corner of the island where there was supposedly a viewpoint for sunrise. Then it was a hill climb upwards to first the cactus garden and then the owl habitat. The climb was gentle but long enough to tire us out, especially with the heat and with the weight on my shoulders.

Walking around island.
Path the dive shop.
Resting camouflage peacocks.
Upslope path.

The cactus garden had some 30m or so of cactus of different shapes and sizes. We strolled past it, pointing to some of the flowers that I had never seen before while passing. Then we walked uphill further before we came before a board showing informationf about rats and owl. Just nearby on top of a tree we saw a wooden house that seemed to be built for the owl, just that we couldn’t see the owl. We made a U-turn and walked the same way back and stopped by Rock Bar.

Arriving at the Cactus garden.
Cactus garden.
Barn owl sign.
Wooden owl house at the top of the tree.
View from the top.

The bar just opened and we got ourselves some cold drinks, watermelon juice for me and iced milo for mommy with K drinking from both. Sat at the spacious cushion seats, enjoyed the drinks and the slight breeze before we returned to the room.

Path along island.
Inside the bar.
Resting crab on rock.
Panoramic view from bar.

We prepared for nap time and soon after the usual routine, we all fell asleep.
I awoke at 6pm and went to the patio where I was saw the sun setting in our direction but hidden behind the clouds. There wasn’t going to be a postcard sunset today. I washed up all the milk bottles and played around with the bullet time before K woke up. Dinner time was 730pm today unlike previous days of 7pm because there’s BBQ on Saturday. So we spent some time playing games with K before heading back to the restaurant. It was crowded but the staff managed to get us a table.

Cloudy sunset.
Fishes in water.
More fishes in water.

There were more bbq food like chicken and satay but there were the usual food as well. K wasn’t eating well which could be because the food was more dry than usual. But after some distractions he managed to finish a big portion of his bowl of fried rice, plus some cantaloupe and pudding.

BBQ dinner.

After dinner, we went over to the public TV. K saw L and went to look for her but both ended up sitting together to watch the Disney cartoon, showing Halloween themed cartoons. I took a walk around to see what’s around, saw 2 pool tables, a Billard table and 2 fussball tables on the second floor and there were a few groups of people using them.

Night view of reception area.

After a while, L left with her family for the night and we too made our way back to the villa. Cleaned up and packed and went to collect hot water from the Rock bar. Spent the night on usual night routine of storybook and drinking milk, then it’s off to lalaland.

Escape to Rawa Island October 2018

A brief summary on the itinerary

Escape Plan to Rawa Island 2018:

Total duration 3D2N
Rawa Island is in the same timezone as Singapore. Transfer to Mersing takes about 2hrs and ferry time is 30mins on private transfer ferry from Mersing to Rawa Island. Return is the same in reverse, time depending on jam at crossing.

Ferry from Mersing to Rawa Island at 1130am, arriving at 12noon in Rawa Island. Return ferry from Rawa Island to Mersing is at 1230pm and arriving in Mersing at 1pm.

Day 1 – Arrival in Rawa Island, Beach fun and water slide
Day 2 – Cactus garden and a walk to the owl habitat
Day 3 – Aeon Mall and Home Sweet Home

This trip was planned as a getaway birthday trip for me. It was planned closer to my birthday in November but we pushed it earlier as we had hijacked 1st week of November with a USA trip.

Budget – Affordable by standard of private island.

Total package of accommodation plus ferries and full board for 2 adults came up to RM3000 which in my opinion was affordable. We didn’t go for the water activities such as diving though.

Complexity – Easy except the jam

Travelling was pretty easy with a car. Driving to Mersing followed by private carpark and thereafter a short ferry to the island was simple enough! I am often confused about how much to pay while crossing the borders and thankfully with 2 Touch N Go cards, I didn’t have to figure out where to top up (since the Touch N Go was in Singapore). But the jam was horrendous on the way back and I swore never to go back into Malaysia via car ever again.

*Sponsored note

Ever heard of travel rental? Been wanting to try those high tech camera stuff but afraid of buying something that becomes a white elephant later? A simple solution… rent it! This is what I did in this trip, got myself an Insta360 for some 360VR photos fun!

Now you can get a 20% discount by applying discount promo code “escapesfromthelittlereddot” when you visit Leasany. Valid till 30 April 2019.

Escape to Nikoi Island November 2017

A brief summary on the itinerary

Escape Plan to Nikoi Island 2017:

Total duration 2D1N
Nikoi Island is in the 1hr ahead of Singapore. Ferry time is 1hr on Bintan Resort Ferries from Singapore to Bintan, land transfer of 1hr drive followed by a speed boat transfer of 20mins. Return is the same in reverse.

Ferry from Singapore to Bintan at 1110am, arriving at 1110am in Bintan. Return ferry from Bintan to Singapore is at 335pm and arriving in Singapore at 535pm.

Day 1 – Arrival in Nikoi Island
Day 2 – First time fishing and Home Sweet Home

This trip was planned as a getaway birthday trip for me. It was initially intended to be a 3D2N private island resort experience but was cut short due to my kid getting a fever and we absentmindedly left the paracetamol at home.

Budget – Expensive, made worse by forgoing one night stay.

As this was a private island, what would you expect? Accommodations were comfy but modest but they are all villas and nothing less. There were just one restaurant serving fine dining cuisine that was delicious no doubt, but without choice, one had to full board SGD100-ish a day. Had to booked an urgent boat on Emerald class which increased the costs further and the private land transfer from jetty to jetty cost money too.

Complexity – Easy

Since it was all integrated, what came with the price was the convenience and the exclusivity of private travel (except for the boat transfer to the island). The short cut to the front of the queue at the immigrations was awesome!