(CNN) — Colorful marine life, clear water, tropical birds, towering palm trees.
There’s one way to bring that picture-perfect postcard to life: a private island resort in Asia.
Remote yet refined, Asia’s top private islands promise gloriously empty itineraries — free to be filled with cultural excursions, scuba diving, horseback riding, kayaking, hiking or some good old-fashioned sunbathing.
1. Bawah Island, Indonesia
Bawah Island’s bamboo bungalows peek through the jungle. From Scott Dunn
If the clear waters of Indonesia are calling your name, Bawah Island makes for an idyllic base.
Reachable via seaplane, the rustic-chic resort sits within a secluded six-island archipelago — about 3.5-hours northeast of Singapore.
The all-inclusive rates cover everything except alcohol and diving, so you can rest easy knowing your transfers, meals, spa treatments, yoga, pilates, meditation, laundry, and non-motorized water sports are already taken care of.
Across the marine conservation area, travelers will find 35 bamboo bungalows (including 11 overwater bungalows) and an open-air cinema, as well as a long list of outdoor activities.
Fill your days with snorkeling or sunbathing — Bawah Island is a haven of sandy beaches, jungles, mangroves and scuba diving.
2. Haggerstone Island, Australia
On the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef, Haggerstone Island exudes “Castaway” vibes with thatched-roof beach huts and timber houses filled with handcrafted furniture and esoteric curios.
A family-run resort, built from scratch by Roy and Anna Turner 30 years ago, the all-inclusive experience begins with a private charter from Cairns to Haggerstone’s private air strip — located on Hicks Island, about a 15-minute boat transfer from the resort.
Once you touch down, chilled welcome drinks set the tone along with the crystal-clear water and a clean white beach.
The main lodge welcomes travelers for meals, typically made from freshly caught seafood and homegrown ingredients.
As for the rooms, the most luxurious villa on the island is House Mawu. The massive timber house sits on a hill with lagoon views, two bedrooms, a kitchen, lounge, fireplace, and a loft that’s perfect for kids.
Whether you’re honeymooning or treating the whole family, everyone will appreciate the healthy marine life — the waters here are teeming with manta rays, turtles and diverse coral.
3. Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia
Song Saa Private Island sits inside Cambodia’s first marine reserve. From Song Saa Private Island
Promising eco-friendly ethos, Song Saa Private Island is the only luxury resort in the Koh Rong Islands, off the coast of southwestern Cambodia.
Melita and Rory Hunter — the Australian couple who founded the resort — stumbled upon the island about 12 years ago while on a sailing trip.
They purchased the island from a local family, who was keen to sell the islands in order to move back to mainland Cambodia.
One catch? It would need a lot of work. The surrounding marine area was in serious disrepair due to pollution and overfishing.
The Hunters cleaned up the island, installed plumbing, implemented recycling and waste management and, finally in 2007, established Cambodia’s first certified marine reserve.
Stretching across two pretty islands, the resort includes 27 thatched-roofed suites (each designed using driftwood, local stones, and bamboo), a gym, spa, and overwater restaurant, plus easy access to snorkeling and sailing spots around the archipelago.
4. Nihi, Indonesia
There are dozens of island retreats across the sprawling Indonesian archipelago, but Nihi stands out from the crowd.
For starters, it stretches across the island of Sumba — about 250 miles east of Bali — shared with the indigenous Sumbanese people and a few herds of wild horses.
Life at this 567-acre resort consists of full-day “spa safaris” at Nihi Oka Spa, hiking, village visits, fishing, world-class surfing, snorkeling, ping pong, beach cinema, horseback riding, and more.
After a day of adventures, guests will settle down for the night in one of 27 rustic-luxe villas, which feature canopy beds, spacious verandas and views of the Indian Ocean.
5. Turtle Island, Fiji
At Turtle Island Fiji, guests enjoy private beaches and personalized picnic lunches. Kama Catch Me Photography
Owned and operated by the Evanson family, this 500-acre island getaway was the set of “The Blue Lagoon”, released in 1980.
The adults-only address provides all-inclusive luxury mixed with fascinating Fijian cultural experiences.
After a scenic seaplane ride to Fiji’s Turtle Island — in the northwestern Yasawa Islands archipelago — guests are greeted with traditional songs, a glass of bubbly and welcome hugs from staff.
The resort feels like a glorified adult summer camp, with a menu of sporty activities, optional group dinner parties (where you share a table with other hotel guests) and a smattering of cultural experiences — be it choir singing, a kava ceremony (the national drink), or meke dancing.
Days start early with a sunrise horseback ride, Champagne breakfast on the beach or a deep-sea fishing expedition, while leisurely afternoons whisk travelers to private beaches or scuba diving outings.
No matter where you are on the island, you can use a dedicated walkie-talkie to communicate with your Bure Mama (essentially your personal butler) to request a few more hours by the beach or a refill of gin and tonics.
As for food, seafood dinners are usually caught daily (sometimes by hotel guests), while the fresh fruit and vegetables are grown on the island’s expansive gardens.
Furthering its green credentials, the resort aims to be the only 100% solar-powered address in Fiji by this spring.
6. Picnic Island, Tasmania
Off the southern coast of Australia, Tasmania is home to brilliant landscapes, diverse fauna … and a new private island getaway.
Owned by Jane and Clem Newton-Brown, Picnic Island opened in 2017, debuting copper- and wood-clad designs from local architect John Latham.
Five stylish cabins offer front-row seats to Freycinet National Park and the picture-perfect beaches of Wineglass Bay, just across the water.
The hotel itself can host just 10 guests at a time, providing a communal lodge — dubbed the Birdhouse — where travelers can mingle over drinks, meals and warm fires.
Guests may spot lots of exotic animals around the hotel’s grounds, from the resident penguins to whales, dolphins, and seals, depending on the season.
The area’s also ideal for hiking thanks to grassy stretches inland and eerie rock formations along the coast. Meanwhile, those with specific interests can book personalized itineraries, such as fishing weekends or yoga retreats.
To reach Picnic Island, you simply need to hop on a 10-minute water taxi from Coles Bay — on the eastern side of Tasmania — though travelers are also welcome to bring their own boats and moor overnight.
7. Amanpulo, Philippines
Amanpulo delivers unique dining experiences, such as a picnic on a sandspit. From AMANPULO
Not only is Amanpulo among the most luxurious options in the Philippines, it’s also the most exclusive, boasting its own private airstrip.
To reach Aman’s Pamalican Island, travelers usually depart from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Amanpulo Lounge, located at a nearby hangar. From there, the 70-minute-long seaplane journey flies over the Sulu Sea, northeast of Palawan Island.
Around the resort, 42 “casitas” promise a glamorous homebase, complete with sea or jungle views and private pools, while the one- to four-bedroom villas come with dedicated butlers and private chefs.
Once settled in, it’s all powdery white sand beaches and superlative scuba diving (with a PADI dive center on site), tennis, hiking, gourmet dinners, and indulgent spa treatments.
8. Tavanipupu Private Island Resort, Solomon Islands
Dubbed the “last paradise on Earth,” the Solomon Islands overflow with natural beauty.
In the heart of it all sits Tavanipupu Private Island Retreat, off the eastern edge of Guadalcanal island, which can be accessed via a seaplane (from the capital of Honiara to Marau Sound), followed by a quick boat ride.
Tavanipupu is a magnet for honeymooners and VIP travelers: This rustic gem just so happens to be where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent a few days while en route to Australia for the Queen’s Jubilee in 2012.
Looking around, the 13-hectare island feels special and secluded — picture coconut groves, 13 bungalows, rattan furniture and wide verandas overlooking Marau Lagoon.
Guests may choose to dive into the water for some snorkeling or wakeboarding, go sport fishing, bike riding, or kayak around the coastline and then enjoy a private picnic on a sand spit.
The hotel boasts an overwater bar with front-row seats to the stunning sunsets — and the “Royal Bungalow” (named after William and Kate) comes kitted out with an outdoor courtyard shower and a private jetty.
9. Cempedak, Indonesia
At Cempedak in Indonesia, every bungalow has its own plunge pool. From Cempedak
Located miles from civilization, Cempedak is all about the destination — not the journey.
Reaching this private island resort is quite the hike: From Singapore’s Tanah Merah terminal, expect a one-hour ferry, followed by a one-hour taxi ride, then another half-hour ferry.
As you hone in on the island, dramatic crescent-shaped villas rise above the coastline and a collection of striking white boulders bounce light all around.
Each of the 20 bungalows feature plunge pools and ocean views, as well as easy access to the island’s 42-acre white-shell beaches and reefs.
Meanwhile, in the mangroves and rainforests, fauna such as pangolins, hornbills, and monkeys roam free.
Elsewhere around the island, you can indulge in a game of tennis or croquet, go snorkeling, scuba diving, rock climbing, or biking.
10. Vivanta By Taj, Malaysia
Floating off the coast of Langkawi, on Malaysia’s Rebak Island, Vivanta By Taj balances private island mystique with contemporary touches.
Across the 390 acres of natural paradise, guests can enjoy remote beaches, 300-million-year-old forests, coral reefs, and dense mazes of mangroves.
That’s just the beginning: Active types will thrive with tennis, squash, volleyball, yoga, biking and complimentary nature walks at their disposal.
Snorkeling and diving are popular activities, but if you’d love to experience the colorful marine life without diving into the deep, Underwater World Langkawi, back on the main island, showcases both penguins and fur seals.
As for food, travelers can look forward to eight restaurants and bars, as well as several private dining options around the island.
Among the most romantic spots, the Moon Deck is a wooden jetty where couples can enjoy private and personalized dinners overlooking the Senari Straits.
Leave A Reply