Right after my first overseas holiday since the pandemic, I contracted Covid. The irony is not lost on me, but this is why I finally have so much time (and no excuses) to log onto my WordPress to update this blog.
Maintaining a travel blog during the pandemic, when most travels were not allowed, was challenging. But that is merely an excuse, because I had stopped writing regularly since 2017. I was jaded from all the moving across continents and travelling, and simply did not have anything to say about my trips anymore.
On hindsight, I realised it was probably because I took travelling for granted. It somehow lost its charm and excitement after so many years and because back then, it was so easy. After all, I could always hop on a plane whenever I wanted right? And in the second half of 2019, I was flying almost every other week for work. It was exhausting, and I started to hate travelling.
It took two years of not being able to cross the borders, of missing my family and friends abroad and being stuck in a small island, that I swore to myself, that I would never take travelling for granted anymore.
So for my first overseas holiday since the pandemic, I intended to make the most out of it. Sure, it was just driving across the straits to Malaysia, and sure it was only for a long weekend, but hey, all the better to ease myself in to travelling again, right?
Our destination was Rawa, an island just 20 minutes by ferry (or rather, speed boat) from Mersing. It’s very accessible from Singapore, and I’m really surprised that not many people have heard of the place.
And if you haven’t been to Rawa, it is a dream for beach lovers. Especially after you have been deprived of pristine beaches for two years. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I’m not even a beach person.
The first impression I got upon seeing the island from our speed boat was how idyllic it was. Beach huts lined along white sands and sea water so clear you could see through to the corals and the small fish. It was exactly how Disney would picture such a place in its movies.
There are only two resorts on the island (it is very small) – the more upscale Rawa Island Resort and the more budget Alang’s Rawa. We stayed at the latter.
Alang’s Rawa exceeded all my expectations. To be fair, I expected very little – no air conditioning in the room, no clean water and mediocre food. While the no-clean-water portion was unfortunately true, they apparently upgraded the rooms during the pandemic and installed AC, which is a very welcome addition.
And the food was delicious. I had been disappointed with resort food previously (I’m looking at you, a certain resort in Bintan!) because some resorts thought they could get away with serving non tasty food and charging exorbitant prices since their guests are practically stuck inside.
But Alang’s Rawa saw it differently. Meals are included in the price when you book the room, and boy they did not disappoint. Every meal, we were served with a generous spread of dishes. It’s nothing fancy, but it had some local dish, potatoes (in many different forms, and all were excellent), seafood, pasta, rice, bread with delicious garlic butter… Alang’s Rawa certainly won in the little details and their earnestness to serve their guests.
Apart from eating (which is important), you can expect to do what you can do on a beach holiday – lounging on bean bags for many hours of the day, hiking, doing water sports, and watching the sunset while having Pina Colada.
It definitely was a holiday to remember, not only because it was my first real holiday outside Singapore, but also for my travel company, the beautiful island and the resort.
Prior to this trip, I was nervous to travel again. In a world where, just not too long ago, it was dangerous to step outside our house, the idea of travelling and all of its uncertainties were unnerving. It was as if I had forgotten having those muscles that I used to think on my feet and just enjoy the misadventures that come with travelling.
But after this small trip, I’m ready. Heck, I even contracted Covid right after, which was probably the worst case scenario all things considered. Just like paddleboarding, when I needed to fall into the water to feel brave enough to stand up, perhaps this was what I needed. A small taste of what could happen, to realise that braving through it is so, so worth it. Travelling, is so worth it.
Things to note about Alang’s Rawa Resort:
- It is a budget resort, so don’t expect luxury. Room is basic but decent with air conditioning.
- Bring ear plugs. It is a party resort. When we stayed there, there was loud music playing well into early hours of the morning.
- Drinks are charged to your room number. Do check the bill at the end since they don’t have a sophisticated system to record the orders, and there are often errors. Also, just brace yourself when finding out how much you spend.
- Bring a supply of fresh water (we just bought big bottles from the petrol station in Mersing).
- The resort prices cover the ferry to and from Mersing and meals (not snacks).