When she was just a girl she expected the world
But it flew away from her reach
So she ran away in her sleep and dreamed of
Para-para-paradise, para-para-paradise, para-para-paradise
Every time she closed her eyes
The sound of the splashing water was in the background, but my mind had numbed at the beauty I beheld before me. D was climbing out of the ferry that had just deposited us to Rawa Island Resort, and my first thought was, “this is perhaps what heaven looks like in my world”.
N1 (My bossy girl) was skipping ahead of us, snapping photos of possibly one of the best beaches of Malaysia, her camera quick to capture the clear blue sky and bright blue sea, the jewel-like colors overwhelming. At that moment, I was staring, every thought I had had the day before, of leaving Malaysia and going back, completely out of my head, my entire being suddenly lost somewhere out there in the horizon, where the fishes swam peacefully with reef sharks skipping about.
After reaching Rawa Island Resort, a three hour journey from the Johor Bahru Airport, we were carried over to Rawa Island via Mersing in a ferry, my plan was to snorkel out into the coral reefs situated about 50-60 metres away from the beach. You also have the option to hike up to the top of the island for a 360 degree view of the area, or dive (with the help of a diving company (Orca Scuba) that can be arranged when you are making the booking, or after you reach.
One may pick from the different rooms available at the Rawa Island Resort – there are beachfront chalets, conveniently facing the sea, waterfront bungalows that overlook the water, a set of private villas, and hillside rooms that are slightly above the sea level and offers a beautiful view of the ocean. I shared my room with R and we got a hillside room with a balcony opening out to a slightly obscure view of the sea.
The decor of the room we had been given was vaguely colonial, with one double and one single bed. I picked out the single bed to sleep, and it was rather comfortable for me. Water is slightly scarce, so the bathroom has cautions attached, to not use more water than required, and a slightly old-looking geyser heated up enough water for me and R to bathe in, and also wash our dirty swimsuits, post which, we hung them outside on the balcony to dry out.
After lunch, the first thing that we needed to do was to find a spot to relax, and I found a hammock which I sort of crawled into, with the help of N1 and N2, and then I sort of, might have, passed out for a while. But when the sun is shining, a balmy sea breeze blowing your way, and the final pages of the book in your hand remain unread, all you want to do is peacefully conk off.
I had no energy to walk up to the top of the hills to see the island, but N1 and B did, and they reported back that it was magical. I walked towards the beachfront bungalows, and got chased by peacocks on my way back.
I’m not kidding.
Rawa Island has a magnificent beach, with white sand, blue-green water, and a coral reef that’s so close that it begs to be explored. I had to dive off and swim to see for myself, and it was magical. I swam with schools of fishes, and might have spotted a reef shark (highly likely, because the following day I DID see a couple of reef sharks swimming around the marina, and took videos of it too). N2 thought he had seen a Manta Ray, but, it might not have been one.
Rawa Island Resort has multiple room options to pick from. The best thing to do would be to book directly through their website, and see the available packages. There are discounts provided during off-season, and I would strongly suggest checking them out before making your plan. Packages generally include three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), and alcohol can be purchased from the bar/restaurant. You will also probably have to pay for the boat transfer to/from Mersing, and as timings are restricted, you would have to be on time to get to the islands.
We had lunch, dinner, and breakfast, and the food was a combination of Malay and continental fare, served in the restaurant, buffet-style. I liked the fact that there were plenty of options to pick from, and a salad bar.
As the day slowly rolled towards its end, the sky darkened slowly. I was sitting alone, my feet dangling into the ocean, thoughts scattered into a million pieces and perhaps deep into the blue of the sea. A lone man was struggling with a bucket, dragging and pulling it towards the jetty where a boat was waiting for him.
As the day melted into darkness, I saw the boat pull away languidly into the ocean. I couldn’t help but appreciate the song in my head, the one reverberating and echoing into the approaching darkness. One word stood out.
And it was to me at that moment.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited by AirAsia to go to Johor Bahru. However, her experience is based on her own trips as well, and her opinions are in no way biased in any manner. Thank you Tourism Johor Bahru for arranging the fabulous stay at Rawa Island Resort. #VacayWithAirAsia #AirAsia