Sunday, July 8, 2012

Islands Loving

Executive summary by darmansjah

Come Island hopping with us over the next few pages and find your own slice of paradise. By Joyce Huang,Dorek Rodriguest


When a country has more golf courses than MacDonald’s outlets, you know it takes the game seriously. In fact, Bermuda boats a higher density of golf courses than anywhere else. The elevated greens and unparalleled views of the ocean make the courses among the most beautiful in the world.

Tasmania, Australiae 

Though small in stature, Tasmania’s untouched terrain makes it big on natural beauty and adventures in the wild. Explore caves, plunge through rapids, and traverse the wilderness on a mountain bike – all packed in a day if you want, as Tasmania’s compact geography brings all these activities within hours of each other.

Galapagos, Escuador

The Galapagos Islands are nestled on the Equator some 1,000 kilometers west of the South American continent and is an archipelago consisting of 13 main islands and over a hundred other rocks. The islands are famed for their biodiversity; the wildlife that inhabits each island often is unique and cannot be found on the other islands, making island-hopping a never-ending discovery. The Galapagos Islands occupy an environment where cold and warm water converge, resulting in a rich and diverse marine ecosystem. With whale sharks, sea lions, giant manta rays, penguins, dolphins and hammerhead sharks 

From Quito or Guayaquil in Ecuador, several daily flights fly routes to the Galapagos island, landing either on Baltra Island or on San Cristobal island, depending on which tour package you booked.

Finch Bay Eco Hotel promises a fun-filled adventure holiday for its guests with a range of guided excursions and available activities (from US$1,430 for a three-night package;


Scattered off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean. Seychelles is a tropical paradise fit for a prince William to be exact, who spent his honeymoon here. Made up of 115 islands. White sand beaches are pristine, uncrowded and innumerable, leaving sun seekers spoiled for choice. The warm azure water around the islands is teeming in marine life and sunken wrecks providing habitats for barracudas, eels, rays and other fish make perfect underwater exploration sites. If you want to stay dry, the beautiful scenery is an ideal backdrop for horseback riding or walking hand-in-hand.

Emirates ( operates flights to Mahe Island with a single stop-over in Dubai from Singapore and from Kuala Lumpur. In addition, Qatar Airways ( files from Kuala  Lumpur to Mahe Island via Doha.

Located 230 kilometres southwest of Mahe and linked by scheduled flights, Desroches island has a single resort situated on its idyllic shores. Whichever direction you head in with the bicycles provided in your rooms, stunning beaches await (from US$790;

Boracay, Philipines

Formerly a national secret. Bocaray is an island lying 315 kilometers south of Manila. Long beaches with powder fine white sand and crystal clear waters make this the idea island getaway. White Beach, the commercial centre of the island, transforms into a pulsating party hub when the sun sets.


The Fijian archipelago consists of more than 300 islands and is blessed with a spectacular and extensive coral reef system. Below the turquoise waters. Fiji is absolutely bursting with colours. Sharks are recognized as a crucial factor in sustaining the health of the coral reef and many guided dives take you up close to the majestic animals.

Yonaguni, Japan

Yonagun is the westernmost inhabited island of the Yaeyama islands in Okinawa. It is a popular diving destination thanks to the large number of hammerhead sharks that gather during winter. The Yonaguni Mounument, an underwater rock formation off the coast of this island, is known for its mysterious underwater pyramid, consisting of pillars, columns, walls and platforms formed by medium to very fine sandstones and mudstones, closely resembling ancient ceremonial structures.


This island-nation in the South Pacific Ocean is an archipelago of volcano origin and is a decadent escape with balmy breezes and gourmet food. Most importantly, it is the site where the SS President Coolidge, the largest merchant ship and a luxury liner in the US, shipwrecked close to the shore, providing an unparalleled wreck diving experience.

Surin Island, Thailand

An archipelago of five islands in the Andaman Sea and 55 kilometers from Thai mainland. Surin Island boasts a rich, pristine and a very divers coral reef ecosystem. Mu KO Surin National Park, covering the area of these islands and its surrounding waters, is one of the best snorkeling and diving spots in Thailand. Within this park is Richelieu Rock, one of the top 10 diving sites in the world. It is famous for its horseshoe shaped reefs, and a large collection of marine life from small fishes and harlequin shrimp to whale sharks and manta rays. It is also home to over 200 coral species, and  limestone pinnacles of about 50 meters  from the sea floor.

Jetstar airways ( caters flights from Singapore to Phuket international airport. Contact local tour operators in Phuket for transportation to Surin Island.

Park accommodation can be booked online, or approach the mainland national park office in Khuraburi (from US$64;

Molokai, Hawaii

Things you won’t find in Molokai: buildings taller than a palm tree, traffic or traffic lights, mobile phone services and internet. What you will find are Kalaupapa National Historical Park, one of Hawaii most remote settlements, Halawa Valley, the sacred Hawaii Cathedral valley that is blessed with stunning views and towering waterfalls, breathtaking tropical landscapes, unspoiled coastlines, untamed wildness, and a rich and deep Hawaiian traditions and aloha spirit.

Fly Delta Airlines ( from Singapore Changi Airport to Honolulu International Airport with a transit at Narita Airport. Take a 25-minute flight on Hawaiian Airlines ( from Oahu’s Honolulu International Airport Commuter Terminal to Molokai Airport.

Aqua Hotel Molokai is tyled after a Polynesia Village, and offers open-air, oceanfront, and spacious guestrooms ( from US$160

Petit St Vincent, Caribbean

A unique private island with no TV, phones or Internet, this self-contained, verdant paradise offers extraordinary peace and quiet. The 22 newly renovated cottages and villas made of native stone and wood offer stunning views of the island and the southern Grenadines. With pristine beaches and a lovely yoga pavilion facing Coach Bay – it is seclusion and tranquility at its best.

Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji

Named after the well-known story of Robinson Crusoe, this island is a tropical treat. The lost paradise of unspoiled nature is perfect for bird watching and trekking, coupled with scuba diving and other water activities over the clear water. A secluded beach resort, wood and straw huts, and lodges will have visitors indulging in island-style relaxation with reasonable comfort and plenty of quiet time.

Azoers, Portugal

Measured from their base at the bottom of the oceans to their peaks, the mountains of Azores – a volcanic archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean – are actually some of the tallest mountains on the planet. Because these once-remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two countries, their culture, dialect, cuisine and traditions vary considerably.

Kampong Som Island, Cambodia.

Having largely been left offer the radar, the Kampong Som group of islands just a 30 minutes speedboat ride off the west coast of Shinaoukville, Cambodia is an archipelago of untouched tropical islands with white sand beaches, crystal clear water and virgin rainforests. Koh rong, the largest of 22 islands, has seen a number of new accommodation sprung up recently.


Scattered across a corner of the Pacific Ocean, some 800 kilometres east of Philipines, Palau is an archipelago made up of over 250 islands, only about ten of which are inhabited. In all aspects, Palau is incredibly diverse. Most visitors would spend their time underwater gawking at coral reefs, wartime wrecks, hidden caves and tunnels, more than 60 vertical drop offs, and an astonishing spectrum of rare sea creatures. On land the republic embraces Micronesia’s richest flora and fauna. The islands are also home to a most sociable and culturally varied people, with communities of Melanesian, Micronesian, and Austronesian descent mixed with Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Filipino ancestry.

From both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, fly into Manila before connecting to Palau’s main airport just north off Airai on Babeldabo island on United Airlines (

The only resort in Palau featuring a private beach, Palau Pacific Resort features 160 rooms with traditional island décor, a PADI dive centre and an orchid nursery (from US$295;

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