The Most Beautiful and Heavenly Island of Indonesia- Bawah Reserve
“Paradise Found,” is how World Travel Magazine once praised Bawah Reserve. This resort is situated on an uninhabited island, with the surrounding ocean planned as the marine conservation based on the concept of co-prosperity with the ocean. These overwhelming ocean views are carefully preserved to share with more travelers.

PhotoChi-Hao, Wei

TextBecky Tu

Bawah Reserve is situated on the Anambas Islands within the Riau Province of Indonesia, an uninhabited island floating between the Malay Peninsula and Borneo that is only 3 hours of flight from Singapore. There are over 250 islands in this region but the traces of development only covered 25 of them.

There are 6 islands, 3 lagoons, and 13 beaches distributed in this peaceful region of Bawah Reserve. Tim Hartnoll – founder of Bawah Reserve and Singapore aviation giant fell in love with this beautiful scenery at first sight and spent 5 years completing the design of 36 guest houses on the island. The Reserve was opened in the summer of 2017, which not only was titled the “Maldives of Indonesia” but also ranked by CNN as the “Asia’s Top Five Paradise Islands.” Now, let’s follow photographer Chi Hao Wei and Ruo-Jia Kung, the founder of the Yii Cultural Enterprise, and see how they enjoy this secret gateway of tranquility and casualty at this heavenly island of paradise.

Heaven Close at Hand
The story of Bawah Reserve starts with founder Tim Hartnoll. After he bought this island, he did not go into the large scale of construction immediately but cooperated with the government to build a marine conservation area, prohibiting fishing and anchoring in the surrounding area to protect the peripheral corals, fish, and terrestrial animals. This action expanded the diversity and valuable landscape of the entire ecosystem. Moreover, Singaporean architect Sim Boon Yang did not use any heavy machinery as the construction of the reserve but used the recycled copper, driftwood, bamboo, and rocks from the local region as the building materials. The design is simple, pragmatic, and co-existent with the environment. This secluded gateway was built step by step in 5 years of time. Furthermore, there are also waste recycling and water filtering systems established to deploy the concept of environmental protection in the Reserve using glass containers and solar power vehicles.

Bawah Reserve features accommodation including the tented garden suite, tented beach suite, overwater bungalow, tree house, and pool villa, where the various looks of the ocean can be appreciated. The magnificently sparkling ocean, the grant coral reefs and outlying islands, the primitive relaxation from embracing the jungles or watching the touching sunrise and sunset sceneries, will all become unforgettable memories of wonder.


The interior design of rooms adopts wooden furniture and water-tone ocean views and jungle murals in response to the inconceivable ocean views and natural sceneries outside the window. The engraved bamboo chandelier of the villa and the Southeast Asian bamboo partitions and decorations in the bathroom are all handmade by Indonesian artists and professionals. These works may look plain on the outside but they carry that cozy handmade texture to warm up the hearts of the travelers.



You can arrange for various non-motorized water activities, including diving, kayaking, and lagoon yachting. Or, you can simply take a walk, watch outdoor movies, stargaze, and even just space out to enjoy that purest happiness of nature.


More fantastic photos are collected in Guest, published by Readingtimes.com.

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