The Island Pulau Tengah, meaning "middle island" in the local Malay language, is set in the protected Johor Marine Park off the east coast of Mersing, Johor, Malaysia - approximately 130km north of Singapore. The uninhabited island boasts seven pristine white sand beaches, translucent waters and vibrant coral reefs as well as coconut groves and tropical heath forest at its interior.
Pulau Tengah has a rich and varied history. From 1975 to 1981, the island was home to over 100,000 Vietnamese "Boat People" when it was a UN Refugee Counsel Transit Camp for refugees waiting to start their new lives in Europe, Australia and North America. From 1998 to 2010, Pulau Tengah was used to film Expedition Robinson, a highly popular Swedish reality TV show which was the predecessor to the island castaway series Survivor.
Seven deserted beaches, an amazing chef, and eco-luxury beach front villas – you need to add the newest eco-luxe private island resort, Batu Batu, to your travel bucket list. The boutique resort has 22 generously proportioned villas, each with a large four-poster king bed shrouded in a stunning (and useful) mosquito net. Some of these rooms also came with a very handy ‘annex’ room with two bunk beds – perfect for kids.
The beaches are also a stand-out. Think white sand, clear blue water – and all absolutely deserted! Accompanied by a simple and relaxed vibe from the owners and the staff, we think we might have found our Malaysian holiday address.
If you’re an activities-buff, there’s excellent reef diving along with reef shark swimming and turtle-watching – all this alongside pristine deserted beaches and a freshwater pool, of course.