Bawah Reserve, Indonesia



Insider Journey

Personal Travel Designer Stephanie Carthy travelled to Bawah Reserve, set amid Indonesia’s Anambas Archipelago. On paper it looks like an idyllic paradise – what was Steph’s verdict?

Getting to Bawah Reserve, set amid Indonesia’s Anambas Archipelago, is all part of the adventure, especially the last leg. A 90-minute flight on a private amphibious aircraft gave us an incredible perspective of the six picturesque islands that make up Bawah Reserve, enveloped by three sapphire lagoons and an astonishing 13 beaches. From our bird’s eye view it was already clear how pristine Bawah is – translucent waters and no over built habitation – a hidden paradise.

"An off-grid tropical fantasy done in the utmost ‘barefoot’ taste. I’d go back in a heartbeat."

Bawah Reserve, Indonesia

Settling In

Choosing to stay in a beachside bungalow (although there is overwater, jungle or garden accommodation too) meant a more private abode, nestled in foliage which opened out onto its own perfect section of beach. The design is very natural with lots of bamboo used, as it’s natively grown and easily replenishable – very much in keeping with the resort’s high sustainability standards. Thoughtful touches in the room include snorkelling gear, cotton ponchos, beach bags, sun hats and flip flops. It really feels as though they’ve thought about how to enhance the guest experience.


Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
Bawah Reserve, Indonesia


"All food is included in your room rate so your holiday is guaranteed to be stress-free."

It was lovely to wander down the gorgeous beach to The Boat House, where swing chairs hang invitingly, a perfect spot for a sandy-toes lunch. The food was excellent, highlights being mahi-mahi ceviche, mouth-watering Indonesian specialities such as Nasi Goreng, plus an innovative goat’s cheese magnum that was out of this world.

Bawah Reserve, Indonesia


The resort’s eco credentials are sky-high and it was inspiring to see a light footprint throughout the resort, from driftwood furniture and the use of solar energy, to re-using water and the establishment of the Bawah Foundation, which helps channel funds back into the community.

The spa was a temple to tropical wellness and with a treatment included in your stay every day, there’s no reason not to completely succumb to it. Treatments range from sea salt scrubs to massages with locally sourced Ayurvedic oils. Bawah’s lovely staff really focus on the little details too – including making sure my favourite ice-cream was waiting for me after my treatment.


Bawah Reserve, Indonesia


It was easy to get around and explore the island. Just metres from the beachfront bungalows is the clear-as-gin sea, full of parrotfish, clownfish and turtles. There’s a breathtaking lookout point which you can get to via a jungle pathway bursting with butterflies, lizards and ancient trees. See-through kayaks were also available to paddle to the nearby islands of the archipelago, or you can join one of the daily guided trips to the outer reef.


Bawah Reserve is a firm favourite. Although just 90 minutes by seaplane from Singapore, the location is remote, exclusive and utterly beautiful, and feels very private. It’s an off-grid tropical fantasy done in the utmost ‘barefoot’ taste. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

Bawah Reserve, Indonesia

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