Rawa Island : My Bittersweet Review

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This post is gonna help y'all who're thinking of going to Rawa Island, Johore. This is my utmost unbiased and honest review of my recent trip to the island.

My hubby and I had been planning to travel there 2 months prior. There're only two accommodations on the island; Rawa Island Resort and Alang Rawa. We decided to go for Rawa Island Resort because it has the waterslide that you've been seeing in all of Rawa Island catalogs. Plus I like how the rooms look like based on other travelers' pics on TripAdvisor. I've been searching for the most affordable package online. But so far, the official Rawa Island Resort booking site has the least price. So I made my booking there and a one-night stay at Timotel Hotel, Mersing.

The boat from Mersing Jetty to the island departs at 10am and 12pm everyday. Hence, there's no way we could make it in time from KL. That's why we chose to leave a day early and stay overnight in Mersing.

The expenditure (hotels alone)

Timotel Hotel: 
~ 1 Standard Double Room = RM 180 (breakfast included for 2 pax)

There're many hotels in Mersing so dont worry. It's just one night. You can choose to sleep in the car if you want. Or if you're hardcore enough, just leave at 4am and you'll definitely arrive by 10pm. The trip from KL to Mersing took us about 4 hours.


Rawa Island Resort:
~ Beachview Room for 4D3N = RM  4,460.00 (including boat transfer, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for 2pax)

Of course, the room rates may vary according to what type of room you're getting. I chose beachview because I want quick access to the beach. Just three steps and I'm in the water.

Day 1

After breakfast, we headed out to the jetty, which is like 15 minutes walk from the hotel. Of course, I wouldnt waste my energy walking and carrying the luggage, so we used the hotel's shuttle van instead. It's very convenient.

Before departing, we've gotta check in at Rawa Island Resort Reservation Office at the jetty. The office also has a parking space so you can leave your car there but you need to pay RM18 per day, even if you're their guest. Talking about a major rip off. Not only do you have to pay thousands per night, but now you've gotta pay extra just for parking? No thanks. Being Asian, I'm a complete cheapskate and that was the point where I started to hate this resort.
** Hate count = 1 **

While waiting for the boat, I managed to catch some Pokemon's. Mersing Jetty is a pokestop too, ya know.  The boat ride to the island took less than 30 minutes. On stepping out of the boat, I had my camera ready. So here is my first shot of Rawa Island on our first day:

View from the room

We arrived just in time for lunch.  We had our bags delivered to our room right away, so no need to bring 'em yourself. Everything was very efficient. I was starting to like the place but it didnt last long.  After lunch, we decided to check out what activities the could offer.

Well, they have a snorkeling and scuba trip but this is the part that totally irked me. For the snorkeling trip, the price is charged per boat. So the total is RM 750 per boat. Are you f**king kidding me? Back in Perhentian Island, it was only RM40 per pax. So if there's nobody to tag along, you've gotta pay the full amount yourself. For the scuba trip, you need to pay in Singapore Dollar because the company that handles the activity is from Singapore. It costs SGD 150 per pax. So you guess what I did? I just walked out there and never looked back. Snorkeling by the beach for 3 days is fine with me then.
** Hate count = 2 **

Here's the thing. I dont mind spending money if it's really worth it. But from what I see, this resort is an amateur when it comes to water activity. They're excellent in terms of hospitality but apart from that, dont count on it. Just browse and read about the island. There's not much you can do there. It's a private island, so it was meant for you to stay there and leave when the time comes. 

That afternoon, around 5pm we headed to the beach. Yes, the water was as beautiful as it was claimed. But underwater, it's a different story. Being animal lover, all I care is the marine life. I wanna see beautiful fish and corals to match the beautiful water of the island. But again, I was disappointed.

As you can see from the video here, most of the corals were dead. They looked like plain rocks and so pathetic. There were fish but not a lot, compared to Perhentian Island. Yes they're colorful but those are all the fish you can see.
** Hate count = 3 **

The water was very shallow that afternoon and it was very difficult to swim. My husband wounded his toes after accidentally hitting the corals because the water level was too low. After asking the staff there, we learned that the high tide happens at noon until 3pm. During the high tide is the best time to swim so you can tread the water easily and swim further. So forget everything you learn in science class about the moon affecting the tide because Rawa Island tide defies the law of physics. Who in their right mind, is willing to swim under the scorching hot sun and risks getting skin cancer? So yeah, unless you dont mind getting roasted like a duck, I suggest you layer up on that sunblock.
** Hate count = 4 **

When night comes, there's not so much you can do. There's no TV in the room BTW. The WiFi connection was so poor so you can forget about watching YouTube. After dinner, we just strolled along the beach, caught some Pokemon's and went straight to bed.

Day 2

My mood was uplifted because I couldnt wait to jump into the water. So we headed to the beach around 10am. The water was beginning to rise and so did the temperature. Oh remember that waterslide you see on Rawa Island photos, you can only use it during the high tide. Otherwise you'd be landing on the sand and might injured your butt. lol

Here are some  pics and vids on the second day:

Yes, the water was so clear. This pic was taken at noon. So prepare to get roasted.

The infamous water slide of Rawa Island

There's a trail leading to the top of the hill

View from the top

Day 3

( Same shit. I forgot what I did 'coz this post was 1 year past overdue. I decided to post this anyway 'coz I'm going for another island trip next week. Cant wait! )

In conclusion, I definitely wont be going back to Rawa Island. Well, some folks would think differently but this is my honest review about it. Either you like it or nah.