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Rawa Island is a coral island off the east coast of Johor, just about 16 km or approximately 30 minutes by boat from Mersing town. It is located within the archipelago that dots Johor Marine Park. Other islands in the marine park include Aur Island (Pulau Aur), Dayang Island (Pulau Dayang), Pemanggil Island (Pulau Pemanggil), Tinggi Island (Pulau Tinggi), Sibu Island (Pulau Sibu), and Besar Island (Pulau Besar), among others.
Rawa Island – rawa, the local term for white doves, abundant on the island – is popular with local and Singaporean tourists who come to enjoy its relatively unspoiled white sandy beaches, for snorkeling and also for fantastic scuba diving. Nearby islands include Tiger Island (Pulau Harimau) and Mensirip Island (Pulau Mensirip). There is a daily ferry service from Mersing to Rawa Island. During peak season from April to October, there are lot of ferries and speed boats moving between Mersing and Rawa, but during the off season there will be just one or two rides per day. Additionally, take note that most of the boats operated by the larger ferry companies often head directly to Tioman Island and as such, visitors will need to inform the personnel at the counter prior to boarding so that the boat captain will re-work the course and drop you off at Rawa Island en route. Boat or ferry fares usually cost anywhere between RM30 to RM35 for a one way journey. From afar, Rawa Island looks like a massive boulder due to its barren rock face that lacks towering vegetation. Arriving at the boat jetty, it is not unusual to hear pleasant gasps from disembarking passengers. The water is amazingly clear at Pulau Rawa, and as expected, the powdery sands never fail to impress.
Rawa is a relatively small island. There are no proper roads, only a few walkways. One side of the island is a beach covered with pure white sand, while the other side is a rocky vertical cliff. The water is clear and there are many fascinating creatures to enjoy such as colourful fishes, squids, jellyfish, octopuses, Malayan sea eagles, and numerous reptiles. The waters surrounding Rawa Island is home to an abundance of corals and Blacktip reef sharks can be found feeding around it.
There is only one sandy beach on this small island. Hiking the trail, visitors will stumble upon a stunning vista point that commands the view of the beautiful beach. From here, visitors can gaze to the opposite side of the island which is dotted by steep cliffs and boulder rocks. If the sea is calm you may want to rent a canoe and paddle around Rawa Island, for a different view of the island, including cliffs and caves on the eastern coast. The eastern coast, however, should be avoided in bad weather as there is no safe harbour on this side of the island and waves and wind may push you towards open sea.
Rawa Island is truly what dreams are made of – palm fringed secluded white beaches, warm sunlight shining through cool clear lagoon where fish dart and swim in never ending circles. Pulau Rawa hosts two resorts – Rawa Safaris Island Resort and Le Club Rawa. The former is fast becoming an international-class resort with appealing room selections and fashionable architecture, while the latter chooses to remain laid back in nature with minimal trappings for non-discerning guests. Rawa Island is a truly magical gem of an island and is highly recommended to those seeking the ultimate island paradise.
There are many caves for exploration and offshore coral reefs rich with marine life for visitors to experience – and that’s not all. There is plenty more to do on Rawa Island from snorkeling just off the western beaches and swimming in the clear blue waters, fishing, canoeing, sailing and wind-surfing right down to a refreshing game of beach volleyball. There is never a dearth of activities to participate in on Rawa Island – visitors will find the island a fun-filled and exquisite real-life-fantasy getaway.