A private island resort with an eco heart

As the only resort on Tengah island off the coast of Johor, Batu Batu’s wooden villas and eight private beaches are a sunseeker’s dream.

But this isn’t just another good-looking holiday destination. This pristine piece of paradise in the South China Sea also serves as a refuge for endangered Green and Hawksbill turtles, a centre for environmental conservation and a model of responsible tourism.

THE DIFFERENCE YOU MAKE

Be a guest at Batu Batu Resort – a stay supports important conservation work on the island. In 2019, about 10 per cent of Batu Batu’s profits went towards funding Tengah Island Conservation, which has a team of five full-time marine biologists and environmental scientists stationed on the island.

Alternatively, adopt a turtle nest, or make a donation to Tengah Island Conservation.

Batu Batu also practices and champions sustainable tourism practices:

  • Low-density development (just 22 villas) to limit human population on the island

  • No disposable toiletries/single-use items (shower gel, shampoo, conditioner are in large refillable bottles; no toothbrush, shower cap, cotton buds)

  • No single-use plastics (no plastic bottles; glass bottles and glasses provided)

  • Solar panels that will fulfil 30 per cent of the resort’s energy needs 

  • Water treatment systems to treat sewage (so no dirty water is discharged into the sea)

  • Weekly recycling – all recyclable items are sent by boat to Mersing’s Clean & Happy Recycling 

  • An organic garden that supports guest and staff kitchens

The team has also opened KakakTua in Mersing town. KakakTua is a guesthouse, cafe and community space that aims to grow local appreciation for the town’s unique heritage, and eventually encourage them to develop initiatives to help Mersing’s tourism scene thrive.

 

Meet Cher and Zam of Batu Batu, and Poo Ker of Clean & Happy Recycling

Getting there

Batu Batu is located on Pulau Tengah, a 20-minute boat ride from Mersing. The resort arranges return boat transfers for guests at RM150 per adult and RM100 per child (as of 2020). There is no charge for children under four years old.

Mersing is a four-five hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, and about 2.5 to three hours’ drive from Singapore. Travel times will be longer if traffic conditions are poor. The nearest airport is Johor Senai Airport, about 135km away.

Batu Batu does not arrange land transportation for guests but they do have a list of taxi companies recommended by previous guests. It also provides a list of parking locations for those who drive themselves. Details can be found on its FAQ page.

Traveller's notes

A stay at Batu Batu may challenge conventional expectations of its five-star price tag. Bring your own toothbrush and shower cap, as disposable toiletries are not provided.

Beachfront villas along Sunrise Beach are guest favourites. Direct beach access, more privacy, and they come with a spacious annexe.

Poolside villas  are suitable for larger groups, but note that the toilet and shower facilities are fully outdoors and might not be comfortable for some.

Jungle villas will involve climbing a few flights of stairs.

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