One Wednesday evening, my friends and I decided that it was time for a sunny beach getaway. The impromptu decision meant that none of us had very much time to prepare for one; there was no time to get in shape or save a decent amount of money. So rather than look to faraway paradise islands such as the Maldives, we looked a little closer to home. There were, of course, the usual suggestions: Bintan, Bali and Phuket.
Bintan was too crowded, we decided; we were going smack in the middle of June, which meant that kids too were being whisked away to exotic destinations by their globetrotting parents. With a budget of less than $200 per person, Bali and Phuket were definitely out of the question.
At last, we settled for Desaru, Malaysia, which at a glance is a perfect beach weekend getaway for Singaporeans. It’s easy to get to and more importantly it’s affordable. An idyllic beach town in Johor, it promises its visitors a host of activities, including snorkelling, surfing, fishing and to my delight, eating.
Booking a 2D1N Desaru Tour Package
Actually booking the trip to Desaru, however, was tricky. Konsortium Express & Tours offered us a simple solution: a package inclusive of accommodation (1 night at The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort) and land and sea transfer for $128/pax.
However, after confirming our details, the agent informed us that the package was “fully booked”.
Undeterred, I decided to do the bookings myself. Contrary to what Konsortium said, The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort had rooms available for our chosen night and I was able to book a triple-sharing room for one night for $172.
For our land and sea transfer, we contacted the Desaru Fruit Farm Tour & Travel (6535-8686), who arranged our ferry tickets and land transfer to the resort from the ferry terminal. The sea transfer was $38/pax (2-way) and the land transfer cost an additional $20/pax (2-way).
How to get to Desaru by Ferry
Note that the ferry departs from Changi Ferry Terminal, not the Changi Ferry Point Terminal (taxi drivers often confuse the two). Be sure to inform your taxi driver that you’re going to the ferry terminal near the SAF Ferry Terminal, along Nicoll Drive.
- Changi Ferry Terminal – To Desaru (Phone:6546 8518)
- Changi Point Ferry Terminal (besides Changi Village) – To Pulau Ubin and Penarang
- Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal – To Batam and Bintan
- HarbourFront Ferry Terminal – To Batam
Arrive at the Changi Ferry Terminal an hour prior to your departure time; the ferry departs everyday at 0930, 1230, 1700 and 2000. Be sure to load up on snacks and drinks for the 30-minute ride as no refreshments are provided. Passengers are allowed to sit on the ferry deck, which I found far more comfortable than the stuffy indoor seating.
After a 30-minute ferry ride, we proceeded to take a van to The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort, which fortunately, lived up to its reputation for being the premier hotel of the region. Read our review of the Pulai Desaru Beach Resort here.