Rebak Island resort offers a secluded, paradisical island experience, encouraging not just rest and relaxation but exploration and togetherness.
Sociable Earth spent 2 days on Rebak Island, taking a break from the sights and sounds of Langkawi’s mainland and discovering the true meaning of hospitality and “me” time albeit with shared family experiences that will remain with us for a long time.
Rebak Island was founded in 1970 by Tok Musang, and he based his family and animals on the island, exploring what it had to offer. He found freshwater along the shoreline and named it Telaga Keriang, which became the entrance to the island adjacent to the Rebak tree which gives the private space its name.
Being the sole hotel on a private island in Langkawi, Rebak Island Resort offers a unique experience that fits perfectly between a retreat, a family holiday and a private getaway. If you want to escape the hustle-bustle of the world, Rebak Island offers a naturistic wonder to enjoy the outdoors while looking within, allowing a serene environment for inflection and relaxation.
Rebak Island Resort is conveniently located a few minutes from the airport, which means you can expect to hear the hum of planes flying overhead at infrequent intervals but not to a largely noticeable degree nor in a manner which disrupts the peace and delights on offer. Upon arrival at Cenang terminal, a picturesque, garlanded arch provides the perfect spot for a photo, complete with a hanging signpost announcing this is where to board for transport to the island. We were welcomed by 4 people from the resort, who greeted us with smiles and took our luggage, which was transported separately to our shared destination. We were asked our name and reservation details before boarding the boat that took us to the island.
Boats are scheduled every 45 minutes to an hour travelling to the island, so there are no shortages of time slots or worries about missing your ride. Relax. That’s what this experience is all about.
During the 10-minute open-air boat ride, as the breeze flowed through our hair, we were greeted with the splendid towering greenery of the Island which looked like a beautiful postcard from Jurassic Park. Cue the iconic John Williams score and you could have your own private adventure! Approaching Rebak Island, it is difficult not to feel a sense of wonder and venturing into the unknown. The sight of it alone awakened an urge to explore and look around, as we were excited to see what the island had to offer.
The boat docks at the marina and a sign lets us know that we’ve arrived: Rebak Island Resort and Marina. The area is full of private boats, reminding us that we have left the land of cars and trains and arrived on an island where the key to bliss is simplicity. We disembarked into a small, canopied buggy which had enough seats for a family of 6-8 people, then were driven through to the reception area in under 5 minutes, passing luscious mangroves on our right.
The reception area is spacious and open, with staff waiting to greet us. As we breathed in the fresh air and looked at the view of what we’d left behind, we were handed a cold towel and an ice-cold guava juice perfecting a refreshing welcome from paradise.
Check in time is 3pm and there’s plenty to do if you arrive early, including taking a walk on the seafront or simply lounging in the covered reception area and soaking up the atmosphere.
We had booked a 2-bedroom suite which had one bathroom, pushing the limit for families of 5 or more, so consider more rooms based on your preferred comfort level. The room itself was quite basic, replete with traditional Malaysian architecture, adding to the cosy and welcoming ambience. Simplicity is a part of the experience as this island is all about nature so having the latest gadgets and distractions would be a travesty, yet should you need to check in with the wider world, each room has a TV and wifi is provided throughout the resort. The dark mahogany furniture adds to the experience and the dim lighting keeps insects away, who are more drawn towards natural light.
The local villas are picturesque with ceiling fans on the ground and top floors, focusing on comfort at every level. The majority of them are sea-facing, looking out at the enticing horizons from sunrise to sunset, inviting each guest to the day ahead.
The island itself is reserved for guests so is secluded and safe, meaning kids can’t wander off anywhere too far and can make the trip from their room to the on-site pool quickly and conveniently. The outdoor pool itself is spacious, surrounded by an array of trees with palm-like branches and greenery, adding to the idyllic retreat. It closes at 11pm and offers a relaxing night-time swim against a horizon of lights and a canopy of stars. If you want to extend the natural experience after dark, then the pool or beachside are the perfect places to do so.
Exploring the island beyond the resort, is a joy to behold. There is a nature walk which takes an hour and allows you to spot insects and animals on pre-planned paths while hiking up and down the forest-like terrain. The island’s tropical delights fill the senses with an aura that is missing in cities due to the high-rise buildings and sounds of a concrete jungle.
On offer here are tall trees, an open sea, flora and fauna unique to the rainforest and a jungle trail that feels dense one moment and then takes your breath away with an awe-inspiring view the next. We were spoilt for choice when picking a favourite part of the trail, but a highlight would be the feeling one gets of solitude and peace, surrounded by branches swaying in the breeze, ripples dancing in the water and a habitat that nurtures all around it.
Along the way, we spotted an abandoned crystal factory, which manufactured crystal blowing but was only operational from 1998 to 2001 due to a lack of sustainability and low demand. While on the walk or even tottering around on the island, we noticed a soothing chirping sound and found this to be coming from the other inhabitants, Cicadas that hide in the trees and greenery and call out to mates during the day and night. Their hissing clicks add to the twilight calls of birds, waking us up with a reminder that we are fully immersed in nature.
There’s also an ATV track, which we didn’t experience due to time constraints, but the tour guide promised it would highlight the more adventurous trails within the tropical rainforest, the beaches and coastal path of the island. It would have photo stops to showcase vegetation, komodo dragons, lizards, otters, birdlife and the island’s 3 secluded beaches: Long Beach, Rocky Beach and Freshwater Beach.
The beaches themselves are not your typical paradisical offerings as you can see the other side of the jetty and buildings obstruct the view slightly, but where the deep blue Andaman sea meets the local shores, it is relaxing and clean, providing the opportunity for us to sit and watch the waters, peer at the open skies, indulge in sun-kissed fruits, build sandcastles or simply read as the sea serenades us with its soothing lullaby. The beach and resort are a very short walk from each other and there are sunbeds laid out for guests to enjoy and soak up the sun and absorb a healthy dose of vitamin D.
At night, the beach puts you at one with nature. It is difficult to describe the inner peace and outward stillness that consumed us as we sat watching the glistening reflection of the moon in the gentle waves, while a sea-tinged breeze caressed our senses.
It is moments like these, that you realise the world is so much more than where you live, what you do and anything you own. It is a wide-open treasure chest of nature and wonder for exploring and experiencing. Sitting on the beach, under a moonlit sky with family is also a humbling lesson in gratitude. The sky above, the sea in front and the earth below, all perfectly aligned not just for beauty but catering to our and a multitude of creatures’ needs simultaneously. In 2 short days, we truly experienced magic at night.
The island also has boat rides between Rebak and Cenang terminal at regular intervals and some island hoppers took advantage of this, venturing out to experience Langkawi during the day and then retreat to the resort in the evening, but for a few short days, we’d recommend staying put and enjoying the island. With hiking, a nature trail, boat experiences, games available at the resort, screenings on the beach (it was Love Boat while we were there) and more, there is always something to do at Rebak Island resort. There is an on-site spa, which we didn’t experience but seemed popular and would require advance booking if you’re seeking a pampering session while here.
The food on-site is a delight. Be it the all-day catering at Senari Sea View restaurant with Malay and continental dishes on offer or the breakfast buffet and a la carte menu, food fuses with fun and sensation at Rebak Island Resort. The morning buffet had everything from eggs, sausages, pancakes, steamed pau, Roti John (a French loaf omelette sandwich topped with minced meat), pastries and bread rolls with jams and spreads to cakes, muffins, salads and cereals. Fresh fruit and juices were also available alongside tea and coffee.
For lunch and dinner, there is a variety of culinary delights on offer. A chef delighted in showing us how he prepared some Char Kway Teow, giving tips on how to make it just right. He enjoyed talking about what he was doing and encouraging us to try it once his creation was complete. As expected, it tasted divine.
There was also a Malaysian fish curry and crabs on offer, vegetable stew, roast chicken, squid turmeric, prawns, purple potatoes with falafels, pasta, Chinese fried rice, Tom Yum soup in addition to an array of salads. Desserts included traditional Malaysian offerings such as Ice Kacang and Sago Gula Melaka as well as favourites like chocolate mud pie, mousse and cheese pie.
We tried a Malaysian barbecue buffet which was a delight for the senses and could see our food freshly prepared by friendly chefs who were happy to explain what they were doing. We got to see raw ingredients chopped, flavoured, cooked, fried and presented to perfection, providing us with a feast for all the senses. We smelled the aroma of sizzling hot food, were dazzled as raw vegetables came alive with colour, heard the crackle and oozing of every juicy chicken piece as it was cooked to succulent tenderness, then tucked into a delicious meal that we had seen joyfully prepared before our eyes.
All the food is Halal and the entire island is family-friendly with activities appealing to all. We’d recommend getting half-board or even full-board when booking, freeing up time to explore the island without having to worry about food. This will ensure that breakfast, lunch and dinner are covered as well as discounts on other services.
Each day, we woke up, ate while enjoying the island’s air, went to the beach and relaxed or took a walk then returned to the pool and ate some more. It did rain a little during our stay and there were a few drizzles during evening meals, but nothing disruptive that would spoil the experience. Nature was all around us and youngsters were detached from their gadgets as they sought to experience the true outdoors that would give them something to remember the island by. It’s easy to spend an entire day on the island and Rebak Island Resort provides a getaway where you can cut off from the world and reconnect with yourself and nature.
If you visit Malaysia, be sure to make time for Rebak Island Resort and Marina, the jewel of the region that keeps you in one secluded place and takes you away all at once. A perfect getaway, a break from the hustle-bustle of life and an opportunity to reflect, look within and connect with nature. Rebak Island simply has it all.
SE Staff Writer.