An eco-reserve in a little visited Indonesian
archipelago hosts the ultimate private haven.
One of the most exciting aspects of my job as a photographer are all the new experiences I am fortunate enough to enjoy. Most recently, this was flying in a seaplane 160 nautical miles (300km) northeast of Singapore to the brand new luxury eco-retreat, Bawah Reserve, situated in Indonesia’s remote 255-island Anambas Archipelago. The 90-minute flight from Batam’s International Airport took place in a 12-seater amphibious Twin Otter 300 seaplane helmed by two convivial barefoot pilots who set the tone for my 72 hours at this tropical private haven.
Writer Grace Ma and I traveled to Bawah — which sits adjacent to the famed 6 million-square-kilometer Coral Triangle, home to “76% of the of the world’s coral species and the most coral reef fish diversity on the planet” — to create a cover feature for the August 2018 issue of Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia. It was a brilliant few days where we split our time between photographing the eco-resort’s luxe accommodation, exploring the islands dense jungles and breathtaking vistas and interacting with the formerly nomadic Mengkait sea gypsies who were fishing in the “clear turquoise waters, blue lagoons and coral reefs…[in] this pristine and previously uninhabited marine conservation area”.
Read all about our adventures on this tiny island oasis below, as well as browse a small collection of my unpublished photography from my time on beautiful Bawah.