If you’re looking for a summer getaway with a purpose, Telunas Beach Resort in Indonesia’s remote Sugi Island is the place for you. Being an eco-resort, it promotes sustainable positive impacts on the environment, local community and economy. Their hope is for you to have a relaxing vacation while reconnecting with what’s important. By Tara Choudhary
To get there, it is a short ferry ride from Singapore to the Sekupang Ferry Terminal in Batam, Indonesia, where the Telunas Malay Boat will take you to the island, escorted by the Telunas‘ staff members the entire time. Once you arrive at Telunas, you will be welcomed graciously and shown around the resort and the beach within it.
During your stay, there are various activities you can do at the resort, all of which are free of charge. Whether you choose to visit the spa, go kayaking, take part in the nature walk, jump 30 feet off the deck into the water, or simply laze around the beach with a cold beverage, Telunas encourages everyone to unwind in their own way. On the surface, the relaxing experience and hospitality will make you feel like you are at any other resort. However, what makes Telunas a class apart is that it takes the ‘eco’ in eco-resort very seriously, all without disrupting the quality of your stay.
By employing over 160 locals from the neighbouring islands, the resort gives jobs to people who would’ve otherwise been subsistence level fishermen. Telunas cares about community needs and development, and regularly carries out surveys within the surrounding villages to understand how best to support their future. It has partnered on projects wide enough to help develop more than 30 villages each year, by putting in over 10,000 hours of volunteering by staff as well as guests at the resort.
As a guest of the resort, it is highly recommended that you take the school and village tour on one of the days during your visit, which is led by staff members, and takes you through a local school and the neighbouring village, where you can experience the culture and interact with locals, as well as volunteer on ongoing development projects such as the painting of the school walls, transport of water to different parts of the village and give English lessons to the village residents. In return for your work, the whole village comes down to greet you, take pictures with you, and gives you celebrity treatment the entire day! You are also invited to a lunch at the school cooked specially by the locals to showcase their best dishes and thank you, while the children and teachers perform traditional dances for you and urge you to join in. The village visit at Telunas is unlike any past experience you would’ve had before, being in the almost unknown Sugi Island territory, and teaches you about the simpler joys in life while leaving you with a sense of accomplishment.
Whether you choose to go on the tour or not, the resort continues its work towards the community and environment throughout the year, by using their profits to provide college scholarships for seven local students every year and giving life-coaching to families on relationship building. Telunas also strives for the reduction of single-use plastics and composts 100% of their organic waste. Additionally, they use an incinerator to reduce harmful pollutants in the air and plant, and maintain over 70,000 square acres of mangroves for carbon footprint reduction every year.
At Telunas, you are guaranteed more than just a fabulous beach getaway on a hidden island, as you return from there a part of a community that conserves and sustains what is important – our planet and people.