We are expected.
There’s a lot of interest in the visitors. They don’t have many on Jang Island.
On the rough jetty between rickety stilt houses, a guard of honour is forming. Kids from the Jang Island school beat out a deafening rhythm on hand drums as our open pancung boat pulls up and we file ashore.
Twenty students, two teachers and a visiting Australian author have come to do a writers’ camp at Telunas Beach Resort
, in Indonesia’s lovely Riau Islands, a couple of hours across the water from Singapore. Each morning we set off on a different adventure. Each afternoon we gather back at Telunas to discuss and write about our experience.
There is never a shortage of material. Continue reading
The archipelago of 3000 islands south of Singapore has become one of my favourite places on the planet. I’ve visited them at least once a year for the past seven years. Continue reading
I was really pleased to read this week that Telunas Beach Resort has been chosen in TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice 2012 awards as the Number 3 in Asia and Number 17 in the world for the ‘All-inclusive Resort’ category.
Watching the sun go down at Telunas Beach.
This is extraordinary when you consider how many resorts there are. Heaps of them. It’s an amazing achievement for a place which started with absolutely nothing but a beach in 2004. I’ve watched it grow since I first went there in 2005, and I am in awe of the work the team have done. Continue reading
Telunas Beach - not a bad office to go to work in.
I’ll be working from my other office for a couple of weeks, and may be out of cybercontact some of the time.
Yes, I really will be working, running writing camps for high school and elementary school students from Singapore. Continue reading
We don’t speak much Indonesian, but we hope we’ll get by with ‘good morning’ (‘selamat pagi’), and ‘thank you’ (‘terima kasi’). It’s always a good start.
One of the highlights of a Telunas Writers’ Camp in the Riau Islands is the day we go with our students to visit one of the local fishing villages. Telunas staff have established relations with local people and contribute to their neighbours through community development projects, helping to build schools and sport facilities, digging wells or drains, even building a mosque in one village.
Just as important is the cultural exchange. These villages have no tourist industry and see few Westerners, so our arrival always causes great curiosity, some wariness and finally much excitement.
This hike is only 50km from Singapore, but it is remote.
My Garmin Edge 500 GPS made the little red line across the map okay, but it’s not following any known road or marked river and even the island itself doesn’t rate a name on Google Maps. The local people call it Sugi, and I was taken there with students from the Swiss School of Singapore, on a trip organised from Telunas Beach Resort. I’ve included the downloadable map below, and to keep you happy till you scroll down to it…here’s the trip in pictures:
As the Riau Island fishermen set out for the morning...
...we zipped past them in rather faster boats.
We turned up the wide river where the locals hunt for crabs...