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Paradise Island Isn’t Just a Fantasy

UK-based Claire Seager and Ajay Barai are fulfilling the dreams of travellers who are seeking a truly unspoilt paradise holiday destination. The couple runs the exotic Bagus Place Retreat ( on Tioman Island, Malaysia, which is best known for featuring in the classic film ‘South Pacific’. A well kept secret until now, the Retreat is a must-visit for discerning holidaymakers who want to sample South East Asia at its most atmospheric.
Tioman Island is located off the east coast of Malaysia, a mere 30 minute plane journey from Singapore. A paradise worthy of celluloid history, Tioman Island is mountainous with craggy peaks and its slopes are carpeted in lush tropical forest which drops down to white sandy beaches and crystal clear sea. Excellent for diving, snorkelling,  jungle trekking, honeymooning, nature watching or simply relaxing, Tioman was once voted ‘one of the world’s top 10 most beautiful islands’ by TIME magazine.

Built and managed by Claire and Ajay, Bagus Place Retreat is the new Tioman experience, offering a refreshing alternative to the chain hotel or backpacker huts on the west coast of the island. Open since 2004, the retreat is the product of Claire and Ajay’s own travel experiences.

Claire says: “We’ve done a lot of travelling and we picked up lots of clues along the way about what makes a great holiday - and what doesn’t!  We’ve created Bagus Place as somewhere we would love to stay.”

Bagus Place ticks all the boxes a responsible traveller would insist upon: all waste is recycled or disposed of responsibly and all construction material is sustainably sourced. The buildings are architect designed to blend into the environment. There are no roads on Tioman and only when the boat reaches the jetty do visitors get their first glimpse of the chalets, nestling in the trees.

Bagus Place offers two large chalets, each of which has two double bedrooms, a lounge and bathroom and can sleep up to five. The furnishings are comfortable and modern, reflecting diverse Asian cultures. Guests can enjoy stunning views of the turquoise waters just below the chalets.


The accommodation is remarkably flexible and is comfortable for a couple, a group of friends or a family. Kids will love paddling in the shallow waters, building sandcastles and spotting the wildlife - regular visitors include crabs, turtles, bats, monkeys and monitor lizards!

Holidays at Bagus Place are fully inclusive and prices are reasonable. All meals, soft drinks, pick-ups and local trips are included. The restaurant serves home cooked Asian and Western food and a well stocked bar means guests can enjoy a G&T or two while watching the sun set in this romantic location.