The best overwater bungalows close to home

By Lachlan Probyn,

When it comes to staying in a hotel, many of us dream about a night in an overwater bungalow. What could be better than waking up to emerald-coloured ocean views, with the sound of water gently lapping beneath you?

We don’t need to tell you that the Maldives is teaming with some of the best overwater bungalows in the world. But we do need to tell you that several other destinations a little closer to home also pack a punch as far as overwater bungalows go. From Cambodia to the Cook Islands, we’ve rounded up our favourite bungalows that are just an easy flight away.

Berjaya Langkawi Resort – Malaysia

Malaysia is just a short flight away from Australia, and fortunately it offers some dreamy overwater bungalows at Berjaya Langkawi Resort. Positioned on the island of Langkawi, this über-luxe resort provides both chalets and suites, but if your eye is on an overwater bungalow, we suggest opting for the Premier Suite on Water.

Pangkor Laut Resort – Malaysia

Looking for paradise? Pangkor Laut Resort is so idyllic it was even declared ‘paradise’ by the late Pavarotti. If you want to see what the Italian opera singer was talking about, book yourself into this elegant five-star resort and retreat in some tropical luxury.

Positioned on the Straits of Malacca, just off the West Coast of Malaysia, Pangkor Laut Resort offers a choice of villas which are either set in the hills or positioned on stilts above the water.

L’Escapade Island Resort – New Caledonia

New Caledonia is one of the Pacific’s most coveted destinations, so it comes as no surprise that L’Escapade Island Resort reflects the same amount of paradise the island has become known for. If you’re looking for a typical overwater bungalow stay, the ones offered here won’t disappoint.

Dotted in the pacific, with high pointed ceilings, a little like a series of majestic crowns floating in the ocean, the bungalows are an experience of the senses.

Float House River Kwai – Thailand

Ready to float down the River Kwai? At the Float House you can do just that – well kind of. Lounge in your very own overwater bungalow, which is gracefully suspended over the flowing waters of the river. Situated amidst the tropical jungle and mountains of the Saiyoke Region, the 18 bungalows put serenity at the heart of the guest experience.

Vinpearl Luxury – Nha Trang, Vietnam

For an A-list kind of experience in Vietnam, nothing quite speaks more than a stay at Vinpearl. Exclusively set on the private Hon Tre Island, the resort offers 84 coastal villas and overwater massage huts that simply beckon a relaxing stay.

Our pick is to go for one of the beach front villas, which all feature a private pool, a terrace, and picturesque gardens that seamlessly meld into the surrounding nature. This place is so luxurious, you even get a choice of bed pillows which are infused with various scents!

Aitutaki Lagoon Resort – Cook Islands

The Cook Islands is one of the South Pacific’s best kept secrets, and its proximity to Australia and New Zealand only adds to its charm. Situated on the island of Aitutaki, you’ll find the ‘oh-so-chic’ Aitutaki Lagoon Resort.

Proudly housing the Cook Islands’ only overwater bungalows, Aitutaki Lagoon Resort is THE place to stay if you’re seeking this type of accommodation.

Song Saa Private Island – Cambodia

What’s better than staying in an overwater bungalow? Staying in an overwater bungalow on its own island of course! Song Saa Private Island is the brainchild of two Australians who arrived at the desolate island in Cambodia in 2005, and have since created a haven of relaxation and luxury. Keeping sustainability in full sight, the resort is built from local materials, by local hands, and uses repurposed furniture throughout.