Nikoi Island


It’s hard to believe that the nature-led, barefoot luxury on offer on the 37-acre private island resort of Nikoi, is just two and a half hours away from Singapore. From the outset, Andrew Dixon set about to conserve as much of this nature-abundant enclave of rainforest, beaches and coral reefs as possible while creating a community-friendly resort. Catering to no more than 50 guests at any one time, Nikoi is a paradise island where the environment is king.


Uninhabited for 100 years before the building of the resort, Nikoi has benefitted from concentrated conservation efforts — alien species have been removed to make way for the regrowth of indigenous vegetation.  By creating a Marine Protection Area in the surrounding coral reef, the endangered turtle population has thrived.  An onsite Marine Conservation Officer ensures that the reef gets healthier every year. People are a priority for Nikoi too. Besides from offering local communities employment and training opportunities, The Island Foundation was established in 2009 to support the education of children and adults in surrounding villages on Bintan.


The building of the resort itself both employed local skills and had minimal impact on the environment. The 15 villas were constructed from sustainably sourced driftwood and alang alang grass roofing; their design reflects both traditional Indonesian architecture and contemporary form. Designed to maximise air flow, there is no air-conditioning or fridges in the villas, and solar panels provide the hot water.  Activities for guests are plentiful and include a conservation or community angle where possible.

The 4Cs

Nikoi Island joined The Long Run in 2013 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region. Nikoi became a GER® (Global Ecosphere Retreat®) in May 2022.



To protect the environment, Nikoi has been working with one of Singapore’s leading Naturalists to safeguard wildlife and biodiversity on the island and assist recovery of endangered turtle population. The island has successfully created a Marine Protection Area and has a full time Marine Conservation Officer on site. Driftwood from nearby islands and alang alang grass roofing were used as primary building materials. The villas have no air-conditioners and fans keep guests cool at night with low voltage LED or CFL lighting. Solar panels provide hot water and create an excess of energy for battery storage so that the generators can even be switched off 12 hours per day. Everything possible is recycled, reused or upcycled, such as the car tyre flip flops and rice bags souvenirs in the shop. 


The people of Bintan are very important to Nikoi. The Island Foundation is a registered charity that Nikoi established in 2009 to help support the local communities. Based on discussions with local community leaders, education was identified as the primary need and learning centres in five fishing villages along the east coast of Bintan were established. To provide the communities with alternative income sources The Island Foundation leads and supports a wide range of projects; from weaving baskets and bags from old newspapers to developing wooden spinning tops. To further support to communities, Nikoi is dedicated to employ locals in both unskilled and managerial positions, who receive continuous training to advance their careers.


Bintan and its surrounding islands are sparsely populated and therefore lacking in strong cultural identity. Regardless, Nikoi works with local communities and villagers to salvage what remains. The most interesting culture and in many ways the best preserved is the culture of the Orang Laut. The Orang Laut were the indigenous nomads that played a central role in Malay political history. Today they are a marginalised group with most moving to land so that their children can be educated. The Island Foundation is working with is the Orang Laut village in Berakit to protect their culture and their heritage. Traditionally the Orang Laut used kilns to make charcoal. With the help of The Island Foundation three historic kilns were preserved and turned into a museum to document their culture.


Nikoi believes in a strong commitment to the highest standards in sustainable management practices. By reinvesting Nikoi’s profits in The Island Foundation and the conservation of the island, Nikoi is able to not only ensure the long-term sustainability of its own operations but also that of its surrounding environment and nearby communities. The Island Foundation has established a retail brand (Kura Kura) to help sell arts and crafts as well as the first organised sports program on Bintan for children, the Foundation providing coaching staff, equipment on buy back scheme and ground maintenance.



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