The kids pretending the surf is a gigantic swimming pool-with waves
We are back from a few days at our favourite Malaysian escape; Sea Gypsy Resort on Sibu Island. We have been a few times before and always enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the beautiful beach. You can read about our 2008 visit here.
The resort has changed little in the few years we have been visiting, and everything looks well maintained and cared for, especially next to the abandoned resort right next door. Owner Linda does a wonderful job at keeping the resort friendly, relaxed and welcoming. This year her son Richard was also working at the resort, keeping the kids busy at kids' club and generally being a friendly face around the resort.
We love Sea Gypsy as there is nothing much to do here but read, swim, walk on the beach, eat and if you are feeling adventurous, snorkeling or diving. No snorkeling this time of year though, as we seemed to hit the last of the monsoonal winds which whipped up the sea making visibility minimal. This also made the speedboat trip to and from the island quite hair raising (and drenching) although even the smallest children coped with the very bumpy ride.
The sea was big enough to make boogie boarding fun for the kids, and Ben seemed to discover his calling on that board and didn't want to do anything else. He was bitterly disappointed when the sea was too rough on the second day and we decided to go for a walk to to Kampong (village). Some other guests had told us that the Kampong was interesting , with free roaming cows and chickens but unfortunately we took the wrong path and ended up at the Coconut Village Resort, which is pleasant enough.
March to October is the best time to visit, although we did find that the wind kept the mosquitoes and sand flies away, and also kept the temperature down. There were lots of expat families with young children staying, as well as a few young couples, mostly from Singapore.
Sea Gypsy is the perfect place with children if you don't mind cold showers and fairly basic facilities. There is no minibar or fridge, tea and coffee making facilities or AC, none of while is neaed. The meals are served at set times, the kids eating a communal dinner at 6pm while the adults' dinner is at 8pm. The meal is set too, although there is an a la carte menu to order from if for some reason you need to. We always find the food tasty and nutritious.
There are a few other resorts on the island which are popular with Malaysian families and groups. I don't think you can beat Sea Gypsy Resort, but you will find a rundown of each one at http://www.myoutdoor.com/sibu/