Staycation Review: Tiny Away Escape @ Lazarus Island

Breathtaking views, a cosy cabin and an adorable doggy; can it get better than this?

By Sean Yee        7 May 2024

My mum has been complaining lately about work burnout. It did make me think about how little time we spend with one another, a sacrifice we both had to make as a result of our professional commitments. Perhaps a break has been long overdue. As an early Mother’s Day present, I brought her and my lovely dog to a staycation at Lazarus Island hosted by Tiny Away Escape.

Bringing the concept of eco-tourism to our shores, this start-up utilises contemporary aesthetics to accentuate its cabins’ eco-friendly features, resulting in minimalistic, yet beautifully quaint vacation cabins. Combined with the island’s inherent serenity, these homes do well to represent Singapore’s intimate connection with its natural wonders.

Read on to find out more about our stay!

Getting there made easy

Let’s go!

The booking process itself was smooth and seamless. Given that it was my first time heading not just to Lazarus Island, but to any of the Southern islets, there were so many questions in my mind – Where do I book my ferry? What happens after we step foot onto the island? Do I need to bring a torchlight? Will there be food?

Thankfully, the booking agents at Tiny Away Escape were hospitable and accommodating. Not only did they so graciously clarify my many queries, but the staff also managed to secure an earlier ferry for me. 

If you book the ferry on your own, your port of arrival will be Saint John’s Island, which is connected to Lazarus Island via a walkway. As such, be prepared for a 20 to 25 minute walk to the cabins if you opt for the conventional ferry ticket, which is also only valid for a day. You will have to book two separate tickets – one for your return journey – for an overnight stay. 

Tiny Away simplifies this for their guests via a special arrangement with Marina South Ferries. When you book a stay, you have the option to purchase ferry tickets from them as well. These special ferries depart at 3pm from Marina South Pier and send you directly to a small pier at Lazarus Island, which is just five minutes away from your cabin. The ticket also includes a return trip at 11.30am the next day at the same pier. Pets can join you on the ferry for free as well!

Be prepared for weather irregularities

Setting sail for the wild wild south

So excited for our first visit to Lazarus Island!

Once we reached the Marina South Pier, I gathered my things and collected our physical tickets. The booth is pretty hard to miss, located at the right of the entrance. 

And do not worry if, like me, it’s your first time. A staff member was there to guide us, as well as our fellow passengers, to the correct terminal. 

“Are we there yet?”

I was especially excited since it was my dog’s first time travelling on a ferry as well!

City dweller meets nature

Home sweet home away from home

Stepping foot onto the island for the first time, the one thing that struck me the most was the silence. 

No, it was not the eerie kind. It was more of a calming stillness, where you can hear the rustling of the leaves, the whisper of the breeze and roar of the crashing waves. Occasionally, you’ll hear hints of idle chatter as visitors stroll the walkway with their pets. Time seems to move slower here. 

To me, the island is the perfect equilibrium between urbanity and rurality, managing to maintain its naturalistic charm without being overly rugged.

As for the main star of the show, our cabin – Room 1960 – was simply decorated but still contemporary enough to differentiate itself from the average campground. The open porch, while unsheltered and not bug-proof, is a good spot for people-watching.

I was initially worried about its mostly glass facade, but these concerns were soon put to rest when I found out that the cabin is installed with privacy windows. 

The check-in takes less than a minute. To get your key, you simply open a secured lockbox placed at the side of the door by entering the correct PIN code, which is provided to you via email a day or two before. 

Well-stocked and well-furnished

Small and white, clean and bright

I was pleasantly surprised by how much they could fit into a small cabin (room sizes range from 150 to 175 sq ft) while still maintaining a minimalistic layout. And it is interesting how Tiny Away Escape chose white as the interior’s dominant colour profile, almost like a testament to the cabin’s cleanliness and timelessness.

“Time for my daily nap”

If I had to describe the place in one word, it would be ‘inviting’. Everything in the room is arranged to resemble a studio apartment, albeit a tiny one. Though in this case, its compact size works in its favour since it accentuates the cabin’s cosy ambience. The room feels intimate and homely.

I’m not exactly an outdoor camper, so admittedly, I was worried that the room would be reminiscent of the camping experience I had; battling heat and stuffiness as I fended off waves of bugs. To my relief, the cabin has excellent air-conditioning and the only bugs I saw were harmless ants.

Our hearts full, and our bellies fuller!

For lazy staycationers like me, I have good news! You don’t really have to stock up on food and drinks.

The cabin is stocked with instant noodles, snacks, and chilled drinks aplenty that can allow you an entire day of snacking if that’s your pleasure. It also comes with coffee capsules for the caffeine aficionado.

However, these treats aren’t replenished daily, so you will need to bring your own supply of snacks and drinks if you are planning to stay in this cabin for more than a day.

I actually paid for a Prime Watch subscription after this stay

Entertainment-wise, Tiny Away Escape is especially adaptable. For those who prefer to simply chill indoors, you can avail yourself of its smart television, which houses a rich variety of streaming content. 

I myself spent a few hours binge-watching The Office on Prime Watch and Young Sheldon on Netflix. 

What a view!

The highlight for my mum was the beautiful vista that surrounded the cabin’s queen-sized bed.

What better way to start the day than with a panoramic view that presents the magnificence of Mother Nature?

A day in the sun

Don’t make the same mistake I did – wear sunscreen

When I found out about the island’s newly opened Sea Sports Centre, I knew I had to visit. 

In addition to the typical kayak, this recreational hub also has some of the coolest watercraft I have ever seen! From sea bicycles and kayaks to stand-up paddle boards and yoga dhyana boards, it opens up a trove of novel experiences that are sure to elevate your visit to Lazarus Island.

Chilling on the ocean’s edge, just him and his trusty kayak

The convivial crew of instructors I met are equally passionate about the island as they are about water sports. As it wasn’t a busy day, I found them enjoying the cool waters when I arrived, all in good moods and high spirits! 

It was unfortunate that I couldn’t actually try out the watercraft since it started raining again. Still, at least it’s one more reason to visit the island again! 

Convenience comes at a cost

The island’s only convenience store

While Lazarus Island finally has a convenience store, do note that it opens only on Fridays to Sundays, leaving weekday visitors to their own devices. I can understand that there’s a cost for convenience, but still, be prepared to pay a premium for everyday commodities. 

That said, the store does carry an extensive range of BBQ essentials, as well as ready-to-eat meals that give you a bang for your buck. 

Started by the same company that operates Eclipse Restaurant, SOL by BDC has recently begun gearing up to offer private dining options for overnight guests like myself, so I remain optimistic about the store, and by extension, Lazarus Island’s future developments as an overnight destination. 

While it was raining cats and dogs, we were cooking up delicious sausages and prime cuts!

Seeing that the cabin has a smokeless BBQ grill, I decided to try out one of their BBQ sets. It was surprising how substantial the set was, with an assortment of meats and vegetables that could easily fill the bellies of two. And a fun observation – the sausages were huge! 

The entire dining experience was pretty heartwarming; my mum and I had never cooked together before this visit, and through this BBQ session, I managed to get some nifty cooking tips from my family’s masterchef!

One tip that proved to be especially valuable here is to pre-heat the frozen meats in the microwave before setting them on the grill. 

Tiny Away Escape is a reprieve from the hustle and bustle

Happy Early Mother’s Day!

Tiny Away Escape definitely lives up to its name, having brilliantly delivered an authentic and refreshing holiday experience like no other in Singapore. It’s a sanctuary away from the perennial rat race, a reminder that it is okay to step back from the noise, from the frenzy to recollect and re-energise. This was also the very first staycation I shared with my dog!

I have no doubt that you will have a similar, or even more rewarding experience here at Lazarus Island with Tiny Away Escape. If that isn’t enough to convince you, my mum, who isn’t easily pleased, said this after our trip.

“Boy ah, not bad!” 

And that’s as good as it gets. 

Useful information:

1. Are Tiny Away Escape cabins pet-friendly?

They are. I did have to pay an additional $30 for my dog. My cabin came with a dog bed and a drinking bowl.

2. Does Tiny Away Escape offer meals?

You can pre-purchase a selection of microwave dinners once they have confirmed your reservation. 

3. What time is check-in and check-out?

Check-in is at 3:30pm and check-out is at 11:30am.

4. Is it mandatory that I take the 11:30am ferry back the next day?

No. But you’ll have to head over to the pier at Saint John’s Island for the return ferry if you decide not to take the morning ferry back. 

SAFRA EXCLUSIVE: Until 30 June 2025, members enjoy 20% off published rates with the promo code <SAFRA20>. Visit safra.sg/tiny-away-escape-@-lazarus-island for more information.

More on unusual Singapore staycations here, from staying in a bus to glamping with penguins.

Want more articles like this, and other lifestyle content right in your inbox? Download the new SAFRA mobile app and opt in for the eNSman Newsletter – you don’t need to be a SAFRA member to subscribe – and never miss another story!