Stephen Bailey
This Indonesian Island is Built Entirely From Local Bamboo
This Indonesian Island is Built Entirely From Local Bamboo
Stephen Bailey

The adults-only island of Cempedak opened to visitors in 2017 and provides a blueprint of how to build environmentally friendly luxury. 

It’s located in the Riau archipelago, a 2.5 hour speedboat journey from Singapore. The speedboats runs on biodiesel 30 and that’s only the start – almost everything on the island was constructed from local Java and Sumatran bamboo. 

Coffee bar at Cempedak

This includes bamboo fibre toilet paper, furniture built from driftwood and recycled timber, a bamboo spa resting on granite boulders and bamboo pathways lit by low voltage LED lighting. 

Cempedak is in the league of barefoot seclusion and luxury, with spacious villas slung out along the shore. Part of the luxury is in the privacy and the island only accommodates a small number of guests at any one time (with a strict over-18 policy as well). 

That’s balanced with the realisation of being a zero-waste island and programs which support the local fauna. Baby turtles nest under the boathouse, silver leaf monkeys swing in the trees, and both pangolins and giant monitor lizards are resident.

The breakfast bar

Almost all the employees are local to the archipelago and the Island Foundation supports education programs on nearby island Bintan. 

For many reasons this is an eco standout, but it’s not advertised as such. Co-founder Andrew Dixon explains. 

“We wanted to create a destination that offered a unique experience, where high-quality food and good, friendly service were what made people return, so we don’t try and market our sustainability credentials. “We like people to think that is a bonus that gives them added comfort – because by staying with us they are having a positive impact on the local community, helping with conservation and protecting local culture.”

Andrew Dixon
Beachfront villa

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