The best overwater bungalows close to home

You don't need to travel far to indulge in the luxuriousness of waking up in an overwater bungalow. We bring you the best hotels offering up front-row bedside water views that are only a stone's throw away from the Mainland.

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.

Dreamy overwater bungalows in 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.

Suspended over the picturesque waters of Burau Bay, Premier Suites boast outdoor lounges, Jacuzzis, and stunning balconies, but we have to say the uninterrupted ocean views steal the show here. What better way to conclude your evening than by catching a tropical sunset from the comfort of your very own bubbling Jacuzzi?

As tempting as it may be to never leave your suite, we recommend heading to in-house Pahn-Thai restaurant for some tasty grub. The restaurant is built on stilts and serves innovative Thai cuisine.

Berjaya Langkawi Resort

Top rated
Pantai Kok
8.7 Excellent (3002 reviews)

Tropical luxury at a five-star resort


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.

As fabulous as it would be to wake up amidst a lush tropical garden, our suggestion is to opt for one of the overwater bungalows. Sea and Spa villas offer the novelty of being built on stilts and feature stunning outdoor balconies, wooden sliding doors, and super inviting outdoor decks to catch a postcard-worthy sunset from.

Die-hard foodies will be pleased to know there is the ‘Chef’s Kitchen Experience’ which starts with a visit to the neighbouring Pangkor Island’s fishery and noodle maker. Be guided on traditional Asian herbs, spices, and recipes, then learn how to cook and garnish the perfect meal.

Pangkor Laut Resort

7.7 Good (484 reviews)

Experience island paradise with these overwater bungalows

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. Appreciate king-size beds, separate living rooms, and large windows which open out to uninterrupted ocean views. The aesthetic draws inspiration from a traditional New Caledonian style, featuring rattan-lined walls, soft blues, and splashes of salmon. Start the morning on your private deck, then step down a series of steps into the azure blue waters.

If you can’t get enough of the ocean, make use of the resort’s aquatic activities which range from snorkelling and stand-up paddling to jet skiing. Just a three-hour flight from Sydney, these are some of the closest overwater bungalows to Australia.

Escapade Island Resort


A-list experience in 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 beachfront 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!

If you fancy the idea of cooling off in pristine still waters, head to the resort’s impressive blue-tiled pool which is encircled by swaying palms. Heat up on one of the sun lounges, then grab yourself a specially concocted drink from the Pool Bar.

If you find yourself feeling peckish, Vinpearl offers a multitude of dining options. Our pick is Huong Viet Restaurant, which offers both an indoor bistro and an outdoor dining area, and serves traditional Vietnamese fare.

Vinpearl Luxury Nha Trang

Top rated
Nha Trang
9.4 Excellent (569 reviews)

Feel revived in the 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. The thatched-roof bungalows are perched over the azure waters of the Muri Lagoon, and offer all the typical luxuries. Think rattan-lined walls, large sliding doors, and a blissful outdoor deck appointed with sun lounges and steps which lead directly down into the lagoon.

For some added pampering, head to the blissful SpaPolynesia Aitutaki, which offers various face and body treatments. Our pick is the Tama Coconut Scrub, which is referred to as a ‘tropical treat for your body’. Leave with your skin feeling refreshed and silky smooth, and your mind fully revived.

Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort - Adults Only

Top rated
8.7 Excellent (608 reviews)

An overwater bungalow on its own island


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.

The intimate resort offers 24 private pool villas, which boast linen-draped king-size beds, bathrooms with deep-soaking baths and rainfall showers, and fully stocked mini-bars. Beyond the villas, the resort also features a dreamy infinity pool, a private beach, and a range of aquatic sports including scuba diving, kayaking, and even speed boating for all those adrenaline junkies out there.

Come evening, head to Vista Bar & Restaurant, sit on one of the oversized beanbags, and dig into some local Khmer flavours. Loaves of bread are baked onsite and seafood is freshly caught by local fishermen.

Song Saa Private Island

Top rated
9.8 Excellent (32 reviews)

Bungalow offering jungle and river views


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.

Villas are decked out in a style which is affectionately referred to as ‘Thai Folk’. Think bamboo and teakwood furnishings, overhanging sheer drapes, and soft blue and orange silks. While it may be tempting to lounge in your bungalow all day, we suggest making use of some of the outdoor activities on offer, including canoeing down the River Kwai.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the hotel’s open-air pontoon floating restaurant and bar. Recline on large wooden, cushioned lounges and dig into some delectable Thai and international fare. Heaven!

The Float House River Kwai - Sha Extra Plus

9.2 Excellent (894 reviews)