Our second family trip was to Tioman Island. We weighed a few options-Thailand(phooket), Indonesia (Jakarta and nearby areas) and Malaysia (Lankawi/ Tioman). Due to time constraints we settled for a 3D/2N package for Tioman Island. The package would cost around SGD 450 per person.
We started early in the morning. The agency bus would be waiting near the ** mall on Orchard road. The bus had quite spacious seating arrangement.
In around half an hour time we reached Johar Bahru (or JB, in short). The driver asked us to clear immigration will all baggage and he will wait on the other side for us.
In half an hour we were in the bus again and it was going inside Malaysian territory. Johar Bahru is a border city. It was quite similar to small Indian cities.
We gradually went inside rural areas. It was surrounded with lush green trees and full of life.
After an hour or so, the bus stopped at a small suburb type area infront of a small food stall. We ate breakfast. It was pretty cheap. We spent around 20 Ringet of food.
After this, the bus drove around half an hour through forest area. We looked through the window all the while and appreciated the various species of trees many of which were new to us.
In another 40 mins we reached the ferry station **. The ferry was kind of a launch nad a bit crowded. I got a window seat. It was a wonderful view when it was going away from the shore.
It was a 45 minute journey on the sea. We went out to the small deck at the back. Open sea all around with very small islands made of only rock standin her and ther in the middle of the sea and they seemed to be waving at us.
When we reached the island, it was like another world altogether. Blue water all around. The island stood like a stalwart in the middle. Essentially it was a small hill. The small land surrounding the hill was used by humans to build resorts.
View of the shore from the sea
There were only a handful of resorts – two of which were most famous- Barjaya and Paya beach resort. We were booked in the Paya beach resort.
After the check-in formalities, we were shown into our rooms. Rooms were essentially cottages placed around a circle. The middle of them was a waterbody and the cottages were connected by boardwalks.
When we were settling down in the room, my father-in-law calling the security at a high voice. I rushed out of my room to see the security assuring him “those are not crocodiles, sir. Those are Monitor lizards. They are like our pets. Very well behaved. They come from
Beautiful sea view from the shore
the jungle behind and paly in the water. Will go back after some time”. I looked at the water in the middle of the cottages, there were a few of very big lizards not at all benign by looks at least.
I got my hnd too close to one of them to take photo. The hiss it emitted sent a chilling wave down the spine.
They roamed around the area all day.
One of the many cottages of the resort
We went out to the beach in the evening. Picturesque views in all directions. One side was the towering view of the hill clad in green. Other directions offered different views of the greenish blue sea. We went near the water. I never saw such crystal clear water before. We could see every grain of sand distinctly under water.
After loitering around and taking photos for sometime, we went to the beach side restaurant. It was in the open air. Right on the beach. We tried a few sea food like sting ray etc. Those were delicious.
Beach side restaurant
We all slept well that night.
Next morning we checked with the activities counter. They had a long boat ride and a snorkelling near shore. We opted for the second one.
With the strange gadgets on we marched towards the water. The seabed was too rough. It was full of rocks covered with small shells making then very sharp like files. But the prospect of exploring the underwater world was too tantalizing for anything to stop us. We carried on. Small fish with tiger like stripes all over the body roamed around underwater.
My brother-in-law was swimming abit far from us. He suddenly swam faster and came to us. He said he saw a very latge sting ray just beneath him and swam away as fast as he could. It was bone-chilling, he said.
There was a smallish island not far from shore. We all headed towards it. Monoliyjic rocks and ancient looking trees were waiting to welcome us. Suddenly my wife slipped on one of the slippery rocks and got badly wounded. Blood started to ooze out of the bruises. But the temptation of exploring the underwater world was so strong that nothing could stop us. There were bigger fish there and we wandered and wondered equally all the while. The other side of the dea was completely blue indicating greater depth and we did not dare venture too far.
After an hour or so we all felt extremely hungry and vowed to eat like dinosaurs. The food was again delighting.
In the evening around 4 pm they said there was a jungle walk up the hill bug we some of us were too exhausted and the sun was quite hot. We dropped the idea of taking part in the walk and decided to get some rest.
Another night passed and we were again equally excited to explore the last bit of the beautiful land.
We took a walk around ghe place and found a smsll bungalow at ghe backside, took a closer look at the jungle behind the resort and bpught a few pieces of clothes at the nearby shopping center.
Then the worst part of any trip came yoo close-packing for the return journey.
We went yo the jetty and looked down. In the clear water we saw large formation of slgae. No! We realized they were groups of tiny fish swimming too close to each other. After some time a small shark and a sting ray swam past the jetty.
Greenish sea bed near the shore
Finally the ferry came. We got onboard. We kept on taking photos toill the tiniest piece of the wonderland was in sight.