As mentioned on the post preceding, I spent overnight at Tioman Island in Malaysia. As Malaysia is just a causeway away from Singapore, it is easy to take a short trip to Malaysia from Singapore, and this time I decided to finally push my long overdue plan to explore the island.
For my trip plan, I will leave Singapore early in the morning, catch a bus at Larkin bus terminal in Johor Bharu to Mersing, and from there I take a ferry to Tioman Island. My initial travel time input were: travel time from Singapore to Johor Bahru to Mersing is about three hours and Mersing to Tioman by boat is two hours, so its going to be at least 5 hours travel time from my place for me to be in Tioman.
I woke up late that day so I arrived Larkin bus terminal almost just in time for the 9:30 bus to Mersing. If I was not able to catch the bus, the next trip will be at 2:30 in the afternoon. Luck was with me as I was on the right spot where the dispatcher was standing and giving last minute instruction to the bus driver. I paid directly to him and did not give me the ticket, it was only when I already seated and the bus started to leave that I realized I don't have ticket. I got scared when the bus conductor started taking the passengers ticket. But then he did not ask for it so it turned okay. I arrived Mersing bus terminal 12:15 in the afternoon. Upon arrival I asked for direction to jetty port, I have no idea that the jetty port was quite far from the bus terminal and it takes around 10 minutes by walk. And the bad thing the boat is scheduled to leave 12noon, but the ticket seller at the terminal booth told me to run as I might just be able to catch the boat. I have no idea where it is located, she gave me direction vaguely : go straight, cross rotunda, corner money changer and white building. Like what I said luck was with me so I was able to catch the boat!
I arrived Tioman Island past three in the afternoon because the boat has to stop 20 minutes after it leave the jetty to wait for two lady passengers, they must be VIP i guess.
I did not book a resort beforehand since I thought it would be best option just to check the place first so I can choose a good place to stay. Initially I made a booking for Paya beach resort in Paya Lebar, but was fully booked for the weekend as the resort is a favorite of Singaporeans. So instead I opted a resort in Ayer Batang village. From the internet, Ayer Batang is one of the most popular villages on Tioman. having a wide choice of accommodation and restaurants. I set my mind to Nazri Place because it claims to have one of the best stretches of beach on Tioman.
The Village jetty port
The moment I step foot on the island I easily feel in love with the place. At the Ayer Batang village point of view, the island is totally covered by lush tropical rainforest, and the resorts are concentrated along the coastline only. The road though paved is narrow so no cars can be seen within the village.
The resort is about ten minutes by walk from the jetty. I expected the resort be run by professional staff but I was wrong, it was staffed by a village family living on the resort itself and they are not courteous at all. Knowing I am a walk in customer, I received cold shoulder treatment. I was not entertained at first and the receptionist was nowhere to find, and when she appeared, she was carrying a crying child. When I asked to check the room before I check in, she hesitated at first. Though I expected it is not going to be a nice room but I want to make sure toilet is clean and working. I have already seen the pictures of the rooms that's why I choose the resort than with the other resorts in the village. After I checked in and took my late lunch at the restaurant did I learn the majority of the resort guests were caucasians, old couples actually. That's maybe the reason why I got cold shoulder treatment.
After an hour rest, I hit the beach and swim for over an hour, after that I took my camera and started exploring the place.
Approaching Nazri Place
The resort Sunset bar
the resort beachfront
Snorkeling at the Marine park
Bats on the trees
Going back to Singapore was different story. It all started when I was not able to catch the 12:30 boat to Mersing. The receptionist told me that the boat will pass by the port at 12:30 so I checked out and make sure I reach the port before the boat arrive. Alas the boat already left before I arrived, worst is it left before 12 noon. The last trip to Johor Bahru from Mirsing is 5:00, so for me to be able to go back to Singapore that day I have to be able to be in Mirsing before 5:00 pm. My understanding was that there is boat that leave the island every two hours. That day was not the case since the next and the last boat that leave the island was 5:00 pm and I arrived Mersing past 7:00 pm! Expectedly I missed the bus! That moment the boat did not arrive at 3:00 pm, my supposed to be a happy vacation turned out nightmare since I need to be at work the next day.
I arrived home exhausted not by the vacation trip but by the circumstance of the trip back home. How did I made it? I met I taxi driver who was willing to drive me to Johor Bahru for a fee. I paid him 180 malaysian ringgits which if I took a regular bus I have to pay only 20 ringgits!