We are based in Singapore, a tiny place to call home, but with the saving grace of being just a short budget flight to nearly anywhere else in Southeast Asia. While Phuket or Bali are the obvious choices for a quick getaway, during the peak holiday season or 2 days short weekend break we prefer somewhere off the beaten track, like Tioman Island.
This trip, we have a group of 12 people with us and it was our first time staying in Berjaya Condotel Resort. There is a nice swimming pool and sea view rooms if you stay 4-5th floor. However, the inconvenience of moving around for meals is a hassle. There is no food stalls around the vicinity and the nearest food place is 10mins via shuttle bus only.
Tioman is a lush, mountainous island off the southeast coast of Malaysia. Its beaches and jungles are so picture-perfect that it served as exotic Bali H’ai island in the 1958 film ‘South Pacific‘ and was later named one of ‘the world’s most beautiful islands’ by Time magazine. With press like that you’d expect every inch of beachfront to be developed by now, but the island remains refreshingly rustic. Tioman is free of chain restaurants, there are no vendors to pester you on the beach and, if you hike the jungle trails, you’re as likely to encounter a monitor lizard as another tourist.
If enjoying the view from a hammock isn’t enough activity for you, Tioman Island is part of Mersing Marine Park and its waters are teeming with tropical fish. You can snorkel or dive in this island.
After the snorkel on our first day, let’s go for a change. We did the waterfall hike. Its a very enjoyable hike. We saw Camelion, Astonia Trees and the most rewarding part of this hike of course is the refreshing waterfall ! A highly recommended hike if you are in Tioman.
One final treat – Tioman is a duty-free island. Whether you’re buying a can of beer or a bottle of vodka, alcohol prices are a fraction of what you pay in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, or indeed Bali.
Sound good? From Singapore, it takes four to five hours to get to Tioman Island. Ferries are operated by Blue Water Express and cost 70 ringgit return (about S$30). The schedule depends more on the number of passengers than the clock, but they generally run every two hours from 10:00 until 16:00. Expect to wait for a while or try calling the Mersing ferry terminal at (60) 7 799 4811. Do note that November through February is the monsoon season and ferries may be cancelled during hazardous weather.
We waited for more than 3 hours to return back to Mersing. Well, this is a norm in Tioman especially on a weekend.
While waiting for the ferry, we, the adventurous gang entertained ourselves..ha ha..of course with more photographs!