With a 4 day long weekend ahead because of Hari Raya Public Holiday – what to do, what to do.
We’re struggling with trips now because of baby Jude not being far away, so no flights, no major long trips. What to do…?
My mate at work Mr Dave Brown was chatting and said why not try Tioman Island, you can can drive to Mersing in Malaysia and then catch a ferry. Now there’s a thought. Did we go. Did we indeed, and I/we are so very glad we did – what an incredible jewel on the East Coast of Malaysia this island is. “Between Heaven & Earth”.
In fact I am sitting here now on the balcony bar writing this very text overlooking the topaz ocean watching the sun setting on my right hand side, the white sandy beach beneath me being engulfed by a high tide. Boats bobbing, kids playing, waves crashing, pina collada in hand – life potentially does not get much better.
A wee slip to Daddy-pedia first to give some historic notes to this beautiful little place!
Yep fought over between the British and Japanese in WWII – no surprise really. I’d fight for this place. In fact it was strange before I knew this I did the mountain trek with Ollie (see later) and I said to him then “Imagine the British and Japanese troops with limited water, food, in full combat gear, carrying guns, being fired at continually having to hike like we are…” Scary thought when he and I were in shorts and t-shirts, flip fops on, water in hand and a mere 500m down the mountain to the cool ocean, or swimming pool with a beer sat alongside either. Yes we had it easy, those poor poor boys in WWII – I don’t know how you did what you did.
Tioman is renowned for amazing diving and snorkelling (again more in a minute) – but again caused by WWII apparently there are a good 2-3 British war ships sunk in her shallow coral waters. I can only imagine that by now they are incredible reef systems offering beautiful habitats and of course a chance for us all to enjoy. That potentially British with Japanese, and all others – as it should be!!!
It is a tiny island, although when I say that it is not too much smaller than Singapore at circa 40km long and 13km wide. She is located off the Eastern Coast of Malaysia, with 8 key townships (maybe downgraded to villages as they are bloody small). Capital or biggest village is Tekek where also their prop engine only airport survives. Very similar to other islands it is dense jungle and quite mountainous as you’ll see from the snaps, with the villages being dotted all around the coast – a mere speedboat away from each other.
Did you know she appeared in the South Pacific, pretending to be Bali Hai back in 1958.
According to folklore this little Island is the resting place of a stunner of a dragon princess. She was on her way from China to meet her fella, some Prince of Singapore, when she stopped for a wee rest in the beautiful waters of the South China Sea. Hey Up she thought this is bloody lovely so she formed herself in to the shape of the island and promised safe haven and passage for travelers.
Mate, oh Prince of Singapore back to the dating agency for you. Firstly pick your women better mate, you lost this one to some salty water, hmmm. Also I think you may nee to widen your search criteria a tad, as; “Must be a Princess, Must be a dragon, Must love to travel…” Hmmm think you may be struggling fella. Good luck with it though!
You ready for 100 photos of the trip – well then let me begin…
A BAD start to be honest.
Mersing, Malaysia bloody ferry terminal – SHITE!!!
Have a look at all these people. We’re all holding different coloured boarding cards. I had booked tickets for the 1430 ferry on line prior to arrival. Had to go to agent to collect. Had to go collect boarding cards (mine were red)/ Had to go pay for conservation initiative. Waited. and Waited. and Waited.
Finally the fricking boat rocks up.
“Mary…” says I, “There is no way all these people will fit in that boat!!!”
We check with the stewards: “Yes Sir you are on the 1230, there is only one boat!”
OK good good. We also have seat numbers written on the tickets.
Cut a long story short. We finally boarded at 1500 and left at 1630. The 1st boat was over booked. Red boarding passes meant you were on next boat but they don’t tell you that. Oh know you just queue in the mess above, with them allowing you to think you have a reserved seat. Even when we got on at 1600 there is no bloody numbered seats it is just a free for all. SO prep yourself for this one lovelies it is a bloody mare of a place.
We lost a whole day shacked up at this sh*t hole, so we ended up extending a day on the island at our lovely hotel. Every cloud and all that hey…
In fact we left the terminal in disgust to get watered and fed.
Looked like a nice joint until I ordered a beer – damnation I tell you!!!
Yep it was a ‘dry’ Moslim restaurant – ohhhhh nooooo – not after what just happened at the terminal!!!
OK I’ll have a Root Beer please… hmmmm…
We’re not looking too stressed are we.
I know if you go to Tioman via Mersing that you will indeed have some time on your hands.
Bring a cooler with some beer and enjoy the local food at Port Cafe right next door, it was ACE.
More of that on the food blog though.
We finally leave what looks to be a little grey Mersing – or was that just me feeling grey???
We finally get the the main port of Ginting on Tioman, at where we depart to join a speedboat to our hotel, the wonderful Tunamaya – you gotta try it!!! On TripAdvisor as we speak!!!
OK we’re off now- the sun starts shining, the mood lightens, we’re now on the way, I feel like finally I am indeed on holiday – especially after the 3 hour drive and 4 hours at Mersing. Yep we’re on our way.
Kids are clearly in the mood of fun fun fun now.
Like me they have to sit open quarters and get the air, and spray and sun as you zip alongside the beautiful back-drop of the islands pristine glory.
Look the other way and there are many other islands, almost misty in the distance.
Stunning views of Tioman from a few hundred metres away as the speedboat glides along to our destination. Looks uninhabited doesn’t it. In effect it is…
Although every now and there is a little beach. Some beach huts. Some smoke filling the air.
There’s life in them thar’ hills!!!
Nearly there kids, nearly there!!!
So flipping late though the bloody is already setting.
Hmmm, OK OK I’ll let you off with that one – pretty damn spectacular.
Good effort Tioman!!!
Could this be it???
Just around this corner???
Holy shit – there she is nestled in the jungle, with amazing backdrop of mountainous climbs and white sandy beaches affront, topped with topaz seas. Come on Margate boy get them fingers a pinching Son!
You have to be kidding me!!!
This is paradise.
This is as they call themselves “Between heaven and earth!!!”
I was expecting a bloke in white suit with a dwarf saying “Boss the plane, the plane!”
OK maybe “Boss the boat, the boat!”
My gang on the boardwalk, about to be greeted with welcome drink and cold towels.
Quick look left to that setting sun again, this time from our new home for 4 days.
1st things 1st after my ‘dry’ lunch at Mersing Terminal – ha ha.
Mary made some new friends with the local wildlife.
When someone said anyone fancy playing with Bingo, they did not mean a game with numbers and counters it seems!
Mary and Jude on day No.1. Check that beach and sea.
This photo truly does not do the colours justice.
Topaz sea that you could see the bottom of from about 14 feet.
A wee sneak peak to our neighbours along the beach.
Ours is better than yours is…
Nothing like a little rivalry.
Beach bums out in force.
Ooooh sunset again, a tad more colour now it is a little later.
Day No.1 draws a close.
But even a trip to the affinity pool for us all, on the evening of day No.1
A step from our room as we go to dinner, and the little river running alongside shared a heron calmly fishing right in front of us. Nature is all around us here, literally surrounded.
Let’s have some dinner outside tonight.
Warm sea breezes.
Amazing local fare to gorge on, washed down by local beverages – nice indeed.
A scan to the left at the neighbours.
Nah not much happening there.
But not a bad view to be had over breakfast I think you’ll agree.
Come on let’s hike to the beach guys.
OK when I say hike I mean take about 30 steps from door to where we ended up sat on the beach.
Remember those snaps I did quite a while ago re the ‘halo’ in Singapore.
Literally a rainbow round the sun caused by ice crystal in the upper atmosphere.
Well thank you Tioman you put on a great show by giving us one this day too.
How beautiful is this thing – WOW!!!
The 30 steps took us here.
Yeah I suppose this will do – go on then, tsk tsk!
Ollie and I snokelled and finned up – let’s go explore.
So glad we did as I ended up swimming in chest deep water with black tip reef shark. Only a fleeting swim it has to be said but a swim nonetheless. We checked with dive master and yes there are a load in this little stretch of water that love to come and see humans all inquisitive like. How cool is that.
We also saw 100’s of tropical fish, 100’s and with the water being so clear it was the colours that made this so amazing. Unfortunately the 2m green turtle that is a frequent visitor alluded us. But I did see needle fish right up close, like a barracuda with a long snout. Stunning, like wrapped in silver foil.
You will have to believe us though as we forgot the underwater camera – DAMN my 45 year old brain!
After snorkelling comes – well fun!!!
Off Ollie and I went again for round number 2.
Mary heard our shouts this time and snapped away at the two intrepid divers.
We’re actually quite a way out here.
Searching for that flipping turtle that is supposed to ‘hang out’ at this floating platform.
Quite incredible is that Ollie (in red) is actually about 100m out from shore – standing up to his waist.
This was what truly made it for me.
You are snorkelling over corals and fish literally that are 1m away from your goggles – WOW!
Daniel Craig eat your heart out son.
Brian Kennett suck your stomach in son.
Do we HAVE to sit outside again and look over the beautiful view whilst munching on delicious food, do we, do we have to really… he he!!!
Ollie and I decided this day to to the jungle trek as mentioned earlier.
My little 11 year old struggled to keep up with this 45 year old – woo hoo!
Basically hike 500m up the mountains you saw before to a wonderful view point.
45 minutes up and 30 minutes down – we did round trip in 1hr 10m – not bad eh.
Mind you sweating like pig when we arrived back at the bottom. Not our best look for Ollie and I.
But we did it and we bloody enjoyed it.
We saw lizards galore including a monster monitor, spiders, butterflies, mosquitos, ants and heard lots of rustling with no outcome of what it was.
Squiggly vines everywhere that have now turned in to quite thick almost tree-trunks.
Massive rocks in the middle of the jungle. As in massive.
Ollie giving some scale to these things.
Quick put your arms down Ollie you’re showing your sweat marks off Son.
Massive trees with colossal buttress roots.
We have to admit the signs for the trail could have been a little more evident.
But we did like this one, which we actually saw on the way up.
150m to go as per the big red lettering on the rock.
No word of a lie Ollie is actually climbing up using the rope.
This section got really steep – so very glad we said no to Amy and to let us explore 1st.
And when you get to the 500m view section – BOOM!
Look so high you have curvature of the horizon – WOW!
See below that little white dot next to the island.
That is something like a 200foot private yacht that anchored and sent a little launch to the island we assume for private snorkelling and diving. Hmmm – buggers!
We did it.
I am pointing at where we now need to get back to.
It is indeed a long way down folks.
One final photo.
No shopping at all.
Looks like the island is floating on a huge cloud doesn’t it?
Hacking through the jungle, the explorer makes his way back to base camp.
Swarms of deadly ants marching two by two across leaves and logs.
Huge spiders webs guard the way.
Is he deterred, is he boll*x.
Now sporting a lovely yellow shoulder bag, and towelling throw scarf.
More squiggly vine stuff.
We did it.
Very proud of ourselves and very hungry.
Come on girls let’s get to dinner.
Hold on a second what is this I spy.
Dinner is looking up.
This is the kitchen hand helping to set this station up for dinner. Is it on the beach?
Let me zoom out for you.
Hell yes it’s on the beach.
This cooked on the coals for a few hours.
BBQ tonight – so this mutton, fish, prawns etc all there to grab and munch on.
We had to get some happy snaps with Chef Nathan and crew.
Day No.3 Our final chance for swimming.
Again no in the water evidence so apologies.
Today I saw the needle fish again.
Today Ollie and I saw two rather BIGGER black tip reef sharks – as in BIG.
One swan right close a a lady standing to her waist in the water. I was snorkelling and saw it all from underneath. When I asked if she had seen the shark she said no not today. I said no the one that literally nearly swam between your legs just now. BIG one. How spooky was that.
The back to tell the girls and something once in lifetime happened.
A juvenile black tipped reef shark came to us. We were in about a foot of water. He came and literally ‘walked’ with me. He kept me to arms length and about a foot away from me, but we walked up and down the beach together in the shallow surf. He was never more than a foot away. I dashed to get the camera but he had gone.
But then bugger me he came back and we repeated the walk together again.
This time I had camera in hand so could get some snaps from above the water of this beautiful little creature, literally at arms length away from me.
Gob-smacked! Just gob-smacked!
Look at this beautiful thing.
Shark-Whisperer at your service…
Look at him. Just blew me away this.
But actually I think his Dad or his Brother said go and have a look at the dick in the flowery shorts and the top that doesn’t fit him. He think he looks like Daniel Craig or something!
Once in a life-time experience this was for me.
Closing down for the day and one last trip to the swimming pool.
Fun action shots of the diving duo.
Scroll fast and you’ll get the picture.
I love the one below – sort of a 5 year old Lara Croft in a scene from Tomb Raider.
Ollie’s turn – more traditional-like!
Holy Crap – Dynamo visits Tioman Island.
Or Ollie the amazing floating 11 year old.
Nah that’s nothing says Amy.
You should try the old walking on water trick, now that beats ‘floating’.
Oh dear me the busy socialite awaiting her nail varnish to dry (it’s true!)
OK the rest of us all had a bloody nice massage.
Heron gone – wonder why?
Ah-Ha – monitor lizard having a foray or swim or both in the river.
Last night’s sunset – she put on a show for us or what!!!
Amy and I wandered a little before dinner.
A little snap or two of her on the last night.
One the jetty – dining room behind.
Come on come on – please tell me is this an amazing restaurant and hotel or what.
Our room was about the 3rd roof top to the right of the main building. Damn it was lovely!
My little Princess and I shell hunting whilst trying not to get wet.
Woo Hoo – sexy Amy.
Just me and her – not a soul in sight.
Come on you, Mary, Ollie and Jude are waiting for us for dinner.
Our last night in Tioman.
We left for home – two things;
– I realised I had not one photo of the 5 of us together – dear me, apologies,
– I looked back to say goodbye, and the mountains had clouded over – saying goodbye???
We shall indeed be back.
Thank you Tioman – what a memorable experience you gave us all.
PS – where’s that dwarf???