As we came to the end of our trip in Malaysia, we thought it only right that we visited just one more island before heading back to the mainland and KL…again.
Tioman, the much larger and more ‘discovered’ island than Kapas was another long bus journey all the way down the east coast. Drifting in and out of consciousness and losing all track of time, as you tend to do on long bus journeys, it was 7 maybe 9 hours later that we arrived in the small fishing village of Mersing.
‘Small’ is the key word here and probably one we neglected to think about when climbing aboard the 4pm bus that takes 9 hours and will get you into Mersing at….yes, 1am. We of course had no accommodation booked and with the driver stopping for an extra half an hour on route because he was hungry we were beginning to get rather worried at the prospect of spending a night sleeping rough on the streets!
The further away the bus drove from civilisation the more the worry ensued, but, we are travellers and this is what we are built for after all right? We prepared ourselves for a night of soul searching sleeping on the streets of Mersing (not helped by the fact that an Irish man we had met in a bar told us that it was also a bit dodgy after dark).
The ram-shackled bus station, a couple of wooden cabins and the few fishing boats we had imagined actually turned out to be quite a developed little village. And in true Charlotte and Josh luck it just so happened there was one hotel still open! The owner was asleep in a hammock outside so we tentatively woke him up where he awarded us with the very last room! No sleeping rough this time….Winning!
After about 4 hours sleep (maybe the hotel wasn’t really worth it!?) we dragged ourselves down to the dock and took the 2ish hour ferry to Tioman. As soon as we stepped foot on the island the incredibly relaxed vibes washed over us. We stayed in SPC in ABC (Yes they are fans of abbreviation!) which is named after the film South Pacific which was actually filmed on the island!
After a day relaxing, getting our bearings and of course the long walk of champions to Tekek and the duty free shop to buy some cheap spirits and Chang we were ready for something a bit different.
Monkey Bay was supposedly a good walk through the jungle along the coastline so we decided to don our trainers once more, find a big stick to fend of killer monkeys (we were prepared this time!) and head through! It took nearer 3 hours than 1 and a half and was slightly more of a rugged walk than expected but we made it! We came into the first cove just as the heavens opened and so took shelter with a one-toothed taxi boat driver inside his wooden hut. After a bit of a chat, and a swig of his weird strawberry fanta (probably the culprit for the one tooth!), we found out that we had actually only reached Monkey Beach not Monkey Bay. So once the rain had passed, he pointed us off back into the jungle and instructed us to ‘follow the electricity line’ until we found Monkey Bay. A twenty minute scramble later we were glad he had told us as Monkey Bay was a beautiful, long stretch of sand and completely deserted. We had a swim in the crystal clear sea before deciding to make our trek back to the cold Changs awaiting us…
The first sip of Chang certainly got the juices flowing and within 2 hours our whole stash of booze (supposed to last 5 days) was gone. However…we were happy that we remembered the walk and that our heads didn’t hurt too much to…yes, sit in the sun before heading to Malacca.
Until the next time…
C & J