Tioman Island - Walking on dream
Trip Start Jan 03, 2010
43Trip End Apr 21, 2010
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Where I stayed
Sofia and I took the short bus ride and ferry trip over to Tioman island on the east coast of Malaysia after agreeing that we were in much need of some place we could cool down after the heat of KL.
As the boat drew close to Tioman we saw thick untamed jungle climbing to the hills as they rose high above the waters. We arrived at sunset and first impressions for Sofia weren't very good "Richy, if it's going to look like this then I think we should think about moving on to another island." The beach was very narrow and was strune with dead coral probably washed up from the monsoons earlier in the year. The water was very shallow with a rocky plateau a few inches under the water. I could see where she was coming from and agreed to move on if things didn't pick up
On the first day we did find our lovely unspoiled beach, a fairly short but quite deep stretch of sand framed with coconut trees and jungle. It was a wonderful temperature and just the kind of place Sofia and I had hoped for. The ABC hamlet where we stayed is basically a thin strip of guest houses along a road no wider than an average suburban footpath, so you either have to walk everywhere or get in a moped with homemade sidecar. A long white sandy beach with lots of dead coral runs all the way along this sheltered bay with coconut palms dotted along. Behind the guest houses is thick jungle that is home to monkeys, pigs, birds, monitor lizards, fruit bats and I'm told even king cobras. Apparently the locals had to kill a King cobra earlier in the year after it was spotted in a chalet so they chopped it with an axe.
Our first encounter with the wildlife came on our first walk to the beach. I was surprised to see a large monitor lizard about 2 meters long basking in a dry river bed. When it saw me it cautiously moved back into the jungle. This wouldn't be the only sighting, I have lost cout of how many we saw, just crossing the path, on the beach, swimming in streams, running away from teasing children
The next morning Sofia and I were tucking into breakfast on the porch when a troup of monkeys walked trough the chalets and then the alpha male hung back a bit apparently to sniff flowers. He got closer and closer pretending to sniff and then eat the flowers. As he edged ever closer he never once made eye contact even though Soifa and I were keeping a close eye on him until he got a bit too close for comfort and we went inside. he immediately jumped onto our table and began to taunt us throught the window as we shouted at it. Then with a last gland he took our Milo (chocolate powder) and took off down the garden to eat it is the most casult manner
We managed to do a little bit of trekking over to the next bay called monkey beach, we were wondering whether to take the danish guy in case we wouldn't see any wildlife so we wouldn't be disappointed (ok, no more monkey jokes) but we need not have worried. We saw about 5 monitor lizards about 1m long and with white spots and monkeys just watching us from the trees. The jungle was very thick and it involved climbing over fallen trees and under electrical cable connecting the next resort. It was really hot we were quite dehydrated afterwards, thanks god for rehydration salts or pringles as i made do with after the walk.
If the land was like the crowning beauty of malaysia then the jewel in the crown was under the water. We decided to do our Advanced PADI course with eco divers and met this really nice couple running the operation. Slightly different to the dive shops on Koh Tao this was just a wooden hut filled with dive equiptment. We did 7 dives in total, 1 deep dive down to an old Malaysian fishing boat wreck that was engulfed in a large school of yellow snapper with some large bat fish swimming in and out of the wreck. The visibility wasn't very good but it added to the atmosphere of the sunken wreck with fish swimming in and out
We made some really good people on the island and I think we will meet up with some of them when we reach Bali. I was easy to see why this was the best place on our trip because the people were such fun. We only planned a 4 day stay but in actual fact we ended up staying there for 9 days and could have stayed much longer. Days of the week didn't mean to much out there and our next door neighbour was always asking us whether we had any idea what the time was or day was. I saw him walking to the pier with his bags and asked him if he's leaving now and he was just going to turn up and just wait not knowing what time the boat comes. Anyway, all good things must come to an end and we looked to our next destination was the jungle nature reserve of Taman Negara.