27 May 2012

Why you must go to Tioman Island

Well, there are many obvious reasons: the beach, the sun, the palm trees, etc. which I am not even bother to mention because you can find that in every post-card beach resort out there.
I want to focus on the little details, those things that make the difference between a nice place and a very special one.

Just give me a second to make a quick intro to the place, so you can locate yourself.
This small piece of paradise is called Juara Beach, situated on the eastern side of Tioman (check out the map from here).


In my opinion, Juara is the nicest part of the island, not only because the place itself is truly beautiful but also because it's so isolated and surrounded by jungle that most of the tourist do not even know about it (or are too lazy to try to get there).
Most likely you will find the beach as it looks in the picture above: empty!

We stayed in the Beach Shack, a small family owned "resort", the most laid back place ever.
It is owned by Tim, an Australian surfer, and his wife Izan. They are really cool.


The Beach Shack is a very special place, you can really chill out like it will be your own home. During the monsoon season this spot is huge on surfing, they even have a surf school. We were not so lucky with the waves, so we had no other choice than take it easy and do nothing for 10 days.



As you can see, the place is pretty rustic, so if you fancy luxurious beach resorts where you can take a cocktail by the swimming pool, then this is definitely not a place for you.

Now that you have a better idea about what kind of place it is, let's get down into business.
Why the hell you should go to Tioman Island?


1. Monkey pets

They got two monkeys (Endon and Cinta) at the Beach Shack, which were rescued from mainland Malaysia.



video

Endon became my best friend in the whole island.
She would come to you and start grooming your hair (yes, even your leg's hair).


Since I did not wanted to be rude, I politely groomed her back.


Later on, I was checking just for fun what is the reason behind this social grooming behavior. Wikipedia says: "an animal helping another animal to clean itself also is helping to form a social bond and trust between them". How cute is that!
But then I got to this point: "(grooming) is exchanged for other resources, such as food and sex"... and made me wonder whether she was a true friend or she just wanted to eat... or have sex.
(Damn you Wikipedia, why you always have to ruin friendships?)

2. Snakeless Jungle


We were told that there were many snakes out there, but somehow they got shy because we did not see any, not even a tiny one. I am so happy about that.

Another good thing about the jungle (asides from the shy snakes), was to experience how's like to feel small among all those huge trees and plants. It is difficult to explain, you just gotta try it out.


I loved the jungle even if we actually got pretty lost... the original plan of a 2h hike ended up in 6h of walking up and down a mountain several times. But it was "fun" (if I think about it now) and we eventually made it back to the "civilization". I am sure that Bear Grylls would have been very proud of us. 

This is me with the "where the hell are we?" face

3. Pineapples


I saw a pineapple plant for the first time, it must be one of the funniest plants ever.
It looks like if someone has walked by and left some pineapples on top of small palm trees.


4. (almost) Wire-less island


You will not find many wires and electronic stuff on that side of the island. Good way to disconnect from civilization! Actually, I think this is must be the only phone you can find in the village of Juara. 


5. No cars


I probably saw more lizards than cars making use of the village roads. 
Bikes, sidecars and motorcycles are the main mode of transportation in there.



6. Floating for free


In Barcelona, I pay 35€ to float for 1h in the Flotarium.
In Tioman, I was floating for around 4 hours every day during 10 days... which means that I saved 1400 € !!


7. Finding Nemo

from here
One of the highlights of the trip was meeting Nemo in person!
He is way cuter in real life than on the movie.


8. Tourist-free


There are not many times in your life when you get the chance to have a beach just for yourself.


9. Help the turtles

from here

Tioman is home to four of the world's seven known species of sea turtles, including critically endangered species. We had the nice opportunity to help them out at the Juara Turtle project.


10. Dragon princess


Tioman is made out of a dragon princess.
The legend says that a dragon princess was flying from China to Singapore to visit her boyfriend, the prince. While she was flying over the South China Sea she stopped to take a swim in the crystal-clear waters. It felt so good that the princess decided to stay and turned into an Island.
The prince is probably still waiting for her in Singapore, poor thing.


11. Leopard couch


You get to meditate on a leopard couch. Don't ask me why but it was cool.

12. Sunrise


It is enough to wake up a bit before 7:00 to see the sunrise. Totally worth it

13. Cats

Cats are always a good option to finish any post, specially a super long one.
So, here you have a selection of the Beach Shack cats. I think they probably got the funniest cats ever.


USEFUL INFO

Bus from Singapore - Mersing  
Five Stars Tours
5001 Beach Road (Golden Mile Complex)
+ 65 6392 7011 / + 65 6294 7011

Boat from Mersing - Tioman 
(Once in the boat, stop in Tekek and take a taxi to Juara)
+ 607 799 4811 / + 607 799 8518

+ 6012 696 1093 / + 609 419 3148 
izanhussain@yahoo.com

24 comments:

  1. Wow, Really nice way you have set it ! I am
    Malaysian and would have not said it better my self. Hope to see you if should ever visit here ;) Have a nice day

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I so hope I am able to go back there some day!
      You have an amazing country!!! kisses!

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  2. Great post on Tioman. One of the best places to escape from Singapore's dense concrete jungle.

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  3. thankyouthankyouthankyou! found your post while researching options for a beach holiday near singapore a while ago and decided to go to tioman after reading it. we had the best time ever in juara, it truely is a magical place.

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  4. woah I never knew this is such an amazing place! Thank you for your post, wish I would be able to go there one day too!

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  5. Wow! This is where we are headed to escape from our concrete home in China, I happened to come across this in looking for pix of Juara. Yours are wonderful!

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  6. Nice pics! Thanks for the tip on Juara. We aren't staying there but may get a boat...

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  7. What a lovely post. I could almost hear the mesmerizing sounds of the sea lapping up against the beach.

    Hard to believe that this pretty pearl of an island is a mere 3 hours away from Singapore by car and ferry or just 1 hour away by plane.

    Spanish girl living in Helsinki, you've got us sold :)

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  8. It should be "Why You Must Go To Juara"

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  9. I went to Juara and was completely mesmerized by it.The whole feel of getting disconnected from the world was amazing. I had been thinking of writing up a blog on my experiences but never ended up doing so but its like you put in most of the stuff :)...boy memories are back to haunt me till i go there again. btw another nice thing was to canoe down the river at the other end of the island. try it out if u have not. thanks a lot for the article :)

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  10. Been to Juara 3 times this past year. Hope it stays this way, which I doubt it will. Commercialism will creep in eventually. That said, try jumping off the jetty at low tide - nice : ) - Sam.

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  11. Thanks for sharing! I am heading to Tioman Island tomorrow morning and was looking up some blog reviews so I would know what to expect. It looks very photogenic, i'll be sure to take my camera and post my own pictures on my own blog http://annielka.com/blog which is actually a jewellery focused blog but i'll introduce a 'travel' section after my Tioman trip as your post has inspired me :) I hope you can come visit in a few weeks when it will be up. Angela XX

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    1. Awesome!! I hope you had a fantastic trip!

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  12. Beautiful! I enjoyed your post. Because of this, Tioman is next on my list. Thanks a lot for sharing. :)

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  13. What a lovely and helpful post, thanks!
    To help us organize our trip, how much did you pay approximately the taxi from Tekek?

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    1. Thanks Margot!!! I'm afraid I don't remember at all how much was the taxi, sorry :-( but it was not too expensive I think. Nevertheless, remember to negotiate a fixed fare before you jump into the taxi. Wish you a lovely trip!!!!

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  14. Hi there! Nice blog here and it really gets be excited for my Tioman trip next week! I am planning to book the same accommodation as you, the Beach Shack. Do they have many types of rooms? How are the rates like?

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    Replies
    1. Hi! I think is better that you call or send an email and ask them directly: + 6012 696 1093 / + 609 419 3148 izanhussain@yahoo.com , the rooms are very basic (although they were building some new ones, not sure what is the situation now) so the only difference was that some were facing the sea and some not :-) Have fun in Tioman!!!

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  15. Hello :)
    Nice blog :)
    if u don't mind sharing, can I know how much to bring along?
    I am planning to stay for 4days 3 nights :)
    Juara is really that clear or was it edited?
    Cheers!
    Email : Sharon.nathan29@gmail.com

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  16. Thanks for all the information. I must go there. Wish i read your blog first, I already booked the Berjaya Tioman Resort. I so much wish I read your blog before booking... could have planned differently.

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  17. Hi! Love your blog! :)
    I really want to go to this place! Can you tell me the easiest way to get there from Singapore without flying? Do you think I will need to book a room in advance or can I just show up?

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