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.
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|
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
He is way cuter in real life than on the movie.
There are not many times in your life when you get the chance to have a beach just for yourself.
9. Help the turtles
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.
It is enough to wake up a bit before 7:00 to see the sunrise. Totally worth it
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.
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