Thursday 14 April 2016

Weekend Getaway at Tioman Island, Malaysia

How to Get from Singapore to Tioman Island

The trip was just an over the weekend getaway so I contacted Discovery Tours and Travel to book a two-way ticket from Singapore to Tioman Island a month before our intended date of visit. It was a hassle-free transaction considering that I made a few mistakes while making reservation (i.e. my cousin’s passport details and wrong departure date). Moe, one of their sales assistants, was a great help!

The pick up location was at the entrance of Singapore Flyer (30 Raffles Avenue). We were advised to be at the pick up point at least 15 minutes before the departure time, so we agreed to meet at 5:30 am. We allotted 45 minutes for breakfast which was a total fail, since the 7-11 store at the flyer was closed. The other passengers started to arrive at around 6:00 am and at exactly 6:15, the tour guide checked our travel vouchers one by one and then led us to the bus. The travel time from Singapore Flyer to Tanjung Gemok Ferry was about 4 hours, including the immigration clearance in Singapore and Malaysia. The seats of the bus were comfortable but the ride was a bit bumpy. According to the guide, the driver had to drive a little faster to make it on time for the ferry departure at Tanjung Gemok. The trip was actually pretty organised. Our two-way ferry tickets were handed to us beforehand and further instructions were pointed out too. Upon arrival at Tanjung Gemok, I took our boarding passes at Counter number 3 and paid a total of RM10.00 for the Marine Park Conservation Charge (RM5.00 each). It is compulsory for all passengers visiting Tioman Island to pay this fee. A few minutes later and we were already aboard the ferry going to the Island. It took us two good hours to get to our destination. We got off at Tekek Jetty (which was the third stop) where a shuttle service which took us to our hotel was waiting.

Travel tip: Grab something for breakfast before leaving your place and consider bringing some snacks too. There was no stopover and you might end up starving, just like us! By the way, the total travel time from Singapore to Tioman Island was about 7.5 hours, be prepared!

Where to Stay in Tioman Island

I booked our hotel via Berjaya Tioman Resort is a 4-star hotel located a few minutes drive away from Tekek Jetty (7-9 minutes). We stayed in a Superior Chalet Twin Room (RM360.00) with a garden view, including breakfast. There was a huge selection of Asian and Western food and we loved it! We paid RM55.00 (each) for the lunch buffet and we also ordered from the ala carte menu. Overall, we think that their food was awesome!

The location of the chalet was perfect. It was just a few minutes walk to the beach, to the restaurant, to the reception area, and to the spa. The resort also has a game room and it also offers water activities such as kayaking and snorkeling. We didn’t get to roam around the entire resort but I am pretty sure it still has more to offer.

How to Spend One Day in Tioman Island
The weather was really hot when we arrived so we decided to rest for a bit after having lunch. At around 5:00 pm, we got ready and then started to roam around. We planned to just stay in the resort. I’ve read that there are beautiful waterfalls nearby but our time was limited. The surrounding was quiet and peaceful and it was a perfect place to relax and unwind. We walked on the beach, took a lot of photos and watched the sunset. To be honest, I secretly wished I was with someone else; the place was really romantic! We went back to our room to have a quick shower and then made our way to the spa which was only a short distance from our chalet. We had a 1.5-hour body massage for RM190.00 each. I loved the ambiance at the spa area! Although we weren’t really starving, we headed to the restaurant to eat something after the massage. We ordered sandwiches, salad, fruit juices and a fruit platter. We initially planned to have a few bottles of beer after the light meal, but we were so calmed and relaxed (perhaps because of the body massage), so we decided to call it a day after dinner.

The following morning we woke up early to have breakfast and then after that, we swam on the beach for the next two hours. The water was crystal clear and clean, but the sand was not as fine and not as white as what I’ve expected. I collected some dead corals washed up on the beach, while my cousin was swimming in saltwater. We moved to the pool area afterwards because we noticed that it wasn’t crowded yet, perhaps because most of the guests were still having breakfast. We sat in the jacuzzi pool while admiring the view. The water was warm and clean however we could smell the chlorine. After about 30 minutes, we went back to our room to have a shower. We then had lunch and got ready for check out.

At around 1:30 pm, the shuttle service which took us to the ferry left. The jetty was crowded when we got there. Upon arrival, I immediately proceeded to Counter 1 to take our boarding passes and went straight to the departure hall afterwards. An announcement was made but we didn’t hear anything, so we just followed the crowd. When we were already at the boarding gate, the officer (?) told us to sit on the other side of the hall and wait for further announcement. After a few minutes of waiting, the officer then told us to leave the hall, as our baggage had to be checked before boarding. I was a bit annoyed but I knew I didn’t have a choice but to follow. People lined up at the gate outside the hall and waited for their bags to be inspected. Well, they didn’t really inspect the bags anyway. They just opened and closed them (as in literally that was what they did) and that was it. We (again) waited for our turn to board the ferry and after an hour, the ferry finally left. It was an hour delayed.

When we arrived at Tanjung Gemok Jetty, the bus was already waiting for the passengers. I guess that was one good thing about a pre-arranged transport. When all the passengers were seated, we were asked about our preferred drop-off point. Since my cousin lives in Bishan and I live in Bukit Batok, we opted to be dropped off at Woodlands Checkpoint. The bus left Tanjung Gemok at 5:00 pm and we were already at Woodlands Checkpoint at around 8:00 pm.

Our over the weekend trip was a success! However, it was a bit tiring. I wish we had more time to spend there. Personally, I think it would have been more fun if we spent at least two full days in the island. I could have roamed outside the resort, I could have gone to see the waterfalls!

Here are the photos taken during that weekend get away!

Happy travels!

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