Tioman Island

Tioman – Salang village

31 march 2015 – 5 nights

One of the highlights of all my travels, is Tioman island’s Salang Village. Such beauty and peace. Can recommend anyone to go here if you feel like a relaxed atmosphere and being surrounded by nature.

Tiomans rough interior jungle landscape makes it hard to travel over the island. The only places being civilized, are directly at the beach. Even walking from one bay to another can be tough and takes some time. Although stated as a popular tourist destination, I never felt being more in midst of nature than on Tioman. Hills covered with jungle rise high up behind your tropical white sand beach. Monkeys jump from palm tree to palm tree and big lizards are peddling around in the inland river. On the other side of the beach an amazing rich coral life appears under the surface of the deep blue sea, with great chances of spotting stingrays, turtles and reef sharks, swimming around peacefully.

What to do in Salang village?

Tioman is a divers and snorkel paradise. So much to see! There are a few dive shops (80R/one dive) around. You can also make excursions to other beaches. There are taxi boats or trails along the coast if you rather go by yourself. I liked reading a book under a palm tree. There are not many shops, but the boulevard stretches far, so you can walk around looking for a place to have a drink or bite. There’s also the duty free alcohol shop, enjoy that. Don’t forget to go to Salangs ‘Complex’ for having delicious breakfast and lunch for cheap prices.

Where to stay in Salang?

The southern part of the bay has the better beach and coral landscapes. I liked to stay here, so I could roll out of bed onto the beach 🙂  I checked out al the places to stay in Salang, and Pandok Sri Salang was the best to us.  Cute bungalows setup around a nice garden for 60R a night. Nice bed, mosquito net, terrace, internet included and free books for rent.

Other budget (50-70 R) places to consider:
-Ella’s Place (cute, far walk from good beach) and Paklong (next to Pandok, similar bungalows only not a nice garden).

Midrange (120-160R) places all with facilities and restaurants attached:
-Salang Pusaka (best looking of all), Salang Sayong (right at the beach), Indah’s place (looks fancy, bungalow’s a bit cramped) and Puteri Salang In (nice setup around garden, very nice owner).

Cheap but not good:
– Nora’s (cosy garden, but crap rooms), Salang Beach resort (very unfriendly owner, crap rooms), cheaper rooms of Puteri In, Indah’s and Salong Sayong. Try to avoid!

Which village to choose on Tioman?

Of course ones experience will differ according to the village you pick to stay on the island. For me it was a hard decision to make with lack of detailed info online. We opted for Salang, with no regrets at all. The main options to choose from are from north to south:
– Salang village: liveliest, ca 10 budget and midrange accommodations, ca 7 restaurants, dutyfree (alcohol) shop, 3 diveshops,  beautiful beach
– Ayer Batang village (ABC):  10+ budget accommodations, ca 5 restaurants, mainly backpackers come here, rocky beach
– Tekek village: biggest village. Most shops and accommodations. Not much happening. Good location for trekking over the island. Road to the east side of the island. Small beach stroke
– Paya, Gunting and Nipah: small villages, just a view accommodations on each place
– Juara village: this is the only place on the east side of the island. Apparently it’s beautiful, but a little hard to reach

 Getting to Tioman

Mersing is the main hub for the ferry to Tioman. There are departures 3 or 4 times a day each day on different times. There are lists at the ferry office, but couldn’t make out a structure. The most early boat can leave already at 4 AM. Due to tides and weather conditions ferry’s can be cancelled. If you are on a tight schedule, make sure you call ahead to be updated on departure times. We arrived on a nightbus at 5:30 am in Mersing to find out the first ferry was cancelled. We had to wait for the one at 2.30 PM. Mersing is a nice village with enough shops and restaurants, so that wasn’t that much of a problem. 1 hour before you can board, you have to register and pay the marine park fee (25R, students 15R!). The boatdrive took 2,5hr to Salang. A return ticket is 70R, you can buy anywhere around Mersing. It’s not possible to make a reservation in advance!


Pandok Sri Salang  

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Taman Negara National Park

85.8Taman Negara National Park

March 2015 – Situated in the center of Malaysia‘s Peninsula and stated as the oldest national park of the country, Taman Negara attracts a lot of visitors each day. The boat ride to get to the park and the canopy walk are the major attractions of the place. To me it was a nice experience to go here, but as far as I can judge, the jungle around Cameron Highlands is more pleasing.

Kuala Tahan
Surprisingly, the little village, Kuala Tahan, on the park border isn’t that big and touristic at all. Funny how you always have a picture in your mind about the places you’re heading to.. I imagined a tropical overwhelmed village with lot’s of bushes and huts. It’s not really like that! It looks more like a small setup with mainly concrete buildings and some wooden low budget huts. There’s one street with some street food and (very) small supermarkets. The most cozy area is around the river, where there are about 5 floating restaurants all offering kind of the same menu. We stayed in the Xcape/Xbox hotel (haha) because they are the only one where you can book a (whole) dorm online (120R, 4 beds). Pretty okay, but not one other backpacker there. For information on accommodations, check here

The park
To get to the park, you have to cross the river with one of the little taxi boats (very cheap, 1 R). On the other side of the river you pay to get into the park, or show you already paid with your travel agency (also ridiculously cheap). From the headquarter you will find long stretching footbridges. To walk the lot, it can already take you a good couple of hours! Very nice that they put them there. In about 45 mins you walk to the Canopy walk, which you can reach by climbing a 150 stairs. Not so pleasant in this very humid conditions. But, of course it’s worth it! Again for only 2 euro’s or something you can walk among the treetops. It’s pretty high! And unfortunately no scary animals to spot. Furthermore, we made some loop over the footbridges and after 4 hours we were back at the headquarters. That’s it. Of course you can do overnight stays in the park as well and I guess you will than truely experience what Taman Negara is like.

How to get to Taman Negara
As with more remote places, an adventure on itself to get to Taman Negara. Jerantut is the village where you start from. It’s very easy to get to here by mini-bus or public transport. We took a mini bus from Cameron Highlands to Jerantut for 60 R. In Jerantut there’s this hostel/touroperator NKS who can arrange everything for you. The boat ride to Kuala Tahan for most tourists, is already an experience. It’s beautiful to see the river and sometimes bathing cows, but it took verrryy long (2,5hrs, 35 R). There’s also a paved road to the village with a very cheap local bus connection to Jerantut (7 R, mini-bus 25 R). Not that bad either!  We took the local bus back and continued from Jerantut our journey to Kuantan on the east coast.

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