Weekend trip to Pulau Tioman, Malaysia (31 May-1 Jun 08)
Tioman Island Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
Visiting Juara Beach (Eastern side of Tioman Island) after Salang and other popular resorts on the western side feels good like finding a new paradise, as the quietness of the place surrounds you. None of the noise from rows of resorts and restaurants, groups of tourists, etc is there to annoy you, when you want a relaxing break, away from the city. It has been a long long while, I return to Tioman Island for swimming and snorkelling, which are my favourite activities, especially in this hot weather. I have not returned to Tioman Island (west side), as it has become too commercialised and crowded.
Getting to Juara Beach is not so convenient as getting to the west side (2 hrs ferry ride), as we had to transfer from Tekek Jetty to a truck and a jeep (as there were 16 of us) that took us across the mountain via a newly paved road (as indicated by the red-dotted lines on the map). The 40mins ride through the jungle was fun, going up some steep slopes ! We saw many fruit trees and got a glimpse of the magnificient Juara Bay from the top (410m high). Of course, one can trek through the jungle but it will take 3 hrs, according to Steven, owner of the Chalets we have booked.
The basic chalets with air-conditioners are very near to the jetty.
Bistro cafe is right across the chalets, serving seafood and other standard meals. From the cafe, the beach is a stone throw away. After lunch, 6 persons went for their 1st dive at 2pm. Some of us went to the beach for a swim. From the Sunrise Dive Centre, we were told that we could do snorkelling at the far end where the rocks are. Near the shore, all we could see were some rocks. Only later when Jeroen and Crystal canoed to the other end, Jeroen dived in and saw some corals and beautiful fishes. There is a private beach, where the Turtle Sanctuary is operated and maintained by a private organisation.
We looked forward to BBQ dinner, when the divers came back around evening time. To our dismay, the Sunrise Cafe as well as Juara Mutiara Cafe only cater BBQ for group package (3D/2N stay). There was no BBQ items on the menu for walk-in. In the end, we walked back to our Bistro for dinner. We ordered Tom Yam soup and other available seafood meals to go with rice.
One group of us (4) played the Mahjong, the others played Pictionary. Yes, Michelle brought a few games (including Taboo), no wonder her bag was big just for a overnight stay ! However, the Mahjong tiles (travel set) were so tiny, it was a strain on our eyes in that dim lighting in Bistro Cafe, to see clearly what was on the tile! After a few games, we gave up !
Sunday morning, Valerie and I woke up late (almost 10am), others had gone for their 2nd dive at 7am ! While waiting for our pancakes (Bistro cafe ran out of bread since yesterday), the divers came back for their breakfast. The pancakes took a long while to appear!. Bistro cafe informed us that they were booked for lunch, so we had to take our lunch elsewhere. Valerie and I walked up until we came to Paradise Restaurant, which was about to close for lunch, as they had to help in the preparation for wedding. It showed the community spirit in the village on the island to help each other in an event. Fortunately, the owner could still cook for us if we ordered then. So we had an early lunch instead.
We walked back via the beach to feel the rushing water in our feet. The other cafes and restaurants further down were also closed for the wedding. As it was too late to do snorkelling, I headed back to our chalet for a shower before packing. We were booked on the 3pm ferry direct from the jetty.
The ferry was late. However, I was relieved to see that this ferry was bigger (more stable) and had an outer deck. It made several stops at other jetties, before heading back to Tanjong Gemok. I enjoyed sitting in the outer deck, with wind blowing in my face. Unlike the earlier ferry (express), it was smaller and passengers had to sit in an enclosed space. After 1 hour, I had to look for an open window, as I felt lousy. It was too late, as I puked through the open window !
This return ferry took more than 4 hours to reach Tanjong Gemok. We had dinner immediately in the nearby Fu Man Lou Seafood restaurant, as the divers and others had not managed to find lunch on Tioman Island ! In record time, we had finished the 9 dishes in 20 mins !
The drive back to Johore Bahru Immigration took about 3 hours and another 1/2 hour to go back into Singapore. I got home before midnight, when it started to drizzle !
Inspite of minor hiccups on the Tioman Island, I did enjoy the peace and tranquility of Juara Beach !