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Pulau Tioman lies about 30 km east of Mersing. It is the largest of a group of 64 volcanic islands. It is 38 km long and 19 km at its widest point. Monsoon period is between November to Jan. The busiest period is between June and August where prices will increase and advance booking for accommodation is advisable.
Teva at my feet, Eastpak on my shoulder and Levis on my hip, I went to Kampung Salang, Pulau Tioman for three days. I have enjoyed this trip very much despite being alone. Knowing that it is always very difficult to purchase bus ticket back to Singapore, I have decided to buy the 2-way ticket from Gunung Raya (65-62947911) at S$30.00. In retrospect, I think it is not necessary so long it is not a public holiday or school holiday.
Coach leaving Singapore was at 6.30am. At such time, I had to take a taxi to catch the coach which I paid S$15.30 (more than my Sin – Mer trip) !! There were 17 of us in 42 seater coach. You know who was the odd one out of 17 ! Took us about three hours to arrive at Mersing. Once arrived, I quickly went to purchase the boat ticket. My intention was to purchase the ferry ticket as I was not in a hurry. Unfortunately, I could not. I was not sure I missed the ferry or there were too few passengers. I am inclined to believe the latter. However, one needs not worry. Speed boat is there. It will cost more but it takes about one and half hours to reach Salang. I still thought it was worth it. This speed boat service with various timings has made going to Tioman very convenient indeed. Great.
If you are not sure when you are coming back, you can buy your return ticket in Salang. I bought my return ticket in Mersing as I did not know. Price was the same at RM35 per way from Blue Water Express.
The speedboat will stop respectively at Mukut -> Paya -> Genting -> Tekek -> Air Batang (ABC) -> lastly at Salang. It will be the reverse order when coming back to Mersing.
First thing when I reached Salang was to find a place to stay. From internet findings, I had decided to check-in to Salang Pusaka resort. Walking from the long jetty to shore and it was drizzling, I managed to find Pusaka after asking someone. To my disappointment, the non-aircon room was fully booked. Just next to Pusaka was Pak Long Chalet. Luckily I was able to book one non-aircon room at RM30 per night. It was a very basic accommodation. This area was quiet and peaceful. In front of Pak Long was a small river where there were giant monitor lizards lazing around. It seemed harmless to me. I also saw some monkeys loitering around the bridge.
Further up was the Nora Chalet. I found this place a little run down. However, if you prefer to be away from crowd, you may try here. Next to Nora in the hinterland among cluster of bananas, mango, and palm trees was the Puteri Salang Inn. It seems to me this place was well kept and tidy.
Right in front of the beach and at the far end (right side if you are coming from the jetty) was the upmarket Salang Sayang Resort. The lawn here was well maintained with pretty plants all over. Chalets looked new and clean. It had a beautiful garden. Most people will swim at this side of the beach because it was not so rocky.
On the other side of the beach was where you could see more activity. Most restaurants were at this side. Salang Indah Resort was most crowded. From my observation, it was the biggest resort here. On my second night, I had changed to this place at RM25.00 for a non-aircon room. By the way, the non-aircon room came with a fan and attached bathroom. Again, I must say, it was very basic accommodation. I found this place more convenient. I also liked my room which was facing the sea. Just next to Indah was the Salang Beach Resort which was owned by Chinese owner. Another big resort with chalets sprawling all over the hill. You can also find the only Chinese restaurant at this place. Walking further down was the Ella Place. Quiet and peaceful here but no lawn here. Right at the end was the Salang Huts. I noticed this place was very run down. Not sure whether or not it was still operational.
The above is purely my own personal observation and opinion. My intention is to present some kind of reference of the accommodation you can find in Salang. Of course, your opinion may differ greatly from mine. No offence intended.
As far as food is concerned, there were plenty and varieties. I was amazed. This was certainly no kampung. The famous Ramly burger was here too. Though Starbucks was not here, you still could find mocha or latte here. Who knows, maybe KFC will be here in the future! I had BBQ fish at RM10.00 at the busy Salang Indah Restaurant. Further down the path, there was the White House Cafe which I found the fried noodle very delicious at RM4.00. The setting here was beautiful. Very basic tables and chairs by the sea. They also sold BBQ seafood here. You cannot miss it because it was painted all white.
If you want Chinese food, you can have it at the Salang Beach Chinese Restaurant. I wonder how was the food here.
For breakfast, you can try the roti chennai at Salang Indah Restaurant or Salang Dream Restaurant. I tried at the former. Did not taste as good as the one I had taken in KL.
In this booming business of restaurants and cafes, you will find some small Malay stalls selling nasi lemak or simple food. Salang is almost self-contained. There were few mini marts selling anything from instant noodle to disposal underwear. Price here was a little higher than the main land.
Being alone, I had decided that I needed to join snorkelling trips in order to pass my time at Salang. This was one decision I did not regret. Not only I enjoyed the snorkelling very much, I had also made some friends.
The first snorkelling trip was at the Coral Island(Pulau Tulai) at RM40.00 including equipment. This was about 20 minutes away from Salang by speedboat. There were only four of us. Corals were beautiful and marine fishes plenty. I even managed to view a turtle swimmig. Do not miss it if you are in Salang.
On my second day, I joined the round island trip at RM60.00 including equipment. We left at about 10.30am and came back at around 5.00pm. The highlight of this trip was a visit to Kampung Juara which was at the east side of Tioman Island. As there was no regular ferry to here, this place was very secluded. It was very beautiful and extremely windy. There were some chalets for rent here. Hopefully, the transportation to this idyllic beach can improve in the future.
We snorkelled at two places on this trip. Renggis Island was in front of the only 4 star Berjaya Tioman hotel. I noticed some of the corals here were fading or dead. Another area was the marine park where you could find abundant marine fishes but no coral.
Another place we went was the waterfall near Mukut. This was a small waterfall but the water was cold enough to refresh our sweating and tired bodies.
I have come to Salang without knowing much about the place. I came because I have always wanted to visit Salang. Over the years, I had visited Tioman five times but not to Salang.
It is a rustic place with beautiful setting of coconut trees and crystal clear water. The beach stretches about 2 km long in Salang. However, most come here not because of the beach. One stretch of the beach is very rocky which makes swimming almost impossible. Yet people come, I believe, because of the nice atomsphere here. Perhaps, its peacefulness is also a draw. The infrastructure here is also good. The villagers especially the elderly are friendly and warm. There is an element of free and easy kampung spirit here.
I had spent many hours at the jetty in the evening to enjoy the transquility and breeze of the night. I took great delight watching the sea view while having a cup of tea in a local cafe. I liked the time best during dusk where the sun is going down and the heat of the day is gradually dissipating. This has been a nice and enjoyable trip [ ]