It was a spur of the moment decision. I had another week before I started my new job at a new place, so I decided that an island getaway is the best thing to do to relax the nerve and getting me ready for a new challenge. I was looking for someplace cheap, accessible by public transportation and heavenly looking island. The result – Pulau Tioman or Tioman Island on the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia.
I did some research on the web, reading other people’s blogs and looking through the vast library of travel articles and I settled for Panuba Inn Resort. The reason I chose the resort is because ALL rooms are sea view no matter what type of room that we choose. Just imagine, a room with fan costing RM 65 per night (USD 15) is also sea view. That is value for money.
A few days before departure, I emailed the resort owner, informing her of my intention to stay at Panuba for 3 days and 2 nights. I did not choose any full board package because I was not planning to snorkel throughout my stay (since I do not think that I would want to snorkel for three days in a row and since I could not dive… yet) . Thus, I booked a B type room – with air conditioning and hot shower – for MR 95 (USD 22) per night for two nights and asked for her help to reserve a ferry ticket from Mersing – Tioman -Mersing, which she gladly helped with. A return ferry ticket is RM 70 (USD 16).
Accommodation? Checked! Ferry? Checked! Next was the bus.
I decided to take Transnasional express bus from the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (Southern Intergrated Terminal) and bought my bus ticket via their portal. Bus ticket was RM 33 one way (USD 7.50) and it will bring me straight to the Mersing Jetty. I bought an 11.00 pm bus since I thought I could do some sleeping in the bus.
14 May 2014 – Day 1
The bus left the bus terminal at 11.00 pm on the dot and off I went together with my brother who would be accompanying me in this trip. I was so excited since I have never been to Tioman and the fact that Tioman was once listed as one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world had produced more adrenaline in me. The bus ride was fine. Since it was late night, I could not see anything outside but I could feel that the road is a winding road by the number of turns that the bus made.
I was glad that the bus that I rode in has entertainment system just like in the airplane. I inserted my earphone and watched some of the movies available. Once in a while, my eyes failed me and I would dozed off. It was a long, dark and quiet journey of 5 hours. Around 5.00 am, I reached the Mersing jetty.
I went to the jetty ticketing counters to find one which the owner of Panuba Inn said I should go to to collect my ferry ticket. I collected the ferry ticket and paid RM 5 (USD 1.15) for the conservation fee.
At 6.00 am, the ferry was ready to depart the jetty to go to Tioman. My brother and I brought our bags and went into the ferry. The ferry itself is not that huge. It was a passenger ferry like the ones in Langkawi and it has an outdoor deck. The journey to Tioman would take around 2 hours and I decided to stay outdoor the whole time.
It was cold. Mist was everywhere. The sun has yet to rise but the quietness of the ocean was replaced by the loud sound of the ferry moving forwards against the waves to reach its destination. It was around 7.00 am when I saw the sun rising on the horizon. It was alluring and felt so magical. When the sun had fully risen, I could see lines and lines of small islands en route to Tioman.
Finally, around 8.00 am, I saw a vast island which is covered by thick greenery and jungles. Tioman was in front of my eyes. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the sea water changing from blue to azure colour. It was so pretty.
The ferry stopped at several jetties on Tioman. The jetty conductor will shout the name of the jetty and passengers would alight if their accommodation is accessible from that particular jetty. It is therefore important to know where your accommodation is and where to disembark.
But Panuba is special. While other jetties are shared jetties, Panuba has a jetty of its own. “Panuba! Panuba!”, shouted the conductor and like a school children going on their first field trip, I grabbed my bag and excitedly went out of the ferry onto the jetty.
“Wow!” is an under-expression but since there is no other words to be used to express my feeling, I will stick with it. Wow! Yeah… wow! The resort looked amazing from the jetty. Every room has windows overlooking the ocean. I did not make a wrong choice. I pinched my chubby cheek and asked my brother, “Are we in paradise?”.
To Be Continued in Part 2
The information stated above are accurate as of publishing date. In addition, as of November 2016, the Panuba jetty is still under repair and passengers have to disembark at Kampung Air Batang (ABC) jetty before being picked up by Panuba Inn staff using a boat.