My Sweet Escape to Tioman Island

I’ve been planning this trip since the beginning of the year. Location changed numerous times throughout the process : Langkawi to Penang, to Pangkor and we finally decided on Tioman two days before the trip.

Words couldn’t describe my excitement as I was packing my things up and left for Pudu. First, I met up with Ash, in Wangsa Maju LRT Station and headed to KLCC to buy some things. From there, we hopped on to the LRT again to Masjid Jamek and the took the STAR LRT to Puduraya. This is where all the drama begins.

The bus tickets to Mersing was sold out.

Shit!! Ash and i looked at each other. “Now what do we do?”

We both gave this puzzled disappointed look. Sighs. But we’re not willing to let our dream holiday slip by just because of a bus ticket! No way, so we enquired other ways to get there. And the Transnational bus service guy was pretty friendly, he called up the Mersing bus driver and asked him about the alternative route.

Johor Bahru Map

And we finally got ourselves tickets to Kota Tinggi, a town we both had no idea off.

Johor Bahru Map

We began our bus journey at 12am. We talked and talked in the bus to kill time, looked out the bright moon outside, listened to some slow songs and after a while, i fell asleep on his shoulder.

About 4.30 am, we reached Kota Tinggi and was welcomed by this huge billboard “Welcome to the historical city of Kota Tinggi”, and guess what else? The town was pitch black. It seems it was experiencing a black out for the past couple of hours. Great. This is exactly what we need, in a town we know nothing.

We were told to take a taxi to the main town bus stop. The taxi driver demanded 8bucks. I wanted to just pay him and get out of that place, Ash refused. Urgghh.. I couldn’t argue with him, so I just sat quietly next to our luggage, thinking if I’m ever going to make it to Tioman in one piece.

The taxi driver drove off after Ash refused his offer. We were waiting with four other people who came in the same bus with us. One by one, they too left when someone they knew picked them up from the station.

I was sooooooo tempted to walk up to one of them, explain our situation, get some sympathy and hope that they would drop us at the town bus station. BUT, i didn’t have the courage to do so. I just sat there quietly while Ash walked around surveying the place.

“Seems like we’re the only ones around now. We’ll just have to wait till the sun rises, then we’ll catch a town bus. Don’t worry Ruby”, and he gave me a comforting smile and rubbed my back. I smiled back faintly.

It was chilly. Dark. A little creepy. Ash’s silence wasn’t helping me either so I tried to pick on a conversation. It wasn’t working. Clearly we both were disappointed with our lack of planing. I munched on my favourite biscuits, chipsmore, and offered him some.

Then after a while, the lights lit. Yeay! And then a chinese lady came by and opened up a stall behind the bus station. Yeay, again! Atleast we can have a hot cup of coffee now! *Stole this picture below off Google*

After having our breakfast, we walked a lil further down to catch a town bus as we planned. By luck, we caught the bus within a minute! Again, we enquired from this bus driver, how are we to head to Mersing (trust me, we had to do ALOT of asking. Lucky me, Ash did most of it! Hehe..) The bus driver, being very friendly, pointed out where we’re supposed to wait for our next bus and wishes us happy holidays…

We got a shock when we saw our next bus. It was an old bus, with crampy seats which Ash totally hates! Obviously, i would too if i was 6’2″. Even I was struggling to sit on those seats, poor guy would have been miserable! *Another picture stolen off Google*

The journey to Mersing took around an hour and a half. But the ride was pleasant, as it was misty all the way and the sun was rising. Chilly breeze and the warmth of the sun at the same time, simply amazing! This was turning out to be quite an adventurous road trip after all! We reached the Mersing Jetty at 10am, and found out that the ferry was only leaving at 12pm. So we got our tickets which cost us quite a fortune (Rm70 per person!) and went for a drink.

But the ferry ride was worth it, going across part of the South China Sea towards Tioman Island was simply breath taking! The sea water was crystal clear, again beautiful!

We got down in the main town, Tekek and checked into the Samudra Swiss Cottage.

tekek ferry terminal

Tekek Jetty

They had nice wooden chalets which were pretty classy that was over looking the sea and was by the beach. We both were very happy we picked a beautiful spot!

the scenery from our chalet

Our chalet!

I first had to go take a shower as it was bloody hot at that time. Then we took a walk to check the place out and had lunch.

one lane road in maintown of tioman (tekek!)

The food was a little pricey but good! We went to some handicraft shop and I got my mom a wooden wind chime, went to the duty-free shops and checked out the liquor bottles. The prices were extremely cheap! I was so tempted to buy a miniature bottle, it was so cute! But i was on a tight budget so decided not.

Absolute bottles named after me! woohoooo..

After walking around, we got back to our chalet and were lazing around on the hammock, camwhoring!

Then, we decided to go for a swim. The tides were a bit low, the sun was setting, not many people by the beach. Perfect time to play around in the water! (Owh, by the way I don’t know how to swim. That’s why I used the word “play” instead of swim, so please don’t take me wrongly here!)

So I had my swimming lessons. Ash was first teaching me how to float, hahaha, and i was terrified. I could easily stand on both my feet but i was so afraid i might drown so every time he let go off me, I’d panic. But after awhile, i got a hang of it and I finally managed to float!

crystal clear waters of tioman

Soon it was getting dark, so we got in, took our shower and wanted to take a short nap before dinner. We dozed off quite fast, next thing I know I got up at 12am. Duh.. Feeling really hungry, we got ready quickly and dashed out hoping to find ourselves some nice BBQ. Yummy! What a disappointment when we realised that all the shops were closed. None of them were open! None! We found out later that all the shops there will be closed after 10-11pm. So we walked back, hungry and disappointed.

So point here to note: If you’re going Tioman, have your own food ready in case your more off a late night person like me 😦

We mixed ourselves a lil bit of orange juice and went for a walk by the beach. Apparently, someone had started a campfire and left it. So we both dogged it up, gave it a lil blow, some fresh wood and there it started again! Romantic cheehh!!

Our stolen campfire by the beach!!

The fire kept us warm and after a while, i even got myself a kitty! I had no idea where she came from, but there are alot of cats and kittens loitering around Tioman so i wasn’t suprised. But she came sat right next to me and cuddled up. She was so adorable!

The tioman kitty kat

The alarm rang at 6.45 am. I was starving but Ash was too tired to get up, and i couldn’t sleep. So I went for a morning walk, with the camera hoping to get some good shots. It was slightly drizzeling  but I thought what the heck, I’m not going to get to come here again anytime soon. This is my chance!

just before sunrise in tioman

tekek beach


I got some good shots (I think, feel free to judge!!), but being the lazy Ruby that I am, went back to sleep and got up around 10am for breakfast. We had scrambled egg with toast, quite a lovely meal.

Again, we took a walk by the beach. I was happily walking along the rocky side, unaware that the waves could drench me anytime. So yeah, you guessed it, I was all drench after a while and we went in for a swim again at 12 noon.


moreeee excitednesss!!

Bad timing! I came out looking like a half barbequed chicken, part of me looked like I was cooked! Sun-block lotion obviously didn’t help.

Sadly, it was nearing our check out time. Had to pack up our bags and leave. Reminded me off this song I used to hear..

Im leavin on a jet plane
Dont know when Ill be back again
Oh baybeehh, I hate to go..

I was already in love with Tioman! One day is definitely not enough.

beautiful isnt it!

I really hated to go, so wished I could spend somemore time there. I left half-heartedly hoping to come back again soon. Though it started off more like an Amazing Race sort off an adventure, it was all worth the trouble when we reached Tioman. Infact, all that adventure that we went through made this trip even more special than I thought it will be. Just like what Ash told me, I’d never forget this holiday ever!

Click here to read my published letter titled “College Break” on The Star for holidays gone wrong!

P/S: Never take bus tickets for granted. Always book in advance!

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