Coming back to Tioman again after a lapse of so many years just to see how much the environment had changed was the main motivation. But the journey to the East Coast and not to mention waiting time for the irregular ferries at Mersing jetty can be a pretty daunting task. Being youngsters with tight rope budget we used to make it there by overnight land transport to Mersing and catch the first available ferry with sleepy eyes and a heart full of enthusiasm and energy. To make life easier, there are other alternative such as direct flights from KL or even Singapore to this Malaysia's heritage.
Holiday makers usually clad in casual dressings with light traveling bags will be the familiar sight. After all a short 60 minutes flight time by a propeller-engine plane is as easy as a breeze. Walking on the tarmac for boarding during a hot sunny day is a welcoming sign that Tioman is waiting for our arrival.
Traveling back to the past reminds me those beautiful memories of its natural habitats such as those sandy beaches, corals, marine life, and of course and a bunch of school friends. Well, in order to witness again those beautiful time capsule once again is to get a seat and wait for the plane to land at Tekek airport. The one and only airport that is accessible by flight in Tioman island.
This small airport greet visitors arrival at Tekek which is one of the many villages surrounding this island. Tekek is probably the most inhabited village due to the host of public infrastructures e.g. hospital, schools, etc. Traditionally this is still a fishermen village and still is today.
|Welcome to Tioman|
Reminiscing an old TV series called "Fantasy Island" back in the 80s, the feeling of this flight journey had somehow reflected a similar atmosphere. Well, if only you have a wish to come true in going to this fantasy island of Tioman.
Boys and girls, it's time to head to the beach for a refreshing dip into the cool sea water. Sun, sand and sea is all about a relaxing island getaway similar with many island holidays. But for those naturalist who really loves protecting the environment and travel to the bottom of the ocean to see its beauty, Tioman offers many dive spots. As for divers this would ultimately be an advantage in this aspect. Dive! Dive! Dive!
This is a treasure trove of breathtaking marine attractions. Corals, seashells and limpets, thorny sea urchins, colorful seaweeds and anemones, starfish and a myriad of other aquatic life forms are abundant here. The crystal clear waters during good season make scuba diving and snorkeling in Tioman a great experience. There are many recommended neighboring islands for scuba diving and snorkeling and the many tour operators around this island will know where exactly to bring you.
Tioman is also a very popular destination for divers certification. Most Malaysian or even Singapore's dive schools will send students to Tioman for the pre-requisite 4 open water dives here in order to be certified divers. This is largely due to the clear water visibility of the dive sites and also the available resort facilities. In the 70s this island was named by TIME magazine as the most beautiful island in the world. But in recent years it has lost some flairs due to development.
The sea water here is as salty as I could remember. In order to enjoy the many beautiful beaches around this island, it requires a lot of efforts in preserving this national heritage site. Every tourist upon arrival at the respective port of disembarkation e.g. jetty or airport will be issued a Conservation Fee costing RM5.00 each person that was not practiced in those days.
It is very alarming that the level of sea pollution and destruction to the entire ecological system in the past had imperative consequences today. Hence, conserving the heritage of Tioman for our future generations is necessary with better understanding the true meaning of conservation.
A simple proof of this man-made self-destruction can be easily witnessed from the many dead corals that are washed ashore along the beaches. One don't have to dig far to see this devastation. Just easy snorkeling will review this horrible sight. The only way forward is to preserve the remaining coral jewels and other marine life that are still intact.
The damage was so great and the only way out from this situation is to protect this beautiful island for later generations or else there's nothing left from them to inherit. A lot of awareness about ocean conservation have been created in recent years to ensure that all living corals and marine life are protected from harm. The result is very clear with the a sense of feeling a healthy environment as we go around visiting the island.
The good news is there're still plenty of wildlife with its natural habitat still thrive in this very island. Not all life forms are lost. Its natural green setting goes beyond anyone's imagination for a healthy green living. This is simply a very well balanced harmony living with nature.
|The little girl from Ipanema. "Ain't seeing any fishes around"|
Insects, iguanas, fishes, birds, snails, monkeys, crabs and of course mosquitoes are some of the common stuffs you would find in this island life. Wanna see some real big fishes? No problem at all. Just head to the sandy beaches and you can still see plenty of em.
Tioman offers a host of habitats for just every living creatures. Just explore around and you will find more. Try this nature discovery approach (with a camera) and the reward is understanding the basis of of Loving Kindness "Metta" for all living beings.
The Morning Daylight
Waking up on a lazy morning the first thing most city folks will get to breath the fresh air and catch a glimpse of the beautiful scenery that the island can offer. Purely relaxing in harmony with the nature is what city folks will truly appreciate.
The island is densely forested with many beaches. Jungle trekking, rock climbing, and visiting the waterfalls are some of the daylight opportunities to see the attractions this island has to offer. Because of the absence of roads in Tioman, the best possible way to travel is by a round-island tour to the various attraction highlights.
The blue horizon as far as you could see is pretty calm under the morning sunlight. Light cotton clothing, t-shirts, and shorts are ideal for this kind of warm and sunny weather.
Surrounded by lush greenery, towering rainforest trees and secured by a pristine ocean, there is a blissful sight for rejuvenation and resting the mind to be found here. Nothing matters more than a good escape to the beachfront for the entire day.
NightfallAs soon as sunset the island would turn into a quiet and peaceful place on earth. Unlike other island destinations e.g. Phuket in Thailand that would be streaming with night activities when nightfall. There're no shopping centers, cinemas or pubs around this island. Hence, staying in Tioman for a nice quiet holiday is ideal for people who prefers tranquility. Slow and easy life is all about this place from day one we set foot here during our teenager days. Not a bad idea for honeymooners or a family get together where there's nothing else to do at night but to spend a good early night sleep that you will never find in city life.
The aroma of good times with friends and colleagues is best enjoyed at the dining table. Basically there's nothing much to do at night apart from filling the hunger after a full day of dehydration from dive activity or island hopping. Fisherman's catch of the day is the main course for the night apart from some favorite local dishes. Whichever village you may be staying in this island, you won't find many local restaurants. It's good to know the availability of restaurant choices by exploring around during free time to be assured that you won't be hungry all night long.
|Catch of the day|
In the distance, the lamps of the night-time surroundings looked like bright stars that had abandoned the heavens, affirming the unquestionable allure of this earthly paradise. After dinner and casual chatting with family and friends, it is almost time to switch off the lights and tug into bed for some good resting before embarking more actions on the next daylight.
Escape life stress and venture into this tropical heritage of Tioman to rediscover its island richness. It is still beyond doubt that this is a heaven for everyone with a passion for a well deserved break and with inspiration to preserve its natural beauty for our future generations.
"When we dive we are granted an exclusive privilege to enjoy the astonishing beauty of the underwater world. Therefore, we are also responsible to protect it and ensure future generations will enjoy it too".
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Another Marine Conservation Video