Monday, March 24, 2008

Pulao Tioman

I had been to Tioman Island in Malaysia on the last weekend with a few friends. I had only heard about Tioman and that it is beautiful beyond words and indeed, it is. But still this futile attempt to capture in words what the eyes saw at Pulao Tioman.

Tioman is a beautiful island off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Malaysia is a beautiful country by itself and fairly easily accessible from Singapore. The best way to reach Tioman is to take a ferry from Mersing in Johar, Malaysia. We took a bus from Singapore to Mersing. You have to undergo two security checks on either side of the bridge that joins Singapore with Malaysia.

On entering Malaysia, you cannot help but notice the various boards/hoardings written in Malay language. I dont know Malay, but I bet that it would be one of the easiet language to learn. Simply because you do not have to mug up the spellings of words. They are spelt exactly as they are pronounced. Central is written as Sentral, Taxi as Teksi and Express as Ekspres

We took a ferry from Mersing to Tioman. The atmosphere was cloudy and the sea calm. Totally intoxicating!! :-) Couldnt help but take some snaps of the beautiful patterns clouds were forming in the skies. Many islands, one more beautiful that the prior came and went by and we kept wondering if THIS one is Tioman. The onward ferry was a slow one and after sailing almost an hour and a half, there was no island in sight. All we saw in front were thick (real thick) clouds!

But suddenly some hills started peeping from the haze and Pulao Tioman made a dramatic appearance from amid the mist - a 'la "Pirates of the Carribean". The island was beautiful ... beautiful, marvellous, splendid, stunning and much more ... for the lack of better words in English! Water so pure that you can practically see the corals below with your eyes, and greenery that fills the island with some real splendour! It like a hill in the middle of the sea, and that too covered with thick forest ... now can you beat that combination!!!

The beaches in and around Tioman are calm and relaxing. You want to forget all you worldly desires and just stay there ... as long as you can! Beach volleyball there was one of the most memorable aspects of my trip ... the sprains in the leg and the sun burns, though came as after thoughts!

Another attraction of Tioman are the coral islands close by and of course ... snorkelling. A ride in a motor boat to thr coral island itself is a thrilling experience! When your boat bounces on the waves like a ball on a carpet ... you cannot help but get goosebumps! Also, the sea has various shades here lots of blues and greens! A photographer can practically spend a lifetime here just capturing the various colors.

Snorkelling is an activity where you wear a mask on your face and float on the water to see the corals and life underwater. People who can swim can be a little overconfident here, but there is a huge difference between swimming and snorkelling. In Swimming you never see anything below the water, forget getting a distorted idea of the depth ... in snorkelling you have to get used to it. But once that adjustment happens ... its fun to say the least!

The Tioman islands have been rated as one of the top ten islands in the world tourism map. To understand why .. either go through my photo album at ... but better than that ... visit the place once in a lifetime. You will realize what I have been trying to say ...