Juara Turtle Project, May 2015. My newly acquainted travel mates and I had literally just arrived in the village of Juara on the eastern side of Tioman Island when we saw the sign for the turtle sanctuary. We’d trekked through seven kilometers of jungle to get here, so figured another twenty minute walk to see some rare turtles had to be worth it!
Tioman Island, May 2015. I fell in love with Tioman the moment it came into view from the boat as we whizzed across The South China Sea. In fifteen years of travel I’d never really done the tropical island thing and now Tioman would be my second secluded paradise in as many weeks. I’d just come from Pilau Sibu , the sleepiest of sleepy beach getaways. But as I gazed up at Tioman’s towering canopy of lush vegetation, I knew this place would be a whole other deal. Located thirty-two kilometres off the Malaysian coastline of Rompin, the island boasts cascading waterfalls, pristine beaches, dense jungle, soaring mountain peaks, bat-inhabited trees and a farm dedicated to the rare mouse deer. Continue Reading »
Central Food Market, May 2015. What a strange little place the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru is. Dwarfed by the popularity of its neighboring metropolis Singapore, most people have never even heard of it. I’d certainly had no plans to visit before fate intervened. I was enjoying a three-month trip around South East Asia and was looking forward to visiting my old friend Lisa, who lived on the Malaysian island Pulau Sibu. The original plan had been to go to Sibu directly from Singapore, but then Lisa was unexpectedly called out to Johor Bahru for four days at her company’s head office. So I made the short trip over to JB in the hope that there was enough to keep me busy while she was at work. On that first afternoon I headed out to the network of food markets scattered around my hotel. This stall, selling a mixture of Malay, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, was just one of countless joints in the area. Fine dining it wasn’t, although the slop I treated myself to was hearty enough and dirt cheap. Having spent a few hours eating, drinking and people watching I couldn’t help but wonder: “What now?”
Sibu Island, May 2015. Pilau Sibu is not an easy place to get to! I’d been travelling around Thailand for a few months, but needed to leave the country for the expiration of my first thirty-day visa. So I flew into Singapore. from Krabi, took in the sights for a few days and began the long journey out to Sibu. First came the bus to Johor Bahru, a humdrum Malaysian city connected to Singapore via a 1056-meter causeway. From there I caught another bus heading across eastern Malaysia. Jumping off at the tumbleweed outpost of Simpang Tenggaroh a couple of hours later (little more than a gas station with snoozing locals), I quickly employed the services of a taxi driver who took me out to Tanjung Leman jetty, the gateway to Sibu Island. From there the speedboat over to my resort was a brisk and exhilarating twenty minutes!