This small island off the coast of peninsular Malaysia was our first stop because I read that beer was cheaper than water there. This is (or was) most definitely true, you can take a stroll down to the tiny airport and buy yourself a lot of beer and alcohol for very little cash. You can also find yourself crossing paths with the giant Monitor lizards that roam the island, so be careful.
To get here, catch a bus to the coastal town of Mersing, where everything is cheap because it’s not a backpacker hotspot (or it wasn’t back then), and catch the Bluewater Express ferry to Pulau Tioman.
There are 8 main villages to choose from, each one offering something different. The largest is Kampung Tekek, but we stayed at Air Batang, a quiet area with very few options for accommodation and food. We stayed at South Pacific Chalets, our own little bungalow by the beach, and met some rad people.
If you get bored then you can trek through the jungle to Juara Beach on the other side. It’s a long, sweaty hike but well worth it to have an ice-cold beer by this beautiful beach. Again, be careful of Monitor lizards.
They are basically tiny dinosaurs, and we went on a mission to see who could spot the most. They have powerful tails and claws and can grow up to 3 meters, but are easily scared off by humans. If you don’t want to do anything at all then you can find yourself a hammock in between the palm trees and contemplate how awesome your life is.
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