we're leaving for malaysia soon, planning to visit some of the east coast islands, perhentian, tioman...
i've been to pulau tioman 10 years ago, stayed in salang. i don't know how much things changed, but i was wandering of visiting pulau aur or pulau pemanggil instead of tioman (or staying in juara).
can anyone compare these? we're more into budget and basic accomodation, no need for air con, eating local food, only snorkeling, walking around the jungle, photographing snakes and lizards...
is it difficult to get there? the prices of accomodation?
also any ideas what else to see in malaysia? we're thinking about taman negara, tasik chini, tasik berat, kuala selangor nature park, cameron highlands (are there other places in the mainland mountains to see?)...
Tioman has changed a lot since your last visit...Too touristic, and that's a fact...Not cheap anymore! Off the coast of Johor, there are close to 33 islands -inhabitated and unhabitated. And a dozen or so of them have facilities for visitors -some basic.
I will focus on Aur & Pemanggil - 2 islands you want to know more about.
Aur holds a lot of fascination for me, largely because it is the furthest and sits on on the edge of the Continental Shelf - 80km from Mersing. It does not get that many visitors due to the distance, and the irregularity of boat service. It has a colourful history and the cluster of islands around it - Pulau Dayang, Pulau Lang and Pulau Pinang.Coupled with stories and data about sunken treasure ships, Aur was a pirate's cove!. And it looks like that even now....caves, jungle treks, some wildlife, escarpments, lashing waves..and not many people to disturb you! Aur has an aura!
Today, these islands are a weekend monopoly of scuba divers...and a haven for sport fish anglers ( Nov-Jan , you can go for marlin, sailfish). The villagers are a friendly lot, and there are some chalets ( homestay concept)...but those that are managed by diving outfits (mostly Singaporeans!), are not very cheap by the island standards. Nov through Jan, the sea can be pretty rough (good for blue marlin - smaller than Maldives.
So if you wish to visit the island, you have to either grab a diving package, or share a boat to the island...and the fare can be pretty stiff. Boats leave Mersing jetty about midnite, and reach Aur about 4-5am...It's about RM50 one way, and it's better to fix that same boat for departure.At Kampung Berhala you can find accommodation. At the other side of Kg Berhala, there are also villages, and it takes about 1 hr to get there, through a jungle trek, providing some great views...Hey you may spot a monitor lizard, birdlife!
Now as for Pemanggil, it's not as remote as Aur, and it's half way between Tioman ( to the left ) and Aur ( to the right ). About 45km from Mersing. Again, like Aur, there are no regular boat service which makes the island off limits to most travellers.
On some days, you may be the only one leaving footprints on the beach sand! Good for snorkelling....emerald waters. My favourite is Pantai Pak Khaleh where there is a simple, no-frills longhouse called Pak Mazlan's Chalet...an elderly village man by the name operates it. He charges about RM45 per nite, all meals included.He also owns and operates a boat.You have to make prior arrangement with him.
In Pemanggil, you can do rock climbing, jungle walk,etc. The sunset is very impressive, and the long jetty is a good place to hang out and make friends with the seasoned fishermen!
You can send me a PM if you want more specific details like contact people.
As for other places, well, Kuala Selangor Nature Park is a birder's paradise, close to 120 species have been identified, the migratory milky stork is one of them.There are facilities & accomodation, and closeby at Kg Kuantan is the fire flies sanctuary.
Tasik Chini & Tasik Bera are wetland areas..They are excellent place for bird watching, studying insects and fishing, including the ikan tapah (wallago attu), a freshwater catfish that grows up to 30kg. The only accommodation is the Tasik Bera Resort and tours are organised to Bera from here.The tribes that live in these two areas are of the Semalai & the Jakun sub-grouping.
As for, Taman Negara, what is there to say unless you wish to take the much trodden trails ? Maybe I will give the Belum Park a try since it is not yet on the tourist map! Perhaps, even Gunung Stong in Kelantan.
And Cameron Highlands...Hmmm...not problem getting there, and if you wish to see the legacy that the British colonial masters left behind, here is the place...And if you wish to see tea & straw berry plantations, not to mention vegetable cultivation ( Cameron is the vegetable capital of malaysia!), here is the place at a temperatur of between 19 and 22 degrees Celsius.
Maybe you should try Maxwell Hill in Perak...more adventurous and off the beaten track!
thank you very much for the tips,
i guess we'll have to decide with the islands yet, since it seems rather difficult to get there, we might see in mersing. if we decide to go just to tioman, we will try juara, it seems the least developed.
gunung stong, maxwell hill and belum park look all quite good, i'm afraid we wont get to see it all, becuase of time... have to still search the internet if i can find information how is it with accommodation in these places.
thanks again, hope i can maybe ask more questions when i think it over and find more information.