We got a bus from Mersing to Pekan, a small town on the bank of the Pahang River, and far away from the touristic route, but still with a few things to do and visit, once is a popular destination between locals. Mostly because Pekan is the official residence of Pahang’s royal family.
We just spend 2 days here what was more than enough to visit the main attractions, markets, gardens, to try the local delicacies and to stroll around this small and tranquil town.
Pekan’s top attraction is for obvious reasons the Royal Palace of Pekan, that doesn’t allow visitors but still attracts lots of local tourists that stand outside the walls to look at the Polo ground and also the horses.
The other highlights are the Sultan Abu Bakar Museum also known as Pekan State Museum thathas artefacts related to Pekan and Malay history and culture. The river front street with its old Chinese shophouses.
The Watercraft gallery was another stop, it’s a small open gallery that showcases different types of watercraft and fisherman’s houses. They have a nice display but the pieces are a bit deteriorate because of the lac of maintenance.
The mosques are quite impressive and very beautiful on the outside, and there’s also a few examples of non-Islamic houses of worship in town like the Chinese temple dedicated to the Chinese goddess of the sea.
Pekan has excellent Malaysian street food and extraordinary fresh fruit.
At the time we were the only westerners in town so we attracted a lot of attention 🙂 Making friends with the people is always a great way to know more about this little town and the Malays culture.
Mersing is located on the east coast of the peninsular Malaysian and north east of the state capital Johor Baru. The bus costs 13RM for one way.
When you arrive at Mersing you have a shop near the waterfront hotel, that provides a good service and gives great information about the islands and the available accommodation. Here you can buy your boat ticket and book your hotel, if not you need to contact the hotel yourself by email with some time and make all the arrangements.
Messing is not spectacular, so no need to spend the night there, but is a great place to eat and buy food, fruit and drinks, to take it with you to the island once everything is more expensive there.
Tioman is the largest of the 64 volcanic islands that form the Seribuat Archipelago on Malaysia’s east coast. It’s considered by many one of the most beautiful in Malaysia. I need to agree that the landscape is indeed stunning and still with little human presence.
We got a boat to Tioman in the afternoon(70RM with open return), and we decided to stay at a very calm and less touristic part of the island, the Panuba Inn Resort. This beach is located in between the famous ABC beach (or Air Batang) and Salang both are more for backpackers and are the most social spots on the island along with Tekek.
ABC and Salang have some night life, beach bars and diving schools, But we weren’t looking for that so Panuba was the right choice for us.
Panuba is isolated, surrounded by lush forest and has ‘it’s own beach’. All the rooms have sea view and the price is quite good (with AC and hot water 95RM, with fan and cold water 65RM).
The views from Panuba are magnificent, and the sunset from the pier just amazing. The beach is great to laid down reading a book, enjoying the scenery and swim, but is a bit rocky.
Because we don’t like to be just lying down on the beach all day we did lots of trekkings.
We went to the ABC beach (Air Batang) a couple of times were we saw black squirrels, Monitor lizards (that are literally everywhere in the island) beautiful birds, a big scaryyy yellow and black snake and a shiny green one on our path.
One day we walked from Panuba to Tekek near the airport, this tiny town has of course more life and better prices than in our part of the island that was a bit on the higher side. Tekek is Tioman’s largest village and has the only cash machine. We got the felling that Tekek is the main tourist gateway, but still very quiet.
Another great trekking was from the Panuba to the Monkey bay, it’s a rough trail with many monkeys around, so you can’t do it if you are afraid of them. While you are walking you can fell that this jungles has many eyes observing you and it’s very alive, so be careful in case a monkey decides to be ‘funny’! The trail takes around 45 minutes each away.
The beach is just fabulous and paradisiac, the water cristal clean, and there’s no rocks. We were there alone with the naughty monkeys, that tried really hard to still our belongings. We got our bags well tight, and still we have had to run in their direction a couple of time just to keep them away of our shoes and clothes!
Tioman is a great place to do diving and/or snorkelling and I do recommend it highly, the colourful fishes and the corals in the turquoise blue water are just stunning.