Next stop: Tenerife

While Pulau Tioman is my favorite island in the world, Tenerife is definitely my second favorite. Not only because every time I go there I visit my brother, his girlfriend and his gorgeous dog, but because this paradise island has a unique atmosphere, a special character… the sea, the landscape, the sun… it always smells like summer.

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Pacific Coast Highway – what to visit along the coast

  • Relax by the pier at the charming town of Avila Beach
  • Stop at Point Piedras Blancas and watch the sea lions by the seashore.

Sea lions at Point Piedras Blancas

  • At this point most travelguides recommend Hearts Castle, but I did not visit it. Honestly, I have already visited many castles in Europe and also in my hometown country, Spain, and with much more history. That’s why Hearst Castle did not appeal to me at all.
  • Get that postcard perfect shot at McWay Falls

McWay Falls

  • Have lunch at Nepenthe Restaurant and enjoy the staggering view. You’ll be lucky if a bird does not steal one of your fries!

Nepenthe

  • Wander around Pfeiffer beach (be careful not to enter the last parking…it’s 10$…).

Pfeiffer beach

  • Cross the famous Bixby Bridge.

Bixby Bridge

  • Check out the little shops and cafes in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea

  • Drive the 17-mile drive

17 mile drive

  • Stop in Santa Cruz and have some seafood.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

10 things to do in beautiful Santa Barbara

1. Rent a bike and ride along Cabrillo Boulevard and the pier (Stearns Wharf)

Stearns Wharf
2. Enjoy a delicious ice cream at McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams

3. Go shopping in State street

4. Have dinner at Sandbar, and why not, enjoy a frozen margarita

Mango Frozen Margarita
5. Go cultural: visit Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church and the Old Mission

Our Lady of Sorrows
6. Have a beer with locals at The Neighborhood Bar

7. Relax at the beach and enjoy the beautiful surroundings

Santa Barbara - view from the beach
8. Have lunch in one of the many bar terraces in State street

9. Walk up to Shoreline drive and check out the surfers at Leadbetter Beach from Santa Barbara Point

Leadbetter beach
10. And why not, try surfing!

This. Is. LA. What to do during 2 days in sunny LA

  • Take a sightseeing bus to see the main attractions of the city in just a couple of hours: red route is the best, avoid purple route! (too loooong)

Hollywood

  • Go see the beautiful houses in Beverly Hills and run a 5k, all at the same time 🙂

Beverly Hills

  • Taste a bit of everything: first night: The Cheesecake factory (20$ per person); second night: Nobu (60$ per person, delicious).

Dinner at Nobu

  • Go (window)shopping in Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive

  • Be amazed at the street “shows” in Venice Beach.

Venice Beach

  • Discover why Venice is called Venice

Historic Canal District

First trip to SouthEast Asia: Singapore and Tioman Island, Malaysia. DAY 8

DAY 8, Thursday 4th: bye bye Tioman

Finally, my last day at the island had arrived. After 3 incredible days in Tioman, I had to leave. But I didn’t want to! I needed to stay just one more day…and I tried…but there were no ferry tickets left for the following day. So, sadly, I packed my bags and got ready to leave.

yo0

I took my last dip at the crystal clear waters of Tioman and went to say goodbye to my friends from Tioman Cabana. One last coffee and my good friend Amer took me to the ferry dock on his motorbike. I can still feel the sadness that overwhelmed me at that moment right now…I just felt like crying. I didn’t want to leave! But I had no choice. So I tried to capture every image and feeling from this last motor ride…I tried to retain everything in my memory, the sounds, the smells, the smiles…the magic.

But the moment arrived. Passengers had started to embark on the ferry and it was time to say goodbye.

So farewell Tioman, farewell my good friends…and thank you for these amazing days, for the sky full of stars, for the laughs, for the crystalline waters and the peaceful beaches, thank you for the drinks, the conversations, thank you for the bliss that surrounded by body and soul during these days at the most beautiful island I’ve ever been to.

I will be back soon.

Tioman

“I will not go quietly into that good night, but instead rage against the dying of the light”

First trip to SouthEast Asia: Singapore and Tioman Island, Malaysia. DAY 7

DAY 7, Wednesday 3rd:

Another beautiful morning in Tioman.

Tioman

A delicious breakfast and… it was snorkel time! I shared a boat with an Australian couple to Pulau Tulai, also known as Coral Island. And after a 30 minutes boat trip, the scenery in front of us was just… breathtaking. A deserted island with crystal clear water and white sand.

Pulau Tulai

Coral Island

But the most spectacular of all was underwater. It’s a pity that I didn’t have an under-water camera to capture all that beauty… the name of the island says it all. Coral Island.

We did some snorkeling in different spots, White Sand Beach being one of the most beautiful of all. And in the meantime, the sky got darker and darker…

White beach

White beach

White Beach

We saw lightning somewhere between us and Tioman…and we all started getting a little nervous… But hey, we had a professional boat captain with us 😉  and he knew better than anyone else if we were safe or not. So yes, after doing all of the scheduled snorkel stops, we went back to the boat and headed to Tioman, under the rain and against strong wind.

Dar sky...

boat captain ;)

As we got closer to Tioman, the rain stopped and the wind got milder. However, we were freezing after the 30 minutes boat trip and we were impatient to have a swim and get warm at Tioman. And that’s exactly what we did. We stopped at Renggis Island and did more snorkeling around this tiny island.

Renggis Island

Renggis island

Oh, the water was soooo warm and it felt so good! but that was not the best thing, because the highlight of the morning came at that precise spot, when… a shark swam just by my side, and I freaked out! That was amazing! all the cold was definitely worth it.

The snorkeling trip was over now and it was time to relax back in Tioman.

It was a cloudy afternoon though, so I went to Cabana to chill out and watch a movie.

Cabana

lizard

cabana

Cabana

That. Was. Just. Pure. Happiness.

The clouds started to get away at late afternoon and we went for a swim and a bit more snorkeling. You can never get tired of seeing so many beautiful coral and fish.

After sunset, I went for dinner with two new friends to the Chinese bbq outside the Berjaya Resort and then went back to Cabana for coctails. After all, this was my last night at the island…

I remember an instant when I was at the hammock having a beer, totally relaxed, and one of the Italians guys said to me: “Do you have a camera? I want to take a picture of you because you are the exact definition of happiness, I mean look at your face!”

And yes, I had a camera. And yes, I was happy. Here’s the proof:

Cabana night

So, as it was my last night, we all went to ABC, another area of Tioman just up north from Tekek and had an amazing night. Thank you soooo much Tioman and thank you so much guys, this was an adventure I will never forget.

last night

Travel brings power and love back into your life.” – Rumi

First trip to SouthEast Asia: Singapore and Tioman Island, Malaysia. DAY 6

DAY 6, Tuesday 2nd:

My second day in Tioman was even greater than the first one. After enjoying a delicious breakfast at the hotel while staring at the sea, I went to Cabana for a paddle surfing lesson with Usop, my favorite guy from Tioman Cabana 🙂

The beach was empty and we had the vast sea just for ourselves. Paddle surfing was fun, and I was better than what I had thought! We also did some snorkeling when we got a bit far away from the shore. The coral and fish I saw were totally mind blowing. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful under water…

I spent the rest of the morning at the beach, walking, swimming, reading, just relaxing. It felt amazing to be almost on my own in such a beautiful beach.

Tioman

Tioman

I spent the afternoon relaxing at Cabana, hanging on a hammock, talking to the locals and loving this island.

At Cabana

Cabana

See, this is one of the best things about travelling on your own, it is much easier to talk to locals and to people in general. You feel free to spend your day as you wish, and it’s great to meet new people, listen to their stories, and share a bit of each one of us.

Guys at Cabana were awesome, I tried playing volleyball with them too but it was a disaster haha! We saw the sunset from the bar and also got to see what a yellow cucumber is!

Voleyball time

yellow cucumber

Sunset

After getting a shower at the hotel I went back to Cabana for dinner and met some Italian guys. Midnight came quickly, while the guys played the guitar and we enjoyed some beers talking about our trips.

Again, the day ended magically, walking back to my cabin barefoot along the seashore, under a sky full of stars.

‘We are travelers in search of signification. That is our condition’

Legend goes…

Legend goes that a beautiful dragon princess was once flying from China to Singapore for her wedding. She settled down to rest over the warm water of the South China Sea. The calm sea and warm water gave her pleasure and she decided to stay – thus turned herself into an island, now called Tioman Island. Now, she offers shelter and comfort to passing travelers.

First trip to SouthEast Asia: Singapore and Tioman Island, Malaysia. DAY 5

DAY 5, Monday 1st:

My 5th day in Singapore started very early, at exactly 5am, to be able to pack my bag and be on time at the bus station. Yes, the second part of my trip begins!

My bus to Mersing left at 6am from the Singapore Flyer and after crossing the Singapore-Malaysia border at Johor Bahru, and…after an hour of crazy driving, we stopped at a café at some place in South Malaysia.

Perfect moment to drink a delicious Malaysian chai tea, or “Teh Tarik“.

delicious tea

I was actually the only one having a tea…it might sound surprising but there were about 10-15 men at that café, it was 8am, and they were all eating rice and meat, all accompanied with a sauce that looked pretty spicy… I guess my stomach was not ready for that yet.

So the bus ride continued and we finally arrived in Mersing at midday. After an hour waiting for the ferry… and an hour and a half ferry trip later, I AM FINALLY IN PULAU TIOMAN!!

Tekek beach

Tekek dock

The ferry dropped me at Tekek and a taxi took me to my hotel, Swiss Cottage. Tekek seemed pretty busy, with all the taxis waiting at the dock and all the new tourists arriving, but in less than a kilometer there was my hotel. And there, everything around the cabins was quiet, was peace. Oh my, this is Paradise.

chalet

Swiss Cottage

my room

I checked in and went for my first swim at the sea. The beach was gorgeous. I was ON MY OWN. I couldn’t believe it, a heavenly beach all for myself. I couldn’t be happier.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon walking along the beach, and exploring Tekek. Discovering 3 enormous trees full of noisy bats on the road to Tekek was pretty amazing.

After the sunset, I felt like it was time to get a drink and talk to someone. So I went to Tioman Cabana, a bar I had been reading about on facebook for the last weeks. I met some really nice friends there, and I shared with them my first night, my first drinks, and my first dinner at the island. You know, there is something extraordinary in drinking Caipirinhas until midnight while talking to strangers, listening to Bob Marley and having the seashore just 10 meters away. It was heaven on earth.

Sunset

Tioman Cabana

They day ended there, and barefoot, I went back to my chalet, walking by the seashore, under a sky full of stars, and with a big smile on my face. Oh Tioman, I have a good feeling about you.

First trip to SouthEast Asia: Singapore and Tioman Island, Malaysia. DAY 4

DAY 4, Sunday 31th:

 

After a busy Saturday, the weekend ended just the right way. To begin with, is there a better way to start a Sunday than with a brunch at one of the most famous hotels in Singapore???

That’s right, Raffles Sunday brunch…one of the best brunches I’ve had in my entire life.

I must say though that it’s not something to do every weekend, not even every month. It’s damn expensive. But my good friends hosting me in Singapore invited me as a special occasion. It’s definitely something worth trying, at least once in a lifetime. After all, where else can you eat more than 20 oysters, a couple of lobsters, foie gras, Spanish ham, steak, Italian pasta, rice…cakes, cheese, …. I could go on but the list of food is never ending. A 3 hours long brunch drinking champagne, Singapore sling and wine. Tough, very tough 🙂

Singapore Sling

After the feast, there was not much that we could do. Actually, there was: lay down by the pool and just relax.

Oh lazy Sundays…