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.

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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”

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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…

First trip to SouthEast Asia: Singapore and Tioman Island, Malaysia. DAY 3

 

DAY 3, Saturday 30th:

Let’s say day 3 was not the typical day for a tourist. But it was a fun day, different, but so much fun.

My friends and I woke up a bit hung-over and decided to go straight to the gym to do a proper detox. Their personal trainer did not really care that we had spent the previous night clubbing… and he made sure we remembered him the following days…

After gym we definitely deserved some good food and went to the food court at ION for a noddle&dumplings soup. Delicious! By the way, the food court at ION is amazing, I spent more than 20 minutes walking around the food stalls trying to decide what to eat.

And after lunch? Well, we continued with a proper detox routine…by heading to the pool. Oh, I love Singapore 🙂

As the evening got closer, we felt more recovered and started planning the night. It’s Saturday, so dinner and drinks are on the menu!

This time, we chose an amazing Korean bbq restaurant in Chinatown, and after a looong and delicious dinner we ended the night having some drinks at La Terraza Rooftop Bar in Club Street.

Once again, what an awesome day!

First trip to SouthEast Asia: Singapore and Tioman Island, Malaysia. DAY 2

DAY 2, Friday 29th: As the previous day I didn’t stop walking, I thought I might give my feet some rest on the second morning in Singapore. So I took the MRT to Clarke Quay and took a river cruise to enjoy the city from a comfortable seat. The wooden boat took us along the river from Robertson Quay to Marina Bay, and I enjoyed some beautiful view of both banks of the Singapore River. Marina Bay Sands Hotel from the jetty After the cruise under the sun I walked around the colonial area of the city and visited the amazing Raffles Hotel, home of the famous cocktail “Singapore Sling”. Raffles Hotel This time, I decided to have lunch at a mall and had a delicious pad thai with a lime tea for 13$ (not bad!). Pad thai After lunch it was time to visit one of the most famous attractions in the city: Gardens by the Bay, and I can firmly admit that it was one of the best afternoons I spent during my entire holiday. The orchid garden was absolutely breathtaking and the silent around the different gardens just felt so relaxing that I was amazed to be able to feel so calm and peaceful in a busy city like Singapore. Orchid Garden Gardens by the bay Around 6pm I decided to go back home for a swim. I then met my friends for dinner (delicious Ramen!) and we ended the night having some drinks and clubbing at KIO. Second day in Singapore done! once again…loving this city 🙂

First trip to SouthEast Asia: Singapore and Tioman Island (Malaysia). DAY 1

On August 26th my plane left from Bilbao to Frankfurt and then off to Singapore. 12 hours later I was in this incredible city, ready to discover everything it could offer me. For the next 5 days I enjoyed every hour, every minute, and got enraptured by the contrast, the architecture, the life, the cuisine and the soul of Singapore.

I have many stories to tell, so I will write a different post for each of the days of this amazing journey.

DAY 1, Wednesday 27th:

I took the MRT around 9am towards Marina Bay and walked, almost on my own, around the Marina Bay Sands Hotel area, saw the marvelous ArtScience museum and crossed the Helix Bridge. The skyline from Marina Bay was awesome, revealing a very new and modern city. It was still early so I was able to walk around the area almost in silence and took some great pictures. But, as the dark clouds were getting closer I decided to go to a less open area and took the MRT to Chinatown.

Marina Bay

Under the rain I discovered the buoyant area of Chinatown, visiting some of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen. Without any doubt, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was the most amazing of all. It was breathtaking.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

I ate a miso soup and some noodles with dumplings at a food court for only 3SGP$, I think it might be the cheapest food I have ever eaten. Awesome.

After buying some Chinese crafts I took the MRT to Little India, and suddenly felt like I had travelled from one country to another. OMG. What a change. Serangoon Road and the surrounding streets were full of people, full of little shops and the vibrant atmosphere was incredible. I crossed a little fruit and flower market and felt like I was in New Delhi. Not that I have ever been to India, but… you know what I mean. I also visited the beautiful temples of Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya and Sri Srinivasa Perumal.

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple

As it had stopped raining, I decided to walk towards the Arab Quarter and visited the Sultan Mosque. Again, I found surprising the quicker the atmosphere and the architecture changed from one neighborhood to another. From Buddhist temples to Hindu temples, to mosques. From saris to hiyabs…

Sultan Mosque

By 6pm I had visited everything I wanted for my first day in Singapore and went to my friend’s house to rest. After a swim in the pool we went for dinner to a dim sum restaurant in Dhoby Ghaut. I tried pork liver…it was weird…but not bad!

We had a drink at the terrace and went to sleep. First day in Singapore, DONE!

Back from Tioman…

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.

Wanderlust

I wish I could travel more often.

But most of the places I want to visit are just too far away…

If only I was given more vacation days at work…

So, I do what I can. And this year, I am finally accomplishing one of my dreamed travel plans.

I am finally travelling to Asia!

First stop: Singapore

I will be visiting a good friend and enjoying this city full of life and contrast for more than a week.

Second stop: Malaysia!

Malaysia is a country I want to discover. I want to live it, experience it. And I need more than a week for that.

And that’s why that is a trip I’m postponing for another year. But for this summer and after busy Singapore, I deserve some relaxing days at Pulau Tioman, a paradise island on the Malaysian east coast. Just to get a hint of this amazing country.

Only two months to go!