26th July: To the Tioman Islands

The photo:

The local dive boat operator – not to be disturbed during his 9am-5pm nap time

The chat: No riding today!! A lie-in was followed by breakfast at the eerily quiet hotel restaurant, from where we rolled the 500m to the ferry port for the exceptionally civilised daily 11.30am boat. Although the trip to Tioman was choppy and took longer than advertised, we were once again dropped off on a bona fide island paradise, complete with tandem this time. We’d opted for accommodation on ABC beach, at the north end of the island, a very chilled kilometre of beachside huts, and restaurant shacks, the hibiscus and orchids lending it an almost Indonesian feel.

We were shown to our home for the next three nights by the exceptionally laid back Lin at Bamboo Hill (note even if they declare themselves ‘full’ on their website they have a couple of simpler and cheaper rooms out back which are often available) , and once again got down to the serious business of slowing down to island life pace.

Tioman has the advantage of duty free status, so it is the one place on the Malay east coast where having a beer or two doesn’t break the bank and isn’t considered offensive to local Muslims. Most restaurateurs are Islamic but operate a relaxed BYO policy.

Hundreds of fruit bats

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