The connecting flight from KL to Tioman was a tiny plane run by Pelangi air, with only about a dozen places on board. We flew into Tekek, the main village on the volcanic island, and I thought there was too many people, so I caught the water taxi to Salang - a small village further up the island. It was a little nicer, but all the rooms had already been booked up in advance - so I got a dorm room for 10 RM a night, with fan and shower. The room was clean enough, but the path to it crossed a stagnant pool, used for all the waste from the village. Still, it wasn’t much different from the rest of Malaysia. The beach was pretty nice, and the rain-forest came right down to the edge in places. I booked up a 2 dive trip with Ben’s diving centre. They seemed both friendly and professional. It cost 110 RM for 2 dives. The rock formations were good, and there was lots of soft coral, and some huge Georgian fans. We saw a single turtle on one of the dives - a green turtle I think. The snorkelling from the beach at Salang was also good, but there was a huge number of sea urchins. I did try to do a night dive, but the weather was no good - there was too much ocean swell.
The next day, I walked over the hill to Monkey Bay and must have sweat about 4 litres of water. The beach was nice, and deserted - one Malay chap had built a shack there, and I only saw one other couple on the beach all day. The beach itself sloped gradually for quite a distance until dropping off to some pretty good coral. There was an abundance of coral fish there, which all seemed to come out and follow me round as I was snorkelling. Perhaps the locals had been bringing many tourists here, who then fed the fish. I tried dragging a half rotten leaf down from the surface, and the fish almost ripped it out of my hand. Even the cleaner wrasse had a go, but he was more interested in my hand.
It started to get late, so I tried to get a water taxi back, but the only one I saw wanted 20RM, so I waited, and waited, and eventually had to walk. It rained, and I got wet.
A quick mention for some of the people at B&J’s dive shop - Ben, who is half German and half Malay, not as quoted in the Lonely Planet, and JC run the place. Edwina did her Open Water course there, and decided she would rather live on a tropical island and dive, than do a day job in London. Who can blame her. If anyone reads this, and then goes to Salang - say hi from Andy.
The day before my international flight out from KL to London, I thought, perhaps I’d better get back to KL. I went standby at the airport on Tioman, and caught the second flight out. If I’d taken the ferry and bus, it would have taken me all day, and I wanted to look round KL.