We had a wonderful 4 days in The Tioman Islands, an idyllic retreat for couples and young families. It was a really blissful escape from the bustle of the city and a great place to recharge. We were at the start of low season so it did rain at night and in the morning, but other than that the weather was good.
We flew from Singapore’s Changi aiport with Berjaya Air, a Malaysian airline. It was the smallest plane Id ever been on and it was pretty scary being tossed around by the wind like a paper plane. Definitely my least favourite part of the trip! You know that feeling when you go on an amusement park ride and you realise it’s too late to get off….? Yup. Luckily, it was only a 45 min flight.
And then it was a 10 minute boat ride to JapaMala Resort, which can only be accessed by boat. The resort is small, and it’s trademark is its peace and quiet, its proximity to nature, excellent food and the staff’s attention to detail. My extensive research before booking left me with high expectations, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Here are some pictures of the beautiful resort:
I loved their chalets and was so impressed by the atmosphere the staff created. We entered to jazz playing (Ella F, Nora J, Alicia Keys, even Sade!), lots of snacks and cognac waiting. Throughout our stay, staff would bring complimentary, homemade snacks and everytime we stepped out of the room it was cleaned, candles were lit and in the evenings, chocolate and little notes were left for us before bed. It was never intrusive, just little gentle touches to make you even more comfortable.
There are two restuarants at JapaMala, Mandi Mandi which serves Italian food and the best ham sandwich I’ve ever eaten, and is located on the pier with the ocean underneath, and Tamarind which serves breakfast, Thai and Indo-Chinese and Malay food. Tamarind’s warm beef salad, green curry and roasted glazed duck were some of our favourites, and I particularly loved their delicious drinks such as their lychee and mint frozen drink. Yum! Breakfast was probably my least favourite meal here, but Ive found that to be the case in most of the hotels Ive stayed at in South East Asia…
The hotel has a library, dvd collection and there are activities you can do with a little notice – snorkelling, kayaking, hiking and visits to local villages. But it’s really a chilled out spot. There are no nightclubs or bars and there’s no way of getting off the island without the hotel sorting it out for you – so if you want to party and stumble back at 6am this isn’t the place for you!
Another source of entertainment was the monkeys. One looked into our chalet, straight into my eyes! He (or she?) checked the coast was clear and then led the family along their merry way.
The main downer for me was that sharing my space with Nature became a bit of a bore after a while. I couldn’t completely relax while reading a book say, because of ants and spiders everywhere, and even the fear of turning round to find myself face to face with one of my cousins.
They even tried to steal our breakfast. But that was kinda cute…
Finally, the beautiful sunset…