Forget You Not, Tioman

ELS Tioman Island TripWhen people think of Malaysia, they tend to imagine pristine beaches with lots of sunshine and beautiful weather. The students from ELS-KL had the opportunity to experience just that; the best of what Malaysia has to offer can be found a stone throw away.

From beginning to end, 26 students and staff from ELS Kuala Lumpur enjoyed a three day / two night excursion to Tioman Island. On May 14th, at 11:30 pm, a bus picked all eager participants up in front of the school to begin their journey to an island paradise. The students tended to be boisterous, but as the bus ride was a long one (7 hours), they quieted down their singing and chatting to try to get a few hours of sleep before the next leg of their journey began.

By the time Mersing came into sight at 6:30 in the morning, almost everyone was awake and anticipating a sight of the South China Sea that we would soon have to cross. After a quick breakfast of ‘roti chanai’ and ‘telur’, everyone was ready to embark from the jetty by boat. The ferry ride across to the island of about two hours was refreshing and amazing. To see so many islands with palm trees and beaches in pristine condition was something that most of us had never seen before.

When the ferry docked at Tioman Island, everyone followed our guide to the Paya Resort where we were staying at. After receiving our room assignments and keys, quite a few decided to have a quick cat nap before lunch. As the first day on the Island was designated as a day to ourselves, many took to the beach or went exploring after lunch. Several games of volleyball, which also included a member of the staff from the resort, were also an enticing activity for many of us.

By the end of the first day, most students and staff were starved. We weren’t disappointed when our hosts brought out dishes of squid, chicken rice and vegetables. Most ate with relish and enjoyed after dinner coffee or tea. By this time, all were tired out from the fresh air and sunshine that they had enjoyed throughout the day. Sleep was welcomed by most.

The next day began with an early breakfast for most; some were just too tired to get up that early. The main activity for this day will not soon be forgotten, as for all of us it was a unique, unbelievable one. Snorkeling within a marine park of Tioman’s reputation was something that words can not describe. Suffice it to say, that if you have a chance to get to Tioman Island to enjoy the waters and tropical fish there, I would advise everyone who comes to Malaysia to go to this wonder of wonders. Clean water and amazing sites went hand in hand underwater as well as above water. From some of the students being able to drive the boats, to underwater antics, this was definitely the highlight of the trip. Check out the video below to see how close we got to the fishes!

Even though a packed lunch was included in the middle of the snorkeling, which was great, most of us had used enough energy that we couldn’t wait to dig in to dinner. Upon arriving back at our resort, a few drifted back to their cabins to sleep. When it was time for supper, most partook in it with relish, as we had all built up quite a hunger by then. After sating our appetites, spirited discussions and conversations popped up about what we had seen throughout our day. Sleep followed late for most as we all realized it was our last day to enjoy our tropical paradise.

The next morning most found it difficult to wake up early for breakfast as it tended to be too soon from the night before. However, as we had to catch the ferry back by 10:00 am, everyone was dragged out of their peaceful dreams of sun and surf. Again, the ferry ride was an experience not to be forgotten. The weather seemed to know it was an ending, as we were beset by high winds and overcast skies.

By the time we had taken the ferry back to Mersing and the bus back to KL, we knew it was truly over. Was it a dream or did it really happen? Whatever the answer, I’m sure every one of the people that went to Tioman will remember this trip as one of the highpoints of their lives. Thanks to all who went…