Thursday, April 23, 2009

Getting To The Other Side

I was brought to the airport in style by John's driver, and soon boarded the 4-propeller flight bound for Pulau Tioman on the East Coast of Malaysia. It was discovered by Hollywood back in the 1950-ties and was used for filming the movie "South Pacific". Luckily this beautiful island in the South China Sea is still fairly unspoiled and is beautiful as ever. The sea around Tioman Island is a marine park much like the Monterey Bay, and it is home to both the green turtles and the hawksbill turtles.

The flight took about an hour, and soon we were landing on the little landing strip by the palm studded beach of Tekek.

Of course, I wanted it as remote and un-touristy as possible, so I had arranged to be driven by 4-wheel drive over the mountainous jungle to the other side of the island to stay at the tiny village on the Juara Lagoon. My driver was easy to spot with his homemade cardboard sign with my name on - he looked to be around 14! However, he was a very capable driver as he navigated the pickup up the very narrow, windy road. About halfway up there were about half a dozen men working on the road where it had been washed out by the rains earlier in the year, so I was told to get out and walk a couple hundred yards to another pickup parked on the other end of the repair zone. Soon we were headed down the mountain on a dirt road through thick jungle - the jungle sounds were amazing! If you closed your eyes you would know you were in the jungle listening to the exotic choir and feeling the hot, humid air! We reached the village of Juara and took a left turn at the only street in town, and at the end was the entrance to Riverview Lodge, where I was going to spend the next 3 nights!

I met Richard who showed me my little cottage sitting right on the shore of the river mouth, he gave me a towel and a sheet, filled up the little round foot bath at the entrance to wash off the sand before entering, and I was set! Keys? No, don't use keys here!
I got myself settled, got the fan going, and went about exploring the area. It truly was a stunning setting, the water crystal clear and warm and there was no doubt, it was remote and low key! Best of all - kayaks! I knew I would like it here!

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