Leaving Air Batang for Tekek (The other side) – Tioman Island Malaysia

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There is nothing like the thrill of arriving somewhere new, but today we are faced with so many mixed and unexpected feelings as we embark on leaving a place we now absolutely love. Friends everywhere we look, every face that passes us is familiar & kind, we have broken into even the heart of the hardest nut. We have a routine, regular haunts…a little community we are leaving behind. We have made trips over the hillside to the capital village of Palau Tioman ‘Tekek’ many times for supplies, to visit the one and only ATM on the island and of course the post office. We have even hired a scooter there, checked out the airport, found chicken satays, resorts and stunning scenery, but have always been happy to return to our little stretch on the other side ‘Air Batang’ with a rural island charm like no other. On our last trip we found a little place on the beach called Cabana Tioman, a hotel/surf shop with a lost pirate ship type feel. With budget backpacker style accommodation as well as quaint beachfront cottages. All housing the same stunning coral free pristine waterfront view and did I mention hammocks?. The food is amazing..home-made burgers and pizzas inc vegetarian options, BYO drinks and the owner Sham does a jam session every night with dedicated locals and regulars who come at leisure to join in. We’ve been here for 3 weeks, our Malaysian visas are coming to an end, we haven’t seen enough of Tioman to make an unbiased assessment so we book in for our final days on the Island.

We broke the news to our dive crew, they assured the children, they will let us settle for one day and then come for our departure party on the other side. We grabbed our final moments at Rays last night, where they sang their own version of Marvin Gayes’ sexual healing’ for me…thank you xx We had final hugs & tears with Rollipah, our last breakfast at Johans Chalet, farewells at Eco Dive and was driven by scooter to the departure jetty by the charismatic Englishman Harry, with a final beaming smile, who we would see in a few days with the rest of the crew. Captain Leigh drove us to the beachfront of Tioman Cabana. We unload our bags & hit the hammocks, edited images, had a paddle, did some body surfing, ate vege burgers, also found a great new Samosa stall near by with fresh iced rosewater on tap. Made friends with like-minded English retirees who have just come from Laos, with a few tips for future travels. We immersed ourselves in the sunset, which was also amazing from this angle too. We totally enjoyed watching the locals gather to play Sepak Takraw ( Kick volleyball but played with your feet) in the backstreets and on the beaches & all kids enjoyed learning to balance on cans, practice flame throwing techniques taught by our new friend Abass. We were also fascinated by the chickens gathering near the surf on the beach to roost in the trees over night and looking forward to the Cabana band coming to life after sunset. But there were holes in 3 little hearts as the realisation had hit home that the days at Air Batang had come to a close and it didn’t feel so good to move on.

The music was amazing, flame throwing on he beach, so fun and we tucked in our mosquito nets and slept soundly with the murmur of reggae beats in our bunk beds. Please follow this link to see our photos https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.459818754184267.1073741857.441531179346358&type=3