When we reached Malaysia, we had the opportunity to meet a sailboat captain. Thanks to him, we learned the basics of sailing and discovered the islands of Tioman and Redang – spectacular islands located east of peninsular Malaysia. On the list: dream beaches with white sand, surrounded by coconut trees, lush vegetation and turquoise water in which we spent hours swimming!
Tioman, the hippie vibe island
By chance, we visited Tioman twice: the first time aboard our first hitchsailing boat, which stayed anchored for several days in Juara Bay, and the second time with another hitchsailing boat when we moored at the small port of Tekek, on the west coast of Tioman (before heading to Hong Kong). From these two visits to Tioman, we learned one thing: the west coast of Tioman is definitely not interesting… So we will focus on the best of Tioman: Juara Bay and its surroundings!
Juara Bay has two twin beaches, each a little more than a kilometer long. Along these white sandy beaches, there are of course rows of coconut trees (where giant bats, Malaysian flying foxes, used to rest happily, hanging during the day), colorful bungalows, some chill bars and restaurants and diving centers. Beers on the terrace, siesta on the beach, fire-eaters show at nightfall: with its hippie vibes and its heaven-like setting, Juara is made for relaxation and idleness.
Cherry on top, from Juara bay we found two nice little hikes in the jungle of Tioman, easy to do during the day:
- Kampung Mentawak waterfall: located south of the village, shortly after Juara Turtle Project center, following the dirt road that leads to the hydroelectric power plant along the river. It’s about a two kilometer walk from the beach, and everything is very well indicated on the offline map application Maps.me.
- Ali waterfall: located about 100 meters from the main road that crosses the island, and two kilometers from the village center. Beware of the difference in altitude if you go on foot: from Juara, the climb is quite steep – remember to take breaks and drink regularly!
Redang, the hidden gem island
Another island, another atmosphere: after our first visit of Timan, we headed north, precisely on the island of Redang. Redang is typically the kind of place where we wouldn’t usually have set foot: there are many expensive resorts there, most of them for mass Asian tourists. And yet, if we talk about Redang today, it is because under its airs of inaccessible paradise island, Redang definitely deserves the detour!
When we anchored in the northern bay of the island, in front of the luxury resort The Taaras, we thought it was a dream when a big sea turtle came to swim around our boat, as if to welcome us! No wonder that we, with the rest of the crew, unanimously decided to stay there for several days.
On the list: hours spent snorkeling to observe colorful fish and sea turtles, a jungle hike to explore the eastern part of the island and an abandoned ghost resort (spotted on Maps.me), a guided tour of the turtle research and conservation laboratory (free access, laboratory located inside The Taaras resort) and much, much wonder!
So even if we came and stayed aboard a sailboat, we saw that it was quite possible to visit Redang with a limited budget: in the main village, located in the center of the island and well hidden behind all the resorts standing on the waterfront, you can find food and lodging at reasonable prices… Unless you are tempted by the wild camping experience in a rather discreet and isolated place, like an abandoned resort!
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* Post written according to our personal experience *