Here you will find articles on an ambitious plan to travel from Singapore to Morocco overland, i.e. without flying.

I will use buses and trains to travel through South East Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe.

Read about The Plan So Far.


Palau Tioman, Malaysia

Air Batang (ABC) to Paya Village, Tioman Island

Written by Joshua Fuglsang on .


Headland between Turtle Sanctuary and Paya Village
Headland between Turtle Sanctuary and Paya Village - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang


In the pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cle I went on a snorkelling trip around Tioman Is­land, which you can read about here. In this ar­ti­cle I de­scribe the jour­ney of cy­cling from Air Batang (ABC) vil­lage to Paya Vil­lage.

Air Batang (ABC) to Paya Village

To get to Paya from ABC we first need­ed to hire bi­cy­cles. All bike prices on the is­land are reg­u­lat­ed by the Tioman Car­tel and so the prices are non-ne­go­tiable. At the time of writ­ing they cost 5 ring­git per hour, up to a max­i­mum of 30 ring­git for the day, which is what we would be pay­ing.

Tioman gets quite hot dur­ing the day, so we woke up at the rel­a­tive­ly ear­ly time of 8:00am to de­part. Our dor­mi­to­ry and bike hire was all the way at the North­ern end of the vil­lage, so we need­ed to ride all through the vil­lage to the South­ern end be­fore even­tu­al­ly cy­cling around the rocky penin­su­lar sep­a­rat­ing ABC and Tetek.

Road between Tetek and Paya
Road be­tween Tetek and Paya - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

At the end of Tetek was the first hill. All bi­cy­cles on the is­land are sin­gle-speed, so we had to get off and push the bikes through the steep­est sec­tion near to the hill’s crest. At this point we en­coun­tered a troop of mon­keys, who tried to in­tim­i­date us as we passed. At the top of the hill is a junc­tion which we went straight through to con­tin­ue to­wards Paya. At the bot­tom of the hill is a group of re­sorts on a beach which I be­lieve to be called Ben­jaya. To­wards the end of these re­sorts was a boom gate. The boom gat was ajar to let scoot­ers, pedes­tri­ans, and bi­cy­cles through, so we ducked un­der it and con­tin­ued on our way. The boom gate marked the en­trance to a golf course, which we cy­cled through for an­oth­er fif­teen min­utes or so. This sec­tion at the road was fair­ly hilly again, with one ma­jor climb that de­mand­ed that we walk up.

On the top of the fi­nal crest out­side of the golf course was a huge di­lap­i­dat­ed re­sort called Selsea Tioman. Be­ing so far re­moved from all the towns, this re­sort seemed to have ar­rived on some hard times. In fact, by look­ing up at the bal­conies of the rooms, I am al­most cer­tain that there was not a sin­gle guest when I passed. A pity, for them.

Unsealed road after golf course
Un­sealed road af­ter golf course - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

From the re­sort the sealed road soon ends. We were soon cy­cling down­hill on a rough dirt road through lush green trop­i­cal fo­liage. This sec­tion took per­haps ten min­utes of slow, treach­er­ous cy­cling be­fore reach­ing its end next to a small brack­ish la­goon; a beach, and a tur­tle sanc­tu­ary sign.

Turtle Sanctuary Beach
Tur­tle Sanc­tu­ary Beach - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

From here we ditched the bikes and be­gan on foot. It was high-tide, so we had to walk through the jun­gle to­wards Paya. When it is low tide you are meant to be able to walk around the head­land on the sand. The jun­gle was was in­cred­i­bly steep, but well main­tained. There was a wire mesh on the ground to make it hard­er to lose grip and slip over. Once start­ing the jun­gle walk it took per­haps twen­ty min­utes to reach its end.

Soon enough we left the jun­gle, ar­riv­ing at a di­lap­i­dat­ed bridge and an aban­doned guest house. We walked past a se­ries of small build­ings, and then across a bridge in front of a paint­ball sign be­fore ar­riv­ing at Paya in earnest.

Paya is a love­ly lit­tle vil­lage. It is per­haps more up-mar­ket than ABC, but is quite pret­ty none­the­less. It seemed to have bet­ter eat­ing op­tions than what we have been hav­ing, and for a bet­ter price. Like ABC, and Tetek, Paya is set up all along the main beach front strip. Here we stopped for a while to play some games of cards while wait­ing for the tide to go down.

Rockfall river behind Paya
Rock­fall riv­er be­hind Paya - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

At the end of the beach street, be­hind the vil­lage is a small cas­cad­ing riv­er called the “rock­fall”, nes­tled in the jun­gle. We went here for a short time af­ter lunch to cool down.

Wading through low tide
Wad­ing through low tide - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Low tide ar­rived for us at 5:30pm so we be­gan to make our way back, this time dar­ing to try to go around the head­land. Even at low tide it was not pos­si­ble to walk on the beach the whole way. I walked through the wa­ter for about two hun­dred me­ters. The floor was sandy for the first half of the head­land walk be­fore giv­ing way to coral. The coral was still liv­ing, so I don’t be­lieve the tide ev­er goes the whole way down. Even­tu­al­ly I was no longer able to wade through the ocean as the wa­ter was get­ting deep­er, and the coral denser, so I couldn’t make a path along the ocean floor by on­ly walk­ing on sand.

Scrambling around the Paya Headland
Scram­bling around the Paya Head­land - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Soon enough we were scram­bling around the head­land over the boul­ders them­selves. This was straight for­ward and fun, though not for ev­ery­one. We were al­so re­ward­ed for our ef­forts with some spec­tac­u­lar views of the coast­line. Def­i­nite­ly walk­ing through the jun­gle is eas­i­er and more for­giv­ing.

Af­ter reach­ing back to the tur­tle sanc­tu­ary beach we were soon on our bikes and cy­cling back to­wards ABC, stop­ping once in Tetek for some fresh co­conuts. Tetek is big­ger and is not just a tourist town, so it is pos­si­ble to buy fresh fruit with a rea­son­able price. We got back at about 7pm, mak­ing the trip a full day af­fair. It was a love­ly day, and cy­cling is a great way to see the is­land. It’s just a shame you can’t get a geared bike for the hills and un­sealed sec­tions.


Thanks for read­ing! As al­ways, please fol­low me on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram us­ing the links in my nav­i­ga­tion bar. And if you have any com­ments then feel free to make them be­low. Al­so, if you wish to fol­low my jour­ney then feel free to sub­scribe to my site.

Tioman to Kuala Lumpur

Ferry departing from ABC, Tioman, bound for Mersing
Fer­ry de­part­ing from ABC, Tioman, bound for Mers­ing - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

In the next ar­ti­cle I trav­el from Tioman Is­land to Malaysia’s cap­i­tal; Kuala Lumpur. Read about it here.




Here you will find articles on an ambitious plan to travel from Singapore to Morocco overland, i.e. without flying.

I will use buses and trains to travel through South East Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe.

Read about The Plan So Far.