About

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.

Location

Palau Tioman, Malaysia

Hiking between Air Batang (ABC) and Monkey Bay on Tioman Island

Written by Joshua Fuglsang on .

Tags

AsiaMalaysiaTiomanTravel
Flowers at the start of the Monkey Bay Hike
Flowers at the start of the Monkey Bay Hike - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Introduction

Ah, such a great day! I spent my first out­ing on Tioman Is­land hik­ing from Air Batang (ABC) to Mon­key Bay, and then on­wards to Salang, with two fel­low trav­ellers, one from Italy and one from France. The jun­gle was lush, the wa­ter was sparkling, and the beach­es were pris­tine. Tru­ly a day to cher­ish. Read on to find out about the hike.

Air Batang to Salang Via Monkey Bay

We woke up rel­a­tive­ly ear­ly at 8am, got or­gan­ised, then de­part­ed, bound for Mon­key bay which is on the north side of Tioman is­land. We would spend the full day hik­ing through the jun­gle be­tween four bays: ABC - Mon­key Beach - Mon­key Bay - Kam­pung Salang.

From ABC our first ma­jor hike through the jun­gle. It was dense, green, mud­dy, and tan­gled with roots. For the most part the path trailed along elec­tric­i­ty ca­bles, heav­i­ly in­su­lat­ed for they dragged through dense fo­liage. The ca­bles are an ex­press way for the mon­keys; with the branch­es and vines of the trees be­ing the slow, scenic route. On the way we spot­ted sev­er­al pe­cu­liar in­sects: bright, yel­low and black worms, which al­most looked like slugs, or leech­es, but were very out­landish in their ap­pear­ance; fat, ghost­ly cen­tipedes, which were pure white in colour; and noisy, vi­brant­ly green ci­cadas. We scram­bled over logs, un­der ferns, pushed aside claw­ing vines, and swat­ted away hordes of flies and mos­qui­toes.

Arrived at Monkey Beach
Ar­rived at Mon­key Beach - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

We ar­rived at the beau­ti­ful Mon­key Beach at around 11am. Mon­key beach is quite spec­tac­u­lar: clean, gold­en sand; lined with thick, green, trop­i­cal forests; trimmed with a small riv­er which you need to jump across at one end; and trimmed with a rocky head­land at the oth­er end. It is a claus­tro­pho­bic beach, but that on­ly adds to its trop­i­cal al­lure: hu­mid, en­croached with for­est, com­pound­ed by the close­ness of all the el­e­ments. We won­dered to the end of the beach to find the on­ward path, but failed. We walked around for min­utes be­fore find­ing any hint of the next trail. Even­tu­al­ly we back-tracked along the beach to a flat sec­tion of the for­est, then cut a bee-line through the for­est to­wards the near­est vis­i­ble elec­tric­i­ty ca­ble, and luck­i­ly struck the track along the way.

Log on the Monkey Bay trail
Log on the Mon­key Bay trail - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

We fol­lowed this path north-east, scram­bling over rocks, but with sim­i­lar veg­e­ta­tion to the last sec­tion, to even­tu­al­ly reach Mon­key Bay, the high­light of the walk. Mon­key Bay from the out­set is not quite as beau­ti­ful as Mon­key Beach: the sur­round­ing area is flat­ter and the jun­gle is less dense, mak­ing the bay feel less ex­ot­ic over­all. We stopped at a swing half way along the beach, where we fooled around like boys. Soon af­ter we were in the wa­ter. The bot­tom of the bay was amaz­ing­ly flat: we could walk out two hun­dred me­ters in to the ocean, and the wa­ter was on­ly came up to our chests. And the wa­ter was dead flat, al­most a mir­ror, the the bay is very well pro­tect­ed from the el­e­ments. I went back to my bag and col­lect­ed my cam­era, to wade back out in to the ocean to take a few snaps. It was a bit of a risk to bring my cam­era out in to the ocean, but I felt com­fort­able do­ing so for how flat and shal­low the bay was. Plus the wa­ter was such an amaz­ing blue, and ab­so­lute­ly clear, it was a hard op­por­tu­ni­ty to miss.

Hiking through the Jungle
Hik­ing through the Jun­gle - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Again, it took us some time to find the for­ward path to­wards Salang: we need­ed to check sev­er­al lo­ca­tions be­fore we found it. In the end we found it all the way at the end of a beach, iden­ti­fied from a bridge which we found nes­tled in the jun­gle. Be­yond the bridge were a few huge boul­ders, which we need­ed to use vines to scram­ble up. Once up, we found a clear­ly vis­i­ble path once more, and were cer­tain that this was the cor­rect way. This part of the walk had a very mud­dy slope, it was very easy to slip down so we had to walk care­ful­ly and use roots and vines to pull our­selves through it. We stopped here to help an old­er group of Span­ish peo­ple, who we met on the pre­vi­ous beach. The last ob­sta­cle of the sec­tion was an enor­mous tree that had fall­en on the path: I had to use my up­per body strength to lift my legs ver­ti­cal­ly through a gap be­tween the tree’s trunk and one of it’s large low­er branch­es.

Outlook over Salang
Out­look over Salang - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Soon enough we ar­rived in to Salang: the north-most town on the is­land. We stopped at a cafe for lunch, be­fore hunt­ing down a wa­ter taxi to take us back to the ABC. We spent more than an hour, ask­ing all of the op­er­a­tors for their best price for six peo­ple. It makes no sense that two peo­ple pay the same as six, yet the lo­cals were in­sis­tent that we pay RM30 per per­son. Con­sid­er that the price per per­son for this ten minute trip is equal to a two and a half hour trip all the way back to Mers­ing. Since the price was al­ways the same, we could have tak­en six boats back, rather than one boat with six peo­ple for the same price, and the lo­cals would have been hap­py to oblige. We think that there is a car­tel of tour op­er­a­tors, where some­one is telling all the com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers to fix their prices to main­tain max­i­mum prof­its. One lo­cal want­ed to ne­go­ti­ate with us, but he sad he couldn’t for all the oth­er peo­ple in the town would be an­gry with him. Re­gard­less, the re­turn boat trip was love­ly as the west­ern af­ter­noon sun washed the coast of the is­land in beau­ti­ful, gold­en light.

Conclusion

Monkey in a palm tree at Salang
Mon­key in a palm tree at Salang - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

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.

Snorkelling around Tioman Island

Lukas swimming in Monkey Bay
Lukas swim­ming in Mon­key Bay - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

In the next ar­ti­cle I go on a snorkelling tour around the is­land. Read about it here.

Tags

AsiaMalaysiaTiomanTravel

About

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.