While we don't have spring in tropical Malaysia, my well-needed and much-deserved trip to Pulau Besar in Mersing, Johor was my treat for graduating university as well as a long-desired leave from my hectic job. I will definitely come back to the Seribuat archipelago again, again, and again!
My best friend (who is also my colleague) and I took a much-awaited trip to Pulau Besar recently. We were initially going to Pulau Sibu but some complications with the resort on that island saw us being relocated to their sister resort on neighbouring Pulau Besar instead.
Pulau Besar, along with Pulau Sibu is part of the Seribuat archipelago on the southeast coast of the Peninsula Malaysian state Johor, and is located on the South China Sea.
We decided to drive all the way down to Tanjung Leman jetty from KL, and left before sunrise in order to reach the jetty before lunchtime. Our first stop is at Ayer Keroh, Melaka for nasi lemak, a smoke break, and driver-switch.
We then continued our journey down south with me taking a break from driving, and letting my best friend take the wheel instead.
Leaving the North-South Highway at the Kluang exit, we continued onto the trunk roads. We passed by a few small towns, and lots of palm oil plantations, but our unfamiliarity with the area and worry about getting there on time for the ferry prevents me from snapping any photos.
As we head further and further down the trunk road, we received a call from the resort — they cannot accommodate us due to some problems with their facilities and have to relocate us to their sister resort in Pulau Besar, Aseania Resort. I was furious! Neither my best friend nor I are familiar with the south, we have left the highway a long time ago, and it is less than 2 hours to noon with a long way to go till we get to Tanjung Leman! They promised us free breakfast and dinner for the duration of our stay, and tell us to head to Mersing jetty instead.
We switched drivers, and it’s back to me on the wheel. The trunk roads got on my nerves with huge lorries and laidback residents driving at leisure. I panicked about the time, but am assured by Aseania resort that they have arranged a ferry specially for us due to our situation.
Finally, we reach Mersing with 45 minutes to spare!
We parked our car at the many available parking lots for RM30 for 4days, and a friendly man from the resort greeted us. To our delight, we can leave for Pulau Besar immediately and are in fact 30 mins ahead of schedule. Yay! The sooner we reach the island the better, after the mishap with Pulau Sibu.
We arrived at the resort, and checked-in immediately. The nice lady at the reception reconfirms our complimentary breakfast and dinner – finally we can unwind from our hectic lives in KL!
Over the next few days, we do absolutely nothing — which when compared to our jobs, is ABSOLUTE BLISS.
Complimentary food was excellent, staff were extremely accommodating and willing to help, beer is cold and good, and the beach was absolutely inviting! Having arrived during off-peak, there were only two other guests at the resort and 12 Hotel Management students on out-of-class training — the resort belonged to us!
The resort owner was warm and friendly, and the staff readily approaches you just to have a chat and tell you more about the island. Be warned though, mosquitoes and sandflies are aplenty here, and we were raped by mosquitoes on the first night as we didn’t have a coil in our room.
Breakfast, a brief swim, shower, nap/snooze, lunch, beer, swim, nap/snooze, beer, chill, dinner, beer, some TV at the lounge, sleep. Repeat. What paradise! Lazing around, enjoying the passing day with the sound of the gentle waves lapping by the shore… Awesome.
I spent lots of quality time with my best friend, and I also stuffed myself with food the four days we were there.
Strix, the Nightguard dog couldn’t have been more adorable. He has his own hut, plays the frisbee, goes for walks on the beach in the evening, gets a daily shower, and does his nightly duty of rounds!
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. Before we knew it, it was Sunday morning. Saturday night was BBQ night, the school holidays had started and the resort had started to welcome more guests. We slept well on Saturday night.
We have our final breakfast at Pulau Besar, dip in the ocean feeling happy and relaxed, and then get ready to take the speedboat back to Mersing.
We arrived in Mersing at 2pm, collected our car and drove to the town center for a delicious lunch, then drive back to the Klang Valley. We take the trunk road all the way back to Seremban, and finally reach KL. My best friend groans “It’s like that holiday never happened, and now we’re back to our hectic lives in hectic KL again”.
Give Pulau Besar a shot! It may not be as beautiful as the famous Tioman, but its small size and quieter environment means less crowds and a more decent getaway from the busy pursuits of metropolitan and urban life.
It’s okay, Johor. I’ll be back to visit your other treasure, Pulau Rawa, soon!