After waving goodbyye to Scotty and Tash in Singapore we were on our own for the first border crossing into Malaysia. On the bus, off the bus, on the bus, off the bus, on the bus and then finally off the bus and onto another bus was a bit how it went (seriously!!) but it was all good and we made it safely into Malaysia to the Johur Bahru bus station. We had initially planned on staying in JB for the night but it seemed like an unworthy mission to get out of the station and then back again in the morning so we luckily were able to hop straight onto a bus heading for mersing.
We stayed the night in Mersing before jumping on a ferry across to Tioman Island. We spent two nights in Salang first up which was a bit more touristy but really nice. We did some amazing snorkelling with our new German friend Michael who we met on the bus on the way to Mersing. Despite the sandflys the beach was beautiful. We also happened upon an old abandoned hotel which contained 300 rooms which had never been slept in. We didn't realise it at the tiime that we weren't meant to be up there but were so amazed by what we saw. Apparently it started construction in 1993 and was never finished. Apparently one of the royal family were behind it and during a recession in the 90's it stopped construction. Apparently it was for sale for 20 million ringit which is between 5-10 million australian dollars but we think it's too far gone now.
After two nights on Salang we jumped on a 'speedboat' to the less crowded Juara. We stayed in an awesome bungalow (Rainbow Chalets) on the beach there (for the same price as the other two RM40) and spent some time doing more snorkelling (not as nice as Salang) and some hiking through the jungle. The little cafe (bushman's cafe) there served some amazing fish which Nikki's starting to enjoy - suprise suprise. Overall Salang has some awesome snorkelling and the abandoned hotel was amazing but Juara had awesome accom and alot to offer too so we think splitting the time between the two was well worth it.
To get back to the ferry we had to hike across the mountain (You could pay to be driven but we were up for the challenge as the cost would blow our budget). It was a 7km journey (plus some i think) which was either steep up or steep down the whole way. It took 3 hrs witth hardly any stops other than to sip on some water. Sammy had to encourage me up the hill but then I did the opposite on the way down and found it a bit easier to run (or reverse walk) along the really steep bits. I think if we would have fallen we'd have rolled all the way down. hmmm, maybe we should have....
Once we got to the jetty in Tekek we got some icecreams and after watching me stack it on the slimey steps Sammy took the safer option of swimming and divinng with the locals off the jetty which they absolutely loved. After the boat ride back we caught a taxi to the bus station and counted our coins (down to the last 20 cents) to pay for a bus ride to Melaka. We ran to the toilet before the bus ride quickly but didn't have enough money to pay the 30c fee so we held it in and jumped on the bus to Melaka.
Our friend Michael was on the same bus so we're here with him now in Melaka which we'll write about in a few days!!
Until then, lots of love,
Sam and Nikki
PS. Thanks for all the messages, glad you're all enjoying reading about our trip :)