Mr. Grumps the chameleon on the shoulder, trekking, scuba diving, swimming and partying... It's fun time with an all-girl gang at the dragon-shaped island
Sunscreen... check, hat... check, swimming gear... check, beach chappals... check! I am off to Tioman, a dragon-shaped island that lies in the South China Sea.
By the time we (an all-girl group meeting up for the first time) land in Kuala Lumpur, we are listless and hungry. “Let's stop over for breakfast at a kopitiam,” announces one of them. And, we start bonding over bowls of piping hot laksa, kway teow and teh tarik — “Try some of this!” “Why don't you try Chendol from me?” “Oh this is delicious”…
Full of colours
Next stop is Subang airport, from where we board the flight to Tioman. Only Berjaya Air flies to this island — it's a Dash7 aircraft for 48 passengers, with a super noisy take off and landing. An hour later, we are ready to land. As the aircraft approaches the island, our eyes, suffering a concrete overdose, are treated to greenery and brilliant shades of blue.
The runway where we disembark is surrounded by mountains with low-hung clouds gingerly draping themselves around the peaks. A cosy little cottage just ahead of us doubles up as the arrival hall and airport. And, no conveyor belt — men in uniform drag your luggage to the arrival hall. It's all very quaint and lovely. Outside the airport, a buggy awaits us. Apparently, there aren't any roads in Tioman except this six-km stretch we are driving on. No traffic, no vehicles, no jams... it's paradise! We pass by tiny dwellings, pastures and the sea, and after a ten-minute drive, we arrive at the Berjaya Tioman Resort.
The property comprises wooden cottages spread over 200 acres, with two swimming pools and jacuzzis, a spa, boutique, a golf course, tennis court, video game parlour, a poolside and a beach bar and two restaurants.
It also offers a host of activities such as trekking and scuba diving to keep your siesta at bay. So little time, so much to do!
We start day two with a trek, sleepily trudging across the golf course and up into the forest. Suddenly there are shrieks of excitement — our guide stops and effortlessly lifts a chameleon. It's green and plump with a grumpy face. Mr. Grumps sizes us up as each of us take turns to let him sit on our shoulders.
On the agenda for the afternoon is scuba diving and swimming. A glass-bottomed boat takes us to Renggis Island, the diving point. We are happily hooting while posing for pictures in our bright diving gear, and our instructor doesn't look amused. “Look inside the water,” he says, pointing downwards. And, good we listened — the underwater world is spectacular. Little fishes in electric blue and dazzling gold scurry past, while the purple ones are busy having a conference of their own. Some even brush against us sending us into fits of giggles. Then, of course, are the breath-taking corals in myriad shapes.
An hour later, we are at the restaurant sipping on warm Milo and making plans for the night — and zero in on partying! The beach bar is witness to our fun time We damsels in ‘de-stress' sure know how to have a blast. By the end of the night we are all on a high — not because of what the bar offered, but because of the girl-bonding, fun, dancing, singing, giggling and the numerous makeovers and photo sessions… It's a wonderful mix only travelling with a gaggle of girls can offer!