Sometimes trips don’t workout – Singapore & Malaysia

You can’t win them all – travel is what you make it!

Don't Fly JetStarThis holiday should have been Singapore and relaxation in Bali. Jetstar spoilt the fun by cancelling our flight to Bali – because of ‘volcanic activity’ they said. Yet other planes got through. Budget airlines are at the bottom of priority in a backlog.

Rather than risk getting stuck (return cancelled too), we visited Malaysia instead. Picture: Jura Beach, Pulau Tioman.

Jura Beach, Pulau Tioman Island, Mayalsia

Singapore Night7th November 2015: Hong Kong to Singapore. Great evening dining open-air in China Town. Despite looking like Hong Kong, food at double the price, slow cooked, and beer three-times more.

These days Singapore is horribly expensive, but the palms and flora everywhere is beautiful. If you’re on a budget, one night is enough. More western than Hong Kong, with everyone speaking English.

Singapore Toilet SignSingapore, along with South Korea and Japan, is the cleanest country in the world. The Government controls everything. Mao Zedong said “water too pure, breads no fish” – but the tiny City State does OK.

Marina Bay Sands Bar, Singapore

8th Nov: Singapore’s excellent and free Botanical Gardens, a £12 pint at Marina Bay Sands Bar, the new Gardens By the Bay followed by a river cruise in the evening. The Sands Bar is one of the highest in Singapore, and just above the public viewing platform which costs about the same as one drink to enter.

Malaysian FlagMalicca9th Nov: To Malacca in Malaysia. Bus to border and another 2-hours to Johor Bahru bus station for the 4-hour ride to Malacca. Malacca is very-Portuguese and well worth a visit.

River Song Residence, Malicca10th: Another river cruse late afternoon. Heavy rain closed restaurants at 9pm, but we found a late drink. Malacca is for relaxing and watching boats.

We considered catching the daily ferry to Sumatra in the hope of joining our friends in Indonesia, but the port there is so out-of-the-way.

Tioman Island Ferry11th: Therefore we took the 4-hour bus to Mersing for the ferry to Tioman Island, called Pula Tioman, for a Bali substitute. Tioman is the largest of the east coast islands at 20kl  long. However, during monsoon-season most businesses on the island are closed, with only one daily ferry.

12th: Clambered off the 10am 2-hour boat at Salang, only a few rundown eating shacks opened and we run out of ringgits. Not only were most hotels closed, but all public transport.

Boat at Pula TiomanSo we hired a boat to Kampung Teke, the Island’s capital with the only ATM. Lucky, because it’s one of the few villages with alcohol – available at duty free shops and Chinese restaurants.



Jo - Turtle at Tioman Island, Malaysia13th: Hired a man with 4-wheel drive to take us across the island to beautiful Juara Village where we visited the turtle rehabilitation centre.  There they collect the hundreds of eggs each turtle hides in the sand and manage to hatch over half.

Best beach on the island – 2 km of powdery white sand.

MersingPicture: River at Mersing

14th – 15th: Ferry and bus back to Singapore and flight to Hong Kong. I thought the bus from Mersing to JB was too cheap at £2 for the 100-miles: in heavy rain it broke down, so had to catch a taxi for £30.  Pleased to reach the airport early.

Singapore – 5Footway Project Chinatown 1: S$83 = £38 a night.
Mayalsia – River Song Residence, by the river in Malicca: RM155 = £23 a night.
Bluewater Hotel, Mersing: : RM 95 = £14 a night.
Tioman Island – Babura Seaview Resort at Kampung Tekek: RM 155 = £23 a night.

Beer in a Muslim country

Tiger BeerCheap Singapore restaurant: £4.50. 7-11: £1.40 large can.

Cheap mainland Malaysia restaurant: £2.50 large bottle. 7:11: £0.90 large can.

Malaysian duty free island: £0.90 large bottle. Duty free shop: £0.50 can of Tiger.

Jetstar 3 1/2 hours Hong Kong to Singapore: about £100 return. Very cramped seats and only a voucher promised for the cancelled connecting flight to Bali.

Best time to go: April to September.  Not when we visited – November to March!

Malaysia Map

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