Alexander Kiy, his wife Mareike, and their daughter Johanna (6) and son Christian (4).
Traveling through Kuala Lumpur, Malakka and Johor Bahru, the family spent a beautiful autumnal holiday on Tioman Island, which lies just off the southern coast of Malaysia. From Singapore’s Changi Airport, it’s a four-hour car trip to the ferry pier in Mersing (ferry reservations are recommended). The ferry-ride from Mersing to the Berjaya Resort Tioman (www.berjayahotel.com) took approximately two hours. The Kiys also visited Kuala Lumpur, taking full advantage of the tourist-friendly hop-on-hop-off buses that travel through the city every 20 minutes, stopping at all major landmarks including the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park and Petronas Towers.
Flights from Beijing to Singapore were approximately RMB 4,000 per personwith Air China. Flights from Singapore to Tioman by Berjaya Air cost around RMB 2,500 per person. The family opted for a private taxi from Johor Bahru, which cost around RMB 1,000 for eight people. The ferry boat from Mersing is RMB 150 for adults and RMB 130 for children. Make a booking through www.myoutdoor.com/reserve/ferry_reservation.htm.Deluxe chalets at Berjaya Resort Tioman cost RMB 1,000 per room, but promotions are often available via the hotel’s website. Lunch at the hotel was about RMB 80 per person, while the dinner buffet was about RMB 150 per person. If dining out, expect to pay RMB 50 per person at a local restaurant.
Expect a heavy rain shower at least once a day in autumn. The rainy season starts in November in this part of Malaysia. While temperatures stay relatively hot, the rain does bring cool changes.
Berjaya Resort Tioman seemed to be the only Western-standard resort on the island. It has beautiful four-room chalets. With two rooms on the lower floor and two on the upper, it’s great way to travel with kids. The resort has a pool with waterslides for the kids and a pool bar for the grown-ups. You also have direct access to the beach, where you can find beautiful seashells during low tide (look out for sand-flies, though). Other activities include golf, kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling.Just 200m from the beach, there is a little island where the boats leave you on a small pontoon for snorkeling. Christian enjoyed swimming with schools of fish that circled the pontoon. Rainforest and waterfall excursions are also available.
The hotel offers nice breakfast, as well as a lunch and dinner buffets, and a la carte. If going out for lunch or dinner, try one of the many kid-friendly eateries along the ferry pier. The restaurant staff speaks English.
Despite traveling during the October Holiday peak season, the crowds were surprisingly small. If you have the chance and nobody is on the golf course, take a walk along the path that leads you to the edge of the rainforest. If you’re lucky, a family of monkeys will accompany you on your way.