Bagus Place Retreat, Tioman/Malaysia
From jungle thicket to an island beach paradise, Malaysia has it all. Our final Malaysian destination was Tioman Island and frankly, we had no expectations of this place as we were so unexpectedly blown away by what we had seen over the last few weeks that we decided to let the island speak for itself.
Arriving at KL airport, we quickly figured out how big Malaysia really is. An unexpected 5-hour bus trip from the airport to Mersing jetty was the quickest and cheapest way we could access the island, and then another exhausting 2-hour ferry to the island from the mainland. The boat trip passed many small islands along the way and we weren’t sure which one would be our final stop until the prominent peaks of Tioman peeped through the hazy horizon. The peaks grew taller the more we approached and finally sitting below two of the tallest (twin peaks), we cruised towards an already lit-up jetty leading to Bagus Place Retreat.
Walking along the jetty we could spot hundreds colorful fish in the transparent water below. Fortunately, the island is still somewhat undiscovered and the coral reef remains intact attracting many different species. A Bagus Place evening tradition is to drop the left-overs from dinner off the jetty bringing black tip reef sharks into a feeding frenzy.
We used the jetty daily to swim, snorkel, jump off the pier and sometimes read a book under the huts.
Each cabin is tucked away on the clifftop with its own unique positioning. The resort is made up of tree houses dotted along the island’s shoreline. Each cabin unique to the other.
Hiking the ‘Dragon’s Horns’ looked appealing from below. The view was sure to be spectacular from the highest tip of the island but just minutes into the hike did we realize what we were really in for.
The next three hours of hiking were agony. It was extremely humid that day and it was a steep climb from the word go. The view from the top was worth all the pain even on a cloudy day. Even though we couldn’t see the blue water we could definitely hear the thriving ecosystems around us!
After sitting down for a few minutes to catch our breath, we decided to set up the drone to get a bird’s-eye view of our surroundings. We perched it on the edge, away from any obstructing trees and stood back to watch the take-off. A nervous feeling instantly came over us knowing at the back of our minds that it could go over the edge.
It was at least a 20-meter drop to the next ledge below. However, we did not trust our gut feel and just went with it. Our worst nightmare came to life, the drone fell backward off the ledge, we just looked at each other as we heard the drone crash through the trees.
It took swinging down vines, sliding down slopes and climbing up a tree to get to the drone, with great teamwork we managed to rescue our flying camera.
We had managed to get back to the ledge when our guide had returned from his smoke break, he just looked at us with a confused expression and said. “Wow you guys take this hiking thing rather seriously, you two are filthy”
Little did he know that we had casually just been abseiling down the mountain with no gear.
A picturesque and relaxing setting. The Bagus Place staff believe that all their guests receive the island call (Panggilan Palau) before setting foot on the island. Once you respond to that call it is very hard to leave. We experienced it for ourselves, we are already making plans to answer that call again.