Initially I lost hope of going out for the long holiday as most of the places were fully booked due to Chinese New Year Holiday (2008 - RAT Year). Still I made up my mind to visit the island originally planned hang out along with my colleagues. Fortunately when I called the travel agency they said one of the resorts called Nirwana Resort is opened before the Monsoon season closes. Immediately booked the package for 3D2N.
We left home early morning around 5:45AM from Singapore and reached my friend’s Home in Ulu Tiram around 9 plus. He drove us over to Mersing in his Car around 1PM. We realized that we missed the ferry boat to Pulau Besar that left about 15 mins ago. So, we had to wait at the Mersing Jetty Terminal till evening 5:30PM because of low tide. Nirwana Resort Management really made a special arrangement to send us to Pulau Besar in the evening boat along with another one family who were stuck like us. I must say here that The Management, Mr. Shaam was so kind and nice to us just because we missed the boat they gave us free extension of one more day.
We arrived at the Pulau Besar just at the Sun Set and it was a cold evening. We were given welcome drink and a sea front chalet to stay. We unpacked everything and quickly refreshed ourselves and took dinner at the dining hall. Then made a walk on jetty wooden bridge and spent time in watching the visitors involved in fishing activity.
We got up next day morning and went on to take a walk to the left side of the seashore. We started walking around 7:30AM towards the eastern side of the Pulau Besar along the seashore. To our surprise we found many fossils of dead corals and varieties of Shells along with the big rocks. We were immersed with the richness of natural life existed with the fossils we witnessed all the way. At one point in time as we were getting late for our breakfast we made U Turn halfway and came back an hour late. We wanted to go for snorkeling to nearby island with another group and it had been cancelled as they found it was expensive for their troop.
We then took shower and had breakfast then we had a quick chat with Mr. Don who is brother of Mr. Shaam. He was explaining us about the facilities available in the resort and interesting places to visit around the island. We wanted to take the Jungle Trekking Route but he said it would be dangerous to go alone as it was not used for many months since the resort was closed due to monsoon season. We dropped that idea for the time being and he told us about the shooting done in Pulau Besar for TV programme Survival and even a Hollywood film, Ocean Lifeguard. He told that the flight wreckage setup for Survival series still could be seen. He was surprised to hear from us about our morning walk to the rock side seashore on eastern side. He said he always wanted to go for many years and could never make it but we did it.
Then we decided to take a slow walk along the pathway to the north western side of Pulau Besar. We were quite excited to see such shooting spot and started to walk at around 11AM. We passed by many resorts along the way and just after the last resort we passed by a small bridge we noticed the very same place that was used for shooting, we found the plane wreckages built-up bit inside the jungle bit away from the walking path. From the far it looked like a real flight was crashed down and when we had a closer look at it found out that it wasn’t real but made of wood and iron sheet to make it real from outside view. Behind there seems to be a grave yard region. We then walked further down till the farthest we could walk at the end of the road we found nice huge rocks and we decided to stop our walking to get back to resort for our lunch. We walked back to resort and had lunch then I decided to spend some time in watching the fishing activity in the Jetty terminal. I spotted a big headed fish that was resting under the shades of jetty wood stage. I have also cited the big catches by few families, who visited mainly for fishing activity. Then I found that the sea water started go back deep inwards as a result I found almost 1-2KM undersea area became accessible by just walking. So, I started to walk into the dried land alone and I noticed many sea cucumbers were lying under the rocks and not only that as I walked further in I noticed so many beautiful living baby coral reefs. It was so cool to see the way nature unfolds with many underwater lives. I went deep inside until the area where there was strong sea tide was happening, when I turned back I saw I was far from the seashore and noticed some water formation in the middle and I got terribly afraid that I was being cornered by sea water and started to run back to the seashore. Later I realized that it was similar before walked deep inwards. I brought back my partner to show what I have seen and noticed many more than what I found during my initial walk. As we started to walk further down the water level started to rise and we were alarmed by it and reached back seashore quickly. Then it was beginning to dark another family set the camp fire and we joined them and enjoyed the music and dancing along with them by blasting few Tamil songs from our portable speakers and mp3 player since their kids like Tamil Songs. By then there was barbeque items were getting ready for us at the resort. Then we had our dinner and spent bit of time in watching TV and noticed that there was Tamil satellite channel available too. We went to bed very late.
We got up very late too. We quickly ran to dining area and took our breakfast along with a cup of tea. We took bath on the sea and took bath in the tap water. Then we decided to make daring entry into the jungle trekking path that was never used for many months. We thought it would be a good idea to visit as a big gang and we moved to the nearby chalet to ask them if they wanna join us. But it was too late for us to ask them as they were packing their bags to get back to Singapore due to the CNY cause way traffic jam on the last day of the holiday. So, we bid bye-bye to them and I borrowed a big knife from the kitchen chef since he warned me several times against the personal safety. We still decided to go into the jungle. Every step we made was nerve killing and so thrilling as the path was filled with dried leafs and lots of spider web along the path that were really sticky. We found the only evidence for us was the small water pipe and we walked along with that route. We reached only one third of the destination and we were being attacked by the wild mosquitoes terribly. We had no choice than to quit our expedition than to come back halfway.
We were quite bored for a while. We went for a Kayaking on the sea for few mins. After that we were back and resting a while under the tree shadow and were singing some Karaoke songs then noticed outside a group of 6 members belonging to the local fishing village was walking with the long coconut tree stick as their fishing equipment. They were walking down the sea since it was low tide like yesterday. Then we decided to follow them to see what they are doing the old men was quite happy to explain us about what they do in Malay though I could hardly understand what he was saying only by signs I could manage to get few points. They gathered shells along the sea walk and used them as fish bites and they were in action with full swing. While they were doing this we wanted to continue our walk back towards the eastern side till far end beyond the point we stopped yesterday. So, we walked further down and noticed many interesting sea creatures along the walk due to low tide.
When we returned back by evening all of 6 group fisher men family members were carrying back quite a few kilograms of fish on their shoulders. Took few snaps with them and they made their way back into the jungle to their hut. We relaxed a while on the beach and went back into our chalet started to pack for leaving tomorrow.
Got up and took bath. Went to dining hall and took our breakfast. We waited for a while for the ferry boat to arrive and another group left for island hopping to nearby islands to do snorkel. I felt I missed this activity alone during this trip. Then we boarded the ferry around 10:15AM and reached back Mersing in an hour time and took two buses to reach Mersing – Kota Tinggi – JB and finally arrived at Singapore in the evening 5:30PM. Home Sweet Home…
I will try to post the photo album into flickr during the weekend and past the link here. Meanwhile if you are so excited to make a visit I suggest you please call Shaam at +60197997222. He is a very nice person to my knowledge and he can do the boarding and lodging arrangement for you.
I have noticed few are searching in Google for ferry timings. May be I should share my experience on the timing too. If you are stuck between 1PM to evening 4+PM you are most likely stuck down there due to low tide. Depends on the tide conditions the ferries are operated either till afternoon or in the evenings. Normally evening time is against the wind so as far as I know no ferry leaves from Islands to mainland. If you want to know the tide condition you can visit the web page of Marine Metrological Forecast for details about tide conditions.