Friday, August 28, 2015

Wander: Tioman with kids

It's been a month since our Tioman trip, and I've yet to get down to blogging about it, since everyone has been taking turns to be sick! I'm so glad that the boys are more or less recovered, and my cough is slowly clearing up. The boys have been talking about Tioman since the trip, and sometimes play pretend games where they sail to Tioman during a flood. They say that they enjoyed themselves, and would like to go back again. 

We planned this trip with two other homeschooling families (we had seven kids between us all), and stayed for three nights at the Berjaya Tioman Resort (which is one of the more popular resorts over on the island).  There are quite a few options for accommodation when it comes to Tioman, from the no frills to luxurious, but we decided on something more comfortable since we had the kids with us, and wouldn't be wandering too much from the resort during our trip.

The resort consists of chalets spread across the rather extensive hotel grounds, and there was a playground, as well as rather nice children's pool, complete with a few slides. However, the kids spent most of their time at the beach just next to the pool, and my boys said that was the highlight of their trip: digging sand, and splashing in the crystal clear water while trying to spot fish. They all busied themselves digging a big hole for Baby J, and decided that it would be a tub for him, so they spent half an hour running up and down collecting water to fill the tub. It was such a delight watching them play together!

Time at the beach aside, Tioman is known as a good location for diving and snorkelling. The kids were too young to manage the snorkel masks that we brought along (from Decathlon), but they managed an island-hopping trip which took up the most of one day. You can book these trips via your hotel, and the trip took them to four islands, where they got to bob about in the sea and feed fish. If you go on such a trip, make sure you bring the sunscreen and slather it on! Most of the group went and had a good time, however, I opted to stay back and laze at the resort, as Baby J needed his afternoon nap, and the nausea from pregnancy meant I got easily seasick. Junior J ended up hanging out with me, since he too gets seasick. 

You can also go trekking in Tioman, and there are waterfalls to visit. However, we skipped that since we had little ones and I just didn't feel up to it with all that pregnancy exhaustion. I found out that there is also a turtle sanctuary you can visit, where you also can do volunteer work for a couple of days. The hotel also helps to arrange for visits to the sanctuary, but each trip takes over 2 hours, as the turtle sanctuary is on the other side of the island, and also includes a trip to look for mousedeer. We didn't manage to visit this round, but we would definitely include this for our next trip. 

Since we took it easy for this trip, we ended up having most of our meals in the hotel, which has two restaurants. The food wasn't anything to shout about, but the portions were generous (the spaghetti bolognese was so large that my three kids shared it and couldn't finish!), and meals were relatively cheap by hotel standards. 

Anyway, if you're intending to pay Tioman a visit with kids, here are some things to take note:

:: Pack light:
Tioman is a little troublesome to get to, since you have to get a ride up to the Mersing Jetty, and then you have to take a ferry ride across. A friend who frequently visits advised us to pack light, since the ferry can get crowded, so I packed really light this time round. We had one cabin luggage (with all the diapers and clothes, as well as some food and the electric lunchbox for cooking the toddler's meals) between us all, backpacks for the adults and the older 2, and a big tote with their beach toys. (You can read about our travel packing guide here.)

:: Useful things to bring:
The beach is littered with coral, which can be really painful to walk on, so pool shoes (like these Poolzies) can be really useful for little feet. Beach toys are great, sunscreen is essential, water bottles are useful, even if the hotel provides bottled water (I always find it's never enough!). I brought laundry detergent, which came in really handy, since the boys chose to wet their one and only jammies (I packed light remember?) two days in a row. The chalets all have a balcony/verandah which came in really handy for sunning their clothes, so we survived!

:: Watch out for sandflies: 
It's best to dress the kids in long-sleeved rashguards/suits when at the beach, since sandflies are a problem. Strange thing was, while there were days the kids were in short-sleeves at the beach, they didn't get bitten, but all the grown-ups did. At the end of the trip, we all had small red pimple-like bumps that itched like crazy, and they took ages to clear up. The hubs had 20 over, while I had 10 plus bites... but we were just glad the kids were spared. We read that the main way to avoid bites would be to cover up, so for the guys, you can keep your T-shirts on (Pack those dri-fit types. I forgot and hubby's T-shirts took ages to dry!), and for ladies, this isn't the place for bikinis, unless you want a spotty mid-riff to show off post-trip. The hotel gift shop apparently was supposed to sell a local concoction that worked as a sandfly repellant (regular insect repellant doesn't work), but they weren't selling it when we were there. 

:: If you are staying in Berjaya:
 If you have little kids, and opt to stay in Berjaya, ask for a room on the ground floor. The chalets are double-storied, and have wooden floors, so kids running and jumping around would really create a din if you are staying upstairs! The resort only has Wifi in the hotel lobby and the restaurant, and that sometimes doesn't work, so leave the laptops at home. 

We might make another visit down when the kids are older, since they enjoyed their visit so much. I'll share more about how to get to Tioman next week, since it's quite an adventure in itself! Have a blessed weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Tioman Island is a good island for you to relax and enjoy your holiday with your family.



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