Sep 18, 2017

5 Reasons Why The Barat Tioman Resort Is Not Worth It

"Kau asal mana? Sini ke?" My friend asked the driver as we were going to the Marine Park. He replied kindly, "Tak kak. Saya asal Bukit Tinggi. Dah 15 tahun tinggal kat Tioman."

Indeed, Tioman is a beautiful island, capable of captivating any visitors to stay longer than expected. The unspoiled nature, calming blue sea and the gentle waves are the reasons we were drawn to the place. Sitting on the South China Sea, Tioman island is one of the best diving spot in Malaysia rich with marine life and coral reefs.

I could list a hundred and one good things about the island to make me stay (I even considering to retire here), but on the other hand, I only have 5 reasons to let you know that I won't be reconsidering staying at The Barat Tioman Resort again. Let me tell you why...

#1 - Misrepresentation

When I make my hotel booking, I clearly checked the accessibility of the resort. And I found out it is only 700m away from the Juara Beach Jetty through Juara Express. Also, there is a complimentary transfer from the jetty. Sounds like a pretty good deal. However, the Juara Express is not operating at the moment. I only found out after confirmed my room booking. That left me with no choice but to take a boat to Tekek and then a taxi to the resort. The resort also charging us for the transfer from Tekek which added RM280 into our cost. We think that the price is really unreasonable.

The resort could have mention that the Juara Express service is coming soon or currently not in operation.

From the Barat Tioman website

Email reply from Juara Express

#2 - Non-accessibility

As mentioned earlier, the nearest jetty to The Barat Tioman is Tekek, which required us to get a transport from Tekek to the resort with an exorbitant price tag.

It is also far from the major spot such as Marine Park. When we requested for transport to the Marine Park for snorkeling, the hotel charged us RM80 per person. If we took the usual transport to Tekek, it only cost us RM70 per person. Not too sure where the additional RM10 go to.

#3 - Non-forgiving bathroom

When we first got into the bathroom, one thing you will notice is the missing toiletries tray you usually get in other resort. What we found was a attached-dispenser for soap like those you get in backpackers common bathroom. For a beach resort we would expect a proper toiletries set, shower cap, sanitary pad bag and laundry bag. All those are not available. Bring your own laundry bag.

The shower is not separated from the toilet. Each time we shower, the entire bathroom will be flooded with water. Add on to the pain, there was no ventilation in the bathroom. It smells pretty bad with the high humidity weather on the island.

#4 - Lack of amenities

Comparing with my previous experience at Alunan Resort (Perhentian Kecil), this resort lacks of some amenities. All the water activities are subjected to fees. Even renting a safety vest cost us RM10 each per day which you have to return by 6pm. Unlike Alunan Resort, guests can utilize the snorkeling mask and safety vest for free. You can jump into the ocean anytime you like without additional charges.

#5 - Lack of marine life around the beach

You can't rent a snorkeling mask and jump into the beach directly and expect to see some fishes around the resort.  I swam from the front of the resort towards the edge of the beach where the river ends, I only saw 5 fishes.

You get the usual water activities like snorkeling, diving, banana boat, kayaking, etc. But those activities have to be pre-booked and pre-planned ahead. We booked for a Marine Park tour that costed RM80 each only to find out that the Marine Park is at Tekek, which we could have rented a motorbike or a car for a lesser fee. (Another misinterpretation).

If given a second chance to go back to Tioman (more specifically to Kampung Juara area), I would book my stay at 1511 Coconut Groove which is right next to the Barat Tioman Resort. It is well-kept and shares the same beach front as the Barat Tioman.

My advise is to do a thorough research especially on the costs (if budget is your concern). In our case, it was a concern and we exceed RM300 that could have spent on something better - like donating it to the Juara Beach Turtle Project.

They say what makes the trip is the company. Although we didn't enjoy the resort, we did enjoyed the trip. We looked for our own activities like stars gazing, dancing in our own balcony and taking photos at the beach. The best memories were the stories we tell to others while catching our breath laughing.

Overall the resort is a nice place and there are a lot to improve in terms of the management. I hope the management will look into it to give a better experience for the guests.

Enjoy the rest of the photos....

1511 Coconut Groove


Sep 9, 2017

Kai Kei Curry Fish Ball & Other Hong Kong Street Foods

You did not visit Hong Kong until you try their legendary street food, the curry fish ball. In Kowloon, the best curry fish ball stall is located at the corner of Dundan Street and Sai Yeung Choy Street. The name of the stall is Kai Kei. It doesn't have English signboard but the stall is hard to miss. Just follow your nose to the stinkiest smell (somewhat like a dirty drain smell), you will come to a corner stall packed with people. Even the locals get their snacks here.

Other than curry fish balls, the stall also sells the infamous chao tau fu (fermented beancurd). This is the smell that I said you should follow. Having the same status as durian, the chao tau fu is not something which commonly accepted. It is either a love or hate relationship, nothing in between. The pungent smell is very strong and not very pleasant to foreign noses (including myself). However, according to many testimonials, the tofu has crunchy texture and soft beancurd fillings which is addictive. It melts in your mouth and the taste is in between cheese and tofu. I will leave it up to you to decide if you should try it.

Back to the curry fish ball, it is something which I strongly recommend. The curry is rich and thick, meanwhile the texture of the fishball is soft and bouncy. I ordered two servings because it was really good and addictive.

Spicy sausage and cocktails

Although Sai Yeung Choi Street is located at Kowloon, the nearest MTR station to the stall is Yau Ma Tei. While entering the subway, I spotted another street snack shop right next to exit A2 and made a pit stop. With my limited knowledge in Chinese, I managed to point the siew mai and a beancurd dish. It was surprisingly very good despite the look. The tofu is wrapped with a layer of fishcake, it is savory, soft and tender. I would recommend it if I can point out the name. Unfortunately I didn't recognize the Chinese characters.

At night there are a lot of small shops underneath the crowded apartment in Kowloon that serves curry fish balls as well. Here you are able to order a bowl of noodles to go with it. You can add on other side dishes such as pork intestines. I know it sounds weird, but it taste heavenly. It has a chewy texture and each time you take a bite, the juicy from the soup oozing out of the intestine.

Those are the common street snacks you can find in Hong Kong. Do you have any particular street snacks you like in HK? Do let me know so I can try it out on my next trip.

Sep 3, 2017

August 2017 Favourites

I thought I missed a month of my usual monthly favourites post. When I was searching on my blog for the previous post... God, I missed 2 months (June & July)!!! The last I blogged about my monthly favourites was in May! How the heck did time passed so fast, I have no idea!

Lately I have been breaking away from beauty related stuff. I try to avoid shopping for beauty products and focus more on art and journals. I used to love journaling because it gives me a sense of tranquility and peace. In these two months, I have done some painting, doodles and journaling, it does brings some therapeutic senses.

And here are my recent favourites:

#1 - Tiles

I do a lot of tile studies. Particularly on Malaccan nyonya tiles which is Chinese style but heavily influenced by Islamic motives and some Spanish/French accents. I want to be able to paint some of these tiles and I think it would be a great decor for my house. Still sourcing for canvas in Melaka (where I live) unfortunately, I can't find any art shop here.

#2 - Washi Tapes

I have been restocking a lot of washi tapes for my journal and I even purchase some to sell in my shop at Wanderlust Things. I love the flexibility of wash tapes, you can DIY almost anything with it. To keep up with my growing collection, I made a washi swatch in a fan so that I can take a glance at all my washi tapes.

#3 - Home

I'm not sure if this is legit to be a monthly favourite, but I do love my home a lot. I love it that my hometown, Penang, has everything. It is a bustling city with everything you need in an urban culture. But when you're tired of the city life, just take a 15 minutes drive to the beach and you'll have the classic island life. When you had enough of the sea view, just drive up to Balik Pulau for full blown nature. The small island has literally everything! Living in Melaka, makes me miss Penang even more because it is so far. My demanding day job makes it impossible for me to spend more time at home. Each time I go back to my hometown, I have the urge to resign, move back home and.... (this brings me to the #4 point).

#4 - The new rich

I am currently studying the concept of "The New Rich" where the new generation working class literally work 4 hours from anywhere they want, yet still earn sustainable income to support their lifestyle, in this case, traveling. Traveling is probably the icing on the cupcake for me. My main motive to follow this cult is to quit my job, return home, do whatever I want and still can spend time with my grandma. I don't know how these new generation make it happen, I have a lot to learn from them. (It's funny how I am learning from the young). Currently I do a lot of YouTube on the subject matter and still looking for a good book to snuggle my nose into.

#5 - Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel

I met up an old friend and I notice that her face is glowing. So I asked her what are the beauty products she has been using, and she said Mario Badescu. I happen to have a small travel size Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel that I got from Sephora gift. I used it and I loved it. The facial wash is non-foamy and clears off makeup while you are washing your face. It hits two birds with one stone (makeup removing and cleansing) which lazy person like me really appreciate. I immediately purchase a full size at Sephora when I passed by before lunch. So far this facial wash is doing well for me, except it stings the eye area sometimes.

I am making more time to blog these days because it is something I enjoy doing and I think I should do it more. I have been putting blogging aside because I keep thinking that - I don't earn money from this blog, why not put my time on somewhere I can earn more money. It turns out, I got so tired, my brain barely working anymore. So, I take the oath to spend minimum 15 minutes per day to keep this blog growing. Who knows, this could be my platform to be the new rich. Who knows what's the potential of this small little space on the internet.

I'm off to doodle on my journal now, will share the results end of this September.