Growing up in Malaysia, I am used by the idea that the East Coast; Terengganu & Pahang offered the best sea, oceans and beaches. So when Project Vacation was invited to join Santai Travel’s media trip to Mersing, Johor, I must say I was skeptical at first. But boy how wrong was I!
Together with 30 others influencers and media representative, we were invited by Santai Travel and Tourism Johor to check out the beautiful beaches and sea at Taman Laut Sultan Iskandar.
Taman Laut Sultan Iskandar is made up of 6 island clusters (13 in total); Pulau Pemanggil, Pulau Sibu, Pulau Aur, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Tinggi and Pulau Besar. For this trip, we are going to stay for a night at Pulau Besar and another at Pulau Tinggi.
Upon arrival at the jetty, we were greeted by a group performer playing traditional Malay’s music equipment, Kompang. Soon after stuffing ourselves with delicious lunch spread by Tourism of Johor, we headed for 30 minutes boat ride to Pulau Besar.
At Pulau Besar, we stayed at one of the very few exclusive resorts available and I must say, our resort, Bayu Lestari is the best. The moment I step on its beautiful jetty, I knew I’m going to fall in love with the place.
According to one of the friendly staffs, the resort can cater up to 140 guests a time. They have chalets that could fit 2-4 people and bungalows for big groups (up to 15 guests). The resorts, runs by Ibu Ros, was beautifully decorate with wooden furniture and minimal ornaments, giving the homey-feel
Together with 3 other girls, I stayed at the chalet while my trip-partner, Ujay stay in one of the bungalows. Soon after we sorted out ourselves, we were brought around the island by foot. While many were exhausted due to the long traveling hour (we took a bus from Kuala Lumpur at 6:30am and arrived at Mersing’s jetty at 12), the tiredness quickly disappeared as soon as we saw the view around the island.
Luckily for me, my partner is the best travel-photographer I met. It didn’t take me long to have stacks of photos I can upload in my Instagram. Ujay, together with the other three girls that stayed in a room with me; Neysa, Syaza and Neeta took a sweet time to take photos. How could you blame them when the view is like this ;
As the sun started to set, my roommates and Ujay went to the beach and take photos of the clean, turquoise sea while I decided to ride the boat to witness the sunset myself. I was mesmerized by the sunset at Pulau Besar.
Fun fact about Pulau Besar, the original name of this island is Pulau Babi Besar. However, perhaps due to sensitivity they’ve removed the middle name and the island is now call, Pulau Besar
Our first dinner in the trip was indeed a memorable one. We had a scrumptious BBQ party and even had a birthday celebration for one our trip member
Next day saw a group of us went for scuba-diving. Unfortunely, unlucky for us, due to the heavy rain at night and in the morning, the water was a tad bit cloudy. However, we still managed to see what’s underneath; aside from your usual corals and fish, there is an underwater post box (installed back in 2016) and more. We will definitely come to dive here again, hopefully the weather will be kinder to us because we bet it is beautiful underneath!
After a quick diving session, we head for lunch and head to Pulau Tinggi. It was hard to say good bye to Bayu Lestari Resort, because not only was the place is beyond gorgeous, the staffs were really friendly and helpful! Perhaps we should organise a trip here and you can join us next time! 😉
We arrived at TAd Marine Resort after nearly 20 minutes of boat ride. After sorting out our room and a quick refreshment, my roommate, Neyra and I decided to have quick nap before witnessing the beautiful sunset again.
While many decided to take photos by the beach and lying at the hammocks, I decided to go to the jetty and chat few locals who were fishing for fish. You can also play beach volleyball and do kayaking around the island
As the beautiful sun set, we headed to the swimming pool for dinner. Soon after dinner, some decided to take a quick swim at the swimming pool while the rest head to the karaoke room to sing their hearts out.
For our last day at Taman Laut Sultan Iskandar, all of us went for snorkeling at Pulau Matinggi. The water at this Island was clean and blue. You can easily spot up 5-6 varied species and they were really friendly with us (probably because we bring bread to feed them). Unlike any other places I went for snorkeling before, I can honestly say this is the cleanest spot I’ve ever been. I truly hope both authority and visitors of the place will maintain the cleanliness of the place.
After nearly 3 hours of snorkeling, we head down for a quick refreshment session where we were served with fresh and sweet coconut water by Tok Mok and his friends. Tok Mok is one of the respectful elders at the island and it was an honored to meet the man.
We then returned to our resort where a few of us decided to go for a quick hike to the waterfall and the rest went to their room to pack. After we had our lunch, at 3pm we took the boat to head home.
Despite the packed scheduled we had during this trip, I must say that Taman Laut Sultan Iskandar is magnificent and I am looking forward to come and explore the place again. Perhaps spend more nights at Bayu Lestari Resorts for diving and later continue for 2-3 days at TAd Marine Resort. Thank you so much Santai Travals and Tourism Johor for inviting Project Vacation to this trip. It was indeed a memorable trip!
And we are about to have another visit to Taman Laut Sultan Iskandar again! Anyone would love to tag along?