Ligaya in East Malaysia

Tioman Island

Tioman Island lies off the east coast of Malaysia. It is a sleepy little island with a very low-key tourist infrastructure. There is one resort that boasts a golf course, but most visitors come for the diving or trekking in the mountains. There are several unique species of wild life here and many nature films have been shot on the island. It was also used for background shots in the 50s film of South Pacific, when it became Bali Hi.

We anchored in the large bay to the west of the island, off the tiny town of Tekek. I went for a walk across the island to the beach at Juara on the east coast.

On the track of my GPS, the northern loop was a path through the jungle and the return, to the south, was on a very steep paved road.

We anchored off the small marina on the edge of the village. The marina also serves as the terminal for the day-trip boats that come across from the mainland, so Customs and Immigration are located there.
Throughout Asia it seems that there is a good living to be made mending the ubiquitous motor bikes. This repair shop was at the edge of the village and obviously had plenty of customers.

This was the first place I saw motor bikes fitted with sidecars. Throughout Indonesia we saw bikes with stuff piled high on panniers, but never a sidecar.

The most loaded bike I saw here had four people in the sidecar and three on the bike. I doubt it could have got up much of a hill with this load.

There is a well-marked trail through the jungle, following the route of the water main that brings water down to the village of Tekek.

Close to town I found a group of rubber trees that were being tapped for latex.

Spiral grooves are cut into the bark and the latex slowly seeps down to be caught in the plastic bucket nailed to the tree.

It seeps very slowly as it is almost solid.

I think that this is probably Gutta Percha rather than true rubber. Gutta Percha was widely used as an insulation material until being replaced by synthetics, but so far as I know, it is still used in the manufacture of golf balls.

As the path began to climb, the trees became larger. These trees are enormous - probably some ten or twelve feet across and well in excess of a hundred feet high.
Many of the trees are supported by complex systems of buttress roots. These are necessary as the soil appears quite thin over the rocky ground.

It is all but impossible to show the true size of these gigantic trees in a photograph. I have never seen such big trees before.

I am trying hard not to use the well-worn cliché "awesome", but that keep springing to mind. I was certainly filled with awe.

Some of the buttress roots were supporting the trees so well, the actual trunk of the tree began several feet up in the air.
The growth is so thick, that without a cleared path, the jungle would be pretty much impenetrable.
More or less in the middle of the island I joined the paved road that runs down to the east coast. Along the way I met a fellow walker, and he showed me a hidden path that led down to a nice swimming pool and small waterfall.
The bay at Juara is very pretty, with a long white-sand beach. So far it is undiscovered by the developers and there is just a few small, local bars and restaurants on the beach. I had a well-earned mushroom omelet here, for the princely sum of one euro twenty five. The living is cheap in this area.
For the homeward trek I followed the paved road all the back to Tekek. I thought it would be easier than the jungle trail, but I was wrong. The road was so steep in places it was hard to walk down. The jungle trail would have been much easier. I was happy enough to reach the west coast again and look down at Ligaya in the anchorage.

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