Juara Turtle Sanctury, Tioman Island, Malaysia

The 8th & 9th of August mark two important dates for Singapore; Hari Raya Festival and National Day. Also known as… August’s Four-day weekend!

You know the drill by now; Public Holiday = Malaysia. This time, to save some turtles!

Juara Turtle Sanctuary is a conservation & habitat protection programme set up on East Coast Juara Beach.

If you have x4+ nights spare, you can volunteer for the residential programme where you get to witness the night nesting patrol & the release of baby turtles at dawn. Wise old longer term volunteers also help to give educational ‘turtle talks’ for visiting tourists.

Guests of nearby RiverView Gueshouse can volunteer for a one day programme where you can help with cleaning duties for the center’s most famous resident Jo – a 7 yr old blind turtle rescued from the beach where she was found running in circles! I also found myself helping in the kitchen for the centre’s Hari Raya Festival Open House and even clearing up an oil slick from an illegal tanker dump on nearby Juara beach!

Read all about JTP here: www.juaraturtleproject.com/

Getting To Tioman
Ignore the ‘you must book 6 months in advance’ brigade! Yes it’s peak season over the national holiday, but you can still take the ‘let’s just rock up’ approach. That said, it’s not the easiest island to get to!

The cheapest way:
Singapore Centre to Kranji MRT (50 mins Red line) $2 – 3 SGD with EZ card > Transfer to Causeway Link Bus 160/170 direct* Larkin Station Johar Bahru Malaysia ($1.30 SGD/50 mins) (*Direct – means change buses twice at the Singapore & Malaysia border checkpoints) > Transfer to Causeway Express Larkin to Mersing bus ($11RM / 2.5 hours)
Total: 4.5 hours / $8 SGD (Same in reverse) Book here: causewaylink.com.my/singapore-bus

The Quickest way:
In theory long distance 5Star coach service run direct from Mersing to Queens Road Singapore – 3h / $35 SGD. In reality however they are often 3+ hours late! So you find yourself stuck in Mersing on a Sunday evening there’s a gaggle of lovely air-con taxi’s willing to take you direct to downtown Singapore. We paid $30 SGD each (x6 people shared/$180 SGD the whole car) plus you don’t even have to get out at the border!
Total: 3 hours / $30 SGD (Same in reverse)

Boats:
Run March to October depending on tides/monsoon. 35 RM one way from either Mersing Jetty or Gemuk Jetty (25 mins North / 60 RM Taxi Shared by x4) ) The ferry takes 2+ hours to Tekok. You’ll be offered tickets 30 secs after hopping off the bus in Mersing!

Stay:
Riverview Chalets Juara – Cute, clean, beach-front & river-view bungalows at the far end of Juara Beach. Rent a canoe and meander 50 mins downstream at high-tide to spot snakes, monkeys, and an assortment of jungle creatures. Once you reach Tekok Jetty take a $35 RM/25 min jeep / or a HELL of a hilly 7k hike to the most beautiful & peaceful side of the island.

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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