In May 2015 I embarked on a long period of solo travel around Thailand. It was an incredible trip, but one that I regrettably had to do in two halves because my initial thirty day tourist visa was running out.
I was definitely not finished with my Thai adventures. But rather than do an in-and-out border run, I thought why not take advantage of this enforced exit by checking out Singapore and Malaysia. Moreover, it was an opportunity to catch up with an old travel buddy, Lisa, who I hadn’t seen in eleven years since we travelled around India together.
Lisa was living and working on a small beach resort on Sibu Island. However, first we met up in the strange and somewhat forgotten city of Johor Bahru. She had work to do at her resort’s head office, thus I spent a few days wandering around. It was a surreal place that was clearly trying to push itself into the 21st century whilst seemingly being in a state of sad negligence.
And then we were off to the tropical paradise of Pulau Sibu. I have always dreamed of a Robinson Crueso type experience and this is probably as close as I’ll ever get. While my little resort had plenty of beach cabins, only a few were ever inhabited. Hence I had the run of the place to myself on most days. Which was absolute bliss.
Finally, before heading back to Thailand for another thirty days, I managed to squeeze in another stunning Malaysian island. If Sibu was all about relaxation, Tioman Island proved a much more action-packed affair. In fact, it was a stay that featured snorkelling, wild monkeys, an epic jungle hike and a mouse deer farm. Not to mention an absolutely wonderful sea turtle sanctuary.
For the full stories on these fantastic experiences, why not visit Malaysia through my articles on: