The East Coast of Malaysia

MERSING

Global Mark : 10.30

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
3 3 2 1 2 3 3 3 10.00

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
5 100% 20% (1) 20% (1) 8 to 15 10.60


Description : A small town with lots of colorful boats, a few of them heading toward Tioman Island.

Comments : Tioman Island is off course the main reason to show up here but Mersing could also be a picturesque stopover on the way from Kuantan to Singapore.

What to do ? Get a map of town at a travel agency or the tourist office (Monday to Saturday morning) / Cross the bridge, turn left and walk by the colorful boats / Cross the river, turn right and walk toward the sea and the countryside / Meet fishermen at work / Climb the hill to the nice green Mosque / Store on food, drinks & snacks before heading to the island / Change money / Check your email / 

What you may not like ? The street noise / The lack of good & cheap Sgl room / The rather bad quality-price ratio for accommodations / The rubbish around the boats / Not having much to do / 

How long ? A few minutes or hours, waiting for the boat or half a day, waiting for a bus


Where to stay ? 

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online & save money !

Plenty of places but most aren't too exciting... If possible, avoid the rooms by the road, always noisy.

  • Embassy Hotel (07 7993545), 2 Jalan Ismail / Dbl w. shower 28, w. AC 40 / Water dispenser / Large & rather clean rooms but the cheapest are very grotty and charmless. The AC rooms are only slightly better. 
  • Country Hotel (7991799), 11 Jalan Sulaiman, opp. the local bus station and a supermarket / Dbl w. lavatory 18, w. AC & HW shower 35 / Go there for the cheapest Dbl, the large rooms and the view from the basic Dbl / What you may not like : the poor mattress (test the bed before signing), the old look and the shower w. basin
  • Golden City Hotel (07 7995028), 23 Jalan Abu Bakar / Dbl w. shower 20, w. AC 35 / Go there for the cheapest shower and the acceptable cleanliness / What you may not like : the small rooms
  • Tiara GH (07 7994918), Jalan Abu Bakar / Sgl 8, Dbl 14, Trpl 20, w. AC 15, 25 or 35 / Go there for the cheapest "box" in town / What you may not like : the lack of isolation as the "walls" are real short
  • Comfort GH (013 9012690, jungle77@hotmail.com), 60 Jalan Abu Bakar / Dorm (10) 10, Dbl 20 / Rates incl. breakfast / Free tea or water all day / Go there for the nice dorm with semi wood partitions and the clean atmosphere / What you may not like : the small Dbl without outside window
  • Sheikh Tourist Agency (7993767, starmj@tm.net.om), further down the street, opp. the Post Office / Dorm (6) 8, Dbl 20 / Free tea & coffee all day / TV / Go there for the clean rooms and the backpackers atmosphere / What you may not like : the basic rooms with thin & lazy walls
  • Omar's Backpackers Hotel (799 5096), just after the above / Dorm w. balcony (4) 8, Dbl 20 / Free kitchen / Island Hopping Tour for R60 / Nicer rooms w. some deco but same drawback : thin & lazy walls ! Not too many people to show you around as well...
  • Mersing Hotel (07 7991004), 1 Jalan Dato Timor / Dbl 18 w. lavatory, w. shower 25, w. AC 35 / Rather grotty and not too clean but cheap
  • Mersing Inn (07 7991919), 38 Jalan Ismail / Dbl w. AC, HW shower & TV 65 up / Go there for a bit of luxury...
    A few more hotels in this area...

Where to eat ? Some food stalls on Jalan Ismail (opp. New Merdeka Hotel) w. cheap & good noodles w. egg (R1.5) and roti chanai (R0.5). Small restaurants also by the local bus station and the pier.

Internet ? The cheapest place is Nas@Net (second roundabout, open 9 to midnight daily) : R3 per hour w. minimum of R1.5 (member : R2 per hour). Big screens but poor keyboard and a rather noisy atmosphere. CyberWorld (36 Jalan Abu Bakar) is more expensive at R4 per hour (min. R2) but you can write in more peaceful conditions...

Travel agencies & tours ? There is nearly more agencies than backpackers in town. All can get you boat ticket, book any kind of accomodation on the island or organize tours. 
A good one among others is Island Connection (07 7992535, fei222@yahoo.com) on the main road by Restoran Malaysia : free map, free luggage room (if you do not wish to bring too many kilos on the island) and good advices. Their 3 days 2 nights tour of Tioman is competitive at R210 : boat trip, AC accomodation (Dbl basis), full board and one guided tour of the island.
Another agency with the same kind of tour but an excursion to Coral Island instead of the island tour is Sun & Sand Holiday at 3 Jalan Ismail.
Another interesting option if in a hurry is Omar's Island Hopping : 3 or 4 islands in one day but not Tioman ! It cost R60 and includes the boat, the guide, the snorkeling equipment and a picnic lunch. A minimum of 4 people are however required. 

 << Discover two sights


How to leave ?
For Tioman, agencies at every corner can sell you tickets for ferry (R25 one way, 2 hrs) or speed boats (R30 one way, 1.5 hrs). The departure times vary according to the tide but it was as follows when I visited : speed boat at 7am & 1pm, ferry at 11am & 4pm. 
Transnational buses to / from K. Terengganu and Singapore stop on the main road at Restoran Malaysia, where you can reserve a seat.
More express buses leave from the pier. Buses to Ipoh (R26, 5pm) and Penang (R35, 5pm) were not operating when I visited but it may start again if busy. There was a bus to KL at 12am (R16.6, 6 hrs) and one to Johor Bharu or Singapore at 12:30 (R11, 4 hrs).
If you wish to reach Singapore earlier, you will have to rely on local buses. If you miss the 8:30 bus to Johor Bharu, take one to Kota Tinggi and change there.


Bus Schedules ? 

To  Price Class Duration Time Nb Freq.
Johor Bahru 7.4 ordi 3 8:30,14 2 na
Kota Tinggi 4.75 ordi 1.5 7 to 17:15 a lot hour
Singapore 11.1 ac 3-4 12,13:30 2 na
K. Terengganu 18.8 ac 6 12,22 2 na

Notes : To Johor Bharu & Kota Tinggi from local bus station / So Singapore via Johor Bharu (R7.6) / To K. Terengganu via Kuantan (R10.35, 3 hrs)


The trip to Johor Bharu : SSS / R / R5.1 / 2.45 hrs / Ordinary bus
If you wish to leave early, you have no choice but to take the ordinary bus and save money... 
The133km ride was quite comfortable (sun on the left) and, even so the bus was half empty, we stopped in very few places only. We reached Johor Bharu rather early but then were jammed for 45mn at various traffic lights. We reached the busy bus station at 11:15. You can have your last Malaysia's cheap meal there and change some money.

Continue to Tioman Island

See also the trip from Kuantan