Our worst fears came true as we noticed at the ferry terminal that our backpacks were crawling with bed bugs. Apparently it was not our mind playing tricks the previous night. We got rid of as many of them as we could find and consoled ourselves trying to get used to traveling with these creepy stowaways. After some conversation we came to the conclusion that Omar’s “Crab Shack” was the worst accommodations any one of us has ever slept in. We will be more careful next time. However, arriving late in the evening in a small sleepy town and on a budget, your options are limited.
As the ferry pulled up through the azure water to the small island village of Salang on Pulau Tioman, the theme music from “Paradise Island” played in my head. We spent a few minutes running around from hotel to cabin village trying to find cheap but bug free accommodations. We finally settled on a quiet place where we could each have a private cabin for a reasonable price of around $14 per cabin per night.
We quickly toured Salang in its entirety. One can walk from one end to the other in about 15 minutes. There are a few hotels, a bunch of cabins, and a good number of open air restaurants. Tomek, Iza, Paddy and Ola found a reasonably priced dive shop where they will begin their PADI Open Water Diver course tomorrow.
We headed off to the beach with our snorkeling gear. The beach is nice, the water simply fantastic, both in temperature and in clarity. The coral reefs reach right up to the beach. You just wade in, dunk your head, and start swimming around while trying not to get scratched up by the corals. Beautifully colored fish swim all around, not scared and even attracted to their human visitors. We even tried out the underwater case for our Canon S90 camera to great amazement.
At night we had a few drinks, ate some dinner, and hung out with Melvin, the diving shop attendant and bar tender at the most hopping bar in town. Later on, much to the girls’ dissatisfaction, the guys decided to go dragon hunting.
Not quite komodo dragons. However, two meter long monitor lizards inhabit the river which flows through town. Unfortunately, the lizards were sleeping. However, a group of Chinese tourists with a cooler full of beer randomly gave us some beer. We hung out on a beach for a little while longer and then headed home to go to sleep.