Monday, October 4, 2010



Mersing Johor


Located about 140km to the north of Johor Bahru, approximately 2 hours' drive, and 190km to the south of Kuantan, Mersing is a bustling fishing town on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

Just outside the town at are some of the country's most beautiful beaches such as Sri Pantai, Ayer Papan and Penyabong.

Mersing Johor

The town is also the main departure point for islands on the South China Sea, particularly Pulau Tioman, which was immortalised in the legendary Hollywood movie Bali Hai. Other destinations include Pulau Sibu and Pulau Rawa. All these idyllic islands have comfortable accommodation, facilities and amenities.

Mersing Johor

Dataran Bandaraya or City Square

Beautifully landscaped, Dataran Bandaraya's well-groomed persona is completed by its mosque, fountain and clock tower. With numerous hawker and craft stalls, it is a popular 'hang-out' for locals and visitors.

Rawa Island / Pulau Rawa Johor 

Rawa Island / Pulau Rawa

Visited by many inernational tourists, Rawa Island is the perfect vacation spot for those who just wants to relax from the hussles and buzzes of the city life. The trip to the island will take approximately 1.5 hours by boat from Mersing. It is worth it though, a visitors will get to enjoy the scenery of the sea untainted by pollution.

Rawa Island / Pulau Rawa Johor

Upon arrival, visitor will enjoy the beautiful scenery of the white sandy beach, tall palm trees with fluttering leaves, beautiful variety of corals and colourful creatures of the sea. Relaxing under the palm groves while letting the gentle wind blow your face is the best thing anyone could ever ask for. Other thing to take notice is the beautiful formation on the island.

Rawa Island / Pulau Rawa Johor

Other than relaxing on the beach, some prefer to relax in a different method with activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving and spear fishing. Utilities and equipment for such activities are available at certain booths on the island.

There are chalets here for accomodation, each with their own unique services.
So just lay back, relax, and enjoy the beauty that is Rawa Island

Besar Island / Pulau Besar Johor

Besar Island / Pulau Besar

Getting to Besar Island | Location Map | Introduction |

The name, Besar Island (formerly known as Pulau Babi Besar) is strange to many despite its idyllic beaches and stunning natural beauty. The island which is surrounded by Rawa Island, Sibu Island & Tinggi Island is characterized by quiet, clean beaches of powdery white sand that promises an amazingly spectacular view. Besar Island is fringed by crystal-clear azure waters that people can actually catch sight of the abundant reefs. To preserve the unspoiled marine life, the Government has gazetted it as a marine park to protect around 60 species of marine life from any activities that can harm their natural habitats within 2 nautical miles around the island.

Rich hues of wild vegetations are dappled throughout with the lush greens of the coconut palms and tropical jungles. There are about 7 - 8 small villages that are still populated by around 100 friendly dwellers who are mostly fishermen.

Besar Island / Pulau Besar Johor

Another myth was about a fisherman couple who transformed into mermaids. This legend is so popular among the local folks that they believed at one time, a pregnant fisherman¡¦s wife was craving for a kind of seaweed, that is plentiful in the Mersing waters. After eating, she turned into a mermaid and the heartbroken husband became one too after eating the same seaweed. Until today, it is claimed that mermaids floating in couples can sometimes be spotted eating seaweed around the island. During low tide, tourists can see nibbling marks on the island rocks that proves the existence of the mammals.

Besar Island / Pulau Besar Johor

Rising some 2,000 feet above the sea level. One of the largest islands off the coast of Mersing. Surrounded by 15 scattered islands. Several long streches of finest beaches with fine, soft white sand fringe the island carefully hidden from the outside world. A place irresistable to those who seek tranquility admidst charm of a village setting. The area houses most exotic coral reefs and underwater flora as well as numerous chalet and restaurant. Besar island is accesible by boat from Mersing town (approximately 30 minutes).

Besar Island / Pulau Besar Johor

In the Mersing waters, there are at least 15 small and scattered islands and each is unique in its own way. All the while, tourists have only been accustomed to the popularity of Tioman Island in Pahang and Pemanggil Island in Johor which actually are situated within the same area.

This island got its former name, Pulau Babi Besar, (directly translated as Big Boars Island) from the numerous wild boars that roamed the island before man inhabited the place. Surprisingly, there is not a single boar on the island at present and thus, the reason for the change of name to Besar Island

Sibu Island / Pulau Sibu Johor

Sibu Island / Pulau Sibu

Getting to Sibu Island | Location Map | Introduction |

Sibu is one of Malaysia's unspoilt islands off the Peninsula's East Coast, facing the South China Sea. It is made up of several islands namely Sibu Besar Island, Sibu Tengah Island, Sibu Kukus Island and Sibu Hujung Island.
Approximately 6 km long and 1 km wide, the island abounds with lush tropical vegetation, and is noted for its beaches, hills, cliffs and exotic bird population.

Sibu Island / Pulau Sibu Johor

Sibu has retained much of its natural beauty and tranquility. Almost untouched by progress, Sibu Island is the perfect hideaway from the rat-race of city life.

On the Southern end there is a small fishing village with a population of less than a hundred people. The local village continues to take out a living off the seas and a few of the younger generation option to work at the nearby resorts for a steadier income and a change of lifestyle.

Sibu Island / Pulau Sibu Johor

The main activities on the island are snorkelling and diving. However one can take walks in the jungle to the fishing village or to the other resorts. There are pathways to most of these places. Fishing trips are regularly organized for the avid fishermen. Boat trips to the other islands can be arranged at the resort.

There are four main beaches on the Eastern side of Sibu where most of the beach resorts are located. Sibu Island Cabanas is situated on a beautiful long stretch of beach, facing Tinggi Island. The coral reefs are only a few minutes walk from the resort

Tengah Island / Pulau Tengah Johor

Tengah Island / Pulau Tengah

Getting to Tengah Island | Location Map | Introduction |

Tengah Island is an uninhabited island. It lies nine nautical miles off the coast of Mersing on the South China Sea. It is an hour away by boat from Mersing town.

Near Besar Island, Tengah Island is 16km off the coast and is an easy 90-minute boat ride. During the 70's, the island became famous as a Vietnamese refugee transit camp which was subsequently closed in the early 80's.
In 1985, Tengah Island was one of the few islands gazetted by the Malaysian government as a Marine Park due to its abundant marine life and rare specials of fish and coral.

Besides that, Tengah Island also a great place to watch the giant leatherback turtles come ashore to lay eggs yearly especially during the month of July. There is a ��members only�� golf course and resort on the island. Spacious and comfortable cottages are available for booking.

Tinggi Island / Pulau Tinggi Johor

Tinggi Island / Pulau Tinggi

Getting to Tinggi Island | Location Map | Introduction |

Nicknamed the "General's Hat Island" by Chinese seamen hundreds of years ago, Tinggi Island is a large uninhabited island, which rises 2000ft. above the sea level. This delightful island is located about 20 nautical miles southeast of Mersing, on the east coast of Johor.

Tinggi Island is known for its mystical quality as much as its sheer physical beauty. It comprises the principal Tinggi Island, and eight smaller islets, namely Mentinggi Island, April Island, Nanga Kecil Island, Nanga Besar Island, Simbang Island, Lanting Island and Iboi Island and Peyembang Island. Only the first two islands Tinggi Island and Mentinggi Island - have been declared marine park.

Crystal-clear turquoise waters surround the cone-shaped island of Tinggi Island. The interior of this oval-shaped island is mostly covered with secondary lowland Dipterocarp rainforest. It is andowed with fresh waters, a sheltered harbour and coral reefs which abound with prolific marine life. It has a long coastline and while sandy beaches dotted with caves. The seas around it are teeming with coral, fish and reff making it a photographic haven.

Tinggi Island / Pulau Tinggi Johor

This island has the highest residential population among the east coast Johor islands, with the latest tally estimated at 448 people, from three village settlements: Kampung Tanjung Balang, Kampung Pasir Panjang and Kampung Sebirah Besar. Accommodation for these visitors is available with the setting up of rustic resorts, inns and chalets on the main island. Some good beaches, particularly those at Tanjung Balang and Sebirah Besar, offer pleasant sand, sun and fun. Snorkelling, and scuba diving are some of the more popular pursuits here

Pemanggil Island / Pulau Pemanggil Johor

Pemanggil Island / Pulau Pemanggil

Pemanggil Island sits 45kms east of Mersing, the take-off point to most islands off the Southern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is situated next to Tioman, requires a 4 to 5 hours ride by boat from Mersing. To get to Mersing itself takes 4½ hours by car or roughly 6 hours by coach from KL.

As with most inhabited islands in Malaysian waters, Pemanggil has its fair share of history, mystery and spookytales. The island is fishermen's best-kept secret. It is well known for deep sea fishing and good hunting grounds for marlins, black ones if you''re fortunate, and mackerels.

Pemanggil Island / Pulau Pemanggil Johor
This remote island is also famed for the beauty and abundance of marine life within its clear emerald waters. Its other magnetic charms include endless stretches of white sandy beaches and awesome snorkeling spots. Fishing and diving is excellent here.

For the adventurous, the hill outcrop of the island makes for a challenging climb and the summit holds an inherent scenic beauty of the far reaching ocean.

Pemanggil Island / Pulau Pemanggil Johor

On the north-eastern coast of Pemanggil Island is Teluk Lancang, an isolated bay whew coconut trees grow in abundance admist the tropical vegetation. At the heart of the island, there is a huge boulder known locally as Batu Buau which locals regard as sacred. It would definitely not go unnoticed and is clearly visible as far as 50 km from the south of Tioman Island.

Aur Island / Pulau Aur Johor

Aur Island / Pulau Aur

Pulau Aur is located 65km east of Mersing, off Johor's east coast.

The island, along with Pulau Dayang, Pulau Lang and Pulau Pinang, are rated among the best diving destinations within the Johor Marine Park Area. The deeper waters around the area ensure good visibility and variety of marine life. Dive trips can be booked at most dive shops on any of the islands.

The rich pelagic action also attracts numerous sport fishermen, hoping to try their luck with the marlins or sailfish outside the marine park island. Many private yachts anchor at the calm waters between Pulau Aur and Pulau Dayang.

Aur Island / Pulau Aur Johor

Rayner's Rock

Towards the north-eastern tip about 200 metres off Pulau Dayang is Rayner's Rock, a solitary large boulder breaking the surface about 4 metres high.

Diving is good around the eastern portion with a mixture of both hard and soft corals providing shelter for a profusion of marine life. You can expect to encounter schooling yellowtails, rainbow-runners, and trevallies. Closer to the reef, there are usually groupers, damsels, butterfly fish, scorpion fish and lots of shells.


This submerged reef is located towards the South Pulau Aur and Pulau Pinang. The top of the reef begins at about 12 metres and slopes in excess of 25 metres.

If diving in right conditions with slight currents, a large number of prelagics including jacks, fusiliers, barracudas and black tip sharks can be sighted. Among the hard corals and scattered soft corals are wrasses, puffer fish, damsels, lionfish, snappers and in between rocky crevices, lobsters.

Getting There
There are boats to the island from Mersing jetty or Sedili. The long boat journey takes about 4.5 hours, and most operators opt to depart in the late evening, travelling through the night to arrive the next morning on the island. If the seas are rough, the boat ride could take a little longer.



Very comprehensive compilation of the treasures on offer off the Malaysian East Coast.

Perhaps you could consider including our site? The URL is: and it pertains to our eco-tourism, sea sports and outdoors sports outfit in Tanjung Resang, just north of Mersing, in Johor Bahru.

We cordially invite you to browse our site's pages.

Should you have any questions, by all means let me know.


Bryan Norman
Malaysia Sea Sports

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