Go to Malaysia.As forecasted, less than ideal weather greeted us in Malaysia: a mix of sun and sustained periods of torrential rains. Things seemed to improve slightly once we reached the town of Mersing on the South China Sea coast and by the time we were on Tioman the skies were clear. Tam, who is a climber (and a psychologist by training), runs the Simukut Hill View Resort along with Uncle Sam. Both have been heavily involved in helping to establish climbing routes on the Dragon Spires. Tam has climbed many of those routes including participating in first ascents. On our first evening, he suggested that we use the next day to get our gear to the base of the route, including filling water bottles in the jungle en route. We spent the afternoon checking out the nearby Mukut village including a nice waterfall, snorkeling the beautiful and accessible coral reefs, and enjoying some very good fresh seafood courtesy of Uncle Sam. There are countless mango trees (different varieties) growing in and around the village and the fruits were in season. This meant an unlimited supply of free mangos. In fact, if you wanted to go really low budget, you could survive eating nothing but mangos. We saw a lightning storm out at sea that night but the sky over the island remained clear.
.In the morning, we set off on the jungle trail in the direction of the spires. Heavily laden with gear, it took about 30 seconds for us to be totally soaked in sweat in the sauna-like environment. A hundred feet above the village I nearly stepped on a small snake. Knowing that the island is home to several varieties of cobras (including The King) and vipers, we were tickled pink with anticipation (scared shitless) as to what else we were going to encounter on the 90 minute hike. Halfway through the approach, there’s a marked water source at a stream which was unfortunately down to a trickle as there has been no rain on the island for some days though things were about to get remedied. It took us over an hour to collect enough water for the climb. Tam came along with us and graciously helped us in carrying the water to the base. Tam and Uncle Sam maintain a good trail (with regular doses of machete work) all the way to the base of Waking Dream route. We secured the gear near the base, hung out with Tam at a nice overlook point and eventually made our way back down to the village. That afternoon we met a couple from Kuala Lumpur: Bee Lee and Ian who were also staying at Tam’s. We enjoyed chatting with them and especially absorbing their food recommendations. We watched another lightning storm out at sea that night but once again nothing came close to the island.
Go to Waking Dream Start.
Go to Malaysia.