Pulau Besar (Besar Island), or Pulau Babi Besar is located just off the East coast of Johor. The only way to the island is by boat from Mersing, a small town which serves as a gateway to various islands off the coast including the famous Tioman Island. Drawn to its serene beach and clear waters, I decided to make the most out of the Labour Day long weekend by booking a 3D2N Package with Aseania Beach Resort, one of three resorts established on Pulau Besar.
From Singapore, I booked an early bus with The One Travel (or previously known as Five Stars) which departed at 6:45am from Boon Lay Shopping centre. Buses from Singapore to Mersing are very early because they are scheduled to catch the boats/ferries which will depart from Mersing Jetty to the various islands in the afternoon at around 11pm to 1pm.
I booked with The One Travel because it offers direct bus from Singapore all the way to Mersing Jetty. If you are traveling from some other parts of Malaysia, just book a bus that will alight you at Mersing Jetty or Mersing Bus Terminal. From Mersing Bus Terminal, it is only a 5 minutes taxi ride to the jetty. There are also many budget hotels within 10 minutes walking distance from the jetty should you opt to spend one night over at Mersing.
The journey from Singapore to Mersing Jetty took me around 4 hours. There are lots of resort offices around the jetty and also a food court. There are also a couple of convenient stores there should you need to buy some snacks or beach wears. After checking in at Aseania Beach Resort Office (located within the food court), all you need to do is to wait for the office lady to lead you and the group to the jetty gate for departure.
The boat ride from Mersing to Pulau Besar takes about 30 minutes. Once we disembarked at the island's main jetty, we were greeted by friendly staffs who helped us with our luggage. Basically, you can walk all the way to your room without carrying your luggage!
I booked my stay in Pulau Besar with Aseania Beach Resort, one of the three resorts available in Pulau Besar. I took the 3D2N Fullboard Package which includes 2-way boat transfer from Mersing Jetty to Pulau Besar, buffet meals (2 x breakfast+lunch+dinner) and cozy resort room. Find out why I could not be more delighted to have stayed in Aseania Beach Resort here as I pen down my full review on the resort.
There is no wifi at the resort apart from the lounge area where meals are served. Internet speed was not the best but good enough to send and receive whatsapp messages. Phone reception was also not very good especially if you use roaming like I did. It was perfect for me as I wanted to have a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The resort also offers several add on activities such as island hopping snorkeling (minimum eight people), jungle trekking and Malay spa indulgence. I signed up for the afternoon island hopping snorkeling at the reception and was really fortunate that we got eight people on board! We were provided with snorkeling gears and life jackets and off we go!
We took a boat out to 3 snorkeling spots: Pulau Hujung, Pulau Tengah and the back of Pulau Besar. The boatman told us that there is only one resort on Pulau Tengah (Batu Batu Resort) and no resort on Pulau Hujung.
After anchoring the boat offshore and we just snorkeled around the boat. My favourite spot is at Pulau Tengah because the water was the clearest and coolest. As it was my first time snorkeling, I didn't bring my Gopro along to capture any photo or video. The island hopping snorkeling trip took about 3 hours and cost RM65. It was really fun and tiring and fortunately we had a dinner feast awaiting us at the resort.
Dinner on every Saturday is barbecue buffet. There was endless stream of barbecue chicken, lamb, satay, prawn, grilled fish etc.
Day 2 began with breakfast by the beach and some jungle trekking. There is a route behind the resort which will lead you up and across the jungle mountain to the back side of Pulau Besar which the Quiet Beach awaits. However, I had to turn back midway through the trekking as I thought it was too dangerous to venture further. There were lots of boulders and the trekking path was not very well maintained and was kinda misleading. If you would like to try, I'd highly recommend to get a guide from the reception and trek it with a group of friends.
Alright it's time to check out the beach! Was fortunate that the weather was really fine and sunny which makes the beach look really good under the sun. The sand was perfectly fine and white and waters was crystal clear.
Along the beach there is also a convenient stall selling beach wears (around RM35 if I'm not mistaken), mineral water and snacks. I also took some time to explore other parts of the island near the beach and found that Pulau Besar has this kampung feel. I was told that there are actually indigenous people living here for generations.
Aseania Beach Resort retains the kampung spirit of the island and have their rooms all built in traditional Malay architecture. Here's a sneak peak around the resort.
Now it's time to take a dip into the waters again! If you are snorkeling, I'd recommend to do it near the jetty because there are lots of fish and the corals are richer there. I only found out about this on the day I left so didn't manage to see those cute little fishes.
My last day on the island was cut short due to expected low tide. We were actually informed in advanced through email by Aseania Beach Resort about this so I was all prepared. Usually boats depart from the island at around 10:30am but due to low tide we were given the options to depart either at 8:00am (boat actually departed at 8:30am) or at 1:30pm. As I need to catch a boat from Mersing to Pulau Rawa later on that day, I chose the earlier slot.
Goodbye Pulau Besar and Aseania Resort. Will be back soon! 안녕!
Off to Pulau Rawa!
Travel Expenses Breakdown:
Bus fare from Singapore to Mersing Jetty (one-way): $36.50 (~RM109)
3D2N Fullboard Package by Aseania Beach Resort: RM640 (1 pax)
Snorkeling trip: RM65
Location: Pulau Besar, Mersing, Johor
From Singapore: Direct bus (The One Travel a.k.a. Five Stars) from Boon Lay Shopping Centre (6:45am) to Mersing Jetty (Please check their website for return trip option)
From Mersing Jetty: 2-way boat transfer to Pulau Besar provided by Aseania Beach Resort 3D2N Fullboard Package
Accommodation: Aseania Beach Resort