The short getaway started as early as half past 6. With most of everything packed yesterday, we only had to pack some milk and food and we were ready to leave. K woke up early too and was excited about the trip, getting prepared without much of a problem. We left at 730am for a schedule ferry of 1130am at Mersing, as a contingency to a jam up north at the causeway.
I wasn’t expecting much of a jam on a Friday morning but I was surprised when we lined up behind a slow moving line at Woodlands checkpoint. There was a lot of people trying to get into Malaysia but fortunately our queue lasted about 15mins before we cleared Singapore immigration just before 8am.
Then crossing at the causeway was no issue since the opposite direction was more of the problem as many Malaysians make their way to Singapore for work, a lot of them choosing to cross the causeway by foot as it would be much faster than getting stuck in a jam.
We cleared the relatively short lines at the Malaysian causeway. After stamping the passports, we moved slightly forward to take pay the fees. There was 2 fees (toll of RM2.90 and road charges of RM20) to pay with the touch n go, and without looking at the big instructions over there, I just paid for the 2nd one. In the end, the barrier didn’t lift. I only realized the problem when both my cards (brought both mine and my dad’s just in case there weren’t any more funds) didn’t work and I had to read the instructions and press the intercom to get help. Even the intercom also take awhile to reset resulting in a embarrassing hold up behind.
Then it was a 2hr drive to Mersing Jetty. It was pretty straightforward drive with the google map on with an activated Starhub data roaming (it was just one expressway number 3 all the way). K was feeling impatient along the way but soon felt asleep in mommy’s arms. The drive was fairly easy, with traffic easing once we left the towns. There were quite a few straights amidst many more bends but nothing too difficult to negotiate.
K woke up 15mins before arriving and I missed the turn to the Jetty office and turned into a carpark to recheck the destination while mommy went to the 7-11 to get some drinks. Reset the destination to Jeti Penumpang Mersing after a short 10mins break of eating packed muffins and we arrived. There was a specific secured parking area for Rawa resort parking and the collection fees of RM36 for 2 nights were collected before we were directed to park near the office.
Left the car and while K and mommy sat at the nice waiting area, I went to checked in at a crowded reception office. It was quick as they already had the booking form on standby. I had to pay of the balance of RM120 that I settled by credit card and given an earlier boarding time of 1030am. We decided to stick to the 1130am one since we just arrived and was worried that K will feel uncomfortable and was told to return by 1115am.
After using the toilets available there, we decided to explore the area near Mersing. Immediately outside there was the main ferry terminal to Tioman and a main parking area. Then there was a food center with a couple of stores and just behind the eating area was a small shopping area with some small shops selling water activities related items (waterproof bags, snorkeling mask) and toys. Loitered there for a while testing kids sunglasses before returning to the office to wait.
While K was still full of energy moving here and there, I got tired and left him to watch a downloaded cartoon on BBC player (smart enough to detect that we were abroad and didn’t allow us to download). We then boarded the small speed boat a while later with another couple, a vast difference from the crowd on the earlier boat.
Boat ride was about 30mins and it was relatively smooth as the seas were gentle. Nothing much to see except for a couple of silhouette of islands that slowly come into view. We alighted at a pier dominated by the sight of a giant slide and proceeded to walk to the reception empty handed as the luggage that was checked in at the office at the Jetty was transported to the room.
Our rooms were ready and we walked the 5mins to the waterfront villa, one that was built on top of stilts above the water.
The villa was the size of a room with a king size bed and a small living room space and a patio with sun beds above the water. The interior was simple, didn’t have a TV but thankfully had aircon. K spent some time out in the patio watching fishes through the clear waters, where we even spotted a small stingray underneath our neighbors villa.
We proceeded to lunch at the main restaurant, paid under the full board scheme and found the area crowded with a lot of people. We only managed to find a table empty and sat there first. Mommy went to the buffet table to get food while I entertained K. It was western cuisine for lunch, with fries and nuggets and onion rings complimented with pasta of penne and spaghetti and portions of chicken and vegetables. Watermelons and honeydews were fruits after lunch and we bought a Haagen das ice cream to end the meal, something to cool us down from the heat.
Our next stop was the souvenir shop where we bought a green frisbee RM12 and K a beach pants RM25 so that we could go play in the sand sometime later in the day. Then we went back to the villa to spend the afternoon there away from the heat.
Since there wasn’t much for K to play, we provided the entertainment in the form of electronic devices, toys and books that we brought from home and he finally was coerced to take an afternoon nap after a long tiring battle.
We woke at 6ish and I brought K to the nearby beach to play. With my newly loaned Insta360 that I got from Leasany, a company that rents electronic and/or photography gears for your travel needs (First time rental, didn’t even know such a service exists!), I started to play with it taking smooth 360 videos and photos while strolling to the beach. While at the beach, I tried to activate bullet time with K throwing sand but was unsuccessful and K was quickly uncomfortable with sand in his feet and wanted me to carry him to the slides (he wasn’t even going to play the frisbee!).
Mommy joined us at the beach and we proceeded to the slides. Mommy sat at one of the lounge seats looking after the gears and watching her shows on iPad while I brought K to the waters which was at low tide. The end of the lower blue slide was actually quite high (about 1.5m above the ground) and I think it could only be played during high tide. Carrying K who didn’t want to stand in the water, we walked into the water attempting to see if there were any fishes. There weren’t any and it was a little disappointing but the water was nice and warm. I let K climbed the blue slide from the end point and catch him as he came down, giggling along the way. Then a couple more dips in the water and slide fun, we left for the villa to get washed up.
There was a small tap just outside the villa but the water pressure was too small (and k was butt naked as he didn’t want to wear the shorts as they were full of sand and I didn’t want mosquitoes to bite him while waiting for water to wash down) so we just got into the shower to wash down. The bad thing about the shower was there was only a rain shower and no flexible shower as an alternate. That meant water coming straight down from the top and washing the sand away wasn’t easy from top down, especially with a toddler that whined when water gets in his eyes.
After all the washing was completed, we went to the same restaurant to have dinner and similarly, K and I sat at the table while mommy brought back food. There was rice and spaghetti and lasagna, with chicken and cabbage. Had to struggle with K to get him to eat. The variety wasn’t fantastic and we just have our fill, ending the meal with watermelon fruits.
After dinner, I encouraged K to go play with a Caucasian girl, L, whom was about his age and they hit it off from there! She showed him the kids room and while it was basically a room with many tables but nothing else, they just went crazy moving around, jumping around and climbing over tables. K seemed to be the instigator of the carnage but great to see him being friendly with other kids and having fun. The playtime ended when L had to return back to the room and K bade farewell, telling her that it was late and time to drink milk, read book and night night (his own routine).
I carried K back on my shoulders as he didn’t want to walk in the dark and the night activities were mostly iPad cartoons and books while I tinkered with the 360 videos. Soon we were all in bed, K was always reluctant but eventually ended up asleep on my arm, an end to the relaxing day on Rawa Island.