PADI Scuba Diving Certification Trip to Tioman

Two weeks after the quick KL trip in June, I went back to Malaysia again. This time I went for my PADI Open Water Certification with my friends AP and Melvin. We managed to get a really sweet deal with Simply Scuba for only S$365 at the diving expo earlier that year! Their SSI Certification is even cheaper, but since our other friends all have PADI we decided to make things less complicated and got the same thing.

Getting to Tioman was quite the journey. Friday night after work, we took a 6-hour night bus to Mersing. We arrived at Mersing around 1-2AM and resumed our journey with another 3-hour night ride on the jetty. I was fully asleep throughout the jetty ride (I’m talented at catching some Z’s no matter the situation), but AP and M went up to the dock to see night stars and was treated a view of starry skies!

We arrived around 5am and was assigned to our respective room, and went for a quick nap before going off to our first lessons at 8am.

Our room was complete shit. I guess accommodations for diving trip is not always the best, and we didn’t pay that much at all for this trip anyway, so it was alright. I consider myself not very high maintenance but I definitely was having problems with the bathroom being a bit sketch and missing tiles here and there… let’s just say I was pretty ecstatic to be back in Singapore after that.

HOWEVER! We did have an awesome beach access from our room! This was the sunset view right outside our door….

AP and I went for the Open Water certification while M went off on his own to do his advanced certification. We did a total of five dives in two days and now we are a happy, certified divers :D

I found diving to be relaxing and natural. I didn’t have any problems being under water and have to thank my dad for putting me in the water since I was a 6 months old baby. I guess all those swimming lessons I did when I was younger is good for something!

In one of the dives, which involved descending down via a rope, I was the first one in the water going down. This was an example of when visibility was low and we couldn’t see anything beyond five feet in front of us. Our instructor had to help one of the group members who was having trouble so we were left slowly descending down by ourselves.

It was really creepy being the first one down. At some point, I looked back to AP, who was right behind me and wanted to tell her that I really can’t descend more because I was scared, but then managed to tell myself to keep going. There is just something eerie being in an open space yet not being able to see anything around. It was one of our deepest dives at 18 meters down.

There was also another dive where the current was incredibly strong, that we didn’t have to fin our feet to get around. Just stay still and the current will take you away. Of course, this had to be done cautiously and under supervision of an experienced diver, or else you might end up getting lost. There was actually a group of 7 divers who were lost in the sea for over 24 hours that same weekend. They were really lucky to be spotted by some Indonesian fisherman the next day.

On the way back, I tried the infamous Ramly Burger at the Mersing terminal. I wanted to see what the buzz was all about, and while yes, it was delicious, I will never touch Ramly burger again. Why? Because I got a REALLY bad diarrhea that night after getting back to Singapore. I’m just thankful it started after I’m safely in my apartment and not while I was still in Tioman, or worse… on the bus ride to Singapore -_-. I referred to this incident as “getting ramly-ed”.

A Quick Weekend Trip to Kuala Lumpur

Let’s take a quick break from Africa, shall we?

Back in June, I took an impromptu trip up to Kuala Lumpur to see my good friend Harry. He moved to KL last year from Singapore and got an awesome two bedroom condo there ALLLLL to himself, so there’s really no reason for me to not visit!

I booked things very last minute, like literally the day before, so I had to get to KL by bus. I booked with Luxury Tours & Travel coach after looking at all the options, since they pick up conveniently close to my place at Concorde Hotel on Orchard Rd. The journey itself took approximately 5 hours with minimal traffic. It was annoying going through immigration twice (once for Singapore side then once more for Malaysia side), but the rest of the ride and the bus itself was very comfortable. I chose to fly on the way back though, since I heard traffic getting into Singapore is hellish.

Once I got to KL, I took a taxi to H’s place. Traveling in Malaysia by myself is not a problem since I kind of understand Malay, it’s about 90% similar to Indonesian. KL itself reminds me a lot of Jakarta – a big, chaotic metropolitan city with not much else to do but eat and enjoy the night life.

H’s place is really really nice! We took a quick dip in the awesome pool. I’m still a bit miffed that he pays the same rent as I do in Singapore, and he gets a whole two bedroom condo to himself in the middle of KL and I only get a small bedroom!

Then he took me to one of his favorite lunch place at a nearby mall, Madam Kwan’s

I LOVE char kway teow!

Right outside the mall is the famous Petronas Twin Tower, which lights up brilliantly at night. Unfortunately I was only there during the day.

At night H took me out with his friends for a quick peek at night life in KL, which like Singapore is dominated by a bunch of expats. We went to this new place called “The Pool”, and partied till 3AM. I was absolutely knackered the next day so we just had a quick brunch with his friends (I forgot where, was still nursing my hangover) and couch potato-ed at his condo for the rest of the day watching some TV shows.

We had a quick dinner with his friends again at a nearby Indian-Malay place. That Chicken Tikka Masala was the bomb.

I left soon after dinner to catch the bus to KLIA airport for my flight back to Singapore, and that concludes my super quick trip to KL!

Malaysia!

So I had been busy at work and haven’t had a weekend since maybe mid-July. A vacation was badly needed by the end of it all.

We’ve been talking about taking off to Malaysia since my brother had a tournament there that week but for awhile I wasn’t sure if I could afford to since work was still wrapping up after the golf tournament. However, one day my sister was looking up tickets to Malaysia and… she accidentally booked us a round trip. So I guess that pretty much seals the deal and we were off to Malaysia for five days! :D

Continue reading “Malaysia!”