Sometimes it comes all together, a tip from a good soul few weeks prior to the trip and whoosh itinerary changed with direction to the Island of Tioman, on the eastern shores of Malaysia. It doesn’t happen every so often that your first step is in the best and coolest bar on the entire island, usually you discover such gems an hour before departing. Luckily that is exactly what happened and before a bed for the night was secured a cold beer and the final sunrays of the day were teasing the traveller’s tired and worn out face.
The aptly titled Caribana-Bar is a creative assemblage of a beach-hut with all kinds of Surfer/Diver/Drunkard memorabilia and a contageously mellow pace. Needless to say this became quickly the favourite place to hang out. The attached dive shop had much of the same flow, however work was actually done and people getting certified by the dozens. It makes one feel completely detached from this world, just sitting at the counter, relishing the delicious noodles and trying to believe your own luck. To become not to absorbed with the beach bliss, there is free wi-fi galore. Oh, and did I mention the Island is a duty free place? Beer costs half of what it usually does in rather strict Malaysia.
The latter fact is also a clear sign that things are on the move. There is as of yet only one big soulless resort on the island, all other accomodation is either charming small beach chalets or rather scrummy, but cheap huts. The tax-free zone is a sure helper to lure more tourists to the island and judging by the construction sites this will only increase in the future. I am dreading the day that the beloved Caribana will have to move for a resort, a fate that seems to be pre-destined at some point. So do go and see it for yourself, while it still lasts!