Jun 20, 2011

Besar Island (Pulau Besar), Johor

Besar Island (or locally Pulau Besar) first got its name as “Big Boars Island” because numerous wild boars roamed the island before man inhabited the place. Today, you can’t find a single boar on the island and thus the island was renamed as Besar Island. There are two islands with the same name Pulau Besar. One is near the coast of Melaka and the other one is in the South China Sea which we are talking about it now. Besar Island is located off the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia. About 15km or around 30 minutes leisurely boat ride from Mersing town, Johor.

Besar Island’s highest point rises some 2,000 feet above the sealevel. It is one of the largest island off the coast of Mersing and it is surrounded by 15 other islands, among the popular small islands are Mensirip Island, Harimau Island, Tengah Island, Hujung Island, Rawa Island, Tinggi Island, Sibu Island, Aur Island, and Pemanggil Island. Today, there are around 8 small villages with around 100 residents with mostly do their living as a fisherman. Among the villages, Kampung Tekek is the largest village.

According to the legend. There was a fishermen couple who transformed into mermaids. The legend was about a pregnant fisherman’s wife who was desperately looking for a kind of seaweed in Mersing water. After eaten that kind of seaweed, she turned into a mermaid. So as her heartbroken husband after eaten the same seaweed. Until today, some of the local folks still believed that the couple mermaids sometimes show themselves floating in the sea around the island eating seaweed. Tourists may find that nibbling marks on the island rocks during low tide is the proof of the existence of the mermaids.
Besar Island is popular for its beautiful vistas, several long stretches of powdery soft and white sandy beaches, and striking scenic beauty. It has attracted foreign film makers to make a film shooting here. In fact, a Hollywood film called “Ocean Lifeguard” was filmed here a short time ago. Another reality show called “Expedition Robinson”, a total of 9 seasons, was shot at Tengah Island and the surrounding islands for years until the show ended its shot in 2005.
Things to do
At Besar Island, you can take a visit to the “Expedition Robinson” filming locations and exhibits. Not to mention water activities like sunbathing, snorkelling, and diving in the crystal clear water. The water is so clear that you can even see the abundant reefs from the water surface. Here, you can find giant cockles that are over 200 kgs and 1 meter long shell on the ocean floor around Mersing water. They have a lifespan of around 70 years and many of them are new habitats on the surrounding islands like Aur Island, Pemanggil Island, Tinggi Island and Rawa Island. In order to protect and preserve marine life from human harm and contamination, Malaysian government has officially announced that within 2 nautical miles around Besar Island as a marine park.
For those who are like to explore when snorkelling, try hop to Harimau Island (or locally Pulau Harimau) and you will find your “private salt water swimming pool”, which was formed by a cavern inside the island. Another private island, Mensirip Island (or locally Pulau Mensirip) which is not too far from Harimau Island, is an island belongs to Johor royal family.
If you are planning to go to Besar Island, please don’t plan your trip during monsoon season around November to January as some of the water activities is stop and accommodation is closed for maintenance.
How to get there
By flight, travel from Kuala Lumpur to Senai Airport in Johor which takes about 45min. Then from Senai Airport change to Mersing Jetty which takes about 3 hours. A boat ride from Mersing Jetty to Pulau Besar takes only 30 minutes. If you want to travel by road to Mersing Jetty use the North-South Highway and exit at Ayer Hitam Toll Plaza. From Ayer Hitam Toll Plaza take road to Kluang. From Kluang Town use road to Mersing. The trip from Mersing Jetty to Pulau Besar takes about 30 min.
Aseania Resort Pulau Besar, D’ Coconut Resort Pulau Besar, Nirwana Beach Resort, Mirage Resort, Sun Dancer & White Sand Resort.



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