Like many coastal towns, Mersing, in Johor State, is an attraction not so much in itself, but as a departure point for its offshore heavens, Pulau Tioman and the Johor cluster.  


The largest and most famous of Mersing’s offshore islands is Pulau Tioman, with largely good quality chalet style accommodation. The island has some fine beaches and is also a popular snorkelling and diving location.

The arrival point is the diminutive Tekek ‘town’, fronted by its long beach. To the north are the smaller beaches of Ayer Batang and Salang, whilst the best of the beaches to the south are to be found at Nipah and Mukut.

Tioman has good coral reefs close to its western shoreline and further dive sites in the vicinity include the neighbouring islets of Pulau Jahat Pulau Rengis, Pulau Tulai and Pulau Cebeh, the latter also offering cave diving.


South of Tioman, this collection of over sixty islands provide a good day excursion or a longer 3 day cruise and are a great escape from the mainland for those wishing to find far-flung beaches, good snorkelling, or simply enjoy a great island-hopping adventure. Islands with accommodation are Pulau Besar, Pulau Rawa, and Pulau Tinggi.

Other islands with resorts further south, and accessible from the mainland town of Tanjung Lenan are Pulau Sibu Besar and Pulau Sibu Tengah.


Inland and north-west of Mersing, Endau-Rompin National Park is a protected area of virgin lowland forest, renowned for its palms, in particular the umbrella palm and its huge leaves. The park offers good but strenuous trekking and the clear cool of the pools and waterfalls of its rivers.

Other treks closer to Mersing can be made through the forests to climb the peaks of Gunung Belumut (1,004m – 3,290 ft) and the much easier Gunung Lambak (510m – 1,670 ft).


On the very southern tip of Peninsula Malaysia, the bustling city of Johor Bharu lies at the north end of the 1 kilometre road and rail causeway that links Malaysia to the island nation of Singapore. Now largely a modern city with high rise office buildings and shopping malls, the last remains of the city’s roots can be found beyond Jalan Ibrahim and its old Indian and Chinese shops.

The history of the Sultanate of Johor is opulently displayed in the Royal Abu Bakar Museum, and is encircled by the Istana Gardens and craft centre.


The State of Johor has a passion for golfing and has many fine courses, particularly around the town of Kota Tinggi to the northeast of Johor Bharu. The surrounding area also is well visited for its famous waterfalls.

On the east coast, the resort town of Desura is home to yet more golf courses and gold-sand beaches and is popular as a getaway for Singaporeans, with a direct ferry link to Singapore. Nearby, the beachfront Tajung Balau Fishing Museum provides an interesting insight into the traditions and history of the timeless industry.