Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Paya Beach Resort - The Review @ Kampong Paya, Tioman Island [Malaysia]

Yeah! Now's the time to talk about Paya Beach Resort, which appeared to be very popular among Singaporeans in the online realm. For those who are keen to know how i got to Tioman, i would share with you at the end of this post.

Located in Kampong Paya, it's one of at most four resorts in the village and likely its biggest and also most luxurious accommodation for visitors. Well, it depends on what we are comparing against and you shall make the decision yourself with the following pictures. 

Accommodation
Maybe i should begin with Alex's greatest hobby; sleeping. We are not particular when it comes to overseas stay so long there is a bed, air-conditioning and an attached bathroom to our room. Hence, we asked for the most basic room type; standard chalet. 

Nothing to scream off when i stepped in although i was surprised to find enough space for four persons to stay in the same room! Oh, there was a unique policy here (not sure if it is applicable for the other resorts in Tioman); you have to sign out the towels from the reception and return them when you check out! 

Access was via an electronic key card and there was a television with HBO channel, a dressing table for me to check the redness of my skin after a full day of snorkeling etc. No fridge, which was pretty sad as i would love to get a few cans of ice cold coca cola and chill out at the front porch! 

Bathroom had basic features; a shower with hot and cold option, a toilet bowl (thankfully not the squatting type) and two types of gel with no label. I didn't bother asking; i assumed white was for body and blue for shampoo.  

Here comes the more negative feedback; the mattress was the spring coiled type and i could feel every coil rubbing against me as i tossed and turned in my sleep! Honestly, I have never slept this badly when i am overseas.

To connect with the rustic surrounding, the flooring of the chalet was made of wooden planks, which would have been really nice except that there were some gaps in between the planks! It would have scared the wits of some people if they notice a pair of eyes at night, staring at them through the divide. 

Nothing prepares me for the above where one transits from the bedroom to the bathroom. The gap was so huge and anyone peeking through would have caught me in my full glory! Actually, a peeping tom would be a secondary fear; i was more afraid of snakes slithering in when i am asleep! 

I am unsure if other similar chalets face the same problems as i did. 

But, if i am going back to Paya Beach again, i am 100% sure i would opt for a more expensive range like the above deluxe suites that overlooked the great, spectacular ocean.

Facilities
Those frightened of the sea, could not swim and /or allergic to seawater could opt for the swimming pool set in a very relaxed environment. 

A diving centre was located within the resort's vicinity for adventurers who would like to take a diving certificate. Having a PADI certification is one item on my bucket list and i hope to strike it off in the very near future! 

Playground for children; note, very small recreation area that might excite only toddlers! On second thoughts, at least it's better than not having any at all.

BBQ pits! Before you start asking more questions, you could not bring in your own food and have to liaise with the resort who would prepare all the ingredients for barbecuing. Knowing it would not come cheap, i didn't even bother asking for the BBQ pricing.

Forget to bring your toothbrush? Need a suntan lotion? Want to build a sandcastle? You can get all the aforementioned items in the duty free shop, including cheap cigarettes and untaxed liquor! 

Like any decent resort, there is a restaurant. 

In a beach vacation, dining under the sun / moon / stars with the sea breeze brushing against your face and hearing the therapeutic rhythm of waves crashing onto shore, is a must-do!

Another photograph of the open air section of the restaurant. 

I had my buffet meals in the same restaurant (you may check out the details here). Have a strong urge to splurge, there are ala-carte options featuring live lobsters, crabs etc! 

By the way, i had the most wondrous chicken satay over here! Unimpressive satay sauce though. 

Given its duty free status, many would enjoy the beer and wine over a game of pool when the sun sets. It's a pity that both Alex and i were not fond of drinking; we spent one evening sitting in front of the television watching Men in Black 3 and Tintin The Movie! 

Another evening was fruitfully utilised when we had dinner and a long chit chat session (that lasted past midnight) with a bunch of new friends we made in Tioman! 


How could i forget this; the activity centre where one can book (and pay money) for a snorkeling package, a round-the-island expedition, a fishing trip, a jungle trekking session and many more! You may also rent the snorkeling mask, fins and life jacket from this place; we each took out RM 8 for the mask and RM 7 for the jacket which allowed us their use for three days. 


Vertical banner featuring the excursions organised by the activity centre. 

Not everything was chargeable. Even though there was a deposit of RM 50 for signing out the volleyball, soccer ball or frisbee, you would get your money back upon returning them. 

Numerous hammocks and swings were also installed along the beach and their usage was complimentary for guests! 

Surroundings
In the mystical theories of Feng Shui, the resort has an advantage of having a towering hill at the back and sea water right in front. Despite the good location, I still didn't manage to win 4D but i did enjoy this pretty sight behind the resort. 

Construction was ongoing for a site behind the deluxe suites, so we should be expecting some spanking new accommodation in the near future that hopefully would not have gaps on the floor! 

Recycling bins; i had a suspicion that Alex rummaged through the plastic section to search for bottles to keep the bread for snorkeling. To know more about the bottles for snorkeling, click here.   

Big pond with accommodation under the Aman Damai wing surrounding its perimeter. This was the same pond that was said to house two monitor lizards.

Route lined with fir / pine trees leading to the jetty. 

Many preferred to buy beer and plonk themselves at this bench while enjoying the view. Notice that bamboo pavilion to the side? You can contact the reception and have a private, romantic dinner with your partner! 

But why bother when being romantic doesn't necessarily require lavish spending? The above couple seemed equally happy just holding hands and sharing a bottle of beer while looking deep into the blue sea...

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Website

Walk-in Rates
As above. Book via the website which i believe is much cheaper, especially if you tie accommodation with packages. For guests who hail from Singapore and like to have a seamless transport+accommodation travel, check out http://www.discoverytours.com.sg.

Map of Paya Beach Resort
As above. 

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