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Trip Report Escaped the Red Shirts

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So, months ago I decided to leave Bangkok for Songkran, for a change. I decided to give the diving in the islands off peninsular Malaysia a try. Booked a flight through Singpore to Tioman, the southern-most big island. How did I know things were going to heat up in Bangkok?

Due to an early departure from Singapore for the flight to Tioman, I booked Jet Star Asia into Singapore the night before, on Thursday. News about the redshirt taxis blocking streets in Bangkok was all over the place, so I left my house early, easily caught a cab, and made it to the airport without problems. The flight to Singapore was delayed by a thunderstorm, so I ended up getting to my hotel about 2:00 am. Then up and out at 9:00 for a noon flight. That's where things went really wrong. I get to Seletar airport just before 10:00 and nobody is there. I wait until 11:00 and still nobody at the counters, although there are more people waiting like me. Finally, one of us calls Berjaya and finds out that the plane leaves at 3:00, not noon as shown on the ticket. So, I wait some more. A tremendous thunderstorm starts and delays the flight even more. We finally leave close to 5:00.

But, when we land at Tioman, the sun is out and it's a beautiful day. The airport is right on the beach. You collect your bag, go through immigration, cross the street, and get on a boat to your hotel - there aren't many roads on Tioman.

The island isn't very developed. Mostly, there are just a few bungalows on the small bays. The diving here is great - on one dive yesterday, I saw sea snakes, sharks, turtles, morays, a huge box fish, and a lot more. There are also anemone fish everywhere - more than I've ever seen anywhere in Thailand. The diving in Tioman is better than Koh Tao, but maybe not quite as good as the Similans.

Most of the accommodations here are quite basic. There's a large Berjaya resort and a small boutique place that looks quite nice, but the rest are mostly "rustic" to put it nicely.

I'm here for two more days, then back to Bangkok, assuming they haven't closed up the place by then.

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