Saturday 1 November 2014

Minang Cove Resort And Spa, Pulau Tioman: Review & Photos

Minang Cove Resort is a family owned resort on the southern tip of Tioman Island. This resort has been given pretty good reviews by people who have stayed there so I took the opportunity to buy a 3D2N package during a promotional offer. 
There are a few ways to get to the resort. 
1) By Air: As far as I know the only airline that flies into Tioman Island from Kuala 
    Lumpur and Singapore is Berjaya Air. [To know the schedule and rate do visit the Berjaya 
     Air Website
 Option 2, 3 and 4 will require you to go to Mersing and take a ferry from there to Tioman Island. 
2) By Bus: There are return bus services from KL and Singapore to Mersing the jetty 
    town but I understand it is not very frequent either.
3) By taxi:  This option saves you lots of waiting time but it is more expensive. 
4) Own Vehicle: This is and has always been our favorite option. 

Since we did not want to miss the 12.30 pm ferry we left home very early that morning. (saw a beautiful sunrise along the way- see photo above) It normally takes about 4½ to 5 hours to drive to Mersing from the Klang Valley. We made it in less than 5 hours with a stopover at Kluang for breakfast. Since we were early we drove around the jetty town and took lunch before boarding the ferry. 
Prior to this, we contacted the Minang Cove sales office [Tel (+6)07-7997372] in Mersing  to help us buy ferry tickets. This office is just opposite the ferry terminal and is set up to handle bookings and assist resort patrons who are checking into the resort.
There is only one company operating the ferry services from Mersing to Tioman. Departure time is not fixed and the schedule may vary from month to month, I was told. By the way the fare is RM35 per way. (RM70 for a return ticket). On top of that we have to pay (RM5 + RM5 = RM 10) for conservation charges. The rationale is Tioman Island belongs to Pahang but we have to traverse Johore waters to get there so both states want their share.
The ferry service is far from satisfactory. It was so humid inside when we boarded  and it took a while before cooling down a little.
The ferry journey took 1½ hours. There are a few drop-off points on the island. We were told to alight at the first jetty which is Genting Jetty (see location on 1st slide). 
The resort manager personally came to wait for us at Genting Jetty. He came with the resort private boat to take us to the resort. This boat service is a compulsory pay service chargeable to all resort patrons. The resort charges RM100/adult and RM50/child for a return transfer from the ferry terminal to the resort which is rather exorbitant considering the ride is only a short one.
The boat sped off. There were only four of us checking in that afternoon.
We reached the resort in less than 20 minutes. 
The first thing we noticed when we approached the resort is the hill beyond that looks like a face. This hill is part of the legendary twin peaks called Gunung Nenek Semukut. The resort is located beneath the hill and is about 3km to the nearest village (Mukut Village).
The resort has its own private jetty but ferries from Mersing  do not drop passengers in a small jetty like this. 
We were served a welcome drink after which the the manager started to give a briefing on the resort, resort activities, etc.
We were given the room key - a key tied to a big piece of bamboo  with the number '7' written in marker pen. So modest I thought.
We stayed in a sea view cabin located at the western edge of the resort. This cabin is bordered by the jungle at the back and the side and required a many-steps climb before we could get there.
For the price we paid we expected something more luxurious than this. The setting is too modest, more like a homestay I would say. This queen bed moves each time you sit on it. The room is quite clean but I noticed a cobweb on the wall lamp.
This room actually sleeps four but the rate goes up according to the number that lodge.
The room is air-conditioned and has coffee making facilities, a mini bar and a safety box. 
The bathroom though satisfactorily clean, looks gloomy with its black floor and wall tiles.
Only two towels and very limited toiletries were provided. Some prints on the plastic bottles have faded out but they were still there - recycled for resort guests. The resort owner is overly thrifty I feel. 
The only thing that looks nice is the bedside lamp, perhaps.
This veranda is shared by two cabins.
With nothing to do sometimes, this is an appreciated feature.
There is no TV, no internet and no telephone line so sitting at the balcony eating pumpkin seeds is a good pastime. (There is a DIGI tower nearby so only mobiles with DIGI lines get to stay connected. Unfortunately ours is Maxis)
All room rates come with half board (breakfast, tea and dinner). This bell will be rung during tea time and dinner time which I find rather amusing!
The dining hall, bar and library are housed in this building which guests  have to pass by to get to their villas or cabins.

The resort is built around a small cove with a small stretch of beach. There is no swimming pool so guests can only swim around here or the waters around the jetty.
 The cove looks nice during the high tide (photo above)  but it lost its charm during the low tide.
The jetty is a favorite hangout for guests especially during the evenings. You  get good sunset views from here. 
A sunset photo I took.
There are two rows of benches at the edge of the jetty and it is a good place to enjoy the sea breeze during the evenings or night time.

The water at the edge of the jetty is very deep and these kids were having a gala time diving there.
Another resort activity is fish feeding which takes place at the jetty every night.
At 9pm sharp, the day's leftover food would be thrown into the sea from the jetty. On our second night there, we spotted two sharks. Patrons who have stayed there for a week have seen as many as 7 or 8 sharks during the fish feeding session.
I saw lots of fish and corals at the jetty area and did snorkeling there. Took lots of photos. Click to view :
Clear water at the resort.
Saw lots of corals and beautiful fishes around.
There are steps like these that lead you all the way into the sea.
There is a dive centre at the resort where you can rent snorkeling and diving gears. Diving lessons are also available as there are two divemasters. (One of them is the owner himself).
The spa centre.
The resort offers a variety of spa services even though there is only one Thai masseur in the resort. 
We did the Thai massage here.  Hearing us scream "Ouch" when she bent our limbs in a few instances, she would utter "No Pain No Thai Massage" even though she could hardly speak English. We were actually quite happy with her massaging skills. 
Other resort facilities include sundecks and beach towels.
The pay activities include snorkeling and round island trips.
The resort is minimally landscaped.  I feel lots more could be done to beautify the place and to make it more cozy.
Tea starts at 4.30pm. Tea menu is very simple. The first day doughnuts were served. On the second day it was raisin cakes. There is hot coffee,  hot tea, and iced cordial drink to go with it.  I don't normally like doughnuts but the home-made doughnuts here are the best I have ever tasted.
The raisin cakes were so-so.
Dinner is served at 8pm sharp. We were early so had to wait.
Dinner was a simple buffet with a few dishes and plain rice. Soups and desserts were separately served. We both got 1 sweet sour fish to ourselves which was also separately served.
The meal was satisfactory.
Dinner during Night 1.
The menu changed on the second night. We had chicken rice, fried fish, potato patties, long beans and a different type of soup.
Breakfast which starts at 8am is also very simple. It is eat all you like for bread, butter, jam, cereals, milk, fruits which are served on the buffet table. In addition, guests get to choose only one of the three items listed on the breakfast menu.
Choice 1 -  American breakfast.
Choice 2 - banana pancake
Choice 3 - Omelette 
There are no shops or restaurants around. The nearest restaurants are in Mukut Village which is 40 minutes walk away. This leaves the resort patrons with no choice but to dine in the resort. Above is lunch menu on our second day. Lunch is not included in the half board. 
When it was time to leave, so many came to send us off. From the left hand side of the upper deck, the Thai masseur, Nicholas (resort manager), our new found friends from Switzerland (Dani and Daniela) and from the lower deck, a few general staff and the chef (the guy in black). They are a friendly lot. They miss home and couldn't wait for November to come when the resort will close for 4 months (monsoon season) to be back with their families. For many it will also be their last term there so if you happen to stay there next year onward you'll probably be served by a new batch of staffs. 
We left Minang Cove Jetty and were taken to the main Ferry Terminal , Tekek Jetty to board the ferry back to Mersing. (see location on 1st slide)

My Rating For The Resort: (..../10  )
1. Room & Room Facilities - 6
2. General Service - 8
3. Resort Facilities - 6
4. Beach: 6
5. Snorkelling : 9
6   Breakfast:  6
     Tea : 6
     Dinner: 7
7. Free Activities around the resort: 6
8. Pay Activities Around The resort:  8
9. Value For Money : 5

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izzati said...

This is a great review! I really want to have a great vacation with family in Tioman but can't make up my mind yet to which resort to go to. We are a big family with 7 adults and 3 children. Is the beach have too many stones and is it suitable for kids?

Lily... said...

Hi Kyle, my review and photos tell it all so I can't answer your question really. If they are excellent swimmers they can avoid the stony part but do look at more options before you make your choice. By March the monsoon season would be over and Tioman should be a great getaway. I hope you and family have a great time.

Hansar Samui said...

Information is pretty good and impressed me a lot. This article is quite in-depth and gives a good overview of the topic.
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Nathan Feinberg said...

Very amazing blog from a accomplished person thank you for sharing Using a resort in manuel antonio quepos costa rica  for something other than your Blogger blog with us.

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izzati said...

Hi Lily. Thank you so much for your review. I have went there with my whole family of 10 people and this place is as awesome as you describe it! The beach is the best!

Martin Lois said...

Nice post.

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