Mersing town is located on the mainland of the picturesque East Coast of Johor, Malaysia. It is the gateway to the unique culture and yet unspoilt flora and fauna of the East Coast of Malaysia, the very first stop for many travellers to Malaysian state of Pahang's Tioman island and the more than 40 other islands located off the coast of the southernmost Malaysian state of Johor.
Mersing town is well known for its jetty where passenger ferries depart daily to Tioman island and other Johor islands such as Pulau Besar, Pulau Tinggi and Pulau Rawa.
However, Mersing town is not just a mere stopover, a transient path to the nearby islands - it is a unique town in its right and well worth a stayover to flavour a fast disappearing small-town lifestyle that once predominated the Malaysian country now giving way to urban modernization and economic development. As of today, there are only 2 main traffic light junctions and 2 roundabouts in Mersing town!
2 main roads run through the heart of Mersing town and the traditional and modern shophouses along these thoroughfares provide a wide range of modern services to visitors and residents alike. There are traditional grocery shops and modern supermarkets around the town. There are traditional local restaurants serving traditional fare and seafood as well as modern cafes and fast food outlets.
For those obsessed with the trappings of modernity such as clubs, coffee cafes and shopping malls, it may appear that there is very little to see or do in Mersing but yet Mersing's true attraction is the beauty of its natural environment - the islands, its jungles and the sun, sand and the sea as well as the pace of life it offers amidst the warmth of living in a small town and community - a throwback to the life of Malaysians some 20 to 30 years ago.
There are also plenty of natural attractions around Mersing town to keep one occupied. Being on the coast, the unspoilt beaches of the East Coast awaits visitors to explore their sandy beaches and rocky coasts. Fishing or Angling is a popular past time here among residents or beachcombing for shellfish and the natural treasures of the south-china sea. For those imbued with the spirit of exploration, Penyabung beach and Air Papan beach north of the town offers visitors a glimpse into the community and traditional life of Malay villages by the sea and the promise of clear sea waters lapping the shores of the mainland.
DIRECTIONS TO MERSING
The best mode of travel to Mersing is by your own motor car or motor cycle. This allows convenient travel and exploration around the Mersing town and surrounding area. Rental cars are available in the major Malaysian cities and town. There is as yet no reputable brand name car rental company in Mersing. Visitors are advised to make car rental arrangements elsewhere.
Taxi transport to and out of Mersing is available from Johor Bahru and other Malaysian towns. There are also Taxis in Mersing to travel within the town and the surrounding areas.
There is Coach transport from the major Malaysian cities such as Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan, Malacca as well as the smaller towns is also available.
Another excellent option is by bicycle. Many cyclists ride to Mersing in the summer months to enjoy the serenity and beauty of the Mersing countryside.
GETTING AROUND MERSING
Mersing town can be navigated easily by foot during the summer period. It is however advisable to travel by motor vehicle as there are many beaches to explore outside of Mersing town.
THINGS TO DO
Mersing river and the traditional Malaysian fishing boats
A Chinese and Hindu temples both located near to the central roundabout of Mersing town and the bridge. (on the right hand side if you are travelling from Singapore)
Mersing Mosque which is located in the heart of town. There are excellent views of Mersing from its high vantage point.
Mersing esplanade and park which is located near to and just after the Mersing Jetty.
The Beaches in the Penyabung area and at Air Papan. These beaches are all relatively isolated and visitors are advised to exercise care and caution.
- Mersing river and the traditional Malaysian fishing boats
- A Chinese and Hindu temples both located near to the central roundabout of Mersing town and the bridge. (on the right hand side if you are travelling from Singapore)
- Mersing Mosque which is located in the heart of town. There are excellent views of Mersing from its high vantage point.
- Mersing esplanade and park which is located near to and just after the Mersing Jetty.
- The Beaches in the Penyabung area and at Air Papan. These beaches are all relatively isolated and visitors are advised to exercise care and caution.
Take a walk through the town and savour traditional Malay "kueh" or confectioneries during the traditional teatime.
Have a picnic on a East Coast Beach.
Buy your fish and other seafood from Mersing market.
Internet facilities are sparse, unreliable, and expensive on the islands. Visitors who require internet access are advised to visit Mersing's internet cafe before they leave for the islands. The standard charge in Mersing is approximately RM2/- per hour.
Visit Mersing all year round! While it can be wet in December and January, the weather is generally more windy than rainy. Beach visiting is best between March to October.
If you are on a budget, it is best to buy everything you may need before you visit Tioman island or the other islands off Mersing as mainland prices are cheaper.
There is a "Giant" Supermarket in Mersing which is well stocked.
- Restoran P1, 20, Jln. Dato Mohd. Ali, 86800 Mersing, (just opposite the wet market, near the roundabout in center town),. Every day 11:00AM to midnight, break from 3 to 5pm on weekdays. An alternative to the local cuisine: pizza, pasta, sirloin steak, schnitzel, salmon steak, all prepared by a Swiss chef, at "local" prices. Fantastic food. And a second-hand books exchange.
- The Port (right by the jetty). Western food.
- Warung Ikan Bakar (right by the jetty, further up along the esplanade). Barbequed fish.
- Mersing Seafood (near to Giant Supermarket). Chinese Seafood - Recommended is Chinese Fried Rice, Squid stuffed with Chinese Century Egg, Spinach Soup, Butter prawns, Malay Hot "Kang Kong" vegetable dish.
- Loke Tien Yuen (opposite Kentucky Fried Chicken). Chinese Seafood - Recommended is the day's catch steamed, sweet and sour pork.
- The Port (See above)
- Raja Villa Resort & Hotel - Jalan Endau, Mersing, Johor (2 km from Mersing town) - fantastic views of Tioman and the other islands from the cafe and swimming pool.
There are numerous hotels and motels in Mersing town.
Early reservation is recommended especially when your visit coincides with Singapore and Malaysia holidays.
The smaller hotels are most suitable for budget conscious travelers and they are usually run by families. Prices range from RM20 per night for non-aircon rooms to RM50 for air-con.
- SariMawar Chalets & Campsite Lot 114, Kampung Mawar, Teluk Sari, Penyabong. Stargazers, astro-photographers and amateur astronomers flock to this spot between May and August each year to enjoy what is probably the clearest view of the universe.
- Air Papan Chalets, Air Papan about 15 km north of Mersing. RM 60 per night for a studio chalet. Good quiet beach. Two eateries, acceptable standard at local prices.
These hotels are suitable for business and family vacation travelers.
- Fishing Bay Resort Lot 525, Teluk Buih, Air Papan +07-799-6753 (fax: +07-799-7102) is a secluded resort that offers peace, quiet, and serviced activities. Rates on their website start at US$28.
- Raja Villa Resort & Hotel Affordable and clean accommodation with swimming pool and other facilities from as little as Malaysian Ringgit 65+ per night.
- Seri Malaysia Mersing
- Timotel Hotel
JUST OUTSIDE MERSING
- Tioman - everybody's real destination
- Pulau Besar - closer to the mainland than Tioman, very quiet, no night life. Swimming, snorkeling, beach and jungle walks.... Don't forget a good insect repellent as there may be sandflies around! A few budget and mid range hotels. Book in Mersing at one of the travel agents in town or at the jetty - no regular ferry service! During the monsoon season (November to February/March) you still get accommodation, but food wise the choice may be reduced to instant noodles....