Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Trip to the Southernmost Tip of Mainland Asia – Tanjung Piai.

At the outset, nobody has ever heard of Tanjung Piai. So, when somebody mentioned to us that it is ‘The Southernmost Tip of Mainland Asia’, we were curious to find out more about the place. Hence, Tanjung Piai became our first venture to discover Johor.

To our bewilderment, Tanjung Piai has never been widely promoted and was kept under-wraps for only god knows why. Perhaps the Johor State Government had better plans for it, I’m not too sure. Personally, I felt it was a waste of good resources.

Nevertheless, Tanjung Piai surprised us all. Situated within the district of Pontian, it was an interesting place for those who actually love nature and seek for a quiet breakaway from the hectic city life. Being surrounded by the mangling coastal mangrove it was a haven for a diverse species of flora and fauna. I also learned that is was also a hotspot for birdwatchers to observe the many types of birds during the migration period. It was so serene and almost untouched by modern developments. Why on earth did I not know about this place? Again, it is a puzzle waiting to be solved.

The journey to this beautiful place took us about an hour and half from Johor Bahru town by road. The long journey was never a bore to us because the panoramic countryside views of the many typical kampung houses, the small towns and the oil palm trees along the road were very welcoming. Along the way, we inadvertently came across a road sign showing ‘Muzium Bugis’ (i.e. Bugis Museum). My hubby quickly took a right turn and did an impromptu stop at the museum, wanting to see what the museum was all about.

It was a small kampung house that has been converted into a museum of sort. It has a vast collection of Bugis remnants on display such as old coins and clothing, the many collections of ancient chinaware and brassware, weapons from the past and some great treasures (i.e. necklace, rings, etc) too. Two things that really got me so amazed was a piece of thick wood that was cut and made into a pillow (I wonder, how comfy could that pillow be?) and a teacup that has a portrait of the legendary Puteri Hang Li Poh engraved at its bottom.

The owner of the museum was a Bugis Man himself. He took some time to share with us some stories and a brief history of the Bugis people (including the five famous Daeng brothers i.e. Daeng Perani, Daeng Merewah, Daeng Menambun, Daeng Celak and Daeng Kemasi) and how they initially paved their way to Tanah Melayu once upon a time ago.

After a brief walk down the historical lane, we continued our journey and as we reached Tanjung Piai, we realized that we were there during an “air pasang” (i.e. high tide) season. The water level was so high at the main entrance that we had to brush through the pool of water barefooted in order for us to get across to the main lobby of the jetty. We of course had to carry our son, Adam to ensure that his pants did not get soaked.

The ‘challenges’ we faced at the entrance were soon forgotten once we set foot on the long jetty towards the sea. The view was so breathtakingly beautiful.

But, boys and girls, beware! Monkeys can be found everywhere and anywhere, ever-ready to grab food and anything resembling food from you. One good advice from me, avoid bringing food on the jetty! Or if you have some with you, please ensure that it is hidden safely in your bag. Those monkeys can be quite aggressive when it comes to food.

And another piece of advice, do bring some water bottles because the walk board and the jetty can be quite a journey and tiring to some.

Anyhow, while enjoying the walk in the woods towards the southernmost tip of the mainland Asia, there were many rare trees and insects in sight. There was no one else, apart from us at that point in time, so it was quite a chilling experience to be in the woods with only just us.

As we reached the ‘final point’, there was a big world globe showing where exactly we were and a sign saying “Congratulations, you are now standing at the Southern Most Tip of the Mainland Asia”. And with just the sea as far as your eyes can see, it was a totally terrific feeling, as though we were somewhere else but Malaysia.

We had our certificates with our names on it, as a proof that we had already stepped foot at this significant point. It was like an achievement to me, personally. Yup, I was quite proud of myself because I am pretty sure that most Malaysians had never even heard of this place. And I am going to start telling my friends and other family members, so that they too could experience the same kind of adventure themselves if they have the chance to be in Johor.

Note: You must have been wondering why we were clad in several different clothes in the photos, even though my story sounded like it was just a day trip. The truth is, I have been to Tanjung Piai 3 times throughout my stay in Johor. We loved the place so much, we had to go there again and again and again to discover more things. The photos were selected from these 3 different occasions. How’s that so far? :-)


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