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Malaysia 2014 Part V: Pulau Tioman

In the summer of 2014 I went to Malaysia. The trip brought me to beautiful places on Borneo, Pulau Tioman and the Malay Peninsula. The places I have visited on Borneo are: Mount Kinabalu National ParkCrocker RangeGunung Mulu National Park, Bako National Park, and Kubah National Park. On Pulau Tioman I stayed in the Paya Beach Resort. On the Malay Peninsula we just visited Kuala Lumpur.
I was not alone. I went there with my traveling buddies Jasper Boldingh, Jorg Schagen, Sander Schagen, Bart Misana, and Dieuwertje Smolenaars. I want to thank them all for the good company, finding animals and assisting with some photographs.

After four trip reports about Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo, this trip report will be about a different island in Malaysia called Pulau Tioman. 

The beautiful snorkeling island near our beach

The beautiful snorkeling island near our beach

Entrance of the mangrove forest

Entrance of the mangrove forest

The beautiful snorkeling island near our beach

Leisure and snorkeling 

After three weeks of hiking and searching animals on Borneo I was getting a bit tired. My determination to find many beautiful animals was almost gone. I had seen so many beautiful animals and locations. Maybe I needed some time to process. Because of this I spent most of my time on Pulau Tioman with sitting and sleeping near the beach and snorkeling.
I do not have an underwater camera so I can not show snorkeling photos, but believe me it was beautiful. We also went on a snorkeling trip, but the only place that was really worth visiting was Ringgit Island. We were already spoiled because the island on the north side of the beach near Paya Beach Resort, where we stayed, was already stunning (underwater).

Besides leisure and snorkeling I did some day- and nightwalks. I had one goal for my days on Pulau Tioman; a good Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) photo.

My ideal Water Monitor photograph

My goal was to make a good Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) photo. My first idea was a walking lizard towards me. That was harder than I thought, because most individuals were running away into the bushes. I did not manage to get a photo like that. One reason was that there was no opportunity and the second reason was that my idea of the good photograph changed. My new plan was ‘a Water Monitor swimming towards me’.
The place where I wanted to make the photo was the bridge behind our resort. That was also the place where I got the idea of the photo. I found out that the Water Monitors were only close to the bridge in the late afternoon (maybe a coincidence). I also had the light from my back. So the perfect conditions were in the late afternoon (or just before sunset). I already had some failed late afternoon sessions. I had only one opportunity left. When sunset was almost there, it was already getting darker, one specimen finally swam towards me at the right distance. I got the photo I wanted!

White-collared Kingfisher (Todirhamphus chloris)

Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)

Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)

An  unexpected surprise

Six months before going to Malaysia I bought A Field Guide To The Snakes Of Borneo (Stuebing and Inger). I wanted to prepare for my trip to Malaysia and especially the Borneo part. I wanted to know what to expect (I also bought a frogs and a lizard book).  The Oriental Vine Snake (Ahaetulla prasina) got my attention. Not just because of the photos in the book, but also because of the photos that I have seen on the internet. To me, the shape of the head and pupils are unique for a snake. This snake was on my wish list and after leaving Borneo I did not expect to see this snake on this trip. Jasper surprised me, he found one in lower shrubs near a trial. This time the location was marked with an Adidas flip-flop and a photo of the scene (good job!). I walked to the location and the snake was still there. Time for a photo session with this beautiful snake!

Oriental Vine Snake (Ahaetulla prasina)

Oriental Vine Snake (Ahaetulla prasina)

Oriental Vine Snake (Ahaetulla prasina)

Oriental Vine Snake (Ahaetulla prasina)

Oriental Vine Snake (Ahaetulla prasina)

Oriental Vine Snake (Ahaetulla prasina)

Daytime walks

On our part of Pulau Tioman we could not go deep into the jungle. There were only a few trials near. We used the trials for the daytime walks and nighttime walks. It would have been nice to go deeper into the jungle, because there is so much to explore on the hills more inland (in the literally sense). We stayed near the beach and we still found some nice animals. During daytime it was hard, but the Poisonous Rock Frog (Rana hosii) and Black-spotted Rock Gecko (Cnemaspis nigridia) were great findings.

Poisonous Rock Frog (Rana hosii)

Poisonous Rock Frog (Rana hosii)

Crab-eating Macaque / Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)

Tioman Island Rock Gecko (Cnemaspis limi)

Nighttime walks

Nighttime changed things. More amphibians and reptiles (and mammals) were visible. The Wall’s Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis cyanochloris) was the last reptile we found during our stay on Pulau Tioman.  The Wall’s Bronzeback is a very colorful and beautiful snake.

Lesser Toad (Ingerophrynus parvus)

Four-lined Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystax)

Blyth’s River Frog (Limnonectes blythii)

Blyth’s River Frog (Limnonectes blythii)

Blyth’s River Frog (Limnonectes blythii)

Blyth’s River Frog (Limnonectes blythii)

Blyth’s River Frog (Limnonectes blythii)

Common Sunda Toad (Bufo melanostictus)

Common Sunda Toad (Bufo melanostictus)

Four-lined Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystax)

Wall’s Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis cyanochloris)

Wall’s Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis cyanochloris)

Wall’s Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis cyanochloris)

This was the last report (Part 5) about my trip to Malaysia in the summer of 2014. I had a great time in Malaysia. The beauty of the nature and wildlife, the people (all of them speak English), and the convenience of traveling in this country. Everything was great! I would definitely recommend to travel to this beautiful country. On the website of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs the whole country has a green color on the map (green means that there are no special safety risks), except the east coast of Sabah (I have to come back for this part). In times like this places like that, with beautiful wildlife and nature, are unfortunately getting scarce.
My next trip report will be about my trip to Romania and Bulgaria. Follow me on Facebook or/and Twitter to see my latest updates.

List

Frogs
  • Blyth’s River Frog (Limnonectes blythii)
  • Common Sunda Toad (Bufo melanostictus)
  • Four-lined Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystax)
  • Lesser Toad (Ingerophrynus parvus)
  • Poisonous Rock Frog (Rana hosii)
Lizards
  • Common Ground Skink (Mabuya multifasciata)
  • Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)
  • Tioman Island Rock Gecko (Cnemaspis limi)
Snakes
  • Crab-eating Water Snake (Fordonia leucobalia)
  • Orange-bellied Mud Snake (Enhydris plumbea)
  • Oriental Vine Snake (Ahaetulla prasina)
  • Wall’s Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis cyanochloris)

My trip report about my trip to Romania and Bulgaria will be online soon

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© 2017 Nature & Wildlife Photography by Ronald Zimmerman

Thema door Anders Norén