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Getting There

Atlantis Bay Resort



The Journey Home

Dive Sites

What You Will See Underwater

If you take the liveaboard, going home involves sunbathing on the roof, having afternoon tea followed by dinner in the lounge while your dive equipment dries in the breeze, and having the option of a hot shower before you reach Singapore.

But if you're doing the road trip, going home involves:

And it's not as simple as it looks.

Part 1: The Boat Ride

Ferry Chivalry Meter: Zero

Be prepared for the worst: rainy weather, choppy seas and seasick passengers

  1. the ferry windows may NOT completely block out the rain
  2. the rain might seep in through cracks from ALL over the ferry
  3. do NOT put your bags on the floor because they may get wet
  4. depending on your luck, where you're seated, and which ferry you're in, you MAY get a wet bottom because the rain comes in through the window, lands on the seat, and dribbles across the seat
  5. if the sea is choppy, the speedboat option is out. You will have to board the ferry along with everyone else.
  6. Sleep. Sleep is the best way to fight seasickness, and will also prevent you from having to look at other people merlioning and feeling like merlioning yourself.

Outlook: in May 2005, we took the Princess back to Mersing and all of the above happened because the rain came through the roof which kept sliding from side to side. But in July 2006, the roof appeared to be fixed, so things might not be so bad. But it's always good to be prepared for wet weather (see tips below).

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Survival Tips for Part 1

1) do NOT eat too much before the ferry ride. The ferry ride back to Mersing can be rough.

2) If you're prone to seasickness, take your seasick pills well before the ferry ride.

3) Put plastic bags in easy-to-reach places. Make sure they don't have holes in them. You may need them to merlion into.

4) Bring a sweater or raincoat. If it rains and you're sprayed in the ferry, you will find that draping the raincoat over yourself and even your head, will ensure a drier experience.

5) Put tissue paper in easy-to-reach places. You never know when you need them in a hurry.

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Part 2: Waiting at Mersing

Buy a Ramlee burger. I like the Special Burger (Beef). This is a beef patty (although it may not be pure beef - better not to ask. Just eat) that's wrapped with a fried egg and then sandwiched between the burger buns. Cheese is optional (I always include cheese. Might as well go all the way).

Go to the toilet. (see right column for a review of the toilets)

Buy a t-shirt. These vary in price, I think you can get two for RM15. But do check with your dive operator if there's time to shop. Some operators team up with others to fill up a full-size coach, and if you're the last group to arrive at Mersing, it's only polite to go straight to the coach so as not to keep other people waiting.

Buy an ice-cream. There are a few vendors selling international ice-cream brands and it's quite refreshing to cool down on an ice-cream while waiting for your vehicle to pick you up.

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Mersing Toilets

Generally clean but wet.

You will need to bring your own toilet paper, but the lady at the entrance sells packet tissue paper for 60 cents or thereabouts.

You will have to pay about 20 Malaysian cents or more to use the toilets.

Mixture of squat and sit-down toilets.

With practice, you can do without toilets from lunchtime all the way till midnight when you reach home. Probably not the healthiest thing to do though.

Part 3: The Drive Back to Singapore

This will include a stop at the same petrol station.

Leave it to the dive centre and the driver to decide which causeway to use. At immigration, you will usually need to bring all the luggage down and back up again.

If you're travelling on a long weekend, the jams are incredible. However, the immigration folks at the Woodlands Checkpoint are so well-prepared that the queue is super fast and you're out in no time. Haven't experienced the 2nd Link on a long weekend yet but I heard that the vehicle queue was 2 hours once.

Usually, the dive centre will drop you off at the same place you started. Sometimes you can ask the driver to drop you off at other places if they're on the way, but this varies, so please check with your dive centre on what's their standard operating procedure.

From there, if you haven't made arrangements for someone to pick you up, I strongly encourage you to call for a cab. Your chances of flagging down a cab from the roadside in less than 45 minutes are low.

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