Tioman – Paradise on a Shoestring

A few short years ago, I considered dropping out of “society”.

A two and a half hour drive from my home in Singapore brings me to the town of Merzing, Malaysia, where I can take a boat to Pulau Tioman—an island once rated by Time Magazine as one of the world’s ten most beautiful islands.

Famous, but sparsely populated by tourists, Tioman’s magnificence smacks of near-perfection. Unlike the British Columbian, former draft-dodging respites I grew up visiting as a child, like Nelson, British Columbia, Denman Island it’s not a common haven for those dropping out of the materialistic world—or trying to escape the chill of a draft.

But the weather’s perfect and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper.

My favorite beach in the world is at the village of Juara, on Tioman’s east coast. My wife and I visited it again last week, making the 2 hour trek by foot from the western village of Juara. Spending just $13 a night, we stayed at the Beach Shack Chalet,  run by Tim, an Australian surfer, and Isan, his Malaysian wife who descends directly from Malaysian royalty.

Running from royalty wasn’t a downgrade for Isan—because she reveres the crashing warm surf, a beautiful beach and an absence of anyone in a rush.

If you were ever interested in dropping out of society for a while, Tim’s Beach Shack might be just the place for you. Isan even offered us long term, free room and board in exchange for doing some chores around the place.

You don’t need a fortune to live in paradise for a while. You just need to make the decision to get there.

Where’s your little paradise? Have you ever considered “dropping out?” for a while?

Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School and Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Living Overseas. My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions.

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5 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    Hi Andrew!

    Wow, looks like an extremely relaxing place. $13 per night? Food doesn't look too bad either. I like posts like these. It reminds us that what we're ultimately hoping to achieve is a better lifestyle!

    Take Care, Mike

  2. Andrew Hallam says:

    Thanks Mike,

    I love trying to live well, before retirement, because life is so full of uncertainties. You would absolutely love Tioman!

    I like your blog and your written philosophies, and I'm going to add you to my blogroll.



  3. Mike says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the blog roll; very kind of you. I plan to set one up this weekend and would be glad to add your site. I look forward to reading more of the travel posts as well.

    Take Care,


  4. David Rice says:

    Hi Mike,

    I loved your desciption of Tioman. I've been fortunate enough to go there twice. It's simply heaven on earth.


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