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AUGUST 14, 2000 VOL. 156 NO. 6

  TRAVEL WATCH

Singapore, the United Nations of Food
Singapore is a United Nations of gustatory delights that can satisfy the most cosmopolitan of tastebuds

Hot Spot
If your trip to Singapore's Sentosa Island left you hankering for wilder wildlife, consider Malaysia's Tioman Island

Upcoming
Singapore's Hindu community marks Deepavali with a festival of lights celebrating victory over darkness, starting September 1

Detour
Singapore is surrounded by retreats that are only a short ferry ride away

Web Crawling
Make the most of Singapore's famous hawker food

Travel Watch Archive: Browse hundreds of Asian travel tips

Hot Spot

If your trip to Singapore's Sentosa Island left you hankering for wilder wildlife, consider Malaysia's Tioman Island. Just 200 km northeast of Singapore, this is a perfect, natural contrast to the city's urban pleasures. The largest of a group of 64 volcanic islands, Tioman juts out of the South China Sea and has been enchanting visitors with its crystal clear waters and white sand beaches since it starred in the 1958 film version of the musical South Pacific. While your fellow visitors are unlikely to burst into Some Enchanted Evening, there's plenty to sing about on this tropical charmer. The Tioman Marine Park, the third largest in Malaysia, is home to more than 42 species of brightly colored marine life, including clown fish and angel fish. Combine these with abundant coral gardens, thorny sea urchins and a host of starfish, and Tioman offers one of Asia's best snorkeling experiences. Dive and snorkel sites are easily accessible by boat from the beach. The island's best beaches—around the villages of Tekek, Genting and Salang on the eastern side—offer the ideal setting for the sundown cocktail hour.

If you get restless after two days of sand and sea, turn your sights inland to Tioman's verdant forests. Jungle treks crossing the island from Tekek to the village of Juara provide an opportunity to walk amid a profusion of orchids and other tropical flowers. Waterfalls dot the way, creating a dramatic backdrop for your inland adventure. Small jungle cats, tiny mouse deers, porcupines and pythons all make the wilderness their home.

Accommodation on the island runs from "rustic" backpacker haunts to modern chalets at Berjaya Resort, (60-3) 245-4107; the latter start at around $100. You can reach Tioman by sea or air, with flights (one hour) and ferries (four hours) leaving Singapore daily.

—D.R.

Write to TIME at mail@web.timeasia.com

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