Pulau Aur, together with Pulau Dayang and Pulau Lang are hidden gems off the East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia. The boat ride from Mersing in Johor to Pulau Aur took about 4.5 hours. At the end of the long trip, be rewarded by sight of coconut trees on white sandy beaches, luscious dramatic foliage capping the hilly, rugged ridgeline terrains of the island, turquoise waters, large coloured corals – some like giant cauliflowers, some like hard flower petals – extending from the seabed in abundance – even if you don’t snorkel, it is still visible from above water even during high tide, and more so when the water recedes. Countless dark coloured sea cucumbers lie prostrate on the sandy sea bed, gently rocked by the ebb and flow of the sea waves, as colourful fishes swim in oblivion of human existence.
If you’re expecting a 5-star resort or rave beach parties, then this is not the place for you. But if you are looking for fresh air, sounds of sea waves gently tumbling on fine white shores, chatting with kampung folk and enjoying the natural surrounding with as little distraction as possible from the outside world, this is it. The island currently only has 200 people, most of whom came over to the pakcik‘s house for Hari Raya (this trip took place around end August). It was a wondrous sight: people in their best attire arriving by boat on a festive occasion and gathering for a meal on the beach.
Pulau Aur is presently not served by commercial ferries, so it’s necessary to book your own boat from Mersing in Johor (which has commercial ferries running to the Tioman & Sibu islands). Booking a boat can be a costly affair so finding a group of people to go with you and sharing the cost is the most practical. Depending on the type of your boat, the boat trip can take 2 to 6 hours.