Sunday, 9 December 2018

Pulau Mawar, Mersing, Johor

So I have relocated to Johor from Selangor early this year because of my, uh, career choice (The 'uh' was totally necessary to emphasis on, uh, certain things). One thing I am grateful of being relocated to a different state is the heightened sense of exploration. My desire to explore got heightened as I am residing in a state that I rarely visited once upon a time. The opportunity to explore places I have never been before also increases as residing in a different part of the country, reduces travel time to certain part of this country.

One example is Mersing. A drive from Selangor to Mersing would take more than 5 hours. But a drive from Johor Bahru to Mersing would take less than 2 hours. :D

So on a very beautiful morning, we decided to go on a day trip to Mersing. And we stumbled upon this place called Pulau Mawar, which is what this whole blog post is going to be about. So read it or leave it just kidding please read on hahaha.

Pulau Mawar, is a small island located about 20 minutes drive away from Mersing town, that is only accessible during low tide (similar to Cramond Island in Edinburgh!).
I somehow discovered this place while googling about places to visit for a day trip from Johor Bahru  - I came across a photo of "Heaven's Gate", which caught my attention & I knew I have to see it. 

Note: Do check the tidal chart here before you visit Pulau Mawar! Make sure to plan your journey well so that you have ample time to explore Pulau Mawar (& not get stuck there because the tides are high!)

Getting to Pulau Mawar

I followed the instructions on Catherine's blog (a blog I found on Google thank you so much!) to get to Pulau Mawar. Search for "Jalan Penyabong Carpark" on Google Map, park your car there, and start walking along the sandbank, where you'll see a mangrove far forest ahead of you.

The walk on the sandbank should be less than 1km, though the walk might feel like forever if the weather is scorching hot.
You'll arrive at Pulau Mawar after crossing the sandbank. Navigate your way into the Mangrove forest. Walk along the shore so that you won't get lost. Truth to be told I was a little nervous at first - there was no one else but us there. I wasn't really sure if we got the location right. I kept looking back and made sure I can see our car from where we were to make sure we know how to get back!
Mangrove
Jia Qi walking along the mangroves.
Jia Qi posing with the mangroves.
Jia Qi walking in the mangrove forest again.

The path is relatively clear - albeit not clearly marked. (This sounds a little contradicting but please bear with me, you'll understand when you're there) There were two motorcycles that zoomed ahead of us so we followed their track and we walked along the shore so that we won't get lost. We went too far ahead to a rocky beach area, where we could see many anglers fishing, and the two motorcyclist told us to make a U-Turn to the entrance to the hiking trail of "Heaven's Gate" They told us that the entrance should be on the left side (if you're walking from the parking lot) , where you'll see the trees forming a little "arch" on the right side of the trail. The marker is a torn up Pakatan Harapan flag.

We made a U-Turn and found the entrance to the trail to "Heaven's Gate":

A little limbo is needed!

The trail is really short and easy - it'll take you less than 5 minutes to reach "Heaven's Gate". Proper hiking shoes are recommended though, because of the rocky terrain. Just keep following the path, and soon you'll reach a small steep inclination, with ropes to help pull yourself up....and volia.
Mersing's "Heaven's Gate" :D 

 Beautiful, innit? Oh you need to haul yourself down a ladder made of wood to approach the beautiful arch. Not challenging, but you got to watch your footing!
Behind "Heaven's Gate" you'll find a beautiful secluded (Okay maybe not so secluded - someone was having a wedding photoshoot there) rocky, pebbled beach, which really reminds me of the beach at Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy!

The water were crystal clear, and strong waves crashed on the rock, sea breeze welcoming us to this little enclave. I wished if we had packed some food to picnic there.

There's a mini cave on the left side of the beach, full of bats and reek of bat urine. Didn't explore it as we didn't want to come out smelling like bat urine!
I've come across some photos of the "Heaven's Gate" with the milky way behind it! However, camping overnight...well, I wouldn't really recommend it after all, the tides will rise and I'm not sure how high it'll be, and I'm not too sure about the terrain for camping overnight there (the beach is full of pebbles). We came across some hikers and had a casual chat about camping overnight and they too, were against the idea of camping overnight at Pulau Mawar.

We hanged around the beach for a short while before turning back as we were starving (and also, the rising tides!). I really do recommend visiting Pulau Mawar in Mersing! It is easily accessible, and the hike is rather short & easy (you can easily reach the arch in 20 minutes from the car park!). And remember, check the tidal chart here before embarking on your journey!

TLDR,

Pulau Mawar
Difficulty: Easy
Duration of hike: 20-30 minutes (from car park)
Check the tidal chart here before embarking on your journey!

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