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Panuba Inn Resort
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Reviewed June 21, 2009

What a wonderful holiday at this private little resort!



Panuba Inn is located in the midst of a bay, near Air Batang. It’s a gem of a resort that offers a full range of accommodation to suit all budgets; there are rustic wooden rooms on stilts reminiscent of Malay kampong houses and more modern, well-stocked rooms for those who aren’t quite ready to rough it out ala Lonely Planet style. The most significant minus point is that is by far the most excluded resort on Tioman’s west coast, and this might prove bothersome for those who desire a more lively nightlife like that of Salang or a location with more access to convenience stores, like Tekek.



My girlfriend and I stayed for 4D3N in the ‘D’ class room, with the first 2 nights on a package. We questioned the value of the package seeing how it does not seem to offer any real cost advantages – I advise future travelers to calculate their expected travel and activities costs before taking up the packages offered at their website; www.panubainn.com.



Nonetheless, we feel that the rooms are fairly priced and very decently equipped with a television, air conditioning and a spacious toilet. You would be grateful for the television from evening onwards as there’s not much to do after sunset, unless you packed fishing rods and want to go angling at the lovely jetty.



Perhaps the real letdown to value, especially for Malaysians and Singaporeans who are knowledgeable about real market prices, would be the prices quoted for meals in their in-house restaurant e.g. a plate of Nasi Goreng Kampung is going at RM6.90. Then again, it is reflective of prices across the island. Despite the prices being a tad too high, the food we sampled was generally of a high standard. We were surprised by the unflattering reviews of Panuba’s food over at this website – the barbeque dinner we had on our second night was pretty good despite it being simple fair. Just don’t come with overinflated expectations of Michelin-graded restaurants and you’ll do fine.



Panuba Inn is also relatively cleaner than most of the resorts we saw at Air Batang, Tekek and Salang. Still, it might help to pack an insecticide spray as they appear to have a pest problem with ants.



We were surprised also by comments here that the service staff are unwelcoming, unfriendly and rude etc. This is far from the truth – the staff we encountered were friendly beyond belief and they more than delivered a personal touch to their service. There’s none of the distance you might encounter at a big, glitzy Hilton or even a Berjaya hotel. Treat them with respect, and they will treat you like friends. I understand though that those who do not speak the language or understand their culture might not have a smooth a time interacting with them. They may appear gruff on the outside, but they have big hearts with down to earth natures.



What’s the best thing about Panuba, then?



Depends on you really, but personally what I enjoyed most was the beauty of the bay. The waters of the resort are pristine in comparison with the rest of the resort. Rent a snorkeling set , take a swim and you will interesting marine fauna – I personally saw a bluespotted ribbontailed ray and a sea snake swimming right below me; talk about fright!



Those who want to do diving will also find this is one of the best resorts to book yourself in, with the Bali Hai divers operating in tandem with the resort.



The atmosphere at Panuba is really a relaxed one and it is perfect for relaxation. You don’t feel any stress or worries over here. Just enjoy yourself whether you are snorkeling, diving, taking a tan at their private beach or merely sitting on your balcony enjoying the sound of the waves and the breeze of the sea.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank firnur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2009

Just came back from Panuba Inn. Stayed from 18 - 20 Jun with some friends and hubby and 5 yr old son. Paid full board.

The package comes with food which were the minimum. BBQ dinner was a let down with BBQ chicken wings, funny tasting sausages, and that's about all. Was expecting usual BBQ stuff like satay, prawns, sotong but nothing of the sort. However, if you order ala carte, the food taste a lot better! Highly recommending Island Burger, Fried Rice, Fried Banana on Ice from the menu. Price is cheap too! Island burger comes with beef, vege, egg costs about 5.20 RM. And they serve prompt too, as compared to the buffet package dinner which starts only @ 8pm.

As for accommodation, it's bare minimum without safe deposit box. But it comes with a million dollar view! We stayed in the SD room with a balcony facing the jetty above the rocks. Thus, can hear the sound of the waves lapping on the rocks. Ah soothing! The lullaby from Mother Nature. My hubby and I were finally able to have the bed to ourselves without having to squeeze in a 5 yr old in between. The room was big enough for a twin bed and a single bed. Water pressure was good enough. Only drawback was there could be power trips at night and the entire place could be without electricity for some time. It was fixed in less than an hour's time. The other thing is be prepared to climb some steps or walk up some steep slopes to get to your room. However once you are there, the scenery will take your breath away.

This place has a small beach. But you could snorkel to the jetty and you'll be swarmed by fishes! Much more than any of the off shore trips that we went to! The colourful fishes were just right there at our door step, right beneath the jetty! That's the greatest part about this place. And the water is super duper clear. Do watch out for sea urchins though.

In short, if you do not mind the insects or the condition of the bath room, or the climb up the rocky hills, Panuba Inn is a good choice with good food, good value for money, friendly staffs, and if snorkeling or diving is your main goal, this is a good place for all that.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled with friends
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3  Thank jojojoeltan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2009

We stayed at Panuba for one week in March 2009 and again in May 2009.
On our first visit our group size was 3 adults and 2 kids (under the age of 10), in May 2 adults and 2 kids. In March we had 2 Super Durian rooms and in May 1 Super Durian room. These rooms can accomodate 4 persons if you are willing to share 2 double beds.

Rooms/chalets:
Very basic, not necessarily so clean, bedsheets stained (but clean), some ant problems, an occasional cockroach, very low water pressure in the shower...
On some days the staff cleans the rooms automatically, on others you have to request.
Rooms that are of the same room type are not necessarily equal when it comes to room quality and facilities. We've seen 3 Super Durian rooms. One had an air-con that worked perfecly, and an additonal ceiling fan. The others didn't have a fan, and the air-con was very very cold no matter how we tried to adjust the temperature and other settings. One of the rooms had a desk but no chairs to use with it, the second had 2 chairs, the third one chair etc.

Beach:
Very nice. It's clean enough and our kids loved swimming and playing in the sand. You can see the whole beach from the restaurant, so you can relax and have a drink while your kids play on the beach. There are a couple of decent reefs nearby for snorkeling.

Restaurant:
It's not very good and you'll get bored soon. Local rice dishes are safest choices, we liked paprik rice, chicken rice, chicken fried with onion etc.
Their breakfast is one of the worst I've ever had anywhere: dry white toast, butter, one type of jam, one rice or noodle dish, watery coffee, tea and orange juice (from a concentrate, the taste is *very* artificial). That's all. No cereals, no eggs, no fruits, not even any drinking water.
Dishware, utensils etc. are not always clean.
Their opening hours are a slight problem. We did some morning and night dives, and it was impossible to get any breakfast before 8.15 (even though they are supposed to open at 8) or dinner after 21.30. the kitchen is also closed for a couple of hours in the late afternoon.

Service:
It's very difficult to get information about things like boat schedules, room availability etc., and the information you do get is not always correct. For example, we tried to reschedule our ferry transfer and were told that the ferry tickets are sold out. We decided to phone the ferry company directly, however, and found out that there were plenty of tickets left.
Things like settling your bill take a lot of time. For example, if you ask for your bill to be ready by noon the next day, you'll probably get it some time in the late afternoon.

Dive center:
Bali Hai dive centre was excellent in March and still very good in May, even though there had been quite a few changes in the staff. Everything is very flexible, relaxed yet professional. For us the real luxury was that there was always somebody volunteering to keep an eye on our kids (either on the dive boat or at the dive centre) while we were diving. Our 9-year-old daughter did the bubble maker "course" on both stays and really loved it.

Why did we revisit the place?

I listed quite a lot of problems with their rooms, restaurant and service. But we still returned to the resort, even though all these problems applied already on our first visit. The reason is their excellent dive centre and the low prices. In May, our 7-night stay for 2 kids and 2 adults cost about 1700 ringgits (about 350 euros). This includes the room rate, everything we ate at the restaurant (= lunch and dinner for 4 every day) and a couple of small purchases (water, cookies etc.) at their small kiosk.
Prices at the dive centre are very affordable as well.

Tips:
You can make your stay more enjoyable by bringing stuff like decent coffee (there's a water kettle in all the Super Durian rooms), clothes pegs for hanging your swim suits, sand toys for the kids, an extra towel to put on the floor to keep sand out of your chalet etc. None of these things are available at the resort. You might also want to bring some snacks as the choices in the resort kiosk are very limited.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank Talvi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2009

we booked initially for 7 days, but we left after 4 days. The sea it's amazing, the room was very basic, we had durian room, the view from the balcony was spectacular but the staff doesn't clean the room if you don't ask them. The drain stinks. For 4 days we had always the same food cos get to the near beach called ABC beach you must walk 15 min in the jungle and in the end you can't really eat anything better than what you get in Panuba. The BBQ on the week end was horrible with frozen fish.
Again amazing water but boring!!

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank GioKL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2009

Arrived 2 nights ago for a 3 Night, 4 day package and what a lovely place Tioman Island is. I was with a party of 7 who payed just £90 for the trip including return ferry from Mersing. Thoughts of when we arrived at the Jetty....Brilliant, the staff were helpful and then went to our chalet style rooms & were hit with a cold room...Great..Air-conditioning and what a godsend. Well we didn't take long to settling in and decided to check out the restaurant, took over an hour to get the food and it was worth it and for just 7 RM ( over a £) i had a lovely dish. only snag was getting a beer, difficult to work out where the bar was & some silly opening hours. We then decided to do a little tour, blimey...the trek was through the Jungle to the next beach, if you are infirm, dont bother , and at night, use a head torch , as there is no lighting and can get scarey..ha ha. snakes etc....had a good day checking out the hippy trail bars, nice and cheap. (RM5-£1 per tin) next day the weather took a turn for the worse, hey, no big deal, its a tropical island eh? today was our final day (weather was fantastic) and me and a friend decided to walk around to the other side facing the resort, lovely. Things I like about the Panuba Inn resort is its privacy, small beach and layed back atmosphere. I usually like the busier resorts, but this was a great time to relax and the views at sunset are out of this world. would I come back again....YES

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled with friends
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2  Thank OLLYBOLLY14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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