Mersing town is located on the east coast of the peninsular Malaysian state of Johor. It is 136 Kilometres north east of the state capital Johor Bahru. It is a gateway to nature and traditional culture. But for most outsiders the small semi-tourist town is hardly more than a few-hours rest en route to Tioman Island. Mersing town is thus best known for its passenger boat jetty where boats depart daily for numerous offshore islands.
Despite its estimated population of 21,000, Mersing town should not be viewed as a mere stopover, a transient path to an offshore isle. The town possesses a quiet charm that in many ways represents a fast disappearing small-town culture that once pervaded all of Malaysia. It has yet to see any typical signs of major economic and urban development.
Two main roads run through the town. There only two junctions with traffic lights and only two traffic roundabouts. The two main roads are lined with traditional and modern shop houses that provide a range of modern services. There are traditional fruit sellers, grocers and modern supermarkets, plus a range of local restaurants and fast food outlets, several open 24-hours.
Mersing is a throwback to the small town look and temperament that existed in Malaysia some 20 or 30 years ago. There is little if at all in the way of chic clubs, cafes or shopping malls. The town's appeal lies rather in its out-of-doors, its slow-paced life and natural surroundings such as jungle reserves and unspoiled beaches, rocky coasts and offshore kelongs for pleasure angling. Air Papan and Penyabung beaches are about 15 and 30 minutes drive north of the town respectively. There you can glimpse the remaining vestiges of traditional seaside Malay village life.
From Malacca, take the S&S International from Central Bus Station (it's the only direct bus). Departure times are 8am, 12.45 and 6.15pm. It takes about 4½ hours to arrive at the Mersing Bus Terminal (15 min walk to the island boats).
From Kuala Lumpur, take the S&S International from TBS (it's direct bus). Departure times are 1030pm. It takes about 5-6 hours to arrive at the Mersing Bus Terminal (15 min walk to the island boats).
From Singapore, the cheapest way to Mersing is to first take a bus from from Queen Street Bus Terminal) to Larkin terminal in Johor Bahru. It takes about an hour off-peak. But it's important to note that direct onward buses from Larkin to Mersing are limited so get there in time to catch an early bus like 8:30 AM, 9 AM, 10 AM, 11.30 AM or 2:30 PM (the latter being often too late to take the last ferry to Tioman), so pre-book your ferry  to make sure your bus arrival time in Mersing matches your ferry's departure time. Buses heading to Kuantan will drop you off in Mersing. There is a direct Transnasional bus from Lavender Street Terminal. It could prove easier but it's three-times the cost. The first bus departs at 9 AM and reaches Mersing by 1 PM. You will likely need to book a day or more in advance.
When leaving Mersing, if you don't pre-book, the bus may be full. For travel to Johor Bahru (11.30 AM) and Singapore (1 PM), an alternative is to take the local bus to Kota Tinggi (less than 2 hrs) and then another local bus to Johor Bahru's Larkin terminal (less then 1 hour), and then onward to Singapore (buses going all the time).
Taxi transport to and out of Mersing is available from Johor Bahru (2:15) and other Malaysian towns, figure on around RM180 per car at peak hours (Fri/Sun evenings) and as little as RM130 at other times. Taxis (official and unofficial) can be found waiting around the Tioman ferry pier.
There are also Taxis in Mersing to travel within the town and the surrounding areas.
If you are on a budget, it is best to buy everything you may need before you visit Tioman island or the other islands off Mersing as mainland prices are cheaper.
There is a very small "Giant" Supermarket in Mersing which is well stocked, along with others of a similar stripe. You will also find a much larger "Kini" Supermarket only 2 mins walk from the Mersing Bus Terminal.
There are only two vegetarian places in Mersing. Both are very simple.
Vegetarian Cafe – a very cost-friendly semi-self-service-style "pick-what-you-like" place run by Chinese Mahayana Buddhist devotees. Menu: rice with various vegetable and tofu dishes, fried noodles, and noodle soup, coffee, tea & soft drinks. The food contains no onion or garlic. Location: Jalan Jemaluang about 12 min walk from the main traffic circle, left-hand side. Look for sign beside the road. Open everyday from morning to about 3 pm.
Vegetarian Hawker Stall – a very cost-friendly but tiny stall among other numerous non-veg stalls in a semi-open place called Lok Kee Restaurant. Menu: Fried noodles, eggs, rice and various vegetable and tofu dishes. Open from early morning till about 10 am. Location: Jalan Jemaluang about 8 min walk from the main traffic circle, right-hand side.
OTHER NON-VEGETARIAN PLACES
Restoran P1, 20, Jln. Dato Mohd. Ali, 86800 Mersing, (halfway between roundabout and jetty, at the traffic island turn left, after 30m to your left), . Every day 12:00PM to midnight with a break from 2.30PM-6:00PM, Wednesdays only 6:00PM to midnight. An alternative to the local cuisine: homemade pizza, pasta, sirloin steak, schnitzel, salmon steak, all prepared by a Swiss chef, at "local" prices. The restaurant does not prepare or sell pork, but you can get a beer! Fantastic food. And a second-hand books exchange.
The Port (right by the jetty). Western food.
Warung Ikan Bakar (right by the jetty, further up along the esplanade). Barbequed fish.
Mersing Seafood (near to Giant Supermarket). Chinese Seafood - Recommended is Chinese Fried Rice, Squid stuffed with Chinese Century Egg, Spinach Soup, Butter prawns, Malay Hot "Kang Kong" vegetable dish.
Loke Tien Yuen 乐天园 (opposite Kentucky Fried Chicken). Chinese Seafood - Recommended is the day's catch steamed, sweet and sour pork, yoke lan gai, lin zi ngap, fu gua pai guat, BEST CHAR SIEW IN MERSING!!!
The smaller hotels are most suitable for budget conscious travelers and they are usually run by families. Prices range from RM20 per night for non-aircon rooms to RM50 for air-con.
Air Papan Chalets, (15 km north of Mersing), . Good quiet beach. Two eateries, acceptable standard at local prices. Chalet rooms with air-condition and fan available. Just beside the Sri Mersing Resort chalet, a few meters from the beach.RM 60 per night for studio chalet. edit
Zeeadam Backpackers Hostel, (firstname.lastname@example.org). </listing>" alt="" address="1c-1 Atas Jalan Abu Bakar" directions="10 minutes from Mersing bus terminal and 3 minutes walking to jetty" phone="+6077991280" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="rm20 per pax rm35 for queen bed" lat="02 25.930'" long="103 50.243'" email="" fax="">Tourist Transit Spot. 2 rooms with 6 double bed and 1 queen, Cozy hall for relaxing with Astro channel tv,laundry and kitchen facilities,free 24 Hours WiFi,hot shower.edit
Embassy Hotel, 2 Jalan Ismail. Free wifi, and a good selection of cheap and imported beers in the downstairs restaurant.RM55. edit
Farm Guest House, Kampung Tenglu Laut (7 km north of town center), . starting at USD 20 for a bungalow for 2. edit
Golden City Hotel, 23 Jalan Abu Bakar, ☎ 07-799 5028. Bed-bugs in Room C14!!! (26/01/12)Rm 35 Fan, 45 AC. edit
Hotel Mersing, 1 Jalan Dato Timor, ☎ 07-7991004. CleanishRm 55 for an air con room. edit
Rumah Persinggahan Mersing, 490 Jalan Ismail. Rm28-63. edit
Sari Mawar Chalets & Campsite, Lot 114, Kampung Mawar, Teluk Sari, ☎ 60137006180, . Stargazers, astro-photographers and amateur astronomers flock here between May and August each year to enjoy what is probably the clearest view of the universe.RM60-80. edit
Syuan Koong Hotel, 44A Jalan Abu Bakar. Rm 10-28. edit
Teratak Muara Guest House Mersing, (5 km from Mersing Town), ☎ 0197571007. checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. A big house with four bedrooms, three toilets, BBQ equipment can be provided. Up to 20 person at one time.RM 150-250 per night (depends on no of guest). edit
These hotels are suitable for business and family vacation travelers.
Fishing Bay Resort Lot 525, Teluk Buih, Air Papan +07-799-6753 (fax: +07-799-7102)  is a secluded resort that offers peace, quiet, and serviced activities. Rates on their website start at US$28.
Aseania Resort Pulau Besar, Pulau Besar, ☎ +603-89428888, . Beachfront resort offering 49 fully-furnished villas with amenities such as air-conditioning and a hot/cold shower.edit
Kali's Prada Villa Kampung Sawa, Air Papan +17-7639274  Lovely Balinese style place in the middle of the rice fields before Air Papan - the beach is 10 minutes walk away, but the peaceful surroundings more than compensate for that! Pick-up service from Mersing! Rates for a double story room w/aircon around US$28.
R Villa Resort & Hotel Affordable and clean accommodation with swimming pool and other facilities from as little as Malaysian Ringgit RM115++ per night. Situated on Jalan Endau, just 5 minutes from Mersing town!
Timotel Hotel Situated on Jalan Endau road, near the Mersing river and just after the central town roundabout. Beside Caltex Petrol Station.
White Sand Beach Resort, RM 170-200, 3 Jalan Ismail
Mersing Inn, 38 Jalan Ismail. Affordable and clean accommodation. Tel:+607-7991919
Seri Malaysia Mersing, RM 130-150, 641 Jalan Ismail 
SukaLayar Sailing Centre, Inn & Cafe, located in Tanjung Resang (Near Mersing) Johor, is an ideal holiday destination for families; those looking for a quiet retreat by the sea and companies looking for a motivational camp site. Aside from relaxing and enjoying the calming sea breeze, guests can also try out the various sea sports activities available at the Inn such as Sailing, tubing, wakeboarding, banana boat riding, bodyboarding, skimboarding, fishing or island hopping.  Contact: +6 03 4024 6655
Bluewater Hotel, RM 70-98, 71 Jalan Sulaiman, Clean but noisy due to ventilation opening above door. Do not expect to sleep longer than 7am. No mosquito net at ventilation shaft. Expect to get eaten alive (52 mosquito bites in a single night)
Tioman - everybody's real destination: To get to Tioman from Mersing, you can either buy tickets online or at a shop for Bluewater Express next to the bus drop-off station. The online price is about 15 RM / head more than what is charged at the booking office situated at the small shopping complex at Mersing bus station.
Pulau Besar - closer to the mainland than Tioman, very quiet, no night life. Swimming, snorkeling, beach and jungle walks.... Don't forget a good insect repellent as there may be sandflies around! A few budget and mid range hotels. Book in Mersing at one of the travel agents in town or at the jetty - no regular ferry service! During the monsoon season (November to February/March) you still get accommodation, but food wise the choice may be reduced to instant noodles....
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