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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.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

Several bus companies operate direct services to Mersing, e.g. Transnasional from Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, and Singapore, while others that use the east coast highway (e.g. Johor Bahru to/from Kota Bahru) also call at Mersing.

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 [5] 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 Beach Road Park Royal Hotel. 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.

Other than Transnasional, WTS and The One Travel also provide bus service daily 630am from Singapore Flyer and Golden Mile Complex respectively. Ticket can be booked in advance online. Early departure at 630am is to catch the ferry at Mersing around 11am Please note that ferry timing is subjected to change because of the tidal condition

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).

Transnasional Express Website

  • Kuantan, Terengganu, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Singapore

S&S International Express Online Booking Website

  • Johor Bahru(RM11.70), Kluang, Muar, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur
  • Tel:07-7992246(Mersing),07-2226246(JB),07-7728246(Kluang),06-2882246(Malacca)

Causeway Link Express Website

  • Johor Bahru (RM11.70)
  • Frequencies:8am, 1130am, 7pm
  • Tel:07-2242244(JB)

Utama Ekspres

  • Kuantan, Terengganu, Kota Bharu、Pengkalan Kubor (Nightly 830pm)

Cepat Ekspres

  • Segamat, Kuantan, Terengganu, Kelantan, Teluk Intan, Lumut

Maju Ekspres

Sepakat Liner Ekspres

Sutera Liner Ekspres

Johora Ekspres

Tenaga Layar Ekspres

Five Stars Express

Mersing Omnibus(local bus)

  • Kluang Route:100
  • Endau Route:105
  • Kota Tinggi Route:103
  • Felda Nitar
  • Kem Iskandar

By car[edit]

Rental cars are available in the major Malaysian cities and town. There is as yet no reputable brand name car rental company in Mersing. Visitors are advised to make car rental arrangements elsewhere.

From Johor Bahru/Singapore

  • Johor Bahru(Federal route 3) - Ulu Tiram - Kota Tinggi - Jemaluang - Mersing

From Kuala Lumpur/Malacca

  • North South Highway - Ayer Hitam Toll - Kluang (Federal route 50) - Kahang - Felda Nitar - Mersing

From Kuantan

  • Federal Route 3 - Pekan - Rompin - Endau - Mersing

By taxi[edit]

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.

By bicycle[edit]

Many cyclists ride to Mersing in the summer months to enjoy the serenity and beauty of the Mersing countryside.

Get around[edit]

Mersing town can be navigated easily by foot during the summer period. It is however advisable to travel by motor vehicle as there are many beaches to explore outside of Mersing town.

Mersing Harbour Centre

Officially opened by the Sultan of Johor on September 10 2017, Mersing Harbour Centre has assumed a central role with regards to transport in and out of Mersing, both by road and sea. In addition to taxi, bus and ferry booking counters, the complex also offers accommodation desks as well as a number of F&B and retail outlets.

See[edit][add listing]

Mersing river and the traditional Malaysian fishing boats can be viewed from the bus terminal complex down river.

A Hindu temple is located at the base of the hill near to the central roundabout.

Mersing Mosque is located on a hill top 15 mins walk from the center of town. It has excellent views of the town.

Mersing esplanade and marine park is located walking distance from then town and nearing from Mersing Jetty.

The Beaches in the Penyabung area and at Air Papan. These beaches are all relatively isolated and visitors are advised to exercise care and caution.

Do[edit][add listing]

Take a walk through the town and savour traditional Malay "kueh" or confectioneries during the traditional teatime.

Have a picnic on a nearby beach.

Buy fishes and other seafood from Mersing morning market next to the Bus terminal.

Internet: an increasing number of shops, restaurants and hotels offer free wifi to customers, otherwise the standard charge in Mersing is reportedly RM 2 per hour.

You can visit Mersing year round. But it can be wet and windy in December and January. Beaches are best between March to October.

Circumambulate the centrally orientated hill that shoots up right behind the Hindu temple, very near to the roundabout, a short walk from the bridge.

Buy[edit][add listing]

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.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • 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!!!


There is only one vegetarian place in Mersing.

  • Vegetarian Food Stall – Bus Station. A small cost-friendly stall in the refreshment area of Mersing Bus Station. Clean and tidy river view. Menu: Lacto-Oval-Vegetarian. Fried noodles, eggs, rice and various vegetable, curry and tofu dishes. Take away no problem. Open from early morning till about 10 am. Simple and friendly. English spoken.

Vegetarian friendly

  • Viet Taste Restaurant (next to Indian Temple Kuil Sri Subramaniar at base of Hill near traffic circle). TEL. 0133491882. Hours: 8am - 4pm. MENU: Vietnamese coffee, spring roll, vegetable fried rice & noodles, soup and more. Not expensive. Cheerful owner from Vietnam.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • The Port (See above)

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are numerous hotels and motels in Mersing town.

Early reservation is recommended especially when your visit coincides with Singapore and Malaysia holidays.


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), [1]. 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, (). </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), [2]. 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. Cleanish Rm 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, [3]. 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
  • Sun Dance Holiday', 3 Jalan Ismail. Rm 45,.  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) [6] 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, [4]. 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 [7] 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 [8] 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 [9] Situated on Jalan Endau road, near the Mersing river and just after the central town roundabout. Beside Caltex Petrol Station.
  • Havanita Hotel [10] After Timotel.
  • 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 [11]
  • 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. [12] 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)
  • Hard Rock VIP Guest House 345J & 345H, Tingkat 1, 2 & 3, Jalan Ismail, 86800 Mersing, Johor. Tel :+6017-7870032. Located at town centre, guests will discover vibrant restaurants, cafes and coffee houses with a wide range of cuisine choices, grocery stores, convenient stores, pharmacies, banks, etc. Spacious Apartments - Suitable for big group, families, and friends.

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

  • 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....Create category
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