AJ and I were searching around Chinatown tour agencies for a good 2D1N or 3D2N tour package the week before on the 2nd April. She suggested that we can go for a fireflies tour around Pengarang. We first heard about the fireflies tour last year June when we were there for a Korean Zen retreat. I searched online for a good 2D1N package and found one organised by the Desaru Fruit Farm (www.desaruff.com) which comes at a promotional package of $426 for 2 people. I made a call to them and the service by them were very good. On the 4th April (Monday), I went down to register for the package. The entire meals, accommodations, transport and sight visits are all covered in the package. It's alright if we don't bring any money along.
The day before departure, I got a call from them as a reminder for the trip. We are to arrive at the Changi Ferry Terminal at 9.30am for the check-in. There are no public transport to the Changi Ferry Terminal and the only accessible way is via taxi. I guess ferries departing from the Changi Ferry Terminal only go to Desaru as the moment I mentioned the place, the taxi driver say 'You are going to Desaru?'. The return trip to Tg Belungkor terminal per person is S$32 and the departure time is as follows (Singapore to Tg. Belungkor 10.30am or 5.30pm / Tg. Belungkor to Singapore 8.30am or 3.30pm).
We got there an hour early and began walking around the Changi beach. Here is AJ and me waiting at the terminal.
At around 10.10am, the custom is opened and we are allowed in. Shortly after, we board the ferry. I heard that this ferry can accommodate up to 100 people. There are 2 levels to it. The top level which is outdoor can sit up to 20 people, while the lower which is air-conditioned can sit up to 80 people (I guess).
We arrived at Tg. Belungkor within 30mins. Like Pengarang, this is a quiet ferry terminal. We zoomed past the custom and met up with our tour guide. There is another couple who is on a 3D2N package for this trip. Total there are 4 of us. ^_^
The guide asked us would we like to have our seafood lunch or visit the Ostrich Farm first. It is 11.15am and we agreed it's time for lunch. Seafood lunch is 30mins away and when we arrived, it's just nice for lunch. Besides the dishes shown below, they also served crayfish and salted egg crab. Yummy...
Next we visit the Ostrich Farm. A senior which has been working in the farm for more than 10 years explained to us the behaviour of ostriches. It is very interesting and one special note is that a male ostrich can have up to 5 female partners and the female ostrich can lay an egg every 2-3 days. The eggs are big as seen from the picture below.
It's feeding time and all the ostriches have a sumptuous meal. They are normally kept for 18 months before it's being sold... When the farm assistant walk into the cage, the ostriches ran away. According to the senior, the ostriches are shy animals.
On display are beautifully calligraphic lamps made of ostrich eggs.
There are local specialties for visitors to try.
Next, we move on to the Fruit Farm and we have our guide below explaining to us the origin and nutritious value of fruits.
We have the sweet jackfruit. The jackfruit is covered by paper to protect it from sunlight. Some are meant to be protected from wild boar.
There is this walkway full of fruit plants.
This is a long banana seed.
At the halfway walking route, we took a break and have some fruit juice. There is a large pond with lots of koi in it.
There is a mini-farm just before the exit.
I noticed the rabbits are placed at a tall table. Visitors can play with the rabbits. And I guess the rabbits will not jump down as it is quite high above the ground.
It is a Saturday and I noticed it's Off Days for some of them.
Back to the Fruit Farm shop, the tour guide introduced to us honey. Some of them have Tongkat Ali in them.
Thereafter, we proceeded on to Desaru and check-in to the Lotus resort.
AJ say the Lotus resort feels a bit like HDB.
It definitely does feel like one.
Let's take a peek in our rooms. It is 2 storey high. We have the first floor here which is the living room.
And the second floor with the master bed and bath/shower room.
From the second floor, we can actually glance down on the sofa and TV.
We only have 30mins to rest and rendezvous with the tour guide at 5.15pm. It is dinner time. There will be free flow of fruits. Check out the fruits galore below!
AJ and me sampling lemonade.
With lots of BBQ (chicken, beef, seafood, etc). We noticed our tour guide preparing BBQ squid. I guess this is his part-time work.
At night, we will be having a fire flies cruise. As it is dark at night, there is nothing much a camera can do. Basically we board the cruise at 8pm and made a 30mins ride around the river to look at trees sparkle. As the captain said, it's an all natural christmas tree, no need to wait until christmas.
While waiting for the river cruise, there is this cute monkey which is very friendly to people.
The next morning, we had a big buffet spread in the resort.
I had something simple.
There is a slight drizzle in the morning. Here is the beautiful Desaru beach.
There are many beach chairs for people to rest and enjoy the sea breeze. We have AJ meditating on one of the bench.
The swimming pool.
We met up with our guide at 12.15pm and checkout from our resort. It is lunch back at the Fruit Farm which is 5mins drive away. The portions are huge. I think it's too much for 4 of us to take in the table full of food and fruits. The guide told us our package are the luxury-class as compared to the normal day trips one.
There is a cat that keep walking around us while we are having our meals.
We did a bit of shopping and proceeded back to the Ferry Terminal.