general view of Tioman island from a jetty

Tioman Island, Underwater Paradise In Malaysia

Pulau Tioman (pulau = island in Malay) is a mountainous and green island off the east coast of the Malay Peninsula that attracts a heteroclite crowd of scuba divers, backpackers and nature hungry urbanites from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. It features white sand beaches, steep jungles, magnificent marine life and cheap beer, thanks to its duty-free status.

nice beach with a hotel almost on the sea
Tioman Island, Malaysia.

Hard top roads are practically nonexistent in the island, which is both a curse – getting around the island require a bit of planning and is expensive compared to mainland Malaysia – and a blessing – it enhances the island’s wilderness.

Tioman Island Forest, Malaysia.
Tioman Island Forest. Malaysia.

Pulau Tioman is largely covered by virgin rainforest, home to several species of endemic wildlife that await the adventurous jungle trekkers. Any visitor will most likely come across monitor lizards, monkeys, mousedeers, porcupines and flying foxes walking from one stupendous beach to the other.

Tioman island, Malaysia.

Where is Tioman Island Located?

Tioman Island is located in the South China Sea, about 40 km (24 mi) northeast of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia. 20 km (12 mi) long and over 10 km (6 mi) wide, it covers an area of 136 km²(53 mi²).

How do I get to Tioman Island?

To get to Tioman Island, ferries are the only option at the moment. Although there is a small airport in Tioman, there are no regular flights to the island at the time of writing.

2 companies run the route from both Tanjung Gemok Jetty and Mersing, in Malaysia’s east coast,  Cataferry and Bluewater Express. Fares start at 11 US$ one way, to which you will have to add a Marine Park entrance fee of 7 US$. They serve 5 jettys in Tioman, Tekek, ABC, Genting, Paya and Salang.

Buses to Tanjung Gemok:
From Kuala Lumpur, 6h, 12 US$.
From Johor, 3h, 6 US$.
From Singapore, 6.5h, 25 US$.

Buses to Mersing:
From Kuala Lumpur, 6h, 10 US$.
From Johor, 2h, 3 US$.
From Singapore, 3.5h, 25 US$.

Tioman Island harbor. Malaysia.

How to get around Tioman Island?

To get around Tioman Island is a bit tricky, as it is covered by a lush tropical jungle and only its coastal part is inhabited.  There are very few roads and the main mean of transport is by boat. A typical fare between kampungs (villages) is around 25 US$ and it will go up at night. There are bicycles and scooters for rent, but you won’t be able to ride them for very long distances. A pickup truck ride from Tekek (esat coast) to Juara (west coast) will cost around 35 US$, team up with other travelers to share the costs. You can do the same trip on foot, count at least 2h.

general view of Tioman island from a jetty
Tioman Island. Malaysia.

How do I get from Singapore to Tioman Island?

To get from Singapore to Tioman Island, hop on a bus to either Mersing (3.5h, 25 US$) or Tanjung Gemok (6.5h, 25 US$) and take the ferry from there to Tioman. For more convenience, you can easily book bus + ferry combo tickets and thus avoid schedule conflicts between the two. A simple internet search will yield many companies, with similar prices / schedules, just pick one!

How can I get to Tioman Island by plane?

Getting to Tioman Island by plane used to be easy, as Berjaya Air operated regular charter flights to the island. Alas, they have canceled the service for quite some time now. Some private charters companies in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore might fly there, we suggest to get your hotel concierge to find out.

Huts in a Tioman island beach
Tioman Salang Beach.

How much is the ferry from Mersing to Tioman?

The ferry price for Mersing to Tioman Island is around US$ 10.

How long is the ferry ride from Mersing to Tioman?

The ferry ride from Mersing to Tioman is 1.5 hours to 2 hours each way..

What is the best time to visit Tioman?

The best time to visit Tioman Island is during the dry season, between March and October.
Between November and February the ferry services might be disrupted due to bad weather.

Harboor in sunset time
Tioman harbot at night.

Where to stay on Tioman Island?

Juara Village

Barat Tioman Beach Resort (Moderate)
Beach Shack Tioman (Budget)

Tekek Village

Berjaya Tioman Resort (Moderate)
Swiss Cottage Tioman (Budget)

Salang Village

Salang Indah Resort (Budget)

To find affordable accommodation anywhere on Tioman Island, check Airbnb Tioman.

Jetty in Tioman island
Tioman harbor. Malaysia.

Is Tioman Island worth visiting?

Yes, Tioman Island is worth visiting, for its beaches, its wildlife, to get plenty of snorkeling and scuba diving action or just some chill time far away from everything, in magnificent surroundings that will make you howl: “I love the smell of  nasi lemak* in the morning”, before going head first in the blue ocean.

*Nasi lemak, fat rice in Malay, is the unofficial national dish of Malaysia. It consists of a dome of rice surrounded by slices of cucumber, peanuts, anchovies, hard-boiled egg & most commonly chicken.

aerial view of Tioman island, Malaysia
Juara Beach, Tioman Island, Malaysia.

What part of Tioman Island is the best?

Juara Beach

Possibly the best beach on Tioman Island and more quiet than those on the east coast.
You can do a lot in this picturesque remote bay.
Surfing (during the monsoon months of November to February) but only for experienced surfers. There is a 3 days surf festival every year at the end of January.
Swimming
Snorkeling
Scuba Diving
See baby turtles at the Juara Turtle Project hatchery
Lubuk Teja waterfall: hike up the jungle and cool off by the fall. This challenging trail starts at the beach’s south end and is signaled all the way up. Estimated time: 45 mn each way.
Enjoy a beautiful sunrise.

Tekek Beach / Berjaya Beach.

Popular with families and busy , Tekek Beach has crystal clear waters and is perfect to cool off and rest.
It also has a large number of facilities and duty-free shops. That is probably why it is very popular.

Salang Beach

Salang Beach is popular with divers and backpackers, as there are a lot of dive sites nearby.
In Salang village, there are quite a few pubs, restaurants and bonfire parties in the evenings.

Tioman island beach at night
Tioman Beach at Night.

What activities does Tioman offer at night?

There are no clubs but bars and restaurants get crowded anyway and you can catch some live music in many places around the island. The livelier places are Tekek, ABC and Salang.

Things to do on Tioman Island?

Snorkeling

Bring your own gear if you can and whatever the Kampung you’re staying at, just go in the water, you won’t be disappointed! You might see dead coral near the shores but the marine life is fantastic. Kayaks are for rent anywhere if you want to explore further.

Boat Tours

You will see them advertised everywhere, and most people go at least on one. Coral & Renggis Island (for the best snorkeling in Tioman), Shark Point, the Twin Peaks rocks, Asah waterfall are the most popular.

See baby turtles

Visit the turtle hatchery in Juara Village.

Jungle Treks

The 2 most popular treks are from Kampung ABC to Monkey Beach/Monkey Bay and Tekek to Juara, 2 and 3h respectively. If you want to spice it up, climb Gunung (mount) Kajang (1.038 m/3.400 ft), the “easiest” trail starts from Kampung Paya. The ascent takes about 5h, and you can book a guide if you wish, ask your hotel/guest house.

Stargazing

Due to the low light pollution in the island, it is possible to observe a large number of stars at night.

Enjoy the sunsets.

Join the crowds that gather at the bars and restaurants and the west coast to watch that glorious last coppery ray of sun lighting up the shores.

New Born Turtle, Tioman Island, Malaysia.

Diving in Tioman Island.

The Tioman Islands are a protected National Marine Reserve which covers around 12,300 ha protecting its great biodiversity.
Suitable for beginners as well as for advanced divers, Tioman offers good soft & hard corals, wrecks, turtles and reef sharks in a landscape of granite boulders, small caves and swim through. The macro life will please underwater photographers.

The best time to dive is between March and October.

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