Tioman Island Travel Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before Coming

Tioman Island, Malaysia: Everything to Know About This Underrated Tropical Gem

Carpe diem: it means seas the day.

Nestled on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in Rompin, Pahang is Tioman Island (or Pulau Tioman), an unspoiled tropical gem filled with wonders. We’re talking stunning beaches with azure-clear waters, a thriving underwater world teeming with colourful coral reefs, lush rainforests with hidden waterfalls, and various adventurous activities for thrill-seekers. 

What’s more, Tioman’s beautiful fishing villages offer an unforgettable cultural immersion that lets you experience the local traditions in the best ways possible. Did we mention the island is also duty-free? Read on to learn more about this underrated beach paradise!

Also read: Penang vs Langkawi: Which Island Destination in Malaysia Is for You?

Best time to visit Tioman Island, Malaysia

tioman island

Image credit: Nirian via Canva Pro

The best time to witness Tioman Island’s flourishing beauty is between May and September when it’s sunny, dry, and pretty soothing. Try not to come between November and March when most parts of Malaysia experience monsoon season and rain is expected to fall day to night. What about the ideal duration for exploring Tioman Island? We recommend staying for two to three days to get the best bits of everything the island offers!

Getting to Tioman Island: what you need to know

tioman island

Image credit: Manon Brousse | Unsplash

There are currently no flights operating directly from Singapore to Tioman Island. However, fret not! Getting to Tioman from Singapore is still relatively straightforward, and the journey itself can be an exciting adventure. Below are the main options:

1. Bus and ferry

This is hands down the most budget-friendly option to get to Tioman Island from Singapore. The first thing you need to do is to take a bus from Singapore to Mersing or Tanjung Gemok Jetty. FYI, several bus companies operate daily services from Singapore to both jetties. The journey typically takes around three to four hours.

Afterwards, catch a ferry from Mersing or Tanjung Gemok Jetty to Tioman Island. If you didn’t know yet, ferries depart regularly from both jetties to various villages on Tioman Island. Getting to Tioman Island with these ferries will take around one and a half to two hours. 

2. Private car and ferry

If you prefer more flexibility and control over your travel schedule, consider driving to Mersing or Tanjung Gemok Jetty and taking a ferry from there. The drive from Singapore takes around four to five hours. You can park your car at the jetty for a fee.

3. Combined bus and ferry ticket

Several travel agencies offer combined bus and ferry tickets from Singapore to Tioman Island. This can be a convenient option, as it takes care of all the bookings and transportation arrangements for you. However, make sure you have your passport and any necessary travel documents with you as immigration clearance is required for entering Tioman Island. 

TripZilla Tip: Ferry schedules and prices can vary depending on the season and operator. It’s recommended to book your ferry tickets in advance, especially during peak season.

Also read: Gunung Arong: Your Best Hiking Experience in Mersing, Johor

Top experiences in Tioman Island you can’t miss!

1. Relax and unwind on pristine beaches

tioman island

Salang Beach | Image credit: Tioman Island | Official Website

Tioman Island boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Malaysia, with pristine white sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees. Whether you’re looking for a secluded cove for relaxation or a lively beach with water sports activities, Tioman has something for everyone. 

tioman island

Kayaking and banana boat riding on Tioman Island | Image credit: Tioman Island | Official Website

Coral Beach will be the best spot for those who are into calm waters and beautiful coral reefs. If you prefer a beach with a lively atmosphere that features plenty of restaurants, shops, and cafes, Tekek Beach is the place to be. You should also visit Salang Beach, known for its soft sand and clear waters suitable for sunbathing and water sports. Don’t fancy a huge crowd? The secluded shores of Juara Beach and ABC Beach will do you justice! 

2. Go diving to your heart’s content

diving tioman island

Diving around Pulau Tioman | Image credit: Tioman Island | Official Website

Your visit to Tioman Island is incomplete without diving into its blue waters and greeting its marine residents. Yes, you’re in for the best chance at meeting real-life Nemo and Crush right before your eyes! Also, the vibrant coral reefs, wrecks, and caverns are some of the top underwater sights you should look forward to, aside from the diverse fish species, sharks, and crustaceans. 

You may find most Tioman Island diving centres in Tekek Village and Salang Beach, plus some smaller establishments across Paya, Juara, Genting, and Ayer Batang villages. Two famous diving hotspots are Tioman Island Marine Park and Renggis Marine Park, both known for their healthy coral reefs and diverse marine life. 

3. Hike through the lush rainforest

lush rainforests

Rainforest and waterfall in Tioman | Image credit: Tioman Island | Official Website

Apparently, Pulau Tioman is famous not only for its beaches but also for its lush rainforests. FYI, these rainforests keep plenty of natural wonders underneath their thick canopies. What’s more, they offer the best opportunities for trekking, jungle exploration, and waterfall chasing. This is where you get to hike through the dense foliage, spot exotic birds and wildlife, and discover hidden waterfalls, such as Asah Waterfall and Mukut Waterfall, cascading into crystal-clear pools! 

One of the notable trails is the Monkey Bay trail, which starts at Air Batang (ABC Village) and will take around two hours to reach the bay. The second trek will require you to drop off at Kampung Mukut Jetty by boat before you get to hike to Asah Waterfall. If that’s not enough, you might want to experience the trek from Genting Village to Paya Village or another beautiful trek between Tekek and Juara.

4. Visit the beautiful fishing villages of Tioman

beautiful mukut village

Mukut Village in Tioman | Image credit: Tioman Island | Official Website

You can’t go back just yet if you haven’t set foot in any of the tranquil villages of Pulau Tioman. One of the must-visit villages is the Mukut Village, tucked away from the tourist crowds. You will easily recognise the place thanks to the striking twin peaks of Gunung Semukut, also known as the “Dragon Horns.” The village is also close to the Asah Waterfall.

Also, don’t miss out on exploring Tekek Village, the biggest village in Tioman. Here, get a glimpse of the local life through its traditional handicrafts and tasty Malay cuisine. You can even interact with the friendly locals here. Apart from that, you can also observe the fisherman community of Genting Village. You’ll enjoy taking in the view of its rocky yet picturesque beach. 

5.  Try golfing with a view

golfing with a view

People playing golf on Tioman Island | Image credit: Tioman Island | Official Website

Another one of the best things to do on Tioman Island is to join a spiffy 18-hole golf course in Berjaya Tioman Resorts. This is for those who prefer to admire the vast ocean vistas from land while engaging in a challenging game of golf. You can choose to raise your club, aim, and swing into the golf course facing the sea or the one facing the lush jungle views. Plus, the place features restaurants, a lounge, a bar, and rooms for various indoor games and leisure activities for players!

6. Sample Pulau Tioman’s best local cuisine

open-air dining experience

Open-air dining and local cuisine in Pulau Tioman | Image credit: Tioman Island | Official Website

Tioman Island is known to serve an eclectic range of food, from local dishes to international cuisine. If you’re going here on a budget, we recommend you pick the local menu for cheaper prices and absolutely better taste! The famous local menu includes roti canai, nasi lemak, fried noodles, and assorted fresh seafood dishes cooked using traditional recipes. 

For the best experience, head to Sarang Seafood Village, which offers the freshest seafood menu served in both Malaysian and Indonesian styles. Another seafood eatery worth mentioning is Babura Seaview Restaurant next to Tioman Reef Dive Centre, where you can indulge in the tastiest salted egg crab, sweet and sour seabass, butter prawn, and more. You can also visit Tioman Cabana Beach Bistro for the best seafront view while enjoying a mix of local and Western menus. Not sure what to order? Try out their nasi goreng seafood!

7. Enjoy a round-island snorkelling trip with your loved ones

renggis island snorkelling activity

Tourists snorkelling and swimming at Renggis Island | Image credit (L-R): Tioman Island | Official Website; Nazarizal Mohammad | Unsplash

Another must-do activity when going to Pulau Tioman is to go on a round-island snorkelling adventure to its neighbouring islets. These clusters of nearby islands offer spectacular beaches, hidden coves, and secret lagoons ready to be discovered. One of the famous spots is the pristine Coral Island (or Pulau Tulai) north of Tioman’s west coast. This island is visible from the beachfront of Salang Village and is rich with coral reefs and beautiful marine life. 

The other must-visit spot is Renggis Island, where you can swim in its relatively shallow crystal-clear waters with harmless black-tip baby sharks! If that’s not enough, you can visit Monkey Bay, an optional snorkelling spot with calm waters and lush rainforests encircling the place. 

Also read: Batam vs Bintan: Which Island Near Singapore Is Better for Long Weekend Trips?

And that’s pretty much what you need to know about Tioman Island and its wonders before setting foot on this tropical paradise. Excited yet? Wait till you really get there and finally soak in the blue waters of the heavenly island — amazing!

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Featured image credit (leftmost): Tioman Island | Official Website

About Author

Izzati Haron
Izzati Haron

Izzati is an author to two poem anthologies, a slam poet wannabe, and a full-time nanny to her kitties. She loves dreaming about traveling the world just like most protagonists in the movies, but more often than not, her bank account only permits her to travel to her backyard.