Things to do in Tioman, Malaysia

Tioman is the most beautiful island in Malaysia

September 2018 (updated: 27.04.2019) 23

The island of Tioman is located 50 km from the mainland in the southeastern part of Malaysia in the state of Johor. Pulau Tioman is a large and mountainous island, almost entirely covered by jungle. The combination of impenetrable forests, high mountains and huge rocks on the shore make it one of the most beautiful islands in Malaysia. There are also duty-free stores on Tioman.

Tioman

Tioman photo

Tioman Overview

How to get there

  • Take a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Mersing. The trip time is 5,5 hrs. You can buy tickets in advance here: 12Go Asia or here: Easybook . Take the 5:00pm Transnasional bus which has 3 wide seats.
  • Then take the ferry for 1.5 hours. You can’t get to Tioman by plane right now.
  • It would be more convenient to spend the night in Mersing in MG hotel and go to the island in the morning, than to take a night bus, because it comes too early, you have to walk somewhere in the dark for 3 hours to the first ferry.
  • The ferry schedule changes every month, the departure time is different every day. You can check it here . Read more about the route.

How to get to Tioman

When to go, season and weather in Tioman

The temperature is always about the same, about +30C. So I will not insert here unnecessary charts by months. The most important thing to know about the weather on Tioman:

  • The season on Tioman in the summer. Ideally go from June to September, no waves and sunny in the summer. We went in September, also the season, no waves, sunshine and light rain were alternating. Officially the season is from March to September, inclusive, but it’s best to go in summer.
  • In winter, Tioman has a rainy storm season. It is not recommended to go in December, January and February. The sea has big waves, cloudiness, and it often rains.

Itinerary of the most beautiful places of Tioman

We had been preparing for our trip for a long time, thoroughly studied information on Russian and English forums, blogs, guidebooks, watched a lot of videos and made a route for 3 days. Our thought-out plan allowed us to visit the best beaches and see the most beautiful things in Pulau Tioman in a short period of time.

This self-guided itinerary around Tioman is convenient and cost-effective in terms of travel.

Hotel Tunamaya and the best view on the island

Book a room at the Tunamaya . The hotel has a free boat transfer from the ferry. We write an e-mail to the hotel to be met and the time of the ferry. The hotel is not cheap, but believe me, it is worth it, the money will be repaid twice.

Probably 1% of all tourists get to this part of the island. The view is so that you can stand for hours on the pier, looking at these magnificent mountains. It is worth going to Tioman just for the view. Read more.

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Tioman, Malaysia, Tunamaya beach

2. The Berjaya is the most popular hotel in Tioman

On the second day transfer to the west side of the island to the Hotel Berjaya . In the morning from Tunamaya by free shuttle at 12 o’clock we get to Tekek pier. Convenient and save dozens of dollars on the boat-taxi. From the pier we take the free Berjai bus to the hotel.

Rest at the famous hotel Berjaya Beach Resort on the first line. Long beautiful beach with palm trees, pool, restaurant, you can walk to duty free in the village. Read more.

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Malaysia, Tioman, Berjaya beach photos

3. Juara Beach and The Barat Tioman Hotel

On the third day transfer to one of the best beaches in Tioman and check into The Barat Hotel. A new hotel on the first line with a pool and an inexpensive restaurant. How to get to Juara Beach from Berjaya – book a transfer at The Barat Hotel. The price is RM30 per person ($8). A thrilling 30-minute jeep ride on a mountain road through the jungle.

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At Juar, relax, swim in the sea, walk on the beach, enjoy the views of tropical nature. Read more.

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Juara Beach. Pulau Tioman, Malaysia

We took this route around Tioman, stayed in three of the best hotels, and looked at the most interesting places in our opinion. To complete the picture below is a brief description of all the other beaches on the island.

Watch the video

Tioman’s Beaches

There are about a dozen inhabited beaches, where there are hotels or villages. And another dozen wild ones. Briefly about all the beaches of Tioman clockwise from bottom to top:

  • South side of the island. Hotels Tunamaya, Bagus, Minang Cove. Bad beaches, rocky bottom, but the best view of the cliffs, which is worth visiting this part.
  • Genting Beach. The first stop for the ferry from the mainland. You can swim. There is cheap accommodation. The mountains in the south of the island are not visible from here.

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  • Paya Beach. The beach at Paya Beach Resort and a few other gests. The second stop of the ferry.

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  • The beach of the Hotel Berjaya. A long well-kept beach with beautiful palm trees on the shore. The entire beach is taken by the resort Berjaya. A pass to the beach is free. Learn more.
  • Tekek beach. The largest village on the island. The beach is normal, the water is transparent. Developed village, there are ATM’s and Duty Free. Read more.

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  • ABC or Air Batang beach. Recommended by all travel guides. But in fact according to recent reviews of tourists the beach is bad, the bottom is stony, a lot of abandoned hotels and stores. The only plus – cheap accommodation from $15-20.
  • Monkey Beach. A wild beach that can be reached by water cab or walk from neighboring beaches ABC and Salang. The drive through the woods will take 1.5-2 hours one way.
  • Salang beach. According to many reviews, Salang beach is one of the best beaches in Tioman. It is also a developed area, has duty free and a good selection of accommodations. The final stop of the ferry.
  • Juara. One of the best beaches in Tioman. The only beach on the opposite east side of the island. It is cheaper to get there by cab by land. More about the beach.

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Our impressions of the beaches

Tioman’s beaches cannot be called perfect. But they are beautiful in their own way. All beaches are full of greenery, trees, in some places there are dangling palms, huge blocks of stones. Visually, the beaches can be given the highest rating. Such landscapes we expected from Perhentian, but did not wait, but the island Tioman in this sense was beyond competition.

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The sea cannot boast of its beauty. On Tioman the water is clear, without trash, but… ordinary. You can compare the sea with the island of Ko Lanta in Thailand or Phu Quoc in Vietnam. You can swim, but do not expect bright blue water and snow-white sand. One rejoice that at least there are no waves at all, it is comfortable to swim. In the season, of course.

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Tides on Tioman

Tides every day. In September, the tide is early in the morning, and somewhere after 10 am the tide begins and you can swim. By evening, the tide goes out again. After 6 pm all the beaches with rocky bottoms look ominous

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Infrastructure

Tekek village and Juara are the most developed areas. Locals live here. There are schools, mosques, a hospital (accepting with or without insurance), an ATM. Genting, ABC and Salang neighborhoods are also well developed.

On all developed beaches there are always cafes, dive centers, tour tents, transfers by boat to other beaches and islands, tents with souvenirs and tourist clothing. In whichever hotel you check in, there will be no special difficulties.

Of course, there are beaches, where only one or two resorts, no stores and everything is expensive. For example Japamala Resort. But as a rule, these are high-level hotels, you won’t even want to go somewhere else to eat, because the food in their restaurant is delicious.

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As for the beaches, where there are a lot of hotels, everything is well developed there. You can eat at the restaurant in the hotel, as well as in a cafe on the street. If you don’t like the price in your hotel, go eat 2 times cheaper around the corner.

Prices in Tioman

  • Food prices: in a restaurant at a good hotel, meals cost an average of 30-40 ringgit ($8-10). In cheap cafes on the street, prices are 3 times lower, dishes are 8-12 ringgit ($2-3).

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Дорого —> Cheap

  • Hotel prices, too, absolutely for any traveler’s budget. The island is a cheap bungalow for $ 15, and resorts at $ 150 with a pool on the first line. The choice is yours.

Expensive hotel Cheap hotel Very cheap accommodation

Duty Free

Tioman is a duty free zone. Duty free stores are in Tekek village and maybe somewhere else. The prices of alcohol are nice. We even couldn’t resist and took a bottle of wine and champagne. Duty stores accept bank cards. Examples of prices on the photo below. Exchange rate $1 = RM4. Duty free to know more

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Transportation

Moving between beaches by cab boat is what is unreasonably expensive for some reason. There are no prices like on the Perhentians here. For a one-way boat per person, the price can go as high as 100 ringgit ($25). Airline tickets in Malaysia sometimes cost that much.

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There are almost no roads on the island, and it takes several hours to walk the forest trails in one direction. So you have to pay a lot of money for boat-taxi, or sit only in your hotel and see only your and maybe the neighboring beach.

That’s why we advise you to make your own Tioman itinerary. Or you can use ours. You can change hotels every day and go some places even for free (at the expense of a transfer in an expensive hotel as a compliment).

Rent a bike in Tioman

If you stay in the area of Tekeke, Hotel Berjaya or Juara Beach, you can rent a bike. Motorcycles are rented by the day and there is an hourly rate. This is the first time we’ve seen that.

  • Scooter for rent is expensive compared to Thailand or Vietnam. The average price of 30 ringgit per hour or 50 per day ($ 8-12). The automatic is more expensive than the manual box. Gasoline is filled up.
  • No helmets, no police, they don’t ask for a license.
  • To avoid leaving your passport as collateral, take your moped to your hotel. In the village, the locals rent bikes cheaper, but can be with a passport and no gasoline.
  • The traffic is the most active in Tekke. Locals on bikes and there are even cars.
  • There’s not much to drive around, so taking a bike for 1-2 hours is great. There’s not a lot of riding on Tioman, except for duty free from Berjaya.
  • There is a road through the woods from Tekek to Juara, but the bike is not advised to ride on it, the slope in some places under 45 degrees and still turns.

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Tourists

Tioman in Malaysia is a huge island and there are few tourists on the beaches. Europeans of all ages, Malaysians, tourists from Singapore, Chinese. We visited five different beaches. We took a boat to about 10 other beaches, all with a minimum of people. A couple of people on the shore, somewhere there is no one at all.

Even the most popular hotel Berjaya with 400 houses was almost empty. Therefore, you can safely come to Tioman in the season, in the peak months, anyway the beaches will be without crowds of people. If possible, you should avoid weekends, as well as Malay and Singaporean holidays, otherwise it can be such a picture:

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Cat Island.

The island is Muslim. Therefore, there are practically no dogs, and many cats.

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Tioman Reviews

We gave Tioman the honorary title of the most beautiful island in Malaysia. Tioman island looks more spectacular than many islands in other countries. But we want to be clear about what beauty we are talking about.

Tioman is not the best island for a beach holiday. The beaches are more for contemplation than for swimming. For a beach holiday with blue water, white sand and gorgeous sea should go to the island of Redang. On Tioman beaches are long and deserted, but the unreal beauty of the water bright turquoise color is not here.

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So why Tioman Island is the most beautiful:

  • Nature! Wild tropical nature here and reeks with strength and power. We have not seen so much greenery even in Taman Negara. Tioman’s jungle is very unusual. Thick equatorial vegetation that you can never seem to get through. An island of wildlife. All this tropical beauty so overshadows the simplicity of the beaches that you stop dwelling on them.

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  • And the mountains! You have to look for such mountains. In some places, the views are reminiscent of Tahiti. The entire Tioman is surrounded by high mountains. The most famous rocks “Donkey Ears” and “Horns of the Dragon” cause a storm of delight. That’s why we named this view as the most magnificent we’ve ever seen in the islands. It’s like something out of a Jurassic Park movie. The whole Tioman is insanely photogenic.

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Is it worth the trip to Tioman

Yes. If you have the financial ability and you travel in Malaysia during the summer, then don’t be lazy and visit Tioman. It’s not a short drive, but it’s definitely worth it. Especially if you have traveled around like 20 or 30 islands and want something original and unique.

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Tioman or Perhentian Islands

On the Perhentian Islands, the beaches are better for swimming. More precisely, there are a couple of beaches with perfect blue water, which you can’t find on Tioman. There are cheaper boat cabs on the Perhentian Islands. But worse hotels and more tourists. In terms of prices, the islands are the same.

We liked Tioman better for its views and wildlife. If bathing in the sea and beach holidays are your priorities, then choose Perth or Redang. But better yet, visit all these islands and make up your own opinion. If you’ve been, write your feedback in the comments.

Budget

  • Transportation: 418
  • Groceries: 94
  • Duty free: 84
  • Cafe: 298
  • Hotels: 1117
  • Other: 112 (entrance to the national park, bike, other small things)

Total: 2148 ringgit ($520) for 2 people for 3 days for everything, including round trip from KL. If you don’t translate into rubles, it’s not that much The amount can be cut in half if you choose a budget hotel and eat in the cafe for the locals.

Tioman on the map

Map of Pulau Tioman Island with roads, hiking trails, trails between beaches and treks to waterfalls:

What to do on Tioman Island or 3 days in paradise.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. The shore.

All night long I dreamed of the turquoise sea, palm trees, and beach. I dreamed I was diving and chasing colorful fish. There were so many emotions from what I saw yesterday that my brain simply refused to change the picture to anything else. The morning began with a leisurely move out of bed, first to the porch and then to the hammock stretched between the palm trees on the beach.

On an island where you have no cell phone, no Internet, not even TV, time flows differently. You relax, clear your head of unnecessary thoughts, and indulge in contemplation of the nature around you. But it does not last long – the body demands adventure, so you need a good meal, and then back to the beach, to explore the depths of the sea.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. We have to refresh ourselves.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Relaxation everywhere.

Snorkeling on Tioman

This time there were not so much excitement as the first, so we were able to swim quietly, find interesting places and have a good look at all the fish. At first, as usually we just swam near the shore in shallow water.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. On the way to the beach.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. On the way to the beach.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Young divers.

Then we wanted to explore some new places. In the middle of the bay there was a floating island especially for snorkelers. Here was a new destination! On the spot it turned out that the depth was already 6 meters, but visibility was perfect. In general, the Internet says that the visibility in the waters off Tioman reaches 17 meters, which is a very good indicator. As I approached, I noticed two divers. They were swimming along the bottom and taking pictures of the underwater inhabitants. Slowly releasing air bubbles, they went deep, while I stayed to observe the inhabitants of the coastal waters. Soon, not far from this spot, I saw a turtle. It was just huge and swam quite fast, I wanted to catch up with it, but failed. And then I tried to stick to the rule – look, but do not touch. I’ve seen some turtles with jaw clenching power like a hydraulic press. Though the chase was very exciting and I could imagine myself riding the turtle.

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Malaysia. Tioman Island. Underwater inhabitants.

After a short break on the beach, I decided to swim to a nearby islet. The locals call it Soyak Island. It is very close, but because of the currents and boats that often pass between the islands, the task may not seem so easy. But I pulled myself together and swam, looking at the fish beneath me. By the way, it’s funny, sometimes you swim and no one is there, then you turn around and notice that all the fish are following you without any trouble. Slowly but surely, I reached the lifeless Soyak Island. Not far away was a boat with tourists and a local guide looked at me with surprise and asked how I got here. He clapped his hands when he heard I had arrived by swimming and wished me luck. Which was good, by the way. I wanted to take a break and climb up one of the rocks by the shore, but that wasn’t the best idea. All the rocks around were slippery and sharp. I ended up climbing one of them, but scratched my forearm pretty good. Fortunately, the water in the ocean is so salty that if it gets in your mouth, you get a gag reflex. It eats away at your eyes. I do not know why, but small wounds and scratches heal very well in this environment and heal quickly.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Soyak Island.

I decided not to linger on the unstable surface and went back into the water. The depth here was quite decent, there were very few fish. But looking closer, about 10 meters away from me, I saw two barracudas. They were holding still by the rock and looked very intimidating. Afraid of encountering some more serious predators far from the shore, I hurriedly swam back. That’s probably enough for a second snorkel in my life, I thought.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Dive center.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Dive center.

Diving on Tioman

On our way home, we walked past the dive centers that offered different excursions not only for professional divers, but also for those who dive and snorkel. Prices for snorkelers were very reasonable and we did not hesitate to take one of the programs for tomorrow.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Map of attractions for divers.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Excursions.

In general, it’s a paradise for divers. The visibility is perfect, the prices are loyal, and the underwater world is rich and diverse. We constantly saw people with scuba diving gear coming back from the pier to the shore. It was possible, of course, to try and dive. But at that moment the experience and so off the scale, so it was decided to postpone this interesting venture for the future. Besides, to dive more or less seriously, it is necessary to be trained and have a diving license PADI.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Scuba divers and divers.

Varans on Tioman Island

In the evening a no less exciting incident happened to me. Coming back from the beach restaurant, I accidentally stepped on the tail of a monitor lizard and my heart nearly jumped out at that moment. Fortunately, the reptiloid immediately rushed to the side and disappeared into the bushes. Varan bites are quite painful. Besides, they live mostly in filth, their mouths are full of pathogenic bacteria, and getting an infection is a piece of cake. Once again, I was lucky. And in general, there are a lot of these rams on the island. Some specimens reach up to three meters in length. Often they hide in the shadow of the scorching sun between the piles, on which stand most of the huts and bungalows. So when you step on your doorstep, you might come across one of the oldest living reptiles. What a surprise in the morning.

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Malaysia. Tioman Island at sunset. Soyak Island.

Tioman excursions

We slept this time like dead. Fortunately, there was no problem with mosquitoes on the island. And although there was a mosquito net over our bed, we never used it. So we had a good sleep, and only the creak of a frosty fan sometimes brought us back to reality.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Our bungalow from the inside.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Toilet in the bungalow.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. A local cafe.

At last morning came, we had breakfast and went to the pier, where a boat should have been waiting for us. But nothing of the sort happened. People gradually left for the sea, while we sat in full gear and waited patiently for our guide on land. But our time came; after some what seemed to me to be a rather long interval of time, our boat appeared. The well-fed Malaysian gave us masks, flippers and life jackets and we rushed off to meet the adventure.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Waiting for the boat and the guide.

The first stop was called Teluk Genting. It was a pretty remote spot off a deserted island nearby. We stopped right in the middle of the sea where there were a few other boats and we started to dive. Unfortunately, I didn’t see anything new this time. But I liked the format of the snorkeling trip itself. It was interesting to swim in a new place and observe the inhabitants of the coral reef.

Malaysia. Tioman Island. Snorkeling on Teluk Genting.

After about 40 minutes, we went to the next point of our route. On the itinerary, this place was listed as White Sandy Beach. We were brought to a deserted island with white coral sand. Oh, how it was great on that island. More beautiful in color water I have never seen in my life, and in general, the island was unimaginably beautiful. Huge blocks of rock, huge petrified shells, behind which a grown man could hide. We spent about an hour on the island, took a hundred pictures and were so happy that I still remember these moments as some of the highlights of my life.

Malaysia. Tioman. Uninhabited island White Sandy Beach.

Malaysia. Tioman. Uninhabited island.

Malaysia. Tioman. Bounty. Paradise Delight.

Malaysia. Tioman. White sand and azure sea.

Not far from the uninhabited island we could see a rocky outcrop in the middle of the ocean. This point was our next stop. The locals called it Malang Rock. Once again we were given the opportunity to swim and look at the inhabitants of the underwater world. The bottom could not be seen for many meters ahead. The guide suggested that I swim around the rocky outcrop and I even decided to wear a life jacket this time. As it turned out not in vain. There were pretty strong currents around the rock and I paddled more than looked under the water. It was even a little scary. But my girlfriend stayed close to the boat and once again watched a sea turtle.

Malaysia. Tioman. A giant shell.

Malaysia. Tioman. Malang Rock.

The final point of our route was Soyak Island. It is the same island near Tioman, where I swam on my own and saw barracudas. This time we were brought here by boat. Well we had already been there, but still with just as much interest, we swam around the boat and even took some pictures of each other in the process.

Malaysia. Tioman. Coral Island.

Malaysia. Tioman. Snorkeling on Soyak Island.

Oh, and it was a fabulous day. In a bright flash it was reflected in the memory for many years. Next day we were going to leave. We didn’t want to leave at all and was a bit sad. But we made the most of our time on this magical island. So there was nothing to regret. In the morning we boarded the ferry and sailed to Mersing, where we bought bus tickets and by the evening of the same day were in a hot Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia. Bus Station in Mersing.

Malaysia. Bus Mersing-Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia. Bus station in Mersing.

Malaysia. Ticket office at bus station in Mersing.

Malaysia. Bus from inside.

That was the end of my trip to Malaysia. I still had two more days to spend in the capital of Malaysia, where I had already visited all the most interesting sights. So I had no idea what I would be doing. However, there was something to do, but about this in the next report. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Author:

Vladimir

So, I am an independent traveller. I am fond of surfing, snowboarding, yoga and hiking. My dream is to travel around the world, and I am systematically pursuing my dream.

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