An introduction to Tioman Island
Tioman is the largest and in the view of many - the most spectacular of Malaysia's east coast islands. Stretching along nearly 40 km and across 12 km, this island offers an unbelievable diversity packed throughout its modest surface area. Not only is this island blessed with pristine beaches and clear waters home to coral and multi-hued tropical fish, it also boasts high mountains and a dense jungle area for trekking and nature enthusiasts.
There are some flights out from Selatar airport, which is a small domestic airport in Singapore or from Kuala Lumpur into Tioman during the peak season, and although the aircrafts are small they are safe and take passengers on a forty-minute flight time to the island. Ferries also leave from Tanah Merah in Singapore and it takes passengers a little over three hours to get to Tioman Island. Another, and typically more reliable alternative, is to travel to Mersing from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore (or indeed any other major city) by car or on a scheduled bus or coach. After an overnight stop in Mersing, start bright-and-early and hop on a regular ferry crossing from the east coast port out to Tioman Island itself. This method is also a faster way to reach the island, with the ride taking less than an hour total.
Hidden yet sprawling private beauty. Japamala Resort (pictured) on Tioman Island features authentic and rugged lodges built into beachside cliff-faces. But don't let the rustic charm fool you - luxury awaits with pools, decks, dining and more. All guests are indulged with private beach and impeccable service, recognized with a MalaysiaExplorer.net top-pick recommendation.
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Two thousand years ago, Arab traders had marked Tioman on their navigation charts as a place with good anchorages and fresh water, and the island was an important stopover for their merchant ships. Apparently, Tioman Island was also the setting for the mythical Bali Hai in the film 'South Pacific' due to its rare beauty. To this day the sun-soaked island still witnesses the occasional pilgrimage of devoted movie buffs seeking to recreate the scenes themselves.
Things to see & do: Exploring & Trekking
Tioman Island is hard to ignore for trekkers with its spectacular peaks, notably Batu Sirau and Nenek Semukut at the southern end. Streams run rapid and clear from the high peaks of the island and through the enchanted jungle setting, providing fresh water for the island population and niches of outstanding beauty. Tioman is also of great interest to biologists because of its relative isolation from the similarly forested terrain of the peninsula. Some of the more common animals found on the mainland cannot be seen on the island, while other rarer species abound. There is a very large mouse-deer population as well as a wide variety of lizards amongst the species of the island. Those who are more interested in marine life will be astounded by the surprisingly large number of turtles, especially in the areas of Kampung Nipah, Juara and Pulau Tulai where the turtles go ashore to lay their eggs during the nesting season.
Although Pulau Tioman is the most popular tourist destination on the east coast of the island, there are many other striking locations on the island, including Kampong Juara, which is on the other side of the island and offers a haven of peace and natural splendor. The southern part of the island is wilder and more mountainous, ideal for nature lovers and trekking expeditions. The cross-island walk is the most popular trek on the island, running from Tekek to Juara and is by no means difficult to follow, as the trail leads trekkers mostly through thick jungle shading them from the hot sun. The trail follows the Besar River until it reaches a small waterfall and then continues over the mountain range into vast rubber and coconut palm plantations and on to the coast again, offering spectacular views of the turquoise waters and coast below. There are plenty more superb treks on the island especially on the west coast, where you can walk through rainforests and mangrove-rich areas onto deserted beaches, offering a variety of wildlife plunged into a pristine environment. For all difficulty levels and offering a great sense of satisfaction, take a trek and finish the day with a candelit meal by the beach!
Diving & Snorkelling
The waters or Tioman are a paradise site for snorkelers and scuba divers, offering spectacular untainted wonders to explore underwater as well as on the surface, even those who are not keen divers will find themselves irresistibly drawn to these crystal clear waters.
Where to stay
The Berjaya Imperial Resort is another of Tioman's luxury options, this one however, is best suited to the golf and spa lovers amongst you. It is also convenient to travel to as many incoming flights and most ferries arrive from Singapore and Malaysia to the resort's jetty and airstrip. International class and style with authentic local beauty is a tempting prospect, as are amenities and top class restaurants. There are cheaper options, most of which are lodging facilities concentrated along the west coast or again at Juara on the east coast and are mostly small wooden chalets or longhouse rooms. Backpackers can find camping sites at the popular beaches including Air Batang, Salang and Juara or on the southern beaches such as Genting, Paya and Tekek. During the Monsoons from November to January good bargains can be had at the more expensive resorts while the period from June to August should be booked early as this is typically peak tourism season.
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Complete your trip with our travel essentials checklist: Tours, Flights and Car Rental
- Tailor all aspects of your holiday or visit to Tioman Island with comprehensive tour and package choices.
- Read our top tips on car rental to ensure you choose a suitable vehicle at a good price.
- Our guide to Malaysia flights is packed with advice and pointers on finding the best routes and super deals.
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