Located 30km off the East Coast Peninsular of Malaysia, Tioman is a protected island with over 98% of its dense forest still intact.
With 8 main villages and about 18 beaches, some of which are only accessible by boat, nature-lovers will appreciate the fresh air and pristine waters. Roads are virtually non-existent in Tioman and most transfers will be done by boat.
Crystal-clear waters, gardens of corals of various shapes and colors, and hundreds of tropical fish swimming by are one of the main reasons why most scuba divers come to Tioman.
The Malaysian island of Tioman is most famous for the dive sites around Coral Islands. You can enjoy shore dives or boat dives, the farthest dive sites being a 2-hour boat ride away.
With over 20 dive sites to choose from, Tioman has something for every scuba diver of any experience level. Shallow and calm waters can be found at Pirate Reef or Renggis Island, while more experienced divers may head for deeper waters such as Chebeh and Tiger Reef.
Tioman Diving schools
Dive schools in Tioman are located in the main villages such as Air Batang Bay (sometimes called ABC) and Salang Bay.
The main certification courses are delivered by PADI, although for fun dives, any certifications will do. You also will find a PADI Career center to become a PADI Open Water instructor (IDC).
Nitrox diving is available in Tioman, which can be very useful for underwater photographers who wish to stay longer underwater.
How to get to Tioman
There are two main ways to get into Tioman, either by ferry or by air. Ferries depart from Mersing fishing village and from Tanjung Gemok, which can be reached by coach/bus from Malaysia and Singapore. It takes about 2hrs 30min to reach Tioman by ferry. A one-way ticket costs about RM35 per person (as of 2014).
Flights to Tioman are only operated by Berjaya Air and serve only Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, capital city of Malaysia. A flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tioman only lasts one hour. Flights can be booked online.
Please note that you will be departing from the budget terminal of Kuala Lumpur, Subang Sky Park, located about one hour away from KLIA, the main airport. Similarly, you will board at the Changi Budget Terminal in Singapore.
Accommodation in Tioman
Most hotels and resorts in Tioman will offer two choices of accommodation. Budget accommodation usually refers to having a fan and a cold shower, whilst deluxe accommodation includes air-con and hot showers.
Most of Tioman’s backpacker accommodation is located in the north of the island near Salang bay and ABC. Dorm beds start at RM30 per night, Budget Fan bungalows at around RM45 per night. Mid-range to Deluxe accommodation will be found on the west coast of Tioman.
Cost of living in Tioman
If you’re planning your travel budget to Tioman, a typical meal in Tioman costs between RM10-15 per person. A 1.5L bottle of water cost some RM3, while a soda costs just over RM2.
Tioman is actually a duty free island. Cigarettes are RM7 whereas on the mainland it sells for RM12.
Others activities in Tioman
Apart from snorkeling and scuba diving in Tioman, you can enjoy the island’s natural beauty on land, with rock-climbing being a popular activity for both beginners and experts.
With its untouched rainforest, jungle trekking in Tioman offers beautiful views and the opportunity to encounter monkeys and monitor lizards. Be sure to bring mosquito repellent and to get home before dusk.
Finally, you can also find a golf course to allow the less water babies amongst travelers to get out and enjoy a round or two, or maybe get pampered in one of the many spas.