We all need an injection of island life every now and then. However, after visiting the Tioman Island, we debated island life forever! There are a tonne of things to do in Tioman Island but best of all it’s great to do absolutely nothing on Tioman too!
If you want an island which offers trekking, waterfall exploring, snorkelling and diving or if you just want to kick back and listen to the sound of the waves and feel the cool ocean breeze, then Tioman Island is the dreamy destination you have in mind.
Island life allows time to slow down, for us to enjoy the simple things in life. There is something very cleansing about being surrounded by beautiful nature and of course the ocean.
Check out our best places to visit in Malaysia before you travel.
Everything you need to know before you travel to Tioman Island
Tioman islands, also known as Puala Tioman in Malay, is located off the eastern part of Malaysia. We spent around 5 days on Tioman island, which felt enough.
Getting to the Tioman Islands actually isn’t too bad. To get from Kuala Lumpur to Tioman Island, you will need to travel to either Mersing or Tanjung Gemok by coach, and from there you can catch the ferry to Tioman Island. We got to Toiman Island via Mersing and travelled with Transnational express who leave Kuala Lumper at the main bus terminal throughout the day. The bus journey takes around 6 hours and there is also a night bus service available too.
If you are travelling from Singapore to Tioman Island, the same ferry ports apply; Mersing and Tanjung Gembok. We would advise travelling in the morning to ensure you arrive at the ferry port before the last ferry, which stops around 6PM.
If you arrive later, in the evening, there are a number of hotels that you can stay at. There isn’t a great deal going on in Mersing, so we would advise travelling earlier from Kuala Lumpur to Tioman island if possible, so you can arrive at the ferry port in time. Note that sometimes the ferry may not depart depending on weather conditions and the tide. It is advised to arrive at the port around an hour before departure, to check that the ferry is running as scheduled. But note that due to the tide the ferry times change from day-to-day and the Tioman ferry schedule is updated here.
We would recommend staying with two sides of the island, in the east and west of Tioman. The western side of the island, Pulau beach is where you will arrive on the ferry. There are a number of places to stay this side of the island and it is located next to a marine park. This side of the island you will also be able to watch the sunset on Pulau beach which is beautiful. There are fewer restaurants we found, but still a couple to choose from. It’s definitely more touristy on this side (but you get to see the sunset!).
On the Eastern side of the island at Juara beach, here we really felt the slow pace of island life. This is the perfect beach for anyone who wants to have a peaceful and nature-filled experience. Juara beach is the perfect spot for some soul-enriching time, with the opportunity to really unwind and relax. This was probably our favourite side in the end but we also heard good things about the south of the island being like this too.
Tioman Island relies on deliveries from mainland Malaysia, so be prepared you will not get usual luxuries you may be used to on a resort island. However, that is part of the fun in staying at the Tioman Islands, as it allows you to appreciate the simpler things in life.
Malaysia is a Muslim country, and as such so is the Tioman island. Therefore, expect to hear prayer throughout the island at various times of the day starting at 5AM and ending at 7PM. Despite being a muslim country, dress code is a little relaxed for tourists, but of course do not explore the island in just swimwear, for example. Alcohol is also available at a number of restaurants, depending on whether the establishment has a licence.
It’s also worth noting that you do not need a visa for Malaysia and therefore the Tioman island. Visa is granted on arrival and lasts 90 days.
Tioman islands is one of the more popular islands to visit in the Malaysian peninsula. And it’s no surprise why. There are a range of activities for the adventurer and if you want to relax, there are a multitude of beautiful beaches to enjoy too.
Snorkelling in Tioman Island
There are various marine parks you can snorkel on Tioman Island, and there is snorkelling gear to rent on a number of beaches. If you’re lucky you may spot a blacktip reef shark. We snorkelled just in front of our accommodation on west side of Tioman Island and were fortunate enough to spot a real tiny reef shark and a couple of stingrays! We didn’t see a huge variety of fish though.
Tioman Island Diving
As well as snorkelling in the marine parks, Tioman has a number of dive centres available, meaning you can get up close to the marine life in deeper areas and arrange night time dives. We would recommend using Go Deeper dive school located
TREKKING IN TIOMAN
If you’re not so keen on water activities, Tioman also has lots of land adventures you can take up. Tioman is an island surrounded by thick jungle (you’ll see what we mean if you go by car one way to another!), so take the time to explore the jungle areas and explore. There are a number of treks you can get involved in which lead to various wilderness spots.
We loved Tioman Island for a number of reasons. The simplicity of the culture and way of living had a calming effect during our stay.
To really feel the benefits of this island, we would recommend staying on the East side of the island. Although there is a small resort, it felt much quieter and secluded from the hustle and bustle of the pier. The beach is incredible and surrounded by vast towering jungle. We would recommend staying in a beach hut, although they are very basic, it is completely worth it to wake up and jump in the sea.
Another factor which we really enjoyed about the island, on both the east and west, is that they are very environmentally conscious. There are a number of initiatives along the beach which invite beachgoers to collect rubbish on their walks.
There’s also a number of water filling stations in various spots across the island – this was a massive plus since the water in Malaysia is not drinkable. These are all small wins to help make the Tioman island a sustainable travel destination.
Furthermore, Tioman island is the home of Juara Turtle Project , a turtle conservation project, Juara Turtle Project, which is doing wonders in protecting sea turtle eggs from predators and poachers. The convservation works to monitor the beaches for sea turtles looking to lay their eggs and then manage the hatchery of these eggs.
As well as sea turtle conservation, Juara Turtle Project, work on raising awareness to local and global communities about sustaianable practices to help protect the eco system of the ocean. Furthermore, they are big players in contributing to the waste management and recycling of Tioman Island, in order to keep beaches clean and also work towards Malaysia being a sustainable tourist destination.
They are located at the far end of Juara beach and worth a visit to see all of the amazing work they are doing. We were fortunate enough to watch the release of baby sea turtles that have recently hatched, an amazing and speical experience to our stay.
If this interests you, read more from our conservation projects posts, that we have visited.
That’s everything on Tioman island, we hope you enjoy this post. And if you have any other recommendations for things to do in Tioman island then let us know in the comments. Enjoy your trip!