Pulau Tioman
Travel Guide

Beautiful beaches, coral reefs, dense jungle, and clear waters. The natural beauty of Tioman Island cannot be overstated; from simple guesthouses to luxurious hotels, it is a great place to reconnect with nature or just to relax and unwind. Browse our full guide below.

Pulau Tioman is a popular tourist destination and a must-see on every Malaysian itinerary. It’s no surprise why. Beautiful beaches, coral reefs, dense jungle, and clear waters. The natural beauty of Tioman Island cannot be overstated; from simple guesthouses to luxurious hotels, it is a great place to reconnect with nature or just to relax and unwind.

The coast is dotted with lightly developed beaches separated by a dense jungle. Spotting monkeys and snakes is common, as is duty-free beer for 50 cents per can.

June, July, and August are the best months to visit Tioman Island. This is usually the busiest time of year as its the dry season. The weather is dry (perfect for outdoor activities) and the island events are in full swing.

Pulau Tioman experiences its wettest months in November, December, and January. This is the time of year when storms can temporarily disrupt ferry schedules. There’ll also be fewer tourists and less activity on the island. Expect some cheaper rates but a poorer selection of activities.

Ferries from Mersing to Tioman are the most economical mode of transport to Tioman. There are usually three Bluewater Express ferries running the route from Mersing each day and one ferry running during the monsoon season. A ferry to Tioman can also be taken from Tanjung Gemok, located 40 kilometers north of Mersing.

The ferry stops at nearly all villages along the west coast when you get to Tioman, which gives visitors plenty of convenience. The ferry ride to the island takes around two hours. Motion sickness pills are recommended during monsoon season when the sea can get rough. During peak season and public holidays, we recommend booking ferry tickets online in advance, since seats tend to sell out quickly.

Mersing has a shallow bay, and ferries can’t operate during low tide, so the ferry service is irregular. The exact departure time also depends on tides. Timetables change almost every day (you can see them here), so arrive early. It is advisable to check the ferry schedule before arriving in Mersing to avoid unpleasant surprises!

How To Get To Mersing

To reach Mersing, you can take a bus from either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. If you arrive too late, you might have to spend a night in Mersing. In general, a trip from KL to Mersing takes about five and a half hours (depending on traffic). From Mersing’s bus terminal, it’s a 15-minute walk to the jetty where ferries depart for Tioman.

A diverse selection of local and international cuisine is available in Pulau Tioman, reflecting the tastes and preferences of its tourists. Tioman’s famous dishes include Malaysian-style favourites such as nasi goreng (fried rice), char kway teow, popiah, sambal and roti canai.

Being an island destination, you can also expect to see lots of seafood barbeque everywhere. You’ll find lots of hawker stalls with fresh seafood displayed in food courts for immediate grilling before being served with gravy. Hotel packages may also include barbecue dinners with chicken wings and seafood for a night.

The more upscale hotels and resorts offer more exotic offerings such as steamboats, continental food and Japanese food.  

When it comes to fruit, Tioman is spot on. Coconut water, which is rich in electrolytes, is a good way to replenish electrolytes lost due to heat. You can buy that almost anywhere around the island. Fruits such as bananas, papayas, and pineapples are also inexpensive and equally delicious!

At one of the two supermarkets in Tekek, you can pick up a bag of fruit to enjoy (a large pineapple costs only RM4), but be aware of the monkeys — they’ll be very curious.

All food prices are higher than usual for Malaysia.

Although Tioman Island doesn’t offer the same affordability as ten or so years ago, travelers on all budgets can find accommodation on the island.

Almost all of Pulau Tioman’s accommodation will be rustic, aside from a handful of large resorts that occupy their own secluded parts of the island. For families traveling together, these are the perfect option. In general, villas, bungalows, and chalets are the most popular types of accommodations.

Accommodations are in high demand during peak season, so you should book in advance.

Whether you are interested in jungle trekking, chilling on the beaches, or scuba diving, Tioman Island offers plenty of fun for beach bums, or outdoor enthusiasts.

Tioman is known for two main things: it’s remote atmosphere and gorgeous underwater life. A snorkel or scuba diving tour is a must while on Tioman, even if you prefer to spend the day in a hammock while reading your favorite book. This is the only way to discover the true beauty of this tropical paradise. Divers can find diving schools throughout the island, and snorkeling and multi-island trips can be arranged by most guesthouses and shops. Click here for more info on Tioman diving spots.

If you aren’t a diver, snorkeling and kayaking are fun options.

Pulau Tioman also offers numerous opportunities for jungle trekking. Trails often follow paths that were once cut for power lines; getting lost is virtually impossible, but fallen trees and steep muddy slopes can present a small challenge.

You can also book a boat trip to Asah Waterfall, the exotic Tioman waterfall seen in the movie South Pacific. Depending on the itinerary, snorkeling and lunch may be included.

Hi-speed ferries from Mersing are the most affordable and easiest way to get to Tioman. Book online with travel agencies associated with Tioman ferry.

Mersing-Tioman-Mersing takes 1.5 hours to 2 hours based on several stops/pickups along the way. Tioman Island has the following drop-off points: Kampung Genting Jetty, Kampung Paya Jetty, Tekek Jetty, Kampung Air Batang Jetty, Panuba Bay Jetty, and Kampung Salang Jetty.

Some important notes:

  • Customers must check in at least an hour before the ferry departs.
  • Check-in/boarding the ferry requires a PDF ferry voucher attached to the booking confirmation email, not the booking confirmation email.
  • The schedule of ferries is subject to change depending on local weather and tide conditions.
  • Ferry schedules are provided by the ferry operators as an estimate of timing.
  • Marine Park Conversation Fees:
    Mersing Jetty: Malaysian: RM10/Adult, RM5/Child; Non-Malaysian: RM25/Adult, RM12/Child
    Tanjung Gemok Jetty: Malaysian: RM5/Adult, RM2/Child; Non-Malaysian: RM30/Adult, RM15/Child 

Get your Tioman ferry tickets here. GoVisitTioman is affliated with Holidaygogogo Tours Sdn Bhd, an official ticketing counter for Tioman Ferry Tickets.

Before you go, here are some travel tips that will be useful for your next trip to Tioman!

Tioman Travel Tips

  1. Tioman Island has only one ATM, located in the village of Tekek. In case the ATM is experiencing problems, you should bring enough cash to last the entire trip.
  2. On the island, finding decent Wi-Fi can be challenging. For those who like to stay connected, ensure the resort you are staying at offers Wi-Fi. SIM cards are the most common access method for residents. If your phone is GSM compatible and unlocked, you can get one for cheap on kiosks around the island.
  3. Before you board your ferry, you will have to pay the MYR30 Marine Park Conservation Fee. It is a one-time fee and is necessary since Tioman has been designated as a conservation area. Have cash on hand since the payment is cash only.
  4. Cats inhabit Tioman in almost every corner – they are friendly and sociable. Upon moving into your bungalow, there may already be one living there.
  5. Snacks and fruits attract monkeys and monitor lizards. While they’re entertaining to watch, be careful about leaving scraps or anything edible nearby. They are always hungry and everywhere, so make sure to hide food in a sealed container in your backpack.
  6. Protect yourself from the sun. When you’re in the ocean, you should wear sunglasses, as well as a hat to protect from the sun.
  7. Don’t even think about bringing alcohol or tobacco into Singapore from Tioman. Many travelers who do this are fined by customs authorities.
  8. You will have to stay for at least 5 days if you are planning on getting your PADI Open Water certification, so you should budget accordingly.
  9. You can hop on a Mersing/Tioman Bluewater Express ferry for around RM15 per trip to travel around the island, but this is only between Salang and Genting.
  10. The cost of renting a scooter for an hour is around RM10. Prices for daily use can be negotiated.
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