Home Asia The ultimate travel guide to Tioman Island (2024)

The ultimate travel guide to Tioman Island (2024)

by Hanna
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Salang Beach, Tioman Island, Malaysia

Tioman Island, located in the South-East of Malaysia, is truly a paradise! It’s still rather an unknown destination for the most part of the world. The only time Tioman, also known as Pulau Tioman, gets busier is on weekends when the Singaporeans come. Otherwise, it is a tranquil dreamy paradise with crystal clear waters perfect for snorkeling and diving.

If you compare Tioman to any of the other Malaysian islands it’s nothing like Langkawi or Penang in terms of development. However, it is quite a lot larger and you have more options in terms of accommodation than the Perhentian Islands.

The best part of Tioman Island is the nature, both underwater and on land. On land, there are some rare species of flora and fauna such as Rafflesia cantleyi – the corpse flower or binturong. Underwater there are great waters for both snorkeling or diving with beautiful corals and sea turtles.

Here is my complete guide for this beautiful island of Tioman!

Best season to travel to Tioman Island

Interestingly, in Malaysia, the seasons depend on which side of the country you are on. Tioman Island belongs to the region where the best season is from May to September. The best season for diving is said to be from June to September even though you can dive in Pulau Tioman the whole year round. The poorest months weatherwise in Tioman Island are November to January.

How to get to Pulau Tioman?

Tioman Island can be reached from Mersing Jetty or Teluk Gading. Mersing Jetty is the most popular route and most buses will stop there. Personally, I went to Tioman Island through Teluk Gading because I came from the Perhentian Islands and the bus stopped there. However, if you are coming from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore the bus will most likely take you to Mersing.

From Mersing Jetty, it is a 2h boat ride to Tioman Island. You can either buy the jetty tickets online or directly at the office by the jetty. It’s good to note that not all the boats go to all of the ports so better to do a little bit of research on how you get to your place. Especially Salang may be a bit trickier and you may need to take a taxi boat for the final stretch of the trip.

To get to Mersing Jetty you can take a bus either from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. It’s better to buy the tickets online since especially for Singaporeans Tioman Island is a popular weekend destination.

Book the buses from Kuala Lumpur to Mersing Jetty through this link.

From Singapore to Mersing Jetty you can find the buses here.

Swing on Salang Beach, Tioman Island
Enjoyed the swing on Salang Beach

Where to stay in Pulau Tioman?

In Tioman Island deciding where to stay beforehand is crucial. You may not believe me when I say that the island is huge. Getting from one place to another is not easy or cheap. Not all parts of the island are connected by roads. There is also a mountain in the middle of the island with a steep road through a jungle road. It is a road though, not a path but definitely not something walkable distance-wise. In Tioman you basically choose the beach you want to stay, or like in my case, two of them.

Find Tioman Island hotels here!

Juara Beach

Juara is a long beach, the longest on Tioman Island, and is located on the eastern side of Tioman Island. The beach is separated into two parts and there is a little walk through the road if you want to go from one side to another.

In the low season when the sea is more rough, Juara Beach is known as the surfing destination of Tioman Island. In high season it is a suitable destination for families and for everyone who enjoys swimming. What is good to note is that the southern part of Juara Beach is not flat but has a little downward slope to the water. Just something I didn’t know before going there so thought to share it with all of you.

I stayed in Juara Beach in a hotel called the Barat Tioman Beach Resort which I would recommend. I have no collaboration with them, I was just happy with their rooms, facilities, and services. Otherwise, I wouldn’t say there is much difference in which side of the beach you happen to stay in. Juara Beach doesn’t have corals off the beach and getting to the most dive sites may take a while so it’s good to bear in mind if you are a diver.

Juara Beach, Tioman Island
Juara Beach wasn’t too crowded when I visited there. 😉

Salang Beach

Salang Beach is a quiet village on the western side of Tioman Island. It is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, which I do agree with, so it is perfect if you want to spend your holiday swimming. Salang also has a gorgeous reef right off the beach that is perfect for snorkeling. Try going out just before the sunset and you can see some turtles!

Salang offers different types of accommodation from very basic bungalows to a bit more upgraded rooms. What is good to note is that Salang can be a very quiet place so if you are looking for nightlife, it’s not the best place to stay. However, if you appreciate peace and quiet as well as getting the beach almost to yourself it is a great choice.

One more note if you are a diver. If it is quiet in Salang during your stay (btw, avoid Ramadan if you can when almost everything on the beach is closed), the dive trips may be canceled at least to the further destinations. They will do the nearby dive sites but for the further ones, they want a minimum of 4 clients.

Salang Beach, Tioman Island, Malaysia
Beautiful Salang Beach

Paya Beach

Paya Beach is located on the west coast of Tioman Island and is a popular destination for local and Singaporean tourists. The beach is approximately half a kilometer long and there are accommodations from more upscale resorts to budget hotels.

Tekek

Tekek is the biggest town on the island and has facilities like a bank and a clinic. It’s the most developed part of the island but still has the vibe of a small town. Tekek is also the gateway to Juara Beach. The ferries stop on the pier and the jungle road connects the Western and the Eastern sides of the island. Many different types of accommodation can be found in Tekek and it has the biggest number of dive shops.

Air Batang

Air Batang also known as the ABC Village is located between Tekek and Salang beaches. This is a hotspot for backpackers so if you are looking for a younger vibe and cheap accommodation this is a great choice for you.

Genting Beach

Genting is located on the west coast of Pulau Tioman and is rather a large village bustling with local and Singaporean tourists during weekends. The beach is 1.5 km long and has a good variety of accommodation available. For someone who is looking for a bit more lively location, this could be a good choice.

Salang Beach, Tioman Island, Malaysia

What to do in Tioman Island?

In Tioman Island, the main activities are related to nature. The underwater world is amazing so diving and snorkeling are great activities there if you are into that. If you love snorkeling as much as I do, I would recommend staying in Salang Beach since there is a great reef that you can access directly from the beach. For diving the best dive spots are on the Northwest of Tioman Island so Tekek, ABC or Salang are great choices for scuba divers.

On-land activities include spending time on the beach or going hiking. There are great hikes around the island featuring pristine rainforest and waterfalls. It may be a bit hot to hike there but if you are equipped with enough water and good hiking boots it will be worth it.

You should also check out the Perhentian Islands on your travels in Malaysia if you haven’t yet been there!

Turtle on Salang Beach, Tioman Island
You can see turtles when snorkeling on Salang Beach!

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