Tioman Island (Malay language: Pulau Tioman) is a mukim and an island in Rompin District, Pahang, Malaysia. It is located 32 kilometers (20 miles) off the east coast of the state, and is some 20 kilometers (12 miles) long and 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) wide. It has eight main villages, the largest and most populous being Kampung Tekek in the north. The densely forested island is sparsely inhabited, and is surrounded by numerous coral reefs, making it a popular scuba diving spot. There are also a lot of resorts and chalets around the island which has duty-free status.
The island is served by ferries from the Malaysian mainland, Up to 2013, Berjaya Air serviced the island with a propeller plane service from the Changi Airport in Singapore and nowadays, there is only one company operating the route from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor to Tioman Island. The company are called Systematic Aviation Services, and with a fleet of small single prop Cessna aircraft, the trip takes around 1 hr 15 minutes.
The island is part of Pahang territory, although it is geographically closer to mainland Johor than to mainland Pahang, and is accessed via ferry service from the Johorean coastal town of Mersing. Within Tioman Island there are four kampungs: Salang, Tekek, Juara and Air Batang. The telephone numbers in Tioman start with 09-413, 09-419, 09-582, 09-583 and 09-584.
Scuba facilities are readily available, and the diving is reasonably good, especially in view of the proximity to Singapore. Most villages have a variety of dive shops. Padi Open water courses average at about RM990 (4 day course), and for licensed divers each dive is roughly RM90). You plan to dive and are travelling with small budget? Go to Air Batang (ABC) or Salang since accommodation is about RM50 and you have bigger choice in dive operators. Most of the regular dive sites are situated in the north of the island, close to Salang. (dive sites: Chebeh,, Sea Fan Canyon, Labas, Tiger Reef, Golden Reef, etc). Less explored dive sites in the East of the island are famous for their macro diving. (dive sites: Karang Tohor, Berlabuh, Najoi, Semanjing, Juara House Reef, etc).
Tioman being rich in marine life is a great location for freediving. It’s not uncommon to see turtles and blacktip reefsharks. You can easily get depths of up to 25m off the shore and a good 30m a little further out by boat. Trips can also be made to other dive spots. There’s a freediving centre located in Tekek that is offering certified courses, fun dives and training.
- Freedive Tioman, located within Swiss Cottage Resort, Tekek, ☎ +60 19 7437806. Tioman’s first freediving centre; located right on the beach at Swiss Cottage resort in Tekek. Run by two Apnea Total/AIDA instructors offering certified beginner, advanced and master courses, training facilities and fun dives. Courses available in English and German.
Perhaps the most popular activity for visitors is snorkeling. Most resorts can arrange for speedboats or seabuses to take you to the beaches and small uninhabited islands nearby (such as Pulau Tulai, aka “Coral Island”) and Renggis island where the snorkeling is at its best. The water is almost pristine save for the occasional litter. Just be careful of the small jellyfish, as they can pack a sting, and try not to lose your rental gear or you’ll be subject to the renter’s arbitrary fines. However, snorkeling is fantastic in front of most beaches and can rival that of any snorkeling trip at a fraction of the cost. However, do note that the beaches are home to several “Portugese Man of War”. These prickly creatures tend to rest on rocks and if snorkeling in shallow waters, one should be especially careful of not coming in contact with these. They pack quite a sting and might require medical attention. Snorkelers who are squeamish about brushing against thick clouds of jellyfish in the water (as can happen in the May-September period) can try wearing a long-sleeved shirt or a rash guard when snorkeling. Alternately, you can rent a wetsuit from one of the dive shops if you’re not comfortable with the jellies. You can rent snorkeling equipment for about 15RM/day (mask, scuba, fins). Some of the best locations are as follows.