Malaysia's Most Laid-Back Island : Tioman

Tioman Island travel guide will let you discover one of the most laid-back island in Malaysia. Finding a way to get there might be tempting and you might wonder if it worth it or not. Well, we enjoy the island way too much that wanted to extend our stay for a week. Our trip to Tioman is a mixed of calmness and a bit of adventure, from trekking in a complex forest, snorkeling, scuba diving, watching the sun goes down while paddling in the wide ocean free and end the day nicely in the hammock at the beach bar 

Beaches in Tioman Island

  • West Coast
    Genting Beach
    Paya Beach
    Tekek Beach
    ABC Beach
    Monkey beach and Monkey Bay
    Salang Beach

  • East Coast where the sun is never set
    Juara Beach
Salang Beach, Tioman Island Malaysia

Tioman Island Travel Guide & Things To Do

1. Scuba Diving in Tioman

Tioman Island is famous for its diverse diving spots and for that reason, many diving schools are scattering around the island. As the saying goes ‘No dive is the same’ could not be more accurate. For those who dive, you don’t need any further statement to be convinced

We went there on the off-season, literally the first customer before high season start. The visibility underwater is not quite clear, but the picture of big school of fishes is pretty clear on my mind

Salang Beach, Tioman Island Malaysia
Salang Beach, Tioman Island Malaysia

2. Tioman Freediving

It goes hand in hand, with more than 25 interesting dive sites that draws both scuba diver and freediver to Tioman island. Most beginners will go to either ABC or Salang for their first dive, most of the one day trip will go to Tioman Marine Park. Explore the underwater world with your own breath with less equipment than scuba, you can hit the water with only a mask, fins and a little breath control

3. Snorkeling in Tioman

Without a doubt, snorkeling is one of the popular activities that you can do in Tioman island. Explore the best spot for snorkeling in Tioman’s marine-rich landscape that you shouldn’t miss in Tioman island travel guide. Our local guide will bring you to the famous dive spots such as Renggis Island, Coral Island (Tulai Island), Malang Rocks (Batu Malang), Marine Park Centre, Monkey Bay, Salang Reef South, or Tomok Island

Tioman Travel Guide

4. Paddling in Tioman

You can explore the coral reefs that full of fishes in the crystal clear ocean just in front the shore area! Most of the resorts will offer paddling boards for rental, let take the board out and soaking in the magical moment before the sundown while paddling in the wide ocean free


Tips: There is a lot of coral reefs near the shore that is quite shallow, if you fall from the standup paddling board. Without a doubt, this one will hurt a lot

Paddling in Tioman Island Malaysia

Tioman Travel Guide

5. Surfing in Juara

It’s time to call out all the avid surfers! as the monsoon season arrived (roughly between November and February). The east coast of the island offer the best condition for surfer to hit the high waves. Heading out to Juara and Mentawak, the best waves is still out there


Juara Beach in Tioman Island Malaysia
Juara Beach in Tioman Island Malaysia

6. Tioman Trekking Route

  • From ABC to Salang
  • From Tekek to Juara
  • From Tekek to Paya and Genting
  • Hiking to Dragons Horns via Uncle Sam’s Trail

Trekking from ABC to Salang

ABC – Panuba – Monkey Beach – Monkey Bay – Salang


The trail start at ABC beach, you need to walk through the concrete path behind Bamboo Hill Tioman into the jungle until you reach Panuba. We met an islander who turned the abandoned homestays into his cribs. Parking the speedboat down the shore, cooking the fresh seafood, get higher than the Empire State and couldn’t be more happier on his own


Tioman Travel Guide
Trekking in Tioman Island


From Panuba, you’ll have to walk through Monkey beach before entering the jungle again to reach Monkey bay. If you want to take a dip, I would recommend to skip Monkey beach and go ahead to Monkey bay. The water is clearer that able to see the fishes from the shore and Monkey bay has a nicer beach area that you can chill before taking a more challenging route to Salang


Monkey Bay in Tioman Island Malaysia
Monkey Bay in Tioman Island Malaysia

The path from Monkey bay to Salang consists of more high slops. Ascending through the complex jungle, covered by big trees and sometimes needed to clear the path yourself (if I didn’t go with a friend, I might seriously consider to trek back the same way lol)

Go high up until you feel the breeze, now it’s time for descending. We went there after the rain – the jungle was wet, not dry hot, but the floor can be a bit slippery that you need to be careful. Keep your ears open until you hear the waves sound. Until then you’ll know, we almost reach one of the most loved beaches in Tioman. Salang!

Salang Beach, Tioman Island Malaysia

Trekking from Tekek to Juara

Tekek – Ali’s Waterfall – Juara

Actually you can take a truck transfer from Tekek to Juara. But we go off the beaten path, trekking through the jungle that consist of high slopes. The jungle is not as thick as Salang route and the path is more clear and developed

Once you got off the jungle, you’ll find the concrete road that leads to Ali’s Waterfall. Stop by to take a dip as the waterfall is located on the mid-way through. If you take a scooter from Juara to Ali’s waterfall, it’ll take only 10mins drive

Trekking in Tioman Island
Ali's Waterfall in Tioman Island Malaysia

Things to Know About Trekking in Tioman Island

  • Follow the electric pipeline if you’re lost
  • There is monkeys in the jungle, so be careful of your belongings
  • Thorn plants can be found and sometimes block the way. That one was really hurt
  • Beware of spider web, nothing dangerous just annoying (our friend face was covered by spider web as we trekking through the jungle)
  • Long pants, shirt and proper shoes are highly recommended
  • Bring swimwear, insect repellent, and sunscreen
  • Make sure you bring enough water and snacks
  • Use to navigate as there is no signal
  • It’s not a loop trail, you can take a car/boat transfer on the way back

Trekking in Tioman Island
Trekking in Tioman Island

How To Visit Tioman Island

By Bus
You can take the bus from Kuala Lumpur or Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) that will take around 5-6 hours to reach Mersing Jetty. Tioman is also the nearest island from Singapore, travelers usually take a direct bus from Singapore to Mersing Jetty that will take around 5hrs

Choose the destination as ‘Mersing Jetty’ for your most convenient, so you can take the ferry directly from the bus stop. Mersing Bus Station located 10mins walk from Mersing Jetty

The Ferry

Two main ferry companies of Bluewater and Cataferry will take you from Mersing Jetty to Tioman Island that will take around 2hrs. Beaches on the west coast, the ferry will stop at Genting first, followed by Paya, Tekek, ABC, and Salang. Passenger to Juara and Mukut will need to take a separated ferry

Tioman Travel Guide

Traveling to Tioman

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Getting Around Tioman

The island is easy to navigate, you can choose whether to walk, rent a bike or scooter. Tekek and ABC is connected, but other beaches is not, you might need to take a taxi boat or take on a little adventure by trekking through the forest

Tips: The most convenient way to travel from west to east coast is to hire a truck (that will cost around 40RM/pax). As the road has a high slope, every scooter rental shops will have a disclaimer that you cannot drive from Tekek to Juara (well, as they said, we tried to drive there but couldn’t make it lol)

Tioman Travel Guide

Tioman Travel Guide

Where To Stay in Tioman Island

We stayed at ‘Swiss Cottage Tioman’ that  located by the end of Tekek beach on the west coast. The beach front bungalow was quiet and for that, allow us to get in line with the ocean. The coral can be found just by the shore, snorkeling gear and paddling board can also be rented with the resort

Tioman Travel Guide
Tekek Beach, Tioman Island Malaysia

Book Hotel in Tioman

What To Eat in Tioman Island

The seafood in Tioman didn’t fail us at all, cooking fresh and nicely done. But our go-to restaurant was ‘Tioman Cabana Beach Bistro’ located by the beach front, hippy décor, good vibes, nice hammock and delicious food. It is one of the rare restaurants that you can BYOB (bring your own bottle) to savor your meal

Tips: Buy drinks at duty free shop, its so much cheaper!

Tioman Travel Guide