According to local legends, the Island is the final resting place of a mythical dragon princess. Fairytales aside, the island is best known for its pristine beaches and blue waters. The crystal clear, turquoise waters offer good visibility making Tioman Island a diver’s paradise.
The popular tv show Survivor (in Holland known as Expeditie Robinson) was shot several times around Tioman Island.
From Kuala Lumpur we took the 11 pm bus from TBS Bus terminal to Mersing for 38 Ringgit p.p. (It is wise to book this bus ahead because you don’t want to miss this bus. Also bring your passport when booking ahead.) This journey from KL to Mersing will take around 6 hours. From Mersing busterminal it is a 10 minute walk to the jetty. The ferry should leave around 6.30 am. Unfortunately there is only one company who sails the boats to the islands, and they decided in all their wisdom that the morning ferry would not go and we had to wait till 10 am at the charming ferry of Mersing. An open return ticket costs 70 Ringgit p.p. and it will take about 2 hours to reach Tioman Island. From here we were picked up by the private boat of the Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort.
The same boat brought us to Air Batang beach a couple of days later.
The food at the restaurant of Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort is really good and affordable. Their breakfast buffet has al you need. We were extremely happy with the muesli and yoghurt because that has been hard to find in Malaysia.
At Air Batang beach (also known as ABC) there are some small restaurants along the beach. Our favorite spot was Sunset Corner where you can order pizza, garlicbread or a salad and put your feet in the sand while eating it. That is what a beach stay is all about!
The Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort is a great place if you just want to relax and enjoy the sun. They have several bungalows either facing the green or the blue. We were really lucky with our bungalow facing the blue. And not only the view was great. Inside we had everything we needed, and more. It’s spacious, the bed is really good without feet sticking out and we felt like movie stars with our white bathrobes and white slippers. Roomrates start at 488 Ringgit.
** You can find them on booking.com
We didn’t book anything in advance and just walked along Air Batang (ABC) beach to find a nice bungalow. With the jetty in your back, walking to the left you'll find the better bungalows. Walking to the right, what we did, you'll find plenty of cheap places suited for a backpackers budget. The bungalows are simple and cheap and have all you need. We stayed at Mokthar’s Place and paid 60 Ringgit for a bungalow with fan and private bathroom.
What can you do on a tropical island with white beaches, blue water and palmtrees? What about getting tanned, go out in the water for some snorkeling or a refreshing dive and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere..? That’s what we did. If you don’t like any of these activities, don’t go to Tioman. If you do like them, here are some tips.
WHEN STAYING AT THE TUNAMAYA BEACH & SPA RESORT
We started with snorkeling at the housereef. If you are lucky, like us, you will spot some turtles, nice colorful fish and even a baby Black Tip Reefshark. Pretty cool! There is also a dive centre on the resort available and the diving is supposed to be quite good here.. After snorkeling, we flushed of the salt water and took a dive in the infinity pool. It’s a great spot to cool down from the warm sun and to watch the boats sail by. We spent quite some hours here.
When we were done chilling, it was time for some action. We got our sweat running during a short jungle trek starting in the middle of the resort. It’s a relatively easy 30 minute ‘walk’ up and once you’ve reached the top, you’ll get rewarded with a nice view overlooking the white beach, blue water and jetties. And after all this hard work, it was time for some relaxing. We laid down on sunbeds on the wonderful beach and did nothing.
WHEN STAYING AT AIR BATANG
Enjoy the beach and the water, but do watch out for sandflies. We got bitten all over so our main activity afterwards was trying to ignore the itch or scratch the skin of. When we were done with the beach, we went for a walk into Tekek town. Not that it’s that much special but if you want to change setting for a couple of hours, it’s a nice way to do so. On the way back, about 10 minutes from Mokthar’s Place, is a nice place for snorkeling called Marine Park. They created an artificial reef and you’ll find lot’s of colorful fish, and other snorkelers here. We had some underwater fun here!