Tioman Island is one of those paradise islands in the South of China Sea. It is part of Malaysia and it is a small corner for surfers and divers. But before we start, you need to know how to get there. You need to get to Mersing, a small coast town in the East, by plane or bus from Kuala Lumpur. The bus trip is not so bad but it is long, around six hours.
There are few things to do in Mersing besides enjoying Malayan food and you won’t have any trouble finding accommodation as this is a stop to go to the island. Once here you will need to take a boat to the island that takes a couple of hours.
The island has two areas (east and west), but both of them offer the same kind of activities. The west coast is more tourist and you’ll notice as soon as you get off the boat that most visitors stay here. The advantage of this side of the island is that you can get what is missing on the east (supermarket and bank).
But if you decide like we did to go to Juara, the most isolated part of the island, just take a taxi. It is not a very big island and the only road that join both coasts was getting fixed, there is a mountain in the middle of the island which makes it a bit more difficult to go on foot.
We stayed at 1511 Coconut Grove whose owner (Andy), a Malayan who lived in Japan for many years and who was one of the first divers in the area, helped and advised us. The food, as the any Malayan food, is a continuous surprised with many different flavours…
This is a privileged place, in the beach there is only one other lodge Juara Mutiara Resort and a Turtle Sanctuary (an advantage from the more populated west coast). Besides sunbathing, there are a few more activities you can join: surf and scuba dive. Depending on the season, weather can be good for one or another activity. During the monsoon, weather conditions will help the surfers but it reduces visibility for the divers. We took the PADI open water course here and although we didn’t have the best of visibility we enjoyed the coral floors.
If you want to do something different from eating and bathing, there is a hike through the jungle to a very interesting waterfall. Be ware, you should take into consideration humidity before deciding when to go as humidity and heat are not ideal for hiking.
As you see, we were there quite some time ago (2014), have you been there recently? Are you planning on going? Leave us a comment.