A slice of emerald jungle paradise surrounded by crystal azure waters teeming with life, Tioman Island is an idyllic escape just 32km off the east coast. Declared in the seventies as one of the most beautiful islands in the world, very little has changed. The pace of life is refreshingly slow, WIFI is limited and days can be lazed away listening to the sounds of the jungle.
The warm waters that surround are ideal for snorkelling and diving, with diverse marine life including common sightings of turtles, barracuda, black-tip reef sharks and even nemo! Many resorts offering snorkelling directly from the shore and equipment is included or can easily be rented. Some also have inhouse dive centres.
With the inland covered in thick jungle, hiking is a popular pursuit. Many resorts have their own trails, or for the more adventurous you can trek from Tekek to Juara across the island in 2 hours. Visits to waterfalls and local villages are also possible, as well as deep sea fishing, kayaking and golf. To cap off a lazy day in Tioman, lounge by the ocean and enjoy a refreshingly cheap beer as the island has duty free status, keeping costs down more here than elsewhere in Malaysia.
Much of the accommodation is in the form of simple family run chalets, but our top picks are boutique style offerings on the southern coast. Some places batten down the hatches for the monsoon season but a few in Tioman keep their shutters up throughout the year. We only recommend the island to surfers during the monsoon, as the waves can get pretty fierce. March to October is the best time to visit but be warned that most hotels get busy during the summer months of July and August, so book well in advance to snag the best rooms at our preferred hotels.
Some are put off by the journey to get here, but don’t be foolish – this tropical paradise is worth every second of the drive and boat journey to get here!