Tioman (Malay: Pulau Tioman) is a small island, 20 km long and 12 km wide, off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia.
Tioman’s beaches were depicted in the 1958 movie South Pacific as "Bali Hai". In the 1970s, Time magazine selected Tioman as one of the world’s most beautiful islands. The densely forested island is still sparsely inhabited. Also it is surrounded by numerous white coral reefs, making it a haven for scuba divers from around the region.
Already the most commercially developed of Malaysia’s eastern islands, a controversial RM 40 million marina project for Kampung Tekek, complete with 175 m cargo jetty, now threatens to speed up the pace of development on Tioman considerably. However, visitors with an aversion to such progress can avoid this part of the island and stay elsewhere without any impact.
You will find enormous monitor lizards across the island, sifting through the rubbish piles looking for food. There is also an abundance of domestic cats.
Rubbish control on the island is still in a development stage, apart from in some of the resorts. So expect some less than pristine circumstances, but there is no doubt that by June 2011 places such as Air Batang were making progress on this front.
No matter which way you choose to arrive, a marine park fee of RM30 (March 2018) should be levied on all visitors to the island. For the ferry travellers, pay it right at the ferry port in Mersing.
Most visitors arrive by ferry from Mersing on the mainland. Bluewater Express operates the ferry services and its boats are fast and comfortable taking approx. 1 hr 20 min to the first jetty. This ferry is now the only option, the smaller and faster services being cancelled because of safety concerns after a tragedy. Unfortunately in countries that cannot afford to patrol their regulations well, some ferry companies overcrowd their vessels. If you ever feel uncomfortable boarding a vessel for any reason, refuse. A good way to avoid this is to avoid the last vessel as it is always the busiest. The boat is sometimes boarded by the Malaysian coast guard but it appears that the operators are aware of when this will take place and take pains to follow the rules only on those days.
There are one to three services per day in each direction, depending on tides. Bluewater Ferry charges RM35 (RM45 on public holiday) for an adult ticket, RM25 for a child ticket (babies in arm free, as of last info) and deposit travellers at Tekek, Air Batang Genting, Paya and Salang. The ferry operator tends to leave Mersing when the tide is high enough, when there are sufficient passengers aboard, or perhaps they are waiting for a connecting bus. Hence, it may not always be possible to strictly adhere to the timetable and you should leave sufficient buffers (1-2 hours) or prepare yourself to spend a night in Mersing.
In Mersing, the ferry port is about 1 km down the river from the bus terminal. Face the river and go right. Follow through the commercial centre of Mersing, past the stadium to river mouth. The bus may also drop you off at the corner where a conveniently located travel agent will attempt to sell you accommodation on the island. It may suit some to make a booking in the town before going to the island, others may prefer to take their chances and check out the offerings there.
If the afternoon ferry (4:30PM) is not running, one may have to stay in Mersing, which can be a fairly low expectation affair, depending on demand. Suggestion is to head straight to the ferry terminal, buy a ticket and worry about other matters later. Alternatively, you simply buy your ferry tickets in advance at Bluewater's official website, so your ferry seats are guaranteed. If you are not heading for the island, boats are available for private boat charter, scuba dive, fishing & Islands Tour along Jalan Dato Onn, Mersing.
Tanjung Gemuk having option for traveller with good and reputable ferry operator named Cataferry which provide secure and proper online booking system at www.cataferry.com.
During the monsoon season (late Oct to mid Feb) the ferries run much less frequently and exceptionally bad conditions may shut them down completely for several days or weeks.
Since 2004, there are no direct ferries to/from Singapore’s Tanah Merah ferry terminal available.
If you are coming from Johor Bahru with the bus of 2:30PM or later, there is a big chance to have no more ferry when you arrive and you will be force to take a night at Mersing. Enjoy it and take time for shopping as it will be more expensive on islands. Most shops will be close in early morning (before 10AM), but some restaurants serve all night long.
By dive operator
Many dive operators in Singapore operate their own trips to Tioman, and this would usually include taking a bus from Singapore to Mersing, then boarding a dive boat for Tioman in Mersing. While it might be more expensive, this would probably be one of the most hassle-free ways to visit Tioman.
- 1 Tioman Airport (TOD IATA, also known as Pulau Tioman Airport) (located next to Tekek village, Kampung Tekek). Scheduled commercial services to Tioman Airport have ceased, so flying in is only an option if you have your own private aircraft, or if you charter one.
Tekek has a harbour with substantial wave break walls. The Tekek anchorage does not look like the nicest part of Tioman to hang about in, especially given the carefully chosen high intensity sky polluting orange lights installed in abundance. With any luck for all residents and visitors to the island the usual non-existent standards of maintenance will apply and these lights will fail over time.
The map shown on this page has an incorrect scale shown; as an estimate, the distance between Kg Paya and Kg Bunut on the west coast is 1 kilometre.
Local transport is by bike, cars at Tekek, and by boat. A concrete road runs through Tekek, extending from the Berjaya resort in the south, past the airport, and to the northern end of Tekek village. There is a concrete path running the 800 m of Air Batang area and believe it or not: the Air Batang locals bought about 20 scooters and drive up and down this 800-m path that ruins the calm for the tourists. Elsewhere there are almost no roads on Tioman. Cars may charge around RM20 for the short distance from the end of Tekek jetty/parks info office to the airport and up to RM120 for the biggest distance with a minimum of 2 or 4 passengers.
The east-west concrete track was started by the Japanese in WWII and was re-opened several years ago. It follows the main electricity cable between Tekek and Juara. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is required. When you arrive you may be asked for up to RM175 to charter a whole vehicle to take you across. In May 2012 chartering a whole vehicle from Juara to Tekek cost RM60, though individual passengers in shared vehicles were quoted as RM35/head. It takes 45 min and is an interesting, steep and hairy ride.
By far the best and cheapest way of hopping from one village to the other is to use the Mersing/Tioman ferry service. On its way to and from Mersing it goes between Salang in the north and Genting in the south. The ferry will take you to most villages between from RM20 per person (for the Bluewater ferry) and is much cheaper than the private speedboat services. As of July 2011, the ferry operators do not appear to be charging for the island-hopping.
Speedboats charge from about RM20–60 for a single trip, depending on the destination. For example, a speedboat from Salang to Tekek will cost about RM30, but a trip from Salang to Juara will cost about RM60–100. Although you can try to negotiate, they know full well that they're the only game in town (unless you hike). A single trip by boat as far as from the west coast to the east coast is RM150 and can be shared if there are more passengers. Expect to pay double at night.
There are 4WD "taxis" from Tekek to Juara. They may ask for RM75 (single person), RM120 total (two persons) or RM35 each (min. 4 persons).
Don't be forced into using those who tout directly outside the airstrip. Slow down to local pace and take your time over everything.
There are several jungle treks , following the power lines, which connect the villages. Depending on your condition and preferences, it could be better to have walking/trekking shoes and long pant.
- Tekek - Juara It is relatively easy to cross the island on foot from Tekek to Juara. The path up from Tekek is a well established but unpaved, 7-km-long, 300-m-high track along the powerline with occasional stone steps to assist and a few fallen tree trunks to keep things interesting. It's feasible with a small backpack, but fairly strenuous, so allow plenty of time (at least two hours each way for the trail itself, or three and a half hours if crossing from settlement to settlement). In Tekek, the trail starts north of the airport (see the Do section). There is no cheap way to go back. Alternatives to walking are speed boat or 4WD, RM50–100.
- Tekek - Air Batang It is also possible to walk from Tekek to Air Batang (ABC), and the 3.5-km path is relatively level. Just go north along the concrete path.
- Air Batang - Monkey Bay Again following the power cable, the hike is possible, though this is less level. First comes Panuba resort. Next there is Monkey Beach which is beautiful (it takes about 70 min to get from ABC to Monkey Beach). Make sure to follow the established trail by the power cable. Shortly thereafter is Monkey Bay. The two lie next to each other (in fact, one can swim out of the bay of Monkey Beach and reach Monkey Bay on the right without problems). There is hut at Monkey Bay. Don't try it with a heavy backpack.
- Monkey Bay If you continue along Monkey Beach to it's northern end, you will find a foot path that leads to the side of Monkey Bay, a very pretty hourglass indented beach. The foot pad is subject to treefall so expect it to be hard to follow in places, but panic not if you lose the path, use your head and nut it out. The more use the better the path will get. Both beaches offer very good snorkelling. The other way to reach them is by water taxis. There are ruins of attempts to set up business here, but otherwise no development, but the writer definitely saw a family of monkeys, who ignored the humans and didn't seem to expect any food. Of course don't feed them.
- Monkey Bay - Salang Keep following the power cable to get to Salang. Remember to follow the power lines, since the path may be hard to see sometimes. This path is more steep than the previous paths. It may take up to 90 min for this part of the hike. Don't try it with a heavy backpack.
Air Batang (ABC village)
Originally the village was named Ayer Batang / Air Batang, word by word translation means water stick; traditionally people used bamboo sticks to carry water here. A long time after this, the first to build chalets in the village named them Ayer Batang Chalets, (ABC) and the name stuck.
Today ABC is a small village with one small path crossing from north to south, following the coast line, no cars, just some motorbikes (sometimes driven by children).
The people living here are mostly quiet, enjoying their relaxed way of living and the untouched mood of their village. Their spirit and value are strong and as long as you respect them, people will respect you.
Don’t expect a party place, there are a few bars and occasional parties, but the main purpose here is about relaxing, meeting other people, diving and trekking. This is also a major reason people visit ABC, for this balance between traditions and respect for other people, but also for the possibility to enjoy a fresh drink on the beach.
Being a small village close to the jungle also brings different kinds of visitors: monkeys and giant monitor lizards, these guys are regularly crossing your path, reminding you that they know the place more that you ever will. Lastly the most unavoidable animals are the cats, they are everywhere, sleeping or craving your food and affection.
Walk along the path (it will take you about 40 min to go from one side of the village to the other) enjoy the sea and the giant trees, have your lunch on a terrace and observe life moving around you. In the evening have a cocktail while talking with some locals or travellers and fall a sleep with the sound of the waves or the music of the jungle…
The local village is spread back from the little track which follows the line of the sea. People live all over the place normally in simple huts. The tourist huts and accommodation is within 20 m of high water mark.
Juara is a very quiet beach at the east coast especially in the off season, when almost nobody is there. There are three rivers coming from the mountains, delivering cold freshwater to the beach, a chilling alternative to swimming in the sea.
A path leads to waterfalls in the jungle, which is nice for a swim and climb over the large rocks.
The place is divided into two beaches that are separated by a small hill, which is said to be the "origin" of Tioman. Some locals say: "you have not been on Tioman, if you did not stand on these rocks".
- The beach more towards the north where the jetty has very nice sand but with some dead coral in the shallow water. Swimming is OK, but walking in the water can be painful. At both ends of this beach is the mouth of one of the rivers.
- The beach more towards the south is even quieter. The sand again is very nice and there are no obstacles in the water. At the south end of this beach the last of the three rivers meets the sea.
- At the southern end of Mrntawak beach there is a turtle hatchery.
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 RM100). You plan to dive and are travelling with small budget? Go to Air Batang (ABC) since accommodation is about RM30 and not RM40 like in Salang.
- 1 B&J Dive Center, Salang Village. Has two full-service dive shops, at Air Batang and Salang. A very accommodating bunch of people with good dives. B&J can cater to technical divers offering nitrox and trimix as well as deeper wreck expeditions. Can also help to arrange accommodation.
- 2 Blue Heaven Divers, Air Batang (Take the path on your left from the ABC Jetty), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 8:30AM to 7PM daily. Small, friendly dive centre. Blue Heaven Divers can also help you to arrange your accommodation.
- 3 [dead link] DiveAsia - PADI 5 Star IDC, Salang Village (From the jetty, turn left, walk straight and it's on the left.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Established in 1976. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Excellent dive sites (Salang is best for diving). Helpful with arranging accommodation. The first and only Instructor Development Centre on Tioman Island. Services include boat dives, day and night shore dives, equipment servicing, air/nitrox/trimix refill, hydro testing, PADI recreational dive courses (Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Emergency First Response, Rescue Diver, Master Scuba Diver, Divemaster and Instructor). RM900 for PADI Open Water course.
- 4 [dead link] Eco Divers, Air Batang (At the Air Batang jetty, go south (turn right) for 200 m), ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A small diving centre with limited equipment and good diving courses. RM90–110 for a fun dive..
- [dead link] Fisherman Divers. Very professional PADI certified dive shop with experienced instructors & divemasters and really friendly staff. They can provide Nitrox (EANx) fills as well. Located at Salang beach, opposite to Four "S" cafe.
- 5 Ray’s Dive Adventure, Air Batang (450 m south (turn right) of the Air Batang jetty), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Dive with local guided Shamrock to explore underwater world. With friendly and helpful staff and have experienced divers. Provides accommodation too for divers. RM90–110 for a fun dive.
- Tioman Dive Centre, ☏ . Enjoy diving in clear blue waters over beautiful coral reefs teeming with marine life. Tioman is perfect for both learning to dive (TDC offer a comprehensive range of PADI dive training courses) and diving for fun at over 20 dive sites. Safety is, of course, their primary concern, but your fun and enjoyment are also important. They maintain a friendly, informal atmosphere in the dive centre.
- [dead link] Tioman MyDive Centre Sdn Bhd (Tioman MYDC), tekek village, Tioman Island (Next to Tioman Cabana), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. always open. PADI Dive Resort; tuition and fun diving available in English, French, Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay. Very professional and welcoming staff. Great new gear with good prices.
- 6 Scuba Do Dive Centre, Lot 423A (Juala village), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. provides scuba diving courses including Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Nitrox, Rescue, Divemaster and Instructor.
- De Dive Centre, Kampung Paya, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Provides dive arrangement facilities by PADI dive professionals.
Perhaps the most popular activity for visitors is snorkelling. 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 snorkelling 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, snorkelling is fantastic in front of most beaches and can rival that of any snorkelling trip at a fraction of the cost. However, do note that the beaches are home to several "Portuguese Man of War". These prickly creatures tend to rest on rocks and if snorkelling 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. Snorkellers 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 snorkelling. Or, you can rent a wetsuit from one of the dive shops if you're not comfortable with the jellies. You can rent snorkelling equipment for about RM15/day (mask, scuba, fins). Some of the best locations are as follows.
- Paya: A group of rocks adjacent from the beach offers a variety of colourful coral and fish.
- Tekek: The marine park, 3 km north of Tekek, has a man-made artificial reef just off its jetty. The visibility can be questionable and theres not much coral but is teeming with fish.
- Air Batang: The best village for snorkelling. At ABC (the far end of the beach) one can snorkel around the rocks towards Panuba with a full reef full of colourful coral and fish. Its not too deep, making it perfect for snorkelling. Even more colourful is the reef on either side of the jetty where one can see turtles and a vast garden of yellow coral.
- Salang: South of the jetty the coral begins almost as soon as the water is deep enough to swim in, offering some great views of a variety of fish and even turtles to the less confident swimmer. Following the rocks further out and around the headland gives an even greater variety of marine life. It is also worth swimming out to the small island just off the headland for the possibility of seeing black tip reef sharks.
For the surf junkies, Tioman receives swells up to 2 m from the South China Sea. They only come during the wet season (Nov – Mar) and only hit the eastern side of the island.
- 7 Beach Shack Surf, Juara (1.4 km south from Juara jetty), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Located in front of the Juara beach, this is one of the oldest surf centres on the island. You can rent boards from RM20/hr and take lessons.
- 8 Tekek – Juara jungle trek (From the Tekek jetty, turn left (north) and follow the road till you see a "to Juara" sign on your right. Past the Jamek Mosque, follow the road up to the power station.). In front of the power station closed doors, you will see a discreet "to Juara" sign on your right. Go around the power station fence on an uncleared path and spot the red and white plastic stripes knotted to the trees that mark the track. Climb uphill (320 m elevation) between rocks and concrete steps for 2 km, following either the powerline or the waterpipes collecting drinking water in the waterfalls. Reach the concrete road on top of the mountain and slowly descent for 4.5 km to the Juara jetty. Count 1½ hour (athletic pace, no backpack) to 2½ hours (normal pace, full backpack), significantly more if you want to stop along the way. Take plenty of water (and optionally bug repellent). You can refill water bottles in the stream that feeds the Tekek town as drinking water catchment area about half way. Bear in mind that the path is unlit and that it gets dark early in the jungle (especially on the Tekek side).
- 9 Waterfall trail. To reach the waterfalls, just follow a marked path for about 30 min. The path starts at the south beach, next to the turtle breeding farm. Opposite of the great rocks, which lie on the beach. The path is marked by the bottoms of cans, nailed to the trees and painted yellow and red. At the beginning of the path there are three such signs at a tree. If you walk along the only concrete road towards south to the turtle breeding farm, you can not miss it.
- Juara Turtle Project (about 30 min of crossing to tetek by walk), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. open during the day to visitors. Available volunteer and group programs. sea turtle conservation , sustainable living, and habitat protection. privately funded and operated. 1-2 hr to understand more how live sea turtle and how to preserve them, you may see eggs or injured sea turtles depending on current situation. Minimum donation of RM10 as entrance fee.
Tioman is a duty-free zone and offers a good selection of alcohol and cigarettes at very cheap prices. The main outlet is "Vision Duty Free"
- 1 Vision Duty-free, Lot 90, Tekek (past the hopital and school, along the airport track), ☏ . 7AM – 10PM. Chang or Skol beer RM2.50, Heineken RM3.50, 1 liter Absolut Vodka RM48, 1 liter local gin or vodka RM22. Duty-free chocolate boxes too.
All the other villages have small outlets, but no alcohol can be found there.
In case you intend to purchase alcohol or cigarettes and carry them into neighbouring Singapore, then you would need to pay duty on these goods and hence the cost advantage vanishes. Refer to Singapore customs website on duty free allowances; the Singapore authorities can be pretty strict, always declare tobacco and alcohol to Singapore customs officials and be prepared to pay high duty or dispose of the items.
One ATM is available at Tekek:
- 2 Bank Simpanan Nasional, Tekek (from Tekek jetty, cross the small bridge and turn left for 100 m).
- Snorkelling equipment. Can be bought in the larger shops in Telek if you prefer not to rent it.
Depending on where you eat, food can be quite expensive on Tioman, compared to other places in Malaysia. Western food can be up to RM15 per plate, whilst local food is cheaper (between RM8-12). Especially if you eat at the restaurants attached to the resorts and chalets, you should plan around RM 30 per day (good breakfast, lunch and dinner). "Street food" in the form of fried rice or burger booths can be found everywhere, but the opening times are unclear.
During Ramadan, most of the restaurants around the island are closed for lunch.
The 1.5 l bottle of water costs RM4, some places offer refill with locally filtered water for RM1-2. Canned soft drinks are about RM3, beer starts at RM3 (Skol Beer at local shop), but note that you cannot take/consume alcohol in some restaurants.
- 1 Aqiss Bistro (On your left when arriving at Air Batang Jetty), ☏ . 7-11PM sometimes during lunch. Real nice place to be, beach restaurant with fusion food and burgers (no alcohol but you can bring your own one).
- 2 Arini's Family Restaurant (Arini's Restaurant), ABC Beach (Ayer Batang) (From ABC jetty on your left), ✉ email@example.com. noon-2PM. A small family restaurant on the ABC beach. The food is well prepared by the owner himself and the menu is an eclectic mix of many cultures with the Malayan traditional food as the main focus. The mixes of spices and herbs are done to taste and "in action" by "Man" himself. Chicken and egg burger
- 3 Ketapang Roof, Air Batang (Just on your left from Air Batang jetty). 3-10PM. Peaceful place with music to have a drink, chill, play games or read a book. Good sandwiches (baguette), no alcohol but you can bring your own.
- 4 Roti Canai, Air Batang (On your left at ABC jetty). 7-10PM and morning sometimes. Place to eat roti and noodle soup.
- 5 Hijau, Air Batang (Nazri's Place 2). 8AM-10AM, noon-2PM, 7-10:30PM.
- 6 [dead link] ABC Restaurant, Air Batang (At the end of the path on your left coming from the jetty). breakfast lunch and diner.
- 7 Fiqthya Café, Air Batang (From the jetty on your left). brakfast-lunch-diner.
- 8 Johan's restaurant, Air Batang (On the left coming from the ABC jetty). lunch-diner.
- 9 South Pacific Restaurant, Air Batang (On your left at ABC jetty). breackfast and diner.
- 10 Zinza Café, Air Batang (Just on your right from ABC jetty). breakfast and lunch.
- 11 Nordin's Café, Air Batang (On your right at ABC jetty). breakfast and lunch.
- 12 Mawar Restaurant, Air Batang (On your right at ABC jetty). breakfast-lunch-diner.
- 13 Tioman House Café, Air Batang (On your right from ABC jetty). breakfast and lunch.
- ThaiFun Restaurant (ThaiFun 2011), near Berjaya Tioman Resort. 24 hr/day. Thai restaurant opened in 2011. You can watch Thai television there.
Food options in Juara are not particularly exciting. As everywhere on the island, the prices are a bit high.
If you are staying at Juara Mutiara, avoid the buffet-style breakfast they try to sell you, one look at it will tell you why - and yes it is possible to just book a room, at a discount, without any food included. While they don't sell alcohol, they are ok with BYO.
- 14 Bushman’s. Food is ok, but if you are hungry order at least two mains per adult, or a lot of sides. Bushman's serves beer, but it's lukewarm and the selection is limited, with only Tiger and Chang on offer (RM5/can). They also sell wine at RM35/bottle.
There is also a Chinese restaurant which has a great view from its veranda overlooking the beach, so even if you don't feel like you want to eat there its a great place to have a drink before dinner. The food is decent, but relatively pricey for what it is. The beer selection is good, from RM3-7 per can/bottle, and drinks arrive ice-chilled - always a bonus in the tropics.
- 15 Santai Bistrot, Juara (Right in front of the Juara jetty), ☏ . One of the biggest restaurants on Juara. Great selection of local food, seafood available depending on the season. Wins hands down in terms of tastiness. Ambiance, however, is not their strong point, so seek out other options if you are after a romantic dinner location.
- 16 Juara Beach resort, Juara (from the jetty, turn right (north) for 200 m). Restaurant attached to the resort with decent prices and good atmosphere.
The food in Salang is similarly priced and there is a variety of western and local fare. For those who enjoy seafood there are numerous barbeque restaurants offering freshly caught fish, shrimp, squid and crabs, these begin opening around 7PM.
Village restaurant at Coral Reef Holidays the most Malay and western food also good view (by the beach).
If you want nightlife and atmosphere, there are some bars between Tekek Village till Air Batang which serve everything from cheap beer to cocktails and most do bonfire nights on the beach on occasions.
- Ari's Cafe, Between ABC and Tekek (make your way from ABC to Tekek, You can't miss it.).
- 1 B&J Bar, Air Batang (250m north from the Air Batang jetty, near Johan’s guesthouse). Has a large selection of cocktails and liquors. Very chilled out.
- 2 Hallo Bar, Air Batang (from the Air Batang jetty, walk north (turn left) for 600m till Nazri II restaurant). Fantastic beach bar, perhaps the best on the island. Beautifully arranged, cheap alcohol with a great atmosphere. Beer, like at most bars on Tioman is 3 for RM10 from 5-7PM. Otherwise expect to pay RM5 a can.
- 3 Sunset Cafe, Air Batang (710m south (turn right) from the Air Batang jetty, in front of Nazri I restaurant). Serves a variety of homemade pizza ranging from RM18-25, sunset bar is right on the beach. No alcohol in this bar but you can bring your one own.
- 4 Ketapang Roof, Air Batang (Just on your left from Air Batang jetty). 3-10PM. Peaceful place with music to have a drink, milkshake, ice cream, no alcohol but you can bring your own one.
- Bar Rumba, Genting (5 minutes walk north from the jetty). Newly opened in 2011, cony intimate place right on the beach run by a friendly young local couple who have taken a lot of effort to give the place an individual feel: coral chandeliers, driftwood construction, amazing tree and swinging picnic table. Drinks are a decent price and the cocktails are really well made.
- 5 Mañana, Juara (1.4 km south from Juara jetty), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Wooden open air lounge/terrace at the beach with cushions, very good selection of chilled music in the evening, good food and a nice flair. But don't expect any wild parties going on there.
- Tioman Cabana Bar, Tekek (between Coral Reef Holidays Chalets & Wak Cottage). 8PM to 3AM. Good selection of music from the 70s onwards, Sells beer and cocktails, also hosts private parties. Fireball (poipoi) shows and lessons most nights, plus bonfires The owners are backpackers and also good place to meet backpackers, travellers and locals. Coconut tree, bamboo and tree building.
While the most commercialized of Malaysia's East Coast islands, Tioman has yet to be invaded by mass tourism on the scale of Penang or Langkawi and there are plenty of cheap beds to be found. However, if you are heading for anywhere other than the backpackers' villages, reservations are advisable as getting to some of the more remote kampungs can be a hassle. Some places stay open year round, but many close for the monsoon season (typically end of October to mid/late February).
Most of Tioman's backpacker accommodation is in the north of the island, with numerous budget chalet operations clustered around Salang and Air Batang (sometimes also referred to as ABC - although this is the name of the resort at the northern end of the beach, not the beach), and to a lesser extent Tekek. Dorm beds start about RM 20, single rooms (huts) around RM 40 and up.
Air Batang (ABC village)
- 1 Johan’s, Air Batang (250m north (turn left) from Air Batang jetty). Dorm RM20, chalet RM35.
- 2 Mokhtar's Place, Air Batang (550 south (turn right) from Air Batang jetty). Room from RM30.
- My friend's place, Kg Air Batang. RM25 onward.
- Nazri's Place, ☏ . Kg. Air Batang. RM80 onward.
- South Pacific, Kg Air Batang. RM45 onward.
- Y & P chalets, Kg Air Batang. RM20 onward.
- Mawar beach chalets & restaurant. mosquito screen, fan, only 1 power outlet/fan, clean, no towel/soap/repellent/trashbin/blanket about RM30.
A quieter beach on the east coast, also has a selection of budget rooms at similar prices. Surf season from November through February (monsoom).
- 3 Juara Mutiara Resort, Juara (200 m south from Juara jetty.). Single room fan or A/C RM30/100.
- 4 Beach Shack Chalet, Juara (1.4 km south from Juara jetty), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A friendly and tranquil chalet resort and surf center. Provides basic huts and small restaurant right on the beach. Ask for the dorm if you’re on a budget. Dorm RM15, Room RM40+.
- Paradise Point, ☏ , . is right on the beach; six rooms with fan and attached bathroom (cold shower), double (RM30), triple (RM60). May collect you if you phone ahead.
- Salang Indah Resorts, ☏ . Kg Salang. RM50 onward, no wifi
- [dead link] Salang Pusaka Resort (Khalid`s Place ). Kg Salang. RM45 onward.
- Babura Seaview. RM55 and up.
- 5 Coral Reef Holiday. RM40 and up.
- 6 Tioman Cabana, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Bed & breakfast, beach bistro with food and drinks.
- Wak Cottage (previously Sri Tioman). RM25 and up.
Practically every kampung on the west coast of the island has a self-styled resort or two. A typical air-conditioned chalet will set you back in the vicinity of RM 100, although significant discounts can be negotiated in the off-season, in package deals or by showing up and smiling. In off-season it is advisable to just show up and pick the best and cheapest spots. Genting resorts are largely owned and operated by friendly local fisherman families. For the support of the local community, you are likely to have a chance to pick the best fish at the beach in the evening and have it prepared by the women.
Air Batang (ABC village)
- 7 Bamboo Hill Chalets, Air Batang (on your left from ABC jetty). Northern end of Air Batang. A very small resort with six rooms. RM70-120. The boulder-top chalets are simple (no A/C or hot water or TV) but to a very high standard, and all directly overlook the sea. The majority of guests are repeat visitors, and booking well in advance is pretty much essential. Closed during the monsoon season.
- 8 COZY Inn, Air Batang (On your left from the ABC jetty).
- 9 Nazri's Place, Air Batang (On your right from ABC jetty), ☏ . You can camp too there with the price of RM3 person per day. Ask to build camp next to pizza "hut" near beach. This camp place will suit for 2 tent (4-man tent). There are fields behind for more tents, but it is far from the beach.
- 10 Nordin Chalet, Air Batang (On yout right at ABC jetty).
- 11 Panuba Resort, Air Batang (Panuba boat from ABC jetty), ☏ . Located at a very small kampong about 200 m north of Air Batang and the second last ferry stop. This kg has now been subsumed by an adhoc collection of accommodation structures that climb the rocky headland. The growing technical prowess of the builders results in a mixed grill of style from Malaysian hut to alpine chalet, and a switch from environmentally sympathetic timber to more intrusive concrete, the remnants of previous structures being carelessly preserved. From RM45 to RM140 en-suite, A/C, kettle (but no tea or coffee) breakfast, and a view from a balcony. In front is a 100-m beach which is great for swimming at the top half of the tide, and a reef for snorkeling. Restaurant kampong grown fruit and drinks. Tiger beer at RM5 and red wine, sold from the snorkeling gear hire shop.
- 12 Tioman House, Air Batang (On your left from ABC jetty).
- Paya Beach Resort, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Kampung Paya (south of Tekek). A typical Tioman resort featuring an almost-private beach, a particularly good restaurant, a swimming pool, a dive shop, spa experience and chalets of varying standards. The crumbling Standard chalets are poor value, and occasionally sandflies will leave defacing bites on younger tourists; the newer Superiors are much better. Get a package here as the rack rates are extortionate. It includes 2 way ferry tickets, accommodation and meal/activity arrangement. RM160.
- [dead link] Tioman Paya Resort. Located behind the Paya Beach Resort, this resort is in need of upgrading. The chalets have hot water, A/C and TV. However, the A/C in the chalets are of the 1980s model that can vibrate strongly. The toilet is not what you expect to see in a mid-range resort, and the towels and blanket are very worn out.
- Ella Place. Located at the northern end of Salang Bay and one of the quieter options in Salang. A few small, simple chalets all face the sea. Each chalet has a fan and an attached bathroom with cold shower, while some also come with air-conditioning.
- Coral Reef Holidays, ☏ , (mobile). Located on a relatively private beach and is the longest beach in Tekek Village,With main facilities like restaurant, cafe, diveshop, laundry. Various rooms are available with a choice of either a seaview and/or garden view room. Rates from RM45 to RM150 per room.
- Swiss Cottage, ☏ . Swiss Cottage, where Tioman Dive Centre is based, was one of the first chalet operators on Tioman. The resort has a variety of rooms built around a central area which is shaded by trees. It has a relaxed feeling and is a great place to hang out. The resort has 5 types of room, all of which are fan cooled, except for the Terrace A/C rooms and Garden View Chalet A/C. Fan is usually sufficient given the beach front location. All rooms are with bathroom and hot water shower, breakfast is included in the price.
- Coral Resort Kampung Mukut, ☏ . RM100 A/C room, wifi RM5 for 5 days. Refurbished older resort under new management.
- Idaman Beach Holiday, from RM80 per night. The only resort on the southern side of the jetty, Idaman Beach Holiday is located on a beautiful stretch of beach. The rooms are simple and can accommodate two to four persons. All rooms face the beach and it is only a few steps from your doorstep to the shore.
- [formerly dead link] Melina Beach Resort. About halfway between the Genting and Paya jetties, Melina Beach Resort is a small, non-Malaysian owned and run resort. While the resort is comparably cramped with the 2009 addition of a new building, the semi-private beach is long and shaded rests are great. It offers both A/C and fan rooms built in typical chalet-style, and other more original rooms such as a tree hut. The restaurant also caters for western tastes with some German specialties, and is clearly above average price. Free pick-up and drop from the Genting jetty can be arranged. Alternatively, it is a pleasant 20 min walk.
- Minang Cove Resort. The three villas and nine chalets are all A/C with ensuite facilities situated on the south tip of Tioman Island.
- Nipah Paradise Resort. A nice small bay in the south of Tioman, with only two small resorts, the beach and a creek. Nipah is the right beach for people, who want to get away from it all because there is not even a public telephone! The atmosphere is laid back and relaxed, most of the travelers are backpackers who put up at Nipah Beach Chalets. The second resort - Nipah Paradise - is a haven for the backpackers. It offers small cheap chalets. The nice owners offer a two days trekking tour through the jungle to the peak of Gunung Kajang, Tioman's highest peak (1038 m).
- [dead link] Impiana inn. Impiana Inn has 18 units of chalets including 2 honeymoon suites, 1 family room & 16 standard rooms. All rooms come with air-cond, water heater, in-house coffee-making and basic amenities. Impiana Inn is also the first and only Tioman resort with hemodialysis facility.
- Berjaya Tioman Resort, ☏ . 18 hole golf course, Taaras Spa, and a wide variety of restaurant and bars.
- [dead link] Berjaya Tioman Suite, ☏ . 7 blocks of fully furnished units comprising 268 rooms and suites of Standard chalets, Superior chalets, Deluxe chalets and Junior suites in Malaysian-style. On a hill, with most of the rooms facing the sea and a swimming pool. Shuttle transfers every 10 min to Berjaya Tioman Beach, Golf & Spa Resort.
- Japamala Resort. A very private and intimate resort with 12 villas and chalets, a beautiful beach and 2 amazing restaurants, Tamarind Terrace & Mandi Mandi. Note that there is no mobile network coverage at Japamala which makes it an real getaway from the rest of the world. Impeccable service from its attentive staff.
- Bagus Place. At the southern tip near Minang. A chalet resort run by young Europeans as an eco-resort. Private beach, with a small number of simple and tasteful luxurious chalets. Starting at a whooping RM900 a night this resort still manages to get fully booked for many months.
Wifi is not well provided for on Tioman. The accommodation places that do provide it often only cover the restaurant area and even then it can be painfully slow. If internet is important to you, better to bring you own via your mobile phones sim card provider.
- 3G Mobile Broadband If you have your own laptop then by far the cheapest way to get online on Tioman is to subscribe to a mobile broadband service from Celcom] Celcom or Maxis. The cost from Celcom is about RM20 per week for unlimited access (5GB). Buy your internet package before you arrive in Tioman, such as in Mersing.
- Broadband: There is an Internet café across from the airport in Tekek. The rate is RM10/hour. It is open 9AM-6PM. There is also broadband available at Berjaya Tioman Beach, Golf & Spa Resort for similar rates, and one at Paya Beach Resort.
- Dial-up: most of the villages have a couple of dial-up spots. In Air Batang, there are 2.
- Bamboo Hill has dialup for RM10/hr available 8:30AM-7:30PM. There is also an Internet café near the jetty with 2 computers, open until late
- Tioman Cabana You can surf the internet and also have access to hotspot-wifi, The rate is RM10/hour.Open from 9AM-2AM.
- Berjaya Tioman Beach, Golf & Spa Resort if you have a laptop, wireless broadband is available at RM80 nett for the duration of your stay but only available in public areas - poolside, restaurant, café and lobby.
- Tioman Dive Centre  Located at Swiss Cottage, Tioman Dive Centre offers free wifi for customers with their own laptops who are diving with them, for the duration of their stay. They also have an on-site computer with internet access for RM10/hr.
- Panuba offers a single internet service for RM1 per 5 min.
- Tioman Cozy Hotel internet is available for free and unlimited time at the 1st floor after the last room.
Most, but not all, of Tioman has cellphone coverage. Celcom, DIGI and Maxis coverages are available but may be limited due geographical conditions. You can buy prepaid SIM cards from the shops at Tioman or at the airport. By regulation, prepaid registration is mandatory; expect a day or two for line activation.
Tioman advertises that it has a number of payphones that can be used upon purchasing a phonecard, and a lot of travellers buy the cards before realising that none of these phones work.If you want to call home, a lot of chalet complexes offer international call services at a price, otherwise consider using skype via the internet (call credit can be purchased online in order to call regular telephones thru skype).
Now, in Tioman, does not have television available without satellite except TV3, the only way is setting up a satellite. On Salang, the 4 S Cafe (which is in fact a bar) and the Salang Dreams Cafe both have cable TV. Ask nicely, and you might get the staff to change the channel - though watching TV is usually low on the list of things to do in Tioman.
There have been repeat outbreaks of Sarcocystosis, a rare and poorly understood parasitic tropical disease, amongst travellers to Tioman, particularly in 2012 (more than 100 cases) and in May 2014 (more than 40 cases). Sarcocystosis is not well known amongst physicians and is often mis-diagnosed. If you have flu-like symptoms and severe muscle aches after traveling to Tioman consult a tropical disease specialist immediately. Experimental treatment options with Cotrimoxazole and steroids are available.
Theft is not generally an issue in private rooms. One thing to watch out for is coral cuts, which are bacteria-laden and turn septic very quickly if not treated in good time. Bring sterile wound wash and antiseptic cream for coral cuts; wash and treat them immediately to avoid a nasty infection.
Watch out for the triggerfish as well; these little pointy-nosed fish are very cute but they do get territorial and attack swimmers during their mating season. The monkeys can be quite feral, and have been known to attempt to force open windows and doors to look for food, thanks to irresponsible tourists who insist on feeding the monkeys.
Some young men (in their 20s) may invite female tourists to have drinks. If you're not interested, politely but firmly decline their offer. There have been some rapes on this island.