Tioman Island, or Pulau Tioman in Malay, has its roots in local legend. The name is believed to be a corruption of “Pulau Ular”, which means “Snake Island” in Malay. Local tales depict the island as a resting place of a beautiful dragon princess. As she flew from China to visit her prince in Singapore, she took a break in these tranquil waters and, charmed by the beauty of the place, decided to stay and turned into an island.
Tioman Island lies in the South China Sea, approximately 32 km off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Covering an area of about 136 square kilometers, Tioman is part of the state of Pahang. It’s the largest in a group of the 64 volcanic islands. The island is characterized by its tropical jungles, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life.
Historically, Tioman played a part as a strategic navigational point for fishers and traders. In the past, the island was known to be frequented by pirates. More recently, in the 1970s, the island gained international prominence when TIME magazine listed it as one of the world’s most beautiful islands. Its beauty and rich marine life have also made it a famous spot for Hollywood movies, including the 1958 film ‘South Pacific’.
Highlights of Things to Do
- Diving and Snorkeling: The waters around Tioman hold a rich diversity of marine life, making it a paradise for divers and snorkelers. Popular diving spots include Renggis Island, Tiger Reef, and Labas Island.
- Trekking: Explore the lush tropical rainforests of the island with treks leading to cascading waterfalls and panoramic hilltop views.
- Juara Turtle Project: A visit to this turtle sanctuary offers insights into the life of sea turtles and conservation efforts to protect them.
- Rock Climbing: The granite rock formations on the island provide excellent opportunities for rock climbing enthusiasts.
- Island Hopping: Visit the smaller surrounding islands, each offering unique landscapes and opportunities for exploration.
How to Get In and Out
- By Air: Tioman Airport in Tekek serves flights from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, making the island easily accessible.
- By Sea: Regular ferries connect the island with Mersing and Tanjung Leman in Johor. The ferry ride provides breathtaking views of the South China Sea.
Tioman Island is not just a tropical paradise but also a haven for adventure and nature lovers. Its serene beaches, rich marine life, and dense jungles offer a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.