Back then, things were getting very, very boring in Singapore and it was high time for a nice weekend getaway. Since I just wanted an escape to a quiet place, after much mulling, I decided to visit Tioman Islands, a tiny island off the coast of Malaysia. Tioman is popular for scuba diving spots, snorkeling and thick forests. As Langkawi is the more popular tourist destination, Tioman makes for a nice peaceful holiday. And it ain’t too rough on the pocket as well.
Coming from Singapore, the best way to reach Tioman is by ferry from the town of Mersing in Malaysia. It takes around 3 hrs by road to reach Mersing and from there, its another 3 hr ferry ride to Tioman island. The ferry fare is as low as RM35 one way.
Tioman is mainly an extended weekend destination and most hotels offer packages for that duration. Tioman has some 13 villages along the coast and most of the hotels and resorts are situated around these villages. As Tioman is North-South oriented, these villages either face west or east. With the exception of Juara village, all other villages face west.
And Juara was where I was staying! Unfortunately, none of the ferries drop passengers on the east coast. Which means that to reach Juara, one needs to get off at a village called Tekek on the west coast and either trek for 2 hrs or take a 45 min ride cutting through the thickly forested island to the east.
So basically it was a 7 hr journey to my destination. Sadly, the ferry I was supposed to be on left without taking all the passengers, and because of the ensuing 3 hour delay, it was dusk when the ferry reached Tioman. On the brighter side, the four wheel ride to Juara beach, on the steep slopes of Tioman under a full moon night, turned out to be breathtaking! Juara is one of the less popular spots as most of the clubs and bars are located on the western side of Tioman. But it has THE best beach in Tioman and as it is east facing, is the only beach with the view of the sun rise (but then of course one misses the sunset).
I spent the next day touring the island in a boat and snorkeling at various locations. Tioman has three spots for snorkeling – Tulai Island, Renggis Island and Marine Park.
Some pictures from the gorgeous day:
And then it was time for some fish watching. Tioman makes for a great location for snorkeling given its pristine waters, abundant marine life and protected reefs. This was the first spot at Tulai Island.
From here the boat took me to Renggis Island and Marine Park for some more snorkeling. It was truly a great day to be out on the waters. The views were breathtaking; everywhere I looked was perfect deep blue water, glorious sunshine and thick foliage
Post snorkeling, the evening was spent swimming, relaxing and dining. The next day I woke up early to catch the sunrise:
And soon after lunch, it was time to head back.
Tioman is definitely worth a visit – for its pristine beauty, numerous activities and the solitude it provides. Juara beach even though a little cut off from the rest of the island is recommended for a stay simply for its lovely, lovely beach.
Bye Tioman! We will definitely meet again