Pulau Tioman is a lovely, affordable island getaway close to Singapore. While it doesn’t host the luxury that places like Bali do, it has its own quiet charm and activities for everyone.
Children can snorkel safely in the Marine Park, while the more adventurous can go island hopping. Accommodation ranges from non-airconditioned guesthouses to the beach chalets of the Berjaya Tioman, replete with in-house spa. Here are five ways to pass your time while relaxing in Pulau Tioman.
Snorkeling and island hopping
This is a no brainer. Pulau Tioman is a great dive spot, but non-divers can soak in the marine life that surrounds the island by snorkeling. Tioman has a little ‘marine park’ sectioned out in a corner of Tekek village’s bay, and hotels and guesthouses alike all have their own snorkeling day trips for tourists. A full day trip lasts from about 9am to 3pm exclusive of lunch, and takes you to all the hot spots around the island. The marine life in Tioman is many and varied (though they seem to have a lot of sea urchins), and you can even purchase bread ends at the local shops to feed the fish!
Exploring the island
If you can ride, rent a motorbike from the hustler/hotel guard or from the more legit bike rental shopfronts and explore the island. From Tekek village, you can cross a precarious, single-lane mountain road that is modeled after a rollercoaster, and get to Juara village on the other side. Juara is host to quaint guesthouses, more locals, and the Juara Turtle Sanctuary. It also has a rougher, though more beautiful beach compared to Tekek. No license is needed to ride in Tioman. Just make sure you know how to handle a bike! Non-riders can also rent bicycles, though the climb from Tekek to Juara is going to be torturous.
There is a huge waterfall near Juara, accessible through an approximately 1.5 hour jungle trek. This is definitely a must-see if you’re equipped for a hike, but the slippers-and-shorts crowd needn’t be disappointed. Along the mountain road from Tekek to Juara is a little hidden waterfall with just a 2m plunge pool. It’s a secluded gem and is lovely if you hit it up early enough in the morning to have it all to yourself. To find the route in to the waterfall (it’s a little way off from the main road) just look for the abandoned house on your right as you’re coming down from Tekek.
Watching the sunset
Close to the Tioman Marine Park is a promenade that overlooks the horizon. This is the perfect spot to watch the sunset, and has a great Ramly Burger pushcart situated just behind it. It’s a bit of a walk from central Tekek village, but the view is well worth it. The promenade is usually devoid of people so it’s nice to pack some dinner and snacks along and settle down for the wait.
If you’re staying in the Berjaya Tioman, don’t just settle for hotel food. Get yourself out of the hotel compound and give the local food a go. Apart from really good Chinese seafood just outside of Berjaya Tioman, there are also more unique local dishes like lung satay and Ramly burger pushcarts. For fuller meals, sit down at any of the seafood BBQ places that line the main street. For that after dinner nightcap, stop by the duty-free marts for cheap beer.