Monday, February 28, 2011

Tioman island from Singapore

Tioman Island is known to be near to Singapore and famous for short weekend holiday tours but the trip from Singapore to Tioman is a little exhausting. You first head to Woodlands MRT. There you will find the buses going to JB (Johor Bahru). This bus will leave you first at Singapore customs and then same bus will leave you at Malaysian customs for passport check and stamps and then you will take the same bus to Johor bus terminal. In JB terminal you will immediately be surrounded by touts shouting "KL, KL" (Kuala Lumpur) or "Mersing, Mersing". Mersing is your next destination since ferries to Tioman Island departs from this costal city of Malaysia.

Everything in Johor Bahru bus terminal is open to bargain and do not accept the first price given to you. A 2.5 - 3.5 hours bus trip from JB to Mersing should cost you around 20-30 ringgit. Do not forget to ask whether the bus leaves you at the jetty of Tioman Island ferry or not.

You also can take a taxi to Mersing. If you decide to take a taxi the driver will first ask you how many people you are. If you are 3 people then the bargain starts from 180 ringgit and you can agree a price around 110 ringgit. If you are alone then you will be asked 130 ringgit and try to negotiate down to 80 ringgit.

There is a backpacker's cafe near the Mersing jetty, the food is nice but the employees are not friendly and prices are not cheap. A tourist trap but after all those hours from Singapore it is the best you get. You can buy a round trip ferry ride to Tioman Island for 70 ringgits. It took us 1,5 hours to arrive to Tioman destination but the return ticket took 3 hours! Not so good if you have a tight schedule.

Tioman island in short is a fantastic place. The ferry arrives to different coves but my suggestion is Salang. This is the largest backpacker destination on Tioman island. Other calm, peaceful coves are more suitable for couples. For example if you are looking for a love escape try Paya Village (Tioman Paya Resort).

Salang Village Tioman island
3D2N Quick Getaway Package
There is an international scuba diving school in Salang. Scuba diving is the most important tourist attraction on Tioman island. You can get an international diving licence just for 900 ringgits in 3 days. The diving season or the best time to dive in Tioman, as well as Malaysia's East Coast, is March to October. The best diving instructor is a French man, his name is Philippe. Find him and bargain for the price. First day is spent with introduction courses, you just dive near the coast but later you get a boat to open sea and dive. Tioman is also a very suitable place for night diving. The sea life in the reefs of this island is very very colorful.

Skuba diving in Tioman island
Tioman Scuba Diving - Source:
While on Tioman Island you can rent a kayak and visit other islands and coves. Do not skip Monkey Bay it is a very good place for snorkeling and there is a family of monkeys here which ignore the humans. You can swim 2 hours here return to Salang. An hour of kayak rent will cost you 15 ringgits. If you do not want to dive you can spend your time snorkelling. You will forget the time while chasing the fishes.

Monkey Beach Tioman island
Tioman Monkey Beach - Source: WikiTravel
There is an information point just on the right hand side of the Salang jetty. There was a one-eye woman there she knows everything you would need. Your only alternative here are bungalows. The cheapest without air con and hot water is 70 ringgits per day and for 90 ringgit you can have hot water and air con units start from 100 ringgit. The restaurants around are ok. We did not like the one on the far right hand side they even cannot cook a chicken. There is a super BBQ place near the jetty. And the one on the far left hand side has a fantastic breakfast menu. There is also western food but try cheese egg roti, it is very nice.

We have travelled to Tioman without a tour package. If you do not plan to stay long there is no need for a tour package. But if you will stay there 2-3 nights the package tours has advantages. They take you from Singapore to Tioman (actually to Mersing jetty and they pre-arrange the ferry ticket). No need to rush to find a bus. There are also free goodies in the packages like free meals, free boat tours, etc.

No one seriously described the road from Singapore to Tioman in the internet. We had to find our way with trial and error. Hope you can have an easier trip after reading this entry.

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Special thanks to guest writer "pharaoh" to share this article with us on asiasingapore blog.

1 comment:

  1. Tioman is awesome, yeah.

    Best part is that you can now get yout Tioman ferry tickets online. I know that Tioman visitors worry about ticket availability after arriving in Mersing, because usually you can't get tickets anywhere but at the actual ferry counters. A bit risky.

    But on, you can get your Tioman ferry tickets in advance, from anywhere in the world, at no extra cost.

    Hope that helps.