Heading to Tioman Island? Fantastic! It’s a beautiful place and you will love it.
The thing that stopped me from going to Tioman Island (otherwise known as Pulau Tioman) for years before I finally made (multiple!) trips was that it always seemed complicated to get to.
And while it’s not as easy as hopping on a bus and reading a book until you turn up, it isn’t that difficult either – especially when you have a great guide to how to get to Tioman Island right here!
In this article, I tell you exactly how to go to Tioman Island from anywhere in Malaysia. If you are in Singapore, read my guide here. If you are elsewhere, you first need to get to Malaysia and then this article will help you travel to Tioman Island.
I cover buses, the boat to Tioman Island and your options for a flight to Pulau Tioman.
If you are driving yourself or plan on hiring a long distance taxi, the instructions below are still valid – you can just skip the section on the bus to Tioman Island and either drive or taxi to Mersing or Tanjung Gemok to get the ferry. Both places have safe, paid parking right by the ferry terminal.
By the end of this article, you will be all set to go!
Table of Contents
How To Get To Tioman Island
No matter where you are coming from, there is going to be at least two parts to getting to Tioman Island. This is because there is no way to get around needing to take a ferry.
The Tioman Island ferries depart from either Mersing or Tanjung Gemok on the east coast of Malaysia so you have to get to one of these places first and then take a ferry. For this reason, I first talk about getting a coach to Mersing and then getting a bus to Tanjung Gemok ferry terminal before describing the ferries.
The following map shows where Mersing, Tanjung Gemok and Tioman Island are to give you an idea of where you are going.
Bus To Tioman Island
When it comes to how to go to Pulau Tioman, your first step is to get to either Mersing or Tanjung Gemok by bus.
Below, I go over both options.
If you are unsure whether to go to Mersing or Tanjung Gemok, this is what to consider when working out how to get to Pulau Tioman:
- Mersing and Tanjung Gemok are about 45 minutes apart on the east coast of Malaysia. Mersing is to the south
- Mersing is closer and easier to get to if you are coming from Johor Bahru and just about anywhere in the state of Johor or in Singapore
- Tanjung Gemok is more convenient from Kuala Lumpur or elsewhere in Malaysia, although you may need to ask your bus driver to let you off here whereas Mersing is a bigger hub for buses
- Tanjung Gemok tends to have fewer ferries especially during the monsoon season. However, ferries from Tanjung Gemok are more likely to run on time and less likely to be cancelled
- It is more straightforward to get a ferry from Tanjung Gemok than Mersing
If you are unsure which option to use for how to reach Tioman Island, just go with the closest option or where you can most easily find a bus from your departure point.
If you are looking at Tioman Island how to get there from Kuala Lumpur, read my specific guide here.
Option 1: Bus To Mersing
The best answer to how to go to Mersing by bus is to go to the Easybook site here and put in where you are travelling from.
This is very easy to get to from places like Johor Bahru, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
There is more information below for exactly how to get here from Johor Bahru, Kuantan, Taman Negara, Kuala Terengganu and Perhentian Islands.
Option 2: Bus To Tanjung Gemok
The best way to get to Tanjung Gemok bus station by bus is to use the Easybook site and enter where you are travelling from.
To travel Mersing to Tanjung Gemok, you can take a taxi or a bus. The bus takes about an hour and a ticket is about RM5. The Sunwa Express bus runs about 5-6 times a day from 10am – 10pm.
Taxis are readily available which can take you for about RM80. This takes 30-40 minutes.
Ferry To Tioman Island
Once you have made it to Mersing or Tanjung Gemok, you need to get a Tioman Island ferry ticket and take the ferry across.
The Tioman ferry schedule varies at both places and varies day to day. You should make sure you know the Tioman ferry timing in advance so you turn up at the right time at the right Pulau Tioman jetty.
Ferries drop off at multiple points on Tioman Island – Genting, Paya, Tekek, Air Batang (ABC) and Salang.
Below, I link to the ferry to Tioman Island schedule for each of Mersing and Tanjung Gemok.
Mersing To Tioman Island Ferry
Once you are at Mersing Jetty, you need to visit the Mersing Harbour Centre to either buy or pick up your ticket and pay the Marine Park Conservation fee. This currently costs RM30 adults/RM15 kids and is substantially cheaper than this for Malaysians.
Once you have your ticket, you go to the Mersing to Tioman Island jetty to get your boarding pass and then board.
This is more complicated than it sounds, and I recommend you read my full guide for how to get from Mersing to Tioman Island here which has detailed instructions and photos of each step.
As mentioned previously, ferry timetables vary day to day as they are based on weather and tidal conditions. Schedules and tickets are only released the middle of the month before. For example, May schedules are only available in mid-April.
Tickets can and do sell out, especially on weekends and school holidays. I recommend you click here and book your ticket as soon as the schedule comes out.
There are usually a few ferries a day with Bluewater Express ferry Tioman being the main operator.
Ferries are often delayed due to tidal or weather conditions and cancellations become common during the monsoon season.
Tanjung Gemok To Tioman Island Ferry
The process from the Tanjung Gemok to Tioman is very similar.
The Tanjung Gemok ferry schedule also varies but nowhere near as much. This jetty is also less affected by tides so there are fewer cancellations and delays which can make it a more pleasant experience to come through here.
Like Mersing, the ferry schedule from Tanjung Gemok to Tioman comes out in the middle of the month before and I recommend you buy your Pulau Tioman ferry ticket as soon as tickets are released.
At peak times, there are a few Tanjung Gemok to Tioman ferry options a day. At other times of year, there is just one. Before you hop on the ferry, you need your boarding pass and you need to pay for the Marine Park Conservation fee which is the same prices as from Mersing.
The ferry to Tioman from Tanjung Gemok takes about the same length of time as from Mersing – 90 minutes to two hours depending on where you are getting off. Bluewater ferry Tanjung Gemok is the most popular option.
Flights To Tioman Island?
Although there is a Tioman Island Airport and there used to be a regular scheduled flight to Tioman from Subang and Singapore, this is no longer the case and there are no Tioman Airport flights unless you hire a charter plane.
The closest airport to Tioman Island is in Kuantan or Johor Bahru. If you are coming from anywhere in Malaysia, it is likely to be quicker to travel overland than to fly to an airport near Tioman Island unless you are somewhere like Langkawi or Penang.
If this is the case, your best option to fly to Tioman Island is to take a direct flight to Johor Bahru if you can and use the instructions coming up next to get to Tioman Island from here.
How To Go To Tioman Island From…
Johor Bahru to Tioman Island
JB to Tioman Island is quite straightforward. You just need to decide if you want to go via Mersing or Tanjung Gemok. There are direct buses for both options of how to go to Tioman Island from Johor Bahru with instructions below.
Once you get to Mersing or Tanjung Gemok, you need to catch a ferry using the instructions above.
Johor Bahru to Mersing
When it comes to how to get to Tioman Island from Johor Bahru via Mersing, it is quite straightforward. Direct buses leave from Johor Bahru Larkin Bus Terminal regularly throughout the day with a range of operators with fares starting from around RM13.
The bus Mersing to JB takes about two and a half hours. Click here for the latest timetables and prices.
For an easier journey, you can also get a long distance taxi from JB Larkin Terminal or, my favourite choice is to book a transfer in advance that will pick you up from anywhere in Johor Bahru.
Johor Bahru to Tanjung Gemok
A bus from Johor Bahru to Tanjung Gemok is also straightforward with Plusliner bus service currently doing this four times a day. The journey takes just over two and a half hours with tickets starting from around RM18.
You can also take a taxi from JB Larkin or book one here that will pick you up from wherever you want. This way, you can choose your departure time to meet your ferry.
Penang to Tioman Island
There are two options for how to get to Tioman Island from Penang.
Firstly, you can fly to Johor Bahru Senai Airport. This takes about an hour and can be quite cheap depending on if you get a sales fare. From Johor Bahru, you can take any of the options mentioned above in the travelling from Johor Bahru section.
This saves you time over the next option, which is travelling by bus from Penang to Tioman. However, since it involves more transport, it can be more complicated.
The bus line, Cepat & Cekap Express, currently runs a bus from Penang to Mersing departing from Butterworth in the evening. Fares currently start at around RM64 and the travel time is about 10.5 hours.
It is faster to go to Tanjung Gemok than Mersing and you can ask to be dropped off here. Otherwise, the bus will take you to Mersing.
The next step in how to go Pulau Tioman from Penang is to then take the ferry from Mersing or Tanjung Gemok as described above.
Kuantan to Mersing
Located nearly 196 km apart, you can either use a Mersing to Kuantan bus or taxi.
Taking a bus Kuantan to Mersing or from Mersing to Kuantan takes about four hours. Depending on the bus or coach type, this journey will cost you somewhere between RM18 and RM30. Multiple bus companies operate this route daily from 9am until late.
The other option is to take a long distance taxi. This will cost you around RM300-400 and it should take around 3 hours.
Kuala Terengganu to Mersing
The journey from Kuala Terengganu to Mersing or from Mersing to Kuala Terengganu can be long but it is straightforward.
It will take you an average of 6.5 hours and tickets start at around RM30. With 7 bus operators, buses plying this route are available daily from 9am to midnight.
If you’re looking for more privacy and a faster journey, a taxi is an excellent option, albeit more costly. A taxi can pick you up or drop you off directly at the Mersing Harbour Centre.
Unlike the bus journey, a taxi will take nearly 5 hours and will cost you around RM500 – if you can find one who is willing to go that far which can be tricky. Keep in mind that the hardest part of using a taxi is finding a driver willing to drive for nearly 415 km! We were able to book one beforehand who was willing to do this from RM650.
Mersing to Taman Negara
The journey from Mersing to Taman Negara is somewhat complicated with three legs of the journey. It takes about 9.5-10 hours including a 2-hour transfer.
The first bus takes you from Mersing to Kuantan and will take you about 3.5 hours at a price range of RM18-19. Typically, one bus company, Taju Express, plies this route daily with buses about every 3 hours.
You then need to take another bus for the 3 hour journey from Kuantan to Jerantut at around RM18. Transnasional Express is the most reliable bus company for this trip with daily buses leaving in the morning and afternoon.
The last leg of this trip will require you to travel for 1 hour from Jerantut to Taman Negara at a price range of RM25-30. While several buses are plying this route, the last one is at 5pm so you should start your travel plans early to get the last bus.
It’s not a regular taxi route but you may be able to find one to take you.
Mersing to Perhentian Islands
For this journey, you need to take both buses and a ferry. It takes about 11 hours including 1.5 hours for transfers.
The first part of this journey is the 6.5 hour bus from Mersing to Kuala Terengganu as described above. You then need to take a second bus from Kuala Terengganu to Kuala Besut Jetty. This leg of the journey will cost you around RM15.
You may be able to find a taxi to take you between Mersing and Kuala Besut but expect this to be costly. If you want to go by taxi, it’ll be easier to find ones to do sections of the journey. For example, Mersing to Kuantan, Kuantan to Kuala Terengganu and then one on to Kuala Besut.
There is then a 40 minute ferry trip from Kuala Besut Jetty to Pulau Perhentian at a cost of RM35. See timetables and latest prices here.
There are more details about exactly how to get to Perhentian Islands here.
It would be difficult to make this entire trip in a day so it’s advisable to spend a night in Kuala Besut before taking the ferry the next morning.
I hope you are now crystal clear on how to travel to Pulau Tioman no matter where you are coming from in Malaysia! If you are coming from Singapore, read our full guide to going to Tioman Island from Singapore here. You can also find all our Tioman Island guides here.
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Sharon is an Australian who has fallen in love with Malaysia! She explores Malaysia multiple times a year, often with her kids, and has previously lived in Penang.