Want to visit a tropical paradise and wondering how to go to Tioman Island from KL? We can help!
While it’s not far from Kuala Lumpur to Pulau Tioman, this journey can seem complicated – at least until you take it step-by-step. It’s actually quite straightforward with many people taking this trip every day.
Below, I break up exactly how to get to Tioman from KL so you know exactly what you need to do, when, whether you are looking for a Kuala Lumpur to Tioman Island bus or a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tioman. This way, you will be in paradise as quick as possible!
Simply select the option best for you, book your buses and ferry and get ready to be relaxing on the beach soon!
Coming from elsewhere? Find our full guide for how to get to Tioman Island from anywhere here.
Table of Contents
How To Get From Kuala Lumpur To Tioman Island
There are two ways to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Tioman Island. We have detailed each below and show them on a map. Both require an overland component by bus or car and then a ferry.
I recommend travelling via Tanjung Gemok as the ferries are much more likely to run on time which can save a lot of waiting around. But either way, you will soon be relaxing on the beach!
Map: KL To Tioman Island
The following map shows the route to take from KL to Mersing Jetty by car OR from KL to Tanjung Gemok. Both will be described more below.
The Kuala Lumpur to Tioman Island distance is 305 kilometres to Tanjung Gemok and a 4.75 hour drive. The distance from KL to Tioman Island via Mersing is a drive of 356 kilometres and about 4.75 hours as well.
In both cases, you still need to take a ferry across to Tioman Island.
Option 1: Travel via Mersing
Part 1: Kuala Lumpur to Mersing Jetty
With this option you need to drive, hire a taxi or take a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Mersing Jetty. There are buses that take this route directly so it is not overly complicated to choose a KL to Mersing bus for your Tioman adventure.
The Kuala Lumpur to Mersing distance is 356 kilometres. Note, there is no KL to Mersing by train option. If you are travelling by public transport, it is all about the buses.
The bus from KL to Mersing Jetty takes about 5.5 hours and there are some early morning departures so you will be able to get a morning ferry across to Tioman Island.
If you drive, there is safe parking available at Mersing Harbour Centre opposite the jetty where you will have to go to get your boarding pass anyway.
Make sure you get to Mersing Jetty 1-2 hours before your scheduled ferry.
Part 2: Mersing Jetty To Tioman Island
Once you have made it to Mersing Jetty, the next step for how to get to Tioman Island from Kuala Lumpur is to take a ferry.
Ferry timetables vary depending on the weather and tidal conditions so there is no set timetable and, instead, it varies daily. The timetable for a new month is released in the middle of the previous month. For example, this means if you want the timetable for July, it will be released around June 15.
I recommend you book your ferry as soon as tickets are released (the same time as the timetable) because they can sell out especially around weekends.
The weather and tidal conditions mean that timetables can change at the last minute and I recommend checking your ferry departure time either the day before on the morning of your journey.
There are usually a few ferries a day except in the monsoon season when there is one. They take 1.5 -2 hours depending on where you are getting off on Tioman as they make multiple stops along the west coast.
Before you hop on your ferry, you need to get your boarding pass and pay the entry fee for both the Marine Park (currently RM30 adults/RM15 kids – cheaper for Malaysians).
There are a few steps to this process and you can read them all and see full details of getting the ferry from Mersing to Tioman Island here. Make sure you read this articles as there are photos and instructions for every step.
Option 2: Travel via Tanjung Gemok – BEST OPTION
Part 1: Kuala Lumpur to Tanjung Gemok
The second choice for a KL to Tioman bus is to travel to Tanjung Gemok.
With this option, you need to drive, take a taxi or a bus to Tanjung Gemok. There is a direct bus from KL to Tanjung Gemok so this is straightforward.
The bus takes closer to 5.75 hours depending on the time of day you leave and, like the Mersing bus, many leave very early in the morning so you can catch a morning ferry.
For drivers, there is a fenced car park at the terminal building where you can leave your car.
Plan to arrive at the terminal one hour early.
Part 2: Tanjung Gemok To Tioman Island
Once you have made it to the Tanjung Gemok Jetty, the next step for how to get from KL to Pulau Tioman is to take a ferry.
Ferry timetables vary depending on the weather and tidal conditions so the timetable can vary daily. However, it is nowhere near as variable as from Mersing and ferries are less likely to be delayed or cancelled.
As with Mersing, the timetable for a new month is released in the middle of the previous month.
I recommend you book your ferry as soon as tickets are released (the same time as the timetable) because they can sell out especially around weekends. You can buy a ticket once you get to Tanjung Gemok but you run the risk of not getting on a boat – which would be frustrating after the journey there.
There are usually a few ferries a day except in the monsoon season when there is one. The journey is also about 1.5 to 2 hours depending on where you are getting off.
Before you hop on your ferry, you do need to get your boarding pass and pay the entry fee to both the Marine Park. The fee is the same as from Mersing.
It all feels much more straightforward and easier from Tanjung Gemok compared to Mersing which is the main reason this is my recommended option of how to go Pulau Tioman from KL. The building is much smaller – and there is only one building! And everything is more streamlined.
Option 3: Kuala Lumpur To Tioman Island Flight?
All options for a flight to Tioman Island from Kuala Lumpur have been suspended so it’s no longer possible to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Tioman Island directly.
While technically instead of a KL to Tioman flight you could fly somewhere closer to Tioman Island and travel overland from there, this is going to take longer and be more complicated than taking a bus or driving to a ferry near Tioman Island and then taking a ferry across. There is also no Kuala Lumpur to Mersing flight.
So I recommend you forget about KL to Tioman Island flights and concentrate on the methods above to get here instead.
Tioman to Kuala Lumpur
When making the journey in reverse, you simply need to do everything listed above in reverse.
I recommend you always book return tickets to Tioman Island as you don’t want to get stuck. They stop at the same places on Tioman as they did on your arrival and you can get on at any of these points where you have a ticket – although note that our ferry back to Tanjung Gemok did not stop at all stops. I’m guessing if there are no bookings for a stop, it doesn’t.
There is a ticketing desk at the entrance to the jetty at Tekek. I also needed to get my ticket validated at this desk when leaving from this stop and tickets were checked once on the boat as well. It is possible to buy a ticket on the boat when there is space.
Ferries can get delayed coming off Tioman especially to Mersing or in the monsoon season so be careful about booking a Mersing to KL bus shortly after the time you should be back in Mersing.
You can click here for timetables and prices for buses from Mersing to Kuala Lumpur or here for buses from Tanjung Gemok.
Just like when travelling from KL to Tioman Island by bus, I recommend you travel via Tanjung Gemok to make things easier.
It is straightforward, albeit time consumming, to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Tioman Island, but it is possible to arrive on the island on the same day ready to eat lunch!
Besides which, the second you see Tioman Island in the distance from the ferry, you will know it was all worth it!
Whether you travel via Mersing or Tanjung Gemok, it is easy. I recommend Tanjung Gemok over Mersing simply because the ferries are more likely to run on time.
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.