If you are looking for paradise, Tioman could be it!
Located in the South China Sea off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia, Tioman Island is close enough to Singapore to get enough tourists for some tourist infrastructure and great resorts without being at all overrun by tourists or overdeveloped..
If you love gorgeous beaches, every-shade-of-blue water, water sports and pristine jungle with waterfalls, there are many things to do in Tioman Island which you will love.
Likewise, if you just want an island escape where you can relax with a good book by beautiful scenery then Tioman Island is also for you!
Below is our guide to Tioman Island attractions as well as an overview of the best hotels and essential information like how to get to Tioman Island, how to get around and the best time to visit Pulau Tioman. We also include a map at the bottom so you can get an idea of where all the places to visit in Tioman Island are located.
Table of Contents
Top 19 Best Things To Do In Tioman Island, Malaysia
An Introduction To Tioman Island
Before I share what to do in Tioman Island, Malaysia (also called Pulau Tioman), I will introduce you to this island so you have an idea what to expect!
Tioman Island is 20 kilometres long and 11 kilometres wide so is bigger than you might imagine. The main town is Tekek and this is where you will find the airport (currently only used for charter flights), the only ATM, clinic, main shops and main tarsportation hub. It’s on the smaller side and there are no big towns, let alone cities, on Tioman.
The main beach towns are Kampung Salang, Kampung Air Batang (also known as ABC), Kampung Paya, Kampung Genting, Kampung Nipah, Kamping Mukut and Kampung Juara. There are also resorts dotted around the island so you can pick to base yourself in a busier place to away from the world. All places are on the slow and quiet side though. You can read more about the different areas here.
There are very little roads – only a small stretch on the west coast and a road across to Juara on the east coast so you need to catch water taxis or walk to get to most places. More about this below.
Try Scuba Diving & Snorkelling
By far the top of the list of the top Tioman Island activities is a snorkeling or diving trip. The water around Tioman offers some of the best diving in Malaysia as well as some of the most accessible.
Diving and snorkeling tours are easy to find and good value. There are some great dive centres on Tioman. You can also do your PADI Open Water Diver certification here for a competitive price.
Alternatively, there are introductory dives available where you don’t have to be certified or do a course.
Dive schools are mainly in Salang, ABC, Tekek, Paya and Juara, but your resort should be able to book you a trip.
There is good snorkelling off some points of the west coast of the island, but the best option is around Pulau Tulai (also called Coral Island). Many places across the island rent snorkelling equipment.
Relax at Paya Beach
Paya Beach is located to the south of Tekek and is a nice beach area lined by some resorts and restaurants. It’s a nice place to have a meal while seeing more of the island. You can walk here from Berjaya Resort Tioman or catch a sea taxi. The main ferries also stop here.
Go Surfing at Juara Beach
Juara Beach, on Tioman Island’s east coast, is worth adding to your things to do on Tioman Island list just for its great beach and beautiful sunrises. It’s definitely one of the top beaches on the island.
It also has the best surfing on the island and is becoming increasingly popular as a surfing destination. The downside is that this is only a great spot during the monsoon from Novermber to February when you will also have to deal with a lot of rain. This is low tourist time so there won’t be many people around which can be an advantage in itself.
It’s possible to hire a surfboard but it’s expensive so bring your own if you can.
Go Jungle Trekking From Tekek Village to Juara
One of the main Pulau Tioman activities is jungle trekking – as there are many places you can trek to on Tioman Island and it’s a great way to get away from it all. It’s also the most inexpensive way to get around.
There’s plenty of wildlife and it’s easy to do it yourself – although note that paths can be steep and its hot and humid so take plenty of water, go in daylight, take your time and leave behind any big packs if you can. Closed shoes are also recommended with 25 species of snake on the island!
There are many hiking routes and a popular option is from Tekek to Berjaya Tioman Resort and on to Paya and Genting. However, the best option to really get a taste of Tioman is the jungle hike from Tekek to Juara. This involves cutting across the island so you can see the interior. At 7 kilometres long, there are some steep sections and you should have a moderate level of fitness.
If you want something easy, I recommend the hike from Tekek to Berjaya Tioman. It’s relatively quick and easy with just one hill.
Get Away From It All At Mukut
Mukut is a more traditional village and is in the running for the prettiest village on the island. It has a great beach and some superb scenery including the “donkey’s ears” you can see pictured above. At the south of the island, you do feel like you are getting away from it all as well.
If your what to do in Pulau Tioman includes relaxing and beautiful scenery, definitely consider Mukut.
Visit Genting Village
Genting not only has a nice beach on this list of things to do in Pulau Tioman but also is home to a renowned Malaysian batik artist, Suhadi Mahadi. You can visit his Suzila Batik Arts and Crafts Centre in Genting and even attend one of his batik-making classes.
The main ferry stops here or you can take a sea taxi.
Go Kayaking In Tioman Island Waters
A fun option for what to do on Tioman Island outside the monsoon months is to go kayaking. You can do this around your closest beach or take yourself on a tour of the island in search of your own private beach.
Kayaks are available to rent at the Berjaya Resort and this is a great place to do this activity. This is because a short kayak away is Renggis Island where you can find some great snorkeling as well. There are also other places on the island where you can hire kayaks.
Learn More About Marine Life At The Marine Park Information Centre
The free Marine Park Information Centre to the north of Tekek is the place to go on Tioman Island to learn about its underwater life.
There are coral displays, short videos and lots of information to learn more about the flora and fauna under the sea. It’s a useful place to go before your snorkeling and diving trip if you can.
It’s on the small side, well presented and has a good kids’ area with things to look at and touch and a reading area. The beach out the front is also great and has a roped off area with plenty of fish where you can snorkel and dive.
It’s on the road from Tekek so you can drive here and at the start of the path to Air Batang.
Enjoy Island Hopping
One of the interesting activities in Pulau Tioman is to go island hopping.
There are a variety of uninhabited islands around Tioman which you can explore by boat and hopefully snorkel around too. This is a great way to explore more of the island while getting to see more of its underwater life as well.
Be More Adventurous With ATV Rides
For some adventure and great jungle views without all the sweat, consider adding an ATV ride to your list of what can we do in Tioman Island. At either the Berjaya Resort or Paya Beach Resort, you can go on an ATV ride through the surrounding jungle.
I especially recommend this in the later afternoon from Berjaya where you head towards Bunut Beach for a great sunset.
Play A Game Of Golf
Berjaya Tioman is also home to an 18-hole golf course. It must be up there with most beautiful courses in the world as you will get great sea and jungle views as you make your way around. It’s also possible to have basic golf lessons here.
After your match, there are the bars and restaurants of the Berjaya resort to enjoy.
Walk To Kampung Air Batang (ABC)
ABC is located just to the north of Tekek town and only a 30 minute walk away.
While it doesn’t have the best beach on the island, it makes it to this list of places to visit in Pulau Tioman thanks to having great sunsets and a good range of restaurants. It’s worth having dinner here one evening while watching the sunset.
But what is an essential activity on Tioman Island is taking the new coastal, over-the-water path from the north of Tekek to ABC. This path is great with many opportunities to spot fish and marine life as you walk around from the boardwalk.
You can ride over this path but I suggest walking so you can take your time spotting fish. The area around it is roped off so you can also easily snorkel here.
It was especially great for my son who doesn’t want to snorkel but found spotting different fish amazing.
Explore Tioman Island By Bike
Cycling is not just a fun activity but also a great way to get around on Tioman with taxi options being limited and expensive.
While it can be hard to cycle on some parts of the island thanks to steep paths, there is a new coastal path between ABC and Tekek which is great for this option. You can rent bikes in Tekek or from some resorts and I do especially recommend this as a way to explore both Tekek and ABC (Air Batang) beach.
Splash At Asah Waterfall
A top Pulau Tioman attraction is Asah Waterfall. This beautiful waterfall is located in the jungle and you can walk to it via a trail from Mukut. Bring your swim suit as it also has a nice water hole.
Indulge And Enjoy Delicious Local Food
There are some great eating options on Tioman and it pays to not just eat in your resort. Try whatever you can! There are no lack of restaurants and food stalls and you won’t have problems finding something to please your taste buds.
Do Some Duty-Free Shopping
Tioman Island has duty free status so alcohol and tobacco are cheap. Most other things are more expensive though thanks to needing to be shipped over.
In the main town of Tekek, you will find most shops.
Note that if you are travelling to Singapore afterwards that customs will fine you for bringing in alcohol and tobacco from here.
Have An Encounter With Turtles At The Juara Turtle Hatchery
This volunteer organisation protects sea turtles by collecting eggs, moving them to a hatchery and patrolling beaches for predators and poachers. They also do clean up operations.
You can tour the centre or volunteer. Volunteers sign up for a minimum of 4 nights and get food and basic dorm accommodation in return for helping out.
Turtles nest here from February to October and there are public releases of turtles from June to November.
Enjoy Beautiful Sunsets At The Beach
Anywhere along the west coast, make sure you head to the beach to watch the sunset! While ABC can be a great place to do this, you can have a great sunset anywhere along here so hit the beach at sunset time!
Relax and Enjoy Nipah Beach
Our final one of the Pulau Tioman tourist attractions is Nipah Beach. Located down the bottom of the west coast, this is the place to go for a more isolated island experience. There is a nice beach, snorkelling and jungle hiking.
Best Hotels In Tioman Island
You can find our full list of the best hotels in Tioman Island as well as information to help you chose between which village to stay in here.
This is our top choice of where to stay on Tioman Island and where we stayed on our last visit. We love all the facilities, the relative ease of getting to other parts of the island from here and how easy it is to be at this resort.
The Berjaya Tioman is located on the western side of the island just south of the main village, Tekek. It’s a 4 star resort on a beautiful beach. There are many things to do here with multiple restaurants, bars, gym, tennish courts, children’s playground, day spa, two swimming pools (one for kids with a slide and one with a swim up bar) and golf course.
The tour desk will organise whatever tours you want and it’s also easy to get to Tekek and Juara from here thanks to it being on a road.
The accommodation is in spacious, Malay style chalets with wooden furnishings, air conditioning, TV, tea and coffee making facilities and private balconies. There are a range of types and I recommend one with a sea view. There are family room options as well.
My only complaint is the food is hit and miss, but there are local restuarants just outside the front gates!
Click here for more information and the latest prices or read our full review here.
Best Time To Visit Tioman Island
The best time to visit Tioman Island is from March to October. Like the other east coast islands in Malaysia, Tioman is basically shut down during the monsoon season from the end of October to the start of March. It rains a lot, underwater visiblity is bad and most businesses (including accommodation) are shut.
During this time, boat rides across to the island don’t run often, are often cancelled and delayed and you may get stuck on the island. There is also a higher chance of sea sickness and boats can capsize.
However, if you are a surfer, this is the best time to come.
The peak time to visit is during Malaysian and Singapore school holidays. If possible, avoid these periods (a couple of weeks in each of March, June and September) as it gets a lot pricier on the island.
Getting To Tioman Island
There are no longer flights to Tioman Island so any trip here is going to involve at least two segments – getting to a ferry terminal and then taking the ferry across.
There are two choices for ferry terminals – Mersing and Tanjung Gemok. Mersing is closer to Singapore and Tanjung Gemok from Kuala Lumpur. You can look at ferry timetables from Mersing here and from Tanjung Gemok here.
Both places have car parking if you drive and direct buses from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and some other nearby points. You can look at bus timetables here.
You can read full details about getting from Mersing to Tioman Island here which includes ferry timetables, photos of each step of the process at Mersing and what to do to make sure you get to Tioman safely.
We also have a full guide of how to get to Tioman from anywhere here.
Getting Around Tioman Island
Once you are on Tioman Island the main way of getting around is via sea-taxi. These rates are often per person with a minimum of 4 and you’ll need to pay more if you are solo. In a main area, there is likely to be a sea taxi stall near the jetty. Otherwise, your resort or a tour desk can help you organise one.
They can be very expensive.
You can also hop on the ferries that run from Mersing and Tanjung Gemok as they make their stops at various beaches but these don’t run often.
Other options include a taxi if you are going between Tekek and Juara or Berjaya Tioman. You can also hire a scooter to make this journey.
Walking is a great option where good tracks exist like the ones mentioned above. Bike hire is also possible but it’s limited where you can use these.
Tioman Island Activities Map
Tioman Island With Kids
Tioman Island is a fantastic place to visit with kids. I know because I’ve done it! Natural attractions work very well with kids and they are likely to love the adventure of boating off to an island and then exploring the beaches, underwater world and jungles of Tioman.
Many resorts are well set up for kids. I know at least one that does not allow them though so check you are booking a kid friendly one, like the Berjaya Tioman above.
My son particularly enjoyed the walk to Air Batang, the Marine Park Information Centre and the drive to Juara. It’s quite steep in parts and not like any road we have been on before.
If you are looking for an easy island to visit on Malaysia’s east coast which is beautiful with a great range of accommodation for reasonable prices then come here! It’s a great place to visit and we like it a lot.
I only wish it was a bit cheaper to get around. It is easy to feel somewhat stuck because of the price of getting around. Otherwise, a huge thumbs up for Tioman Island!
What do you think of our list of things to do at Tioman Island? Let us know if there is something we should add in the comments below! You can also find all our other Tioman Island guides here.
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.