Backpacking Pulau Tioman: what to do, where to go and more
Clear water, hills covered with jungle and the breathtaking sunset. Pulau Tioman or Tioman island is one of the most beautiful islands in Malaysia that I have seen. In the 1970s, Time Magazine already proclaimed this paradise one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Most travelers in Malaysia travel to the Perhentian islands, but if you prefer something less touristy, then you should definitely go to Pulau Tioman. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Backpacking on Pulau Tioman is surely possible!
What to do on Tioman island
1. Go surfing at Juara Beach
Juara Beach, which is adjacent to Juara Village, seems to be the best and only place to surf at Tioman Island. Although Tioman is more difficult to reach in the rainy season, the waves around that period are a lot bigger – up to 20 meters high. In Juara Village, there are a number of places where you can rent a surfboard.
Tip: There are a few places here where you can rent a surfboard and Juara Village also has a number of interesting cafés and bars.
2. Hike to the Asah waterfalls
Asah Waterfall – or Mukut Waterfall – is one of the top sights on the island of Tioman. The waterfall can also be seen in the 1958 South Pacific film.
The waterfall is close to the village of Mukut and can be reached by a trek through the beautiful jungle from Kampung Mukut or Kampung Asah. Tioman Island is famous for its pristine rainforest and a trek is, therefore, a must.
Rather lazy than tired? Then take the water taxi to the falls.
3. Relax on the beach of Mukut
Mukut is one of the eight most important villages on Tioman Island. Some say that Mukut has the most beautiful beach on Tioman island. It is up to you, whether that is the case.
Anyway: the sand is golden and overlooks the crystal clear sea.
Mukut is also a sleepy village, so perfect if you want to get away from all the parties and are looking for peace. Interested in the traditional village life that reigns on Tioman? Then Mukut is the right place for you.
4. Sleep in the village of Salang
Salang is best known among backpackers and single travelers and as the place to dive, sleep cheaply and party. We slept at the Puteri Salang Inn, near the wooded hills and within walking distance of the beach.
Oh yes and about those monkeys? Close the garbage bins (does not help at all), grab your laundry and just relax in your hammock as they fight each other for an apple. I love this island!
How do you get to the island (Pulau) Tioman?
Many tourists travel from Kuala Lumpur (5.5 hours) or Singapore (5 hours) by bus to Mersing. From Kuala Lumpur (TBS bus station) you can take the bus to Mersing. From the port in Mersing you take the ferry that will take you to the island of Tioman in about 1.5 hours. The departure times of the boat sometimes change due to the tides. The ferry then stops at various places on the island of Tioman. De ferry naar Pulau Tioman stopt op verschillende plekken (ook wel kampongs genoemd) op het eiland Tioman. De meeste reizigers stappen na de boottocht met de ferry uit bij Tekek. In Tekek vind je ook de enige pinautomaat van het eiland en een paar winkeltjes. Vanuit Tekek kun je de jeeptaxi naar andere plekken nemen, zoals Juara Beach.
Prefer to fly? That’s is also possible with a private plane, but of course, isn’t quite within backpackers budget :)
What’s the best time to visit Pulau Tioman?
You can visit the island all year round, but Tioman island is not easy to visit every season of the year. The island is the best to visit from March to October.
How do you travel on the island of Tioman
The best way to travel on the island is by scooter or bicycle. Various paths have been laid out between the villages in Tioman. In Kampung Tekek you can rent a moped and visit the west of the island of Tioman. Er is ook een weg door de dichte jungle vol met haarspeldbochten die van Tekek in het westen, naar het prachtige Juara in het oosten gaat. Hier kun je zelf met de scooter of fiets naar rijden of een taxi nemen.
Finally, you can also travel by boat from village to village (between Salant and Genting). Use the Bluewater Express for this. This ferry brings and collects locals and tourists from the various villages around the island. A single trip will cost you around RM20
Are there any fleas on Tioman?
If there is wind there are no sand fleas and if there is wind, the chance of sand fleas is also greater.
Evey’s Tioman checklist
Make sure you take cash with you. There is an ATM, but you can find it at Tioman airport. Preferably pay a hotel in advance with a credit card so that you have to take as little money as possible with you.
Make sure you arrange the accommodation on time so that you have a better chance of a nice accommodation. In Southeast Asia we always use Booking.com.