Tioman Island, known locally as Pulau Tioman, is a small island located off the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia. It was first recorded and mapped by ancient Chinese mariners, who along with other passing sailors, fishermen and traders used the island as a refuelling and waypoint on their way to, and from, what is now Singapore.
The richness of life on Tioman Island extends to its surrounding waters. The legend goes that the island formed when a dragon princess stopped to rest in the water on her way to see a prince in Singapore. So taken by its waters, the princess instead turned herself into the island, so she could forever enjoy its beauty. After diving here, it is easy to understand why this legend stands. Tioman Island has arguably the most beautiful coral gardens in the South China sea with a wide variety of tropical reef fish, turtles, sharks, cuttlefish and nudibranchs.
Although this stunning island is remote, it is within proximity to two of Asia’s biggest airports, making it the ideal getaway for any scuba diver and nature lover travelling from Australia.
The vibrant island paradise of Tioman Island is just 137 square km in size with 98% covered in thick rainforest, home to numerous endemic species such as sea eagles, monkeys and deer. Around 2,650 people call this island home. Six main villages, called kampungs, are nestled along the edge of the island between dense jungle-covered mountains.
Tioman Island is one of the most popular islands on the eastern side of Peninsula Malaysia. It lies within the Mersing Marine Park, about 32 kilometres off the coast. Most visitors arrive on Tioman Island by ferry/boat from the town of Mersing which can be reached by road transfer from the main gateways of either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. There is also an airport next to Kampung Tekek on Tioman Island.
Tropical climate. Tioman Island experiences hot and humid weather. The average daytime temperature is 32˚C.
Dry Season: April to October
Wet Season: November to March
Many of the resorts close between November and Jan.
Tioman Island sits on the edge of the Coral Triangle and thus has extensive coral reefs teeming with a wide variety of tropical fish both large and small.
The shallow, calm waters of Tioman provide over 30 + dive sites. Soyak Island, Pirate Reef and Renggis Island are ideal for less experienced divers. A little further afield, sites such as Chebeh, Labas and Tiger Reef provide deeper waters, sometimes with challenging currents, plus the chance to see larger species, as well as incredible macro life.
In addition to the beautiful reef dive sites, Tioman includes over a dozen wrecks, mostly scuttled wooden-hulled fishing trawlers, and one larger 31 metres long, ex-Navy and marine police patrol vessel.
Tioman Island lies in the South China Sea, with the depth ranging between 10 – 70 metres, and has something to offer every level of diver regardless of experience.
For those interested in technical diving, one-day excursions can be arranged upon request to dive great WWII wrecks. Visit the famous HMS Repulse or the HMS Prince of Wales.
To dive these wrecks a minimum certification level of PADI Tec50 or an equivalent technical diver certification (i.e. IANTD Technical Diver, TDI extended range) is required.
The average water temperature is 28˚C – 3mm wetsuit
The diving season for Tioman Island starts on 1st February and ends by early November. Tioman Island closes down over monsoon period (Nov-Jan).
Mating season of the Pharaoh Reef Cuttlefish (don’t miss it!)
Best visibility, averaging between 15m and 30m
Summer season where visibility usually drops to around 8m to 12m (though diving is still great)
From above, this reef looks like a crouching tiger. This site, is an exhilarating reef and drift dive, ideal for all levels of divers at times with excellent visibility ranging from 10m to 30m. The boulders, rock formations and overhangs are all covered in lush & colourful corals. Expect to see amazing sea fans and gorgonians, with a stunning array of marine life such as nudibranchs, turtles, Stone-fish, Wrasse, Titan Triggerfish, Yellow Snappers, Coral Lobsters, Moray eels, Scorpionfish and Yellowtail fusiliers. You may also encounter Nurse Sharks, Barracudas and Blue Spotted Rays.
This site, is an exhilarating reef and drift dive, ideal for all levels of divers at times with excellent visibility ranging from 10m to 30m. The boulders, rock formations and overhangs are all covered in lush & colourful corals. Expect to see amazing sea fans and gorgonians, with a stunning array of marine life such as nudibranchs, turtles, Stone-fish, Wrasse, Titan Triggerfish, Yellow Snappers, Coral Lobsters, Moray eels, Scorpionfish and Yellowtail fusiliers. You may also encounter Nurse Sharks, Barracudas and Blue Spotted Rays.
This amazing isolated dive site is located in the middle of Tioman Island and Coral Island (open sea). Although the reefs here are in pristine condition, the currents can be unpredictable and quite strong so, the minimum qualification recommended is experienced advanced diver or higher. The site boasts a huge rock pinnacle starting at 8m deep with an abundant array of marine life including Blue Spotted Stingrays, Barracudas, Jacks, Trevallies, Scorpionfish, Yellow Reef fish, Parrotfish, and Wrasse. You can also expect to see anything from nudibranchs and Clown Fish to Green Sea Turtles, Blacktip Reef Sharks and occasionally if the conditions are ideal, even whale sharks.
Although the main activity here is diving, other water activities are available including kayaking, paddleboarding, wakeboarding, jet skis, surfing, windsurfing and fishing.
There are plenty of beautiful walks around this island with a series of jungle tracks replacing traditional roads. Choose between a day hike to the top of the islands highest peak, Mt Kajang, a visit to Asah Waterfall or a walk to the beautiful village of Air Batang that has a 1.5km stretch of sand with emerald clear waters and lush landscapes.
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