Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Getting to Tioman Island (Pulao Tioman)

So you’ve tried all the beaches near Singapore like Batam, Bintan, East Cost, Changi including the (in)famous Sentosa. Now you want to explore a little further……

Try Pulao Tioman (Tioman Island), a famous dive spot in Malaysia.

Pulao Tioman. (Image courtesy of www.asiatravel.com)

Pulau Tioman, which belongs to the state of Pahang, is off the south-east coast of peninsular Malaysia, just north of the Johor-Pahang state borders. It is reachable by speedboat or ferry from the coastal town of Mersing or from Tanjung Gemuk.

A lot of people including Malaysians always mistaken that this island belongs to Johor due to the gateway jetty is in Mersing. Mersing is located in the state of Johor.

  • Getting to Mersing
    Mersing lies on peninsular Malaysia’s east coast, around 3 hours’ drive north-east of Singapore.

    If you are relying on public transport from Singapore, travel early around 5am and should arrive around 8am to catch the early morning ferry or boat to the island. Book well in advance if your trip coincides with the weekend or Singaporean and Malaysian public and school holidays.

  • By Bus
    From Singapore you have two choices:

  • You can take the Transnational Bus to Mersing (3 to 4 hours) from Lavender St. Terminal. Tickets cost around RM 12 (if bought in Malaysia) / SGD 27 (if bought in Singapore) each way.

    Or You can go to Golden Mile Complex, Beach Road and take bus from Singapore to Mersing  depart from .

    All buses will stop at R & R Plaza Mersing, which are just about 3 minutes from ferry terminal to Tioman Island.

    From Johor Bahru (Larkin Bus terminal) take the Causeway Link, Transnational or S&S Express bus to Mersing (2.5-3 hours; about RM 10 each way):

    An alternative is to take the local bus between Johor Bahru and Kota Tinggi and then transfer to the local bus between Kota Tinggi and Mersing.

  • By Taxi
    To get to Larkin from Singapore, take a shared taxi from the Queen St. bus terminal (S$ 10 per person).

    From the Johor Bahru Larkin bus station, you can charter a taxi to Mersing. The cost is around RM 100 and the journey takes around 2 hours. 

    You can also charter taxis from Tanjung Leman (1 hour, RM 70-100) and Kota Tinggi (1 hour, RM 70-100).

  • Speedboats and ferries to Tioman
    Speedboats and ferries depart from Mersing or Tanjung Gemok (north of Mersing). I suggest go to Mersing. If you are booking a package stay on Tioman, a return ferry transfer is almost always included.

    From Mersing, speedboats (20 passengers) reach the island within 2 hours while the ferries (150 passengers) can take up to 3 hours.  Tickets cost RM 35 each way (RM 45 for speedboats) and ferries leave every one to two hours between 09:30 and 17:30.

  • At Mersing
    At the ferry terminal itself, there are restaurants and convenience stores for any last minute needs and pangs of hunger. In town, about 15-20 minutes’ walk from the jetty, there are banks, ATMs, internet cafes, supermarkets, shops and hotels (in case you need to spend the night in Mersing).

    Many of Mersing’s resorts have offices in Mersing, close to the ferry terminal.
    If you have a car, there is also a secure car park that charges around RM8 per day.

We stayed in Salang Sayang resort during our last visit. Not your usual 4 or 5 star resort but it’s good enough. Salang Sayang is situated in the best part of the beach area. It is shallow enough for adults or kids to walk quite a long way out into the sea and is great for snorkeling as there are plenty of fish, even near the shore.

beach_front beach_front1

beach_front2 pulau-tioman_beach

*Photo courtesy of user’s contribution in TripAdvisor.

Here a review from TripAdvisor:

Give a call to Ms. Pisa, the receptionist in Salang Sayang at +609-4195020 / +6013-7206439 for inquiry.

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