Tioman Island. 32 Km off the coast of Peninsular Malaysia, it is densely forested, sparsely inhabited and surrounded by numerous coral reefs. Guidebooks will tell you that its claim to fame is the award of world’s most beautiful island in the 1970’s, and its selection as a film set for the movie South Pacific. For us, Tioman holds high esteem in that it happens to be the location we selected to celebrate our 10-year anniversary.
The diverse environment in Tioman offers something to do and see for every adventurer. Activities here include: beachcombing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and even jungle trekking. Tioman is a duty-free zone. You can find some deals at the shops near the little airport in Tekek and you will find some of the lowest prices in Malaysia for liquor in Tioman. But for the diehard shoppers out there, you’re better off in Kuala Lumpur.
Having said that, there really is so much to do and see on Tioman, and we spent ten days there taking it all in.
Apart from its incredible variety of sea life in the surrounding reefs and islands, Tioman is also a sanctuary for protected mammals such as the black giant squirrel, the mouse deer, brush-tailed porcupine, and the long-tailed macaque.
Cute monkey, eh? Don’t get too excited and start giving your money to the travel agent just yet. As amazing as this place is, when you get here there is no mistaking it…you are on tropical island. This is not your typical island retreat with mai-tais and swim-up bars. You will be living on the edge of the jungle, which is mostly unspoiled (despite man’s best efforts to change it). For the less intrepid traveler, Tioman might be considered a “fearsomely beautiful” island modern in some respects, yet untame in others. Having said that, you should not be surprised to come face-to-face with:
Crabs with huge claws and beady red eyes…
More packs of wild monkeys, constantly in search of an easy meal…
Grasshoppers and praying mantises…
And every day it’s nearly guaranteed that you’ll bump into your friendly neighborhood monitor lizard.
Still excited to see Tioman? Wonderful! You are an intrepid traveler indeed! For the rest of you, consider this a proving ground for conquering some of your fears and flexing that courage muscle!
There are a few ways to get there. If you’re on a tight schedule, you can fly directly from Kuala Lumpur, as the island does have an airport that accommodates propeller aircraft.
The time-intensive, but less costly alternative, involves a bus to the port city of Mersing (5 hours from Kuala Lumpur)…followed by a 90-minute ferryboat ride to the island.
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