Diving Tioman Island

Tioman is the third largest Malayasian island, off the east coast of the peninsula. The island is about 38 by 19 km. There is a road which extends about 3-4 km past the airstrip and ferry terminal and a couple of km either side. The coast is a marine park area with a limit of 2 miles offshore for commercial fishing, though this is not effectively enforced at present. The water is warm, from 27 to 29 oC. Most resorts accept credit cards, but there is a 3% charge. Exchange currency before you get to the island as you won't get a good exchange rate on Tioman. There is no decompression chamber on Tioman Island: the nearest is in Singapore. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance for diving.

Getting to Tioman | Where to Stay | Diving Tioman | More Information | Comments

Getting to Tioman and Where to Stay

In the past, the airline, Berjaya Air, ran flights from both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, however now, the only way to get to Tioman is by ferry from Mersing or Tanjung Gemok ferry terminals (around a 2 hour trip). The ferry timetable is only released around a month in advance, so contact your resort or dive centre for the ferry timetable.

There are a number of dive centres on the island. From the internet, we picked Tioman Dive Centre.The centre is owned and managed by Rosie since 2011.

Tioman chalet balcony

The dive centre itself is on the beach within the grounds of the Swiss Cottage Chalets, which provide low cost accommodation suitable for most divers. A little more luxury may be found at the Babura Hotel complex about 50 meters along the beach. For those who also need a golf course, the Berjaya Resort complex is a short taxi ride further out along the road.

We stayed in a beach front chalet which has a double bed, optional single extra single bed, and a toilet and hot shower area. Tioman Dive Centre can arrange accommodation and airport or ferry terminal pick-up for divers. The village of Tekek extends along the road from the airport area to Tioman Dive Centre, so there is a good choice of restaurants within a couple of minutes walk, as well as shops selling beer, liquor, cigarettes, basic toiletries, sun creams, mosquito repellant etc. Located between the tropical forest and the sea, there are mosquitos, but not malaria, and sand flies from the beach. Simple precautions will help minimise the number of itchy patches on exposed skin.

The Diving at Tioman Island

The diving around the Tekek area of Tioman is typically between 10 and 25 meters deep, and being normally flat calm with limited currents, the diving is suitable for all grades of diver from beginners to much more experienced.

The season runs from early February to November, the out of season time is associated with unpredictable weather during the monsoon. The best time of the year for visibility is March June and visibility may drop in July and August.

Typically visibility is between 15-20 meters, but sometimes drops to 5 meters for no very obvious reason. Dive sites (with the exception of the outer islands) are only a few minutes boat ride away from the dive centre, so 3 50-55 minute dives per day is the norm with Tioman Dive Centre.

Nudibranch, Wart sea slug

There are a few small wrecks of wooden fishing boats, which provide a focus for fish life, and lots of coral. Turtles are frequently spotted, but sharks are less common. There are black-tip reef sharks around but they are shy, and there are also some Coral Cat small sharks. The area is an excellent place for nudibranch spotting, and for other invertebrates.

On our visit we dived at:

(See our dive sites page for full details of these dives.)

Clownfish on Tioman
Photo credit: Tioman Dive Centre

More Information

For other dive operators going to Tioman see our Malaysia Dive Operators page. For more on the diving around Tioman see the dive sites page.

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