‘Diving On Tioman’ – The Full Story of Where and Why!

In Blog by Grahame MassicksLeave a Comment

Why should I come diving on Tioman Island?

There are so many reasons to come diving on Tioman Island that I am having some difficulty knowing where to start! I would help if I knew who ‘you’ were! Since we are all different, with different levels of diving skills and particular aspects of diving that interest each individual, it is rather difficult to answer all the particular questions people might have. If you have any specific inquiries or just want to know more about Tioman and your desires, write to me here:

Book Your Diving on Tioman!  

<img src="padi-diving-on-tioman-island-malaysia.jpg" alt="PADI Diving on Tioman Island, Malaysia" />

Batu Malang dive site with Tioman Island in the background

So let’s start with a broad look at the island itself. Tioman lies about 35 nautical miles from the south east coast of peninsular Malaysia in the tropical waters of the South China Seas. It has a rugged mountainous spine covered in largely untouched primary rain forest. Scattered around the coast on patches of flat or nearly flat ground there about a dozen or so individual villages. These are mainly on the west and south coast of the island, with only one village, Juara on the east coast. While you can walk from some of the villages to others, most inter village journeys are done by boat. This means that vehicular traffic is mainly confined to Tekek and Berjaya Resort on the west coast, and the road that leads over the mountains from Tekek to Juara – which is a major plus, in my opinion!

This brings us to the first good reason for diving on Tioman – the cost! While I never claim that Tioman is the cheapest, I know for sure that what we charge is exceptionally good value for money.

<img src="padi-diving-on-tioman-island-malaysia.jpg" alt="PADI Diving on Tioman Island, Malaysia" />

Divers in the blue – Tioman Island shore dive.

The second excellent reason for diving on Tioma is that the shore dives are of an unusually high quality! Most of the resorts have good quality diving directly from the beach. This is really important for dive students, who get the benefit of an interesting environment with a good variety of coral and marine life to ‘spice’ up their courses. For the leisure diver, it means quick, easy, and economical diving is on their doorstep –ideal for that third dive of the day after going out on the boat and even better for night diving! It is also very handy if you come with non-diving family or friends.

During 2016 the sea has washed away some of the sand from the lower parts of the beach. This has uncovered some of the rocks below and has made the beach more difficult to cross in bare feet. So I strongly advise participants to bring a pair of flip flops to wear into the water until we are up to our chests. You can then float, take of your flip flops and put on your fins.

The boat diving on Tioman is when the island really starts to shine. There are a few good quality coastal dive spots which cannot be accessed from the shore, but the waters around Tioman are also littered with smaller islands, all with their own fringing reefs plus several submerged reefs hidden below the surface. Added to that are numerous wrecks that have been sunk in strategic locations by the Marine Park authorities, and you get a good variety of dives to keep all but the most fussy of divers happy.

From the huge granite boulders of Chebeh Island, to the man sized gorgonians at Fan Canyon, to the maze of swim throughs at Labas Island, Tioman offers an abundance and variety of dives for all levels of recreational divers.

Nor does the marine life disappoint. There are huge fields of healthy stag horn corals to the south of Chebeh and Rengis Islands. Many of the sites have large and therefore old plate corals, with bommies covered in hard encrusting corals, brain and ridge corals mainly. Batu Malang is a dive site famous among local divers for its potato and lettuce corals. Soft corals add to the spectacle, coming in a myriad of colours and shapes. Of particular note are the broccoli corals, the elephant ears, and the yellow cup corals when the tentacles come out to feed.

Tioman Island is blessed by an amazing variety of nudibranchs, an interesting variety of clown fish which live in some uncommon anemones, and butterfly fish from the small beaked butterfly fish up to their much larger close relative the Angel fish.

<img src="padi-diving-on-tioman-island-malaysia.jpg" alt="PADI Diving on Tioman Island, Malaysia" />

These nudibranch love black bubble coral

<img src="padi-diving-on-tioman-island-malaysia.jpg" alt="PADI Diving on Tioman Island, Malaysia" />

False clown fish near swim through at Tiger Reef, Tioman Island


Among the larger creatures, turtles are found frequently, oceanic barracuda and cuttlefish are here in abundance, ‘families’ of bumphead parrot fish are another delight, and I am not going to overlook the impressive giant green moray eels. The morays of Tioman come in a good variety and include the small and delicate white eye, but also the mid-sized leopard, spotted or honeycombed eels, and the yellow edged morays. Sweetlips and groupers can still be found, especially at Rengis Island.

<img src="padi-diving-on-tioman-island-malaysia.jpg" alt="PADI Diving on Tioman Island, Malaysia" />

Immature cat fish, Tioman Island diving.

Schooling fish include yellow finned barracuda, yellow stripped snappers, anchovies, glass fish, the ever curious bat fish, damsels, and of course every videographers favourite the antheas.

Added to the abundant and fascinating marine environment, getting out on the boat is easy and convenient. There are no long journeys from hotel to dive shop to collect equipment followed by a long journey to the jetty followed by a long journey out to the dive sites. On Tioman, the dive shops are a short walk from the breakfast restaurants. The jetty is usually within five minutes of the shop and most of the operators use speed boats to the dive sites, so even on the slower ‘bum’ boats, journey times are rarely more than thirty minutes – ideal for setting up equipment, and relaxing before the dive briefing.

It is the same on the way back, which means that you can have two great dives and be back to the island for around 2.00pm – ideal for a late lunch with the afternoon free to do whatever you please!

Brand new for 2017 I am launching a Premium Service version of Scuba Guru’s dive offerings! The central idea is that those who select to use the Premium Service will have me exclusively during the course of their stay here in Salang. Whether for fun dives or diving courses I will take on no other customers than the Premium booking. Now that is truly unique to Scuba Guru! To find out more click the button below:

Premium Service Diving


The dive operators offer the full range of recreational dive courses, including most of the specialty courses. PADI is the predominant training body, but a few of the shops offer alternatives. Nitrox is available in most of the villages, and a few of dive shops have facilities for technical diving.

Tioman dive operators have an excellent safety record. I was discussing this issue with a visiting PADI lecturer last year, and he confirmed to me that while there are a few injuries and accidents here, most occur with visiting dive professionals rather than the local operators. There are only limited medical facilities on the island, although emergency Oxygen and comprehensive first aid kits are kept by all the dive shops that I am familiar with. Re-compression chambers are a long off in either Singapore or the Malaysian naval base at Lumut, so pay attention to your gauges and follow your dive briefing closely.

<img src="padi-diving-on-tioman-island-malaysia.jpg" alt="PADI Diving on Tioman Island, Malaysia" />

Hard corals, on a Tioman Island shore dive.

Tioman has a wide selection of accommodation and restaurants. I am happy to say that during my long stay on the island I have noticed that the resorts are becoming more aware of the importance of maintenance and of providing for a range of customers from the budget conscious back packer to the more indulgent and discerning visitor.

The island is a duty free zone, but the shopping is mainly confined to alcohol, tobacco products and chocolates. And there are certainly no shopping malls!!

If you want wild parties, nightclubs, fancy restaurants, and designer shopping go somewhere else. If you want quality diving, at a remarkably good price, then come and ‘chill-ax’ with us on Tioman! The diving on Tioman will not disappoint you.

Book Your Diving on Tioman!

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