The first historical records that relate to Tioman Island were discovered on ancient Chinese nautical maps. Chinese traders used to head this way to reach the southernmost tip of peninsular Malaysia, now known as Singapore, to trade with Indian and Arabic merchants. Tioman was important to them as an aid to navigation, shelter from harsh weather, and as a source of water and timber.
There is an ancient legend that Tioman Island was formed by a dragon princess from China who was flying down to Singapore for a tryst with her prince. She stopped to rest in the waters and was so taken with it that she didn’t make it to Singapore, but instead turned herself into this beautiful island.
Dense tropical jungle covers most of the island, and it is a government protected area. It is home to a variety of wild life that ranges from the Sea Eagles that hunt for food in the local waters, to mouse dear, monkeys and a variety of stunning butterflies.
The villages and resorts are perched on flat areas of ground in between the jungle and the other treasure of the island, the underwater environment. Below the waves you will find another type of jungle. Based on the fringing and off shore coral reefs you can meet hawksbill and green turtles, a surprising diversity of butterfly fish, reef sharks, a variety of rays, nudibranchs, occasional visitors like Whale sharks, and if you are truly lucky you might get to see dolphins patrolling the outlying waters.
Today Tioman’s commerce is centered on tourism. People come from Singapore, Malaysia and from all over the world to enjoy the fresh air, beautiful beaches and the wonders that lie below the surface of the South China Sea.
Temperature and humidity are high, as you would expect from a location so close to the equator, but that said it is considerably more comfortable than the mainland since we benefit from cooling ocean breezes which make the evenings, nights and early mornings more comfortable.
The water temperature hovers around 29 degrees Celsius – ideal for both humans and the marine environment!
Tioman can get very busy during the week ends, and public holidays so if you are planning to visit during those periods, it would be wise to book your accommodation and transport to and from the island ahead of you arrival. If you are planning to dive with me then I can help, if you give me enough notice.
Check out the ferry schedule from Mersing here:
and the schedule for the ferry from Tanjung Gemok here:This month’s ferry schedule for Tanjung Gemok