Tioman Island, the Underrated Jewel of Peninsular Malaysia

It started as a plan for our annual photography outing. It was year 2010 & I was supposed to embark on another fun photojourney with the usual suspects from Singapore. Unfortunately, the timing was not apt for most of my fellow photographers & one by one had to pull out while some could not slot another trip having just returned from other destinations. Looking back, am I glad that I didn’t cancel or postpone the trip?? Yes, a BIG BIG yes!!! I definitely have to thank one of my buddy (my bestest!) who happily agreed to go ahead with the plan even though the others couldn’t make it. Just a small note before we begin the virtual photojourney into Tioman. Just a thought of mine; I am not sure why Tioman is not as popular or as ‘glamorous’ as Redang Island is. I heart beach more than anything & those who know me well gets it. They know how islands & beaches always feature top in my itineraries. There are countless tantalizing beaches in Malaysia. I have had the opportunity to travel to many popular ones & I must say that Tioman comes very close behind Perhentian for me personally. My experience in Tioman became even more special & close to my heart because we manage to get our hands to the keys to a stunning tree house. It was my first ever tree house stay, which I must say is a unique experience every traveller should have. It was indeed meant for us I would happily conclude & here is why I concluded so. Patrick, the resort owner told us how tourists & visitors are placed in waiting list for the tree house & how a family had to postpone their trip just a day before I called him at a short notice for a room in his beautiful resort. The rest, as I would say, is not just history, but a mesmerising photojourney chapter forever etched in my memory.  If you are wondering where this stunning tree house & Patrick’s Resort is, wonder no more. It’s called Melina Beach Resort.

Some travel info & tips for your Tioman getaway:

1) The main gateway to get into Tioman is the Mersing Jetty which is located in the state of Johor.

2) Mersing is also the gateway to few other beautiful offshore islands, to name a few, Rawa Island & Pulau Besar (NOTE: not the Pulau Besar island in Malacca)

3) Get to the Mersing jetty early to get a ferry in time to get to the first jetty (where you will need to take another boat to get to your resorts). Bluewater Express, a ferry operator  based there, would be a decent choice. Your resort would most probably arrange for a pick up from the first jetty (the connecting jetty).

4) Be careful of touts lurking there claiming they can get you into the ferries as there are high chances these are scams or rip-offs. Chances are you will indeed end up in one of the ferries but for a way higher fare & at a later time. The best is to time your trip to reach early at Mersing jetty and buy your ferry tickets over their counters personally.

5) A must do while in Tioman; Apart from the normal must Dos, don’t forget to track the trails in Tioman connecting the 8 main villages in Tioman, Kampung Tekek being the most popular one. Its an amazing experience & definitely a treat for photographers. Just go prepared (lotions, sneakers & what nots) for the long walk & be ready to ‘meet’ monitor lizards along the way. Just stay away from the big fella’s path & you will be fine.

My Tioman Photojourney:

And the photojourney begins;

The stunning tree house where we stayed @Melina Beach Resort

DSC_2950The key to the fab room!

Around Melina Beach Resort

Photojourney through the 8 villages in Tioman Island

We walked from 1 end of the island to the other & was pleasantly surprised with what was waiting for us. Just apply your sunscreen & insect repellent lotion, wear a comfy sneakers & walk! Oh & also, don’t forget about the big ‘fellas’ & other inhabitants of the Island along the way. Keep to the ‘norm jungle rules’ & you will be just fine.

The long walk was indeed worthwhile, not only for what we saw throughout our trail but for what was finally waiting for us. Simply mindblowing;

We completed the long walk at the shop lots of the last main village’s jetty.

& of course we reached just in time for lunch. Maybe a late lunch but its still ‘Makan’ time. Any time is ‘Makan’ time in Malaysia 🙂

Food at the Malay stalls were delicious and reasonably priced.


I leave you with this shot that will always be close to my heart. The underrated jewel of Peninsular Malaysia that will forever shine in your hearts & memory. That’s what this journey is to me!