Tioman Island

while i am away, rats come out to playI’m confused about the Island of Tioman. I am not sure if it is part of Pahang or part of Johor. It is really odd. Supposedly, it belongs to the parliamentary constituency of Rompin, Pahang. However, the school seems to belong to the district of Mersing, Johor. Aside from that bit of geographical brain-teaser, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time on the Island and more so in its surrounding waters. Tioman is a beautiful island with fine white sandy beaches and crystal clear emerald green waters.

It was a family trip and we decided to go there by air. That itself was an interesting flight, particularly on approach. Our plane basically flew straight into the mountain and made a sharp turn to the right and immediately landed just before actually hitting the mountain face. We landed and immediately made our way to one of the places where we were staying – Paya Beach. The atmosphere at the beach reminded me of a UCPA youth-hostel kind of environment. There were plenty of young people there as well as families. The food and service were both pretty good.

The next day, we went off on a snorkeling excursion in the sea. We hired a private boat to take just our family out to a couple of good spots. Our first visit was to a place where the fishes were colourful and corals were bright. I had never done any snorkeling before and as a virgin experience, this was a good one. The fish were excellent sport and kept coming around. They seemed not to be afraid of people.

After that, we were brought to a beautiful beach on one of the out-lying islets. The water there was crystal clear and the sand smooth and white. While the kids were busy playing in the sand, I decided to go out snorkeling around the beach instead. The fish were a little less colourful but just as interesting as they were further out. We were the first to arrive at the beach. Unfortunately, lots of other people began arriving about half an hour after us and the place turned into a giant boat park. At one point, I was even chased out of the water because a boat was trying to come in.

Then, we went to the marine park. Oh, I forgot to mention that Tioman collects a sort of ‘marine tax’ at the airport. All visitors are required to pay a small fee that contributes to the maintenance of the marine park. That is where the fisheries department takes care of the fish. Snorkeling there was fun too. The fishes there were huge and obviously well fed. I particularly liked swimming smack into a school of fish and have them scramble for cover.

That very day, I discovered what a whole day of snorkeling in the sun could do to you. I had blossomed into a bright red fruit. I was totally sun-burnt and it hurt as hell. Thankfully, the very next day was my last day on the island. So, I could limit the damage. If I had another whole day of swimming in the sea, I think that I would have probably turned brown instead. I have trouble practising self-restraint.

Anyway, I spent my last day at Japamala and boy is that a beautiful resort. It is nestled in amongst the trees and everything is constructed out of nature. The sea breeze was also excellent and never stopped blowing. The staff and services were par excellence and I would really recommend that place for anyone considering a nice quiet getaway in Tioman. It is a little pricey but totally worth every last sen spent.

Well, I guess that I have said enough and it is time for photos! I’ve not done any retouching on any of these as I do not have the time to do it. Just imagine things a little less grey and a little more gay.


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Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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