TIOMAN ISLAND, MALAYSIA
“About 36 nautical miles off Malaysia’s east coast lies Pulau Tioman or Tioman Island, one of the region’s most enchanting holiday spots. Scenic and tranquil, Tioman Island boasts miles and miles of white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, charming villages and friendly people. Dive Tioman with us!”
Its waters teem with spectacular marine life and colourful coral gardens. The twin peaks of Gunung Nenek Semukut provide a prominent landmark to this island, reputed to be one of the most beautiful and idyllic in the world. A treasure trove of breathtaking marine attractions, corals, seashells and limpets, thorny sea urchins, colourful seaweeds and anemones, starfish, sharks, rays, large pelagics and a myriad of other aquatic wonders are abundant here.
Beyond words, large schools of fish swarm the many wrecked remains of what were once illegal fishing trawlers. Turtles take short glances at passing divers and continue poking their heads into unbroken stretches of coral to feed. This is one of the last places on Earth that shows us in Amazing Dive that there’s hope; that there’s something worth saving for the next generation to see.
Every weekend during the dive season, Amazing Dive hops off onto the jetty at Salang Beach on the northwestern coast of Tioman. New divers immediately notice that they get to see the coral formations right underneath the jetty. Let’s go dive Tioman!
Best Time to Visit Tioman Island
Traditionally, the dive season for Tioman (and Dayang) starts in late February and ends in early November. As the best sites in Tioman are silt-bottomed such as the Marine Park areas, it is best to visit Tioman during the dive season! A good alternative to Tioman during the monsoon season is Phuket, in Thailand. See also our other activities in Tioman (turtle education!)
Island Reef Resort @ Genting
Just off the Jetty, a long flight of wooden steps brings you up to a little collection of stilted wooden huts perched on a granite rockslide overlooking the sea.
- Attached toilets
- Air conditioning
- Wash points outside each hut
- Quad-sharing option
- Sunset view
Salang Beach Resort @ Salang
Just off the Jetty, a short walk brings you up to a little collection of stilted wooden huts lining Salang beach where you can watch the sunset each and every night, a lovely addition to your Tioman dive trip.
- Attached toilets
- Air conditioning
- Wash points outside each hut
- Quad-share rooms
- Sunset view
- Delicious Chinese-style meals
Amazing Dive also has Tioman liveaboard dive trips onboard the lovely MV Nautica to explore more of Tioman. Starring lesser-visited dive sites in Tioman, a looney crew, amazing food and plenty of drinks. What more can you ask for? For more info, check out MV Nautica page here.
Tioman Island Dive Sites
The dive sites are reowned in Tioman Island, with over 20 courses to choose from..
This Tioman dive site, located off the beach at the Marine Park headquarters, has 8 wrecks at varying depths- from 12 metres to 30 metres. Inquisitive batfish follow divers on their exploration – starting just below the surface as you descend. The wrecks are all connected, so finding your way around is not difficult. Soft corals abound and shoals of fusiliers and trevallys can often be seen at the wrecks. Once illegal fishing trawlers rounded up to be sunk, the irony and symbolic magnificence of the 8 wrecks- now a colourful, bustling marine city- draws silent applause and energetic approval from the residents. Celebrations are often held between Amazing Dive divers and huge schools of fishy locals with handouts of breadcrumbs.
Anyone who has been diving Tioman enough times will know and love this Tioman dive site: Renggis. A truly wonderful dive site surrounding Renggis island, and always with a surprise. This beautiful reef has many coral varieties – hard and soft – and teems with marine life – puffer fish, angelfish, butterfly fish, sting rays, moray eels, trigger fish, giant grouper and more. Renggis is one of the best sites for seeing turtles poking around the coral for food, and harmless black tip reef sharks are often spotted. This site is often used for training dives and night dives because of the depth of the site (only ranging from 5 metres to 18 metres). The unbroken coral bottom is also a rare experience, and just east of the edge, 10m out into the sandy bottom lie a cluster of concrete ‘reefballs’, hollow concrete spheres that are already called home by organisms preferring a life further away from the hustle and bustle of Renggis. Diving here isn’t just about how many breaths you take; Renggis is one of the highlights that take your breath away.
Surrounded by enormous volcanic rocks and boulders, Chebeh Island can be dived at different places, depending on conditions. The site is famous for its occasional sightings of whale shark and manta rays during the annual migration (around April and October). Schools of large trevallies and snappers can be found. The rocks create tunnels and passages, making this a challenging site to explore. The site is also known for its trigger fish… Heard scary stories about them? Ask our resident instructors and Divemasters on Managing the Triggerfish Threat 101!
Sheltered on one side by Tulai Island and with deeper water on the other, Malang Rock provides two contrasting environments. On the sheltered side is a coral reef with extensive potato corals and pavona cactuses. A school of small barracuda is often found here. On the other side, there are large rocks (an underwater continuation of the above-water island) with a variety of soft and hard corals. The interesting rock formations form interesting swim-through (or when the current is right, flush-through) overhead environments. Other marine life includes turtles, trigger fish (RUN!!!), lion fish and nudibranchs.
Sawadee Wreck/Pirate Reef
The deepest dive site close to the main island, Sawadee is often used for deep dive training as part of the Advanced Open Water course, as well as for leisure dives. The two wrecks have many soft and hard corals, and large shoals of fusiliers and kingfish are also found here. Small boxfish hover around the lines of the wrecks, recent residents include a really large spotted puffer and lionfish. One wreck is home to a stone fish and a small but shy octopus.
On the north side of the island, this sheltered bay has a variety of hard corals. Many common reef fish are found here in addition to turtles and blue spotted sting rays. Often a great place for a first day checkout dive. Nice.
Boxfish hover about the angular remnants of a car at about 15 metres here. Speculation is welcome, but the residents here didn’t care if their home was the result of husband and wife strife.. And the divers don’t care as long as it’s a good dive, and a good Tioman dive site it is. Currents flow around Tumuk towards the SW direction during dive season, so entries are made at the northern part and exits at the southern side. A good place for drift diving for advanced divers, and if it seems that the turtles have for some reason been particularly evasive around Renggis, now you know where they probably congregated! Good place to catch The March of the Sea Urchins.
The coral formations here on the side closer to the marine park come in medium sized, oases-like clusters in the desert of the sandy floor. Somehow they seem artistic, even purposely shaped by unknown hand; many a diver describes the oddness of coral patterns and life taking after Chinese bonsai and Japanese Zen influences. a resident 40cm long remora here occasionally attaches harmlessly onto the unsuspecting diver for almost the entire duration of the dive, giving silent commentary about the surroundings, and one of the largest Blue Spotted Sting Rays ever spotted by Amazing Dive still darts to and from its shady habitat under a coral-covered pillar.
Activities on Tioman Island
Saving the Turtles
The local villagers participate actively in wildlife conversation; and on certain dates of the year they gather to save turtles’ eggs as they are laid onshore from human destruction and natural predators. We at 51 will bring you down to the see the young hatchlings and the villagers if we’re lucky to have these little visitors, and be prepared for an eye-opening sharing of conservation ethics. Make a stand, and bring home something more than a license to dive!
Boom Boom Pow
From time to time 51 gets its hands on a couple of rockets and fireworks to end a good days’ worth of diving. Who lights em?
For a fee of $100 or so, let a local guide bring you jungle trekking across hills and Tekek waterfall at the Tioman Nature Reserve Park.
A Little Nightlife
End your day with an enjoyable, ice-cold drink and Shisha at the beach bar five minutes away from the resort… Force your buddy to drink through his snorkel, and try the legendary Prata Bom at the food stalls right next to the Jetty. Take a stroll along the moonlit beach and look up into a universe of stars, nebulae, and the occasional meteor streaking across the sky.
Shopping and Retail
Tioman is declared as a Duty Free Zone, so alcohol and tobacco prices are cheap… Watch where you discard those cigarette butts though, drop one casually into the sea and we’ll make you walk the plank! There are also a few shops and stalls that offer a selection of Tioman and Dive-themed shirts and souvenirs- do enquire on the environmental effects of the collection of some of the souvenirs before making a purchase; you might just be unknowingly damaging the fragile ecosystem! Alternatively, buy a black/white 51Scuba Polo Tee with your name embroidered on the sleeve. Proceeds help to fund conservation education for youths!