Tioman: Small Island, Big Adventure


When people are heading to Malaysia for business, the hub of Kuala Lumpur is typically the end destination. When it comes to rest and relaxation, Borneo is the landing point of choice. However, between the two lies the tiny island of Tioman, which shouldn’t be overlooked by those looking for an unforgettable beach and scuba diving adventure.

Situated in Pahang, the third largest Malaysian state, Tioman is a place where vast peaks slide down to smooth shorelines, and everywhere, from top to bottom, is ready to draw you in with warm summer skies and soft winds.

The tourist draw to Tioman is only a few decades old, as it didn’t really hit the radar until Time magazine listed it as one of the most beautiful islands in the world in the 1970’s. Since then, it has had a steady pull to its shores, yet the vast, dense forests of the island make it a less-than-desirable spot for habitation, so the beauty of the island is mostly preserved now as it has been for centuries. Other than a few resorts, dive shops, and other attractions, the area is mostly trees by land and coral by sea, and in the coral, there’s more than enough to see in the numerous dive spots throughout the region. Let’s roll.

Fan Canyon 

Photo by Deepblu user Alex

We bet from the name of the place you can guess the obvious feature of this incredible site, but there’s so much more to it. There are fans, yes, and it is a canyon, but beyond that there are hidden treasures to be found. Don’t plan to spot gold here, but do plan to swim past some barracuda and snappers, which school in the area. In fact, the density of marine life in this area is so intense that words can’t do it justice, and the great news is that anyone can do it, even students visit!

Malang Rock

Photo by Deepblu user drarad

 This place is turtle central. Here, you can drift along the oceanic highways with some of the calmest creatures on Earth. Malang Rock is a sanctuary for those looking for a cozier dive in tighter territory, and is a huge draw for freedivers, who like to come and swim through the passageways. Calm currents and clear waters make it another dive for anyone, and as far as dive spots in the region go, it’s one of the more popular ones.

Pulau Sayak

Photo by Deepblu user lowloes

A quick boat ride off of the northern coast of Tioman will get you to the tiny dive region of Pulau. But don’t let its even-more-miniature size fool you, this place is teeming with life, and with it opportunities for diving that you can write home about. The sheer amount of colorful corals in the area is astounding, but what rests within them is a true masterpiece. It’s a hideout for fish of all shades, and in the shades you might find a few more things lurking.

Whether you’re on business or on Borneo, make sure to check out the slice of paradise that is Tioman, you won’t forget it.

  • Todd Allen Williams, Senior Editor

For more on diving in Malaysia, hop over to Planet Deepblu.