Although we arrived at the ferry terminal in the morning, the Tioman Island ferry wasn’t due to leave until early afternoon. Depending on the weather, the ferry times can vary. There is an elaborate ticketing process, friendly staff, and a comfortable “departure” area.
Return tickets cost RM70: There is even a discount for the over 50s.
Tioman Island Ferry – Know your “Kampong”
You can save yourself a lot of stress by knowing in advance at which jetty or “kampong” (village) you want to disembark in Tioman.
The boat handlers don’t hang around at the various stops, so you have to be ready, with your bag(s) to exit the boat. This can be difficult as the handlers also insist you put large rucksacks, etc in a separate area from the seating areas on the boat.
This is the order of the stops on the way to Tioman:
1. Kampong Genting
2. Kampong Paya (Don’t mistake “Paya” for “Berjaya”, which is accessible from the next stop)
3. Kampong Tekek (Disembark here if you’re going to Berjaya, Tekek or Juara)
4. Kampong Air Batang (Also announced as “ABC”)
5. Kampong Salang
It is the reverse order on the way back from Tioman to Mersing, but then at least you’re not likely to miss your stop. If you fly over to Tioman, the airport is at Tekkek, right opposite the jetty.
The boat is comfortable enough, though it can get quite crowded, and there’s a bit of a scramble to get on/off at the various stops. It can take around 2 hours to reach your destination, taking into account the various jetty stops.
Before starting our trip to Malaysia, I had emailed the owner of the resort we were staying at in Juara (on the other side of Tioman island). He told us to disembark at Tekkek. He said there would be a few local taxi boys waiting there, who would take us Juara for RM35 per person one way.
Taxi over the Mountain
The taxi was actually a 4×4, which is just as well considering the steepness of the central mountain over which we had to travel to get to the other side of the island. This leg of the journey took just around 40 minutes.
Before leaving, the taxi driver asked if we wanted to pick up any supplies in the supermarket, since there are no real shops where we were heading. This actually is not a bad idea.
The tantalizing 5-minute drive along this stretch of beach makes it clear why these beaches were depicted in the 1958 movie, South Pacific as Bali Hai. We were now looking forward to 4 nights here – our longest stay in one place.
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