As one of the few islands on Malaysia’s sleepy east coast, beautiful Tioman takes a bit of effort to reach, but the journey has great rewards. Although not huge by Southeast Asian island standards, Tioman is home to a wide swath of accommodation that punches in at just about every budget level.
The “fashionably rustic eco-luxe” wood chalets at Japamala cling to a jungly cliff on Tioman Island’s southwestern shore. On arrival, slump into your luxurious private plunge pool or wander onto the resort’s white-sand beach, from which a long pier extends out over crystal-clear water. For those who prefer to be on the move, boat excursions, diving and island trekking can be arranged.
Kampung, the Malay word for village, leaps to mind when describing Impian Inn. This virtual neighbourhood made up of 21 tiny, tidy Malay-style homes, on the west coast of Tioman Island, offers accommodation that is gentle and welcoming rather than flashy and bold. The staff are friendly, the communal area is cosy and the resort is only a few steps from a white-sand beach.
A workaday, two-storey structure seemingly plonked on the beach on the northwest coast, the Tioman Dive Resort offers a range of options from simple bunk beds in a dorm to 11 plain but spacious rooms. As the name suggests, the emphasis here is on diving, and Padi courses or diving excursions can be booked by the helpful staff.
Sustainability is the selling point at this jungly, low-key resort on Tioman Island’s western shore. Rooms and chalets are decked out in dark woods and are located right on a private beach – or, in one case, in a tree – and are appealingly intertwined with nature. An international team of staff will work hard to make your stay pleasant.
Situated on a private, sandy beach and backed by towering limestone mountains, setting-wise it doesn’t get much more dramatic than Minang Cove Resort & Spa. The 14 chalets and villas, at the southern end of Tioman Island, range from tight and simple to spacious and decadent, all boasting handsome woods and design touches that take their cues from traditional art.
A collection of diverse A-frame villas on Tioman Island’s stunning south coast, Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort offers an easy, comfortable stay. Accommodation is linked by park-like, manicured grounds that have easy access to a sandy beach and private pier. There’s a distinct emphasis on activities here, including rock climbing, snorkelling or even batik painting, not to mention a swimming pool.
If you don’t want to stray too far from creature comforts, consider a stay at Aman Tioman Beach Resort, just steps from the pier on Tioman Island’s buzzy west coast. The contemporary lobby contrasts with the relatively simple, yet inviting and comfortable rooms, which are linked by winding pathways that boast both flora and sun. Fishing, snorkelling and diving excursions can be organised here, or you can make the most out of the pond-like pool.
On Tioman Island’s isolated south coast is this group of nine handsome wood chalets run by French expats. The rooms compel you in the art of lounging, and rates are all-inclusive, meaning that from the moment you step on your boat transfer, there’s nothing financial to think about. A private pier is the jumping-off point for excursions that range from diving to fishing.
Fronting a wide beach on Tioman Island’s lesser-known east coast is this simple yet cheerful beach resort. Rooms are decked out in dark woods, and come equipped with spacious verandas that practically shake hands with the sandy shore. There’s a rustic dining area and bar, and staff are happy to set you up on a hiking or diving expedition.
At Go Deeper, situated near a busy, broad stretch of beach on Tioman’s northwestern edge, accommodation takes the form of air-conditioning and queen bed-equipped tubes. The unique arrangement offers more space than you might expect (and provides access to clean communal bathrooms and showers), but you’ll still be obliged to take part in activities such as diving and snorkelling, made easy by the hotel’s outgoing staff.