An ancient saga tells a story of a beautiful Dragon Queen. While on her way from China to Singapore she took rest in the warm and tranquil waters of the South China Sea. She fell so much in love with her surroundings that she decided to stay and turned herself into this magnificent island that we call Pulau Tioman (Tioman Island) today.
Tioman Island is located 32km off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The island is some 39km long and up to 12km wide.
First discovered by Chinese and Arab seafarers and traders around a thousand years ago, the island was a source to replenish their fresh water resources and was also a navigational aid. The famous twin peaks to the south, known as donkey ears, were always a reassuring sign for sailors to know that they were on the right track to the southern tip of Malaysia, known today as Singapore. If you’re lucky you can still find small pieces of Ming Dynasty porcelain in the shallow waters around the island.
Its beaches were depicted in the 1958 movie South Pacific as Bali Hai and in the 1970’s, the TIME Magazine selected Tioman as one of the world’s most beautiful islands.
98% of Tioman is covered by one of the oldest rainforests on earth, which is habitat for many endemic species and which is protected by law. The highest peak is Gunung Kajang, towering over the jungle at 1038m, it can be seen from as far as Mersing.
The island is sparsely inhabited and its surrounding islands and coral reefs make it a popular scuba destination. Maybe the widest known dive site is Coral Island (Pualu Tulai) in the north.
There are some 8 villages on the island and around 18 beaches, most of them still very pristine and only accessible by boat.