Ask any seasoned diver on some of the best spots to dive in Asia, chances are the name Tioman Island would be mentioned on numerous occasions. As a matter of fact, Tioman Island has been consistently ranked as the Top 10 most beautiful Islands on earth. Located on the southeastern side of Johor, Tioman Island has everything to cater to a tourist diverse needs; diving, gorgeous beaches, honeymoon spot,windsurfing and even shopping as it is a duty-free island. With all the attractiveness of Tioman Island, let’s explore the various ways to reach Tioman Island from Singapore. A word of caution is to always book in advance especially if it is holiday season.
1. Private Car
If there is a group of friends going to Tioman Island, then hiring a private car in the form of MPV may be the best and most convenient method. Besides that, the MPV car is more spacious and comfortable for the long journey as it provides extra legroom. It also has ample space for your bags and belongings. SGMYTaxi is arguably the most popular operators of private cars in Singapore and comes with the added benefit of picking you up from your doorstep.
Dropoff point is either Tanjung Gemok Jetty and Mersing Jetty. From there, Tioman Island is just a ferry ride away. A round trip to Mersing will cost SGD420 (for a Toyota Innova) and SGD500 (for a Hyundai Starex). From Mersing, a round trip Ferry Ride would cost RM70 per person (~SGD24).
Taking a Coach is more of an adventure rather than a straightforward affair. It might not be suited if you are travelling with young kids. There are 3 main coach operators that can take you to Tanjung Gemok Jetty and the cost is between SGD25-SDG36.50 per way (depending on which coach operator you choose). The journey takes approximately 4 hours to the Tenjung Gemok Jetty, with the departure time being 6.30am. The pickup points are Singapore Flyer (for Discovery Tours & Travel and WTS Travel Tours) and Golden Mile Complex (6:15am) / Boon Lay (6:45am) for The One Travel & Tours.
For the return trip to Singapore, the ferry departs at 2pm with a journey time of 1 to 1.5hours. From Tanjung Gemok Jetty, it is another 4 hours to Singapore. The coach departs from Tanjung Gemok Jetty at 4pm (for Discovery Tours & Travel and The One Travel & Tours) and 5pm (for WTS Travel & Tours).
If the travel time is too long to consider option #2, one may consider taking a bus. There are 2 different ways to go via bus.
First is via Larkin Sentral. From Woodlands MRT, one will need to take Bus 911 to the Woodlands Checkpoint. Upon immigration clearance, take bus 170/160 from Woodlands Checkpoint to Johor Customs. Next, take a bus from JB Sentral to Johor Bahru Larkin Bus Station. From the Larkin Bus Station, one will need to hop on a bus to Mersing Terminal Bus Station. Upon reaching the Mersing Terminal Bus Station, the Mersing Jetty is a 4 minutes drive away. Finally, Tioman Island is just a ferry ride away from the Mersing Jetty. Although this option has many steps, but one does not need to wake up at 6.30am to depart.
The other alternative is more straightforward. By boarding either Transnasional (SGD49.90 for round trip) or Starmart Express (SGD38.58 one way), it is a direct bus to the Mersing Jetty or Mersing Bus Terminal. However, you will need to disembark from the bus when you enter Woodlands Checkpoint for immigration clearance and disembark again to get the passport stamp when you enter Malaysian Immigration (CIQ). The total duration for this is 4 hours.
Flight may be useful if one intends to stop over at Kuala Lumpur or Selangor before embarking to Tioman Island. From Singapore, you will need to take a flight to the Subang Airport in Selangor. From the Subang Airport, there is a direct flight via Systematic Aviation Services (SAS) that takes less than 2 hours to reach Tioman Island.
However, this is not a commercial airline, rather its an aircraft. Hence, do not expect the business class services that is of norm on all commercial flights.
The final option available to tourist is in the form of taxis. The taxis are usually convenient in that you don’t have to remember directions, the drivers know all the nooks and crannies. While the cost may vary depending on the season, however, it may make financial sense if the taxi is booked by a group. Unfortunately, there are not many local taxis offering from Johor Bahru to Mersing Jetty or Tanjung Gemok Jetty service as most of them only provide taxi service within Johor Bahru area.