Tioman is the largest and most developed of the chain of volcanic islands comprising the Tioman Marine Park. Although the islands were volcanically formed, volcanic activity here ceased thousands of years ago. In total, there are 64 islands within the chain. Nine of these are reasonably large but Tioman is by far the biggest. Famed as the site of the Hollywood movie – South Pacific, Tioman is an excellent land destination, which also features a top class marine environment.
This mountainous island is covered with dense rainforest and is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Some 45 species of mammals have so far been discovered and these include the long tailed macaque, slow loris, red giant flying squirrel, palm civet and mouse deer. There are also 138 species of birds and 25 species of snakes. In addition to this, the island has several unique species of mammals, freshwater fish and plants, which include catfish, rodents, crabs, stick insects and butterflies.
However, it is primarily the sea that attracts visitors to this group of islands. Divers come to enjoy the warm clear seas and the many reefs around Tioman and the neighbouring islands, which offer a profusion of marine life.
It is believed that the island separated from the mainland about 10,000 years ago as sea levels rose at the end of the last Ice Age. The existing reefs have been radio-carbon dated to about 6,000 years before present and have many varieties of coral and reef fish as well as larger species such as turtles, sharks, manta rays and giant clams.
Tioman dive sites offer something for everyone. Some are no more than a minute from the shore while others in the outer islands take at most 30 minutes, travel time. Dive sites also include a dozen or so wrecks, mainly wooden hulled fishing vessels. The shallow, calm water sites such as Pirate Reef and Renggis Island are ideal for dive training and new divers.
Sites further afield, like Chebeh and Tiger Reef, offer deeper waters, more challenging currents and the chance to see larger species of marine life. The underwater topography features coral reefs and huge granite boulders, many covered with soft tree corals and sea fans. Blue Spotted Lagoon Rays (toeniura lymma), Blue-ringed Angel Fish (pomacanthus annularis) and the Six Banded Angel Fish (pomacanthus sextriatus) are common here although rare elsewhere. Most diving centres are closed from November to February due to the monsoon weather but the major resorts are open. However, if diving is not your forte, snorkelling also offers you excellent opportunities to explore inner reefs no more than a minute from the shore. Or, you can just relax on the beautiful, white sandy beaches or frolic in the warm, clear seas.