Planning a Trip
By Plane -- Flights to Tioman originate from KL and Singapore, operated by a private airline, Berjaya Air, and coordinated by the folks at the Berjaya Tioman Beach Resort. However, you need not stay at the resort to book passage on these flights. Call their KL office for reservations at tel. 03/7846-8228. The airport in Tioman is in Kampung Tekek, just across from the main jetty. If you're staying at Berjaya Tioman, a shuttle will fetch you; however, if you plan to stay elsewhere, you're on your own.
By Boat -- Ferries and speedboats depart from the jetty just next to R&R Plaza in Mersing each day. Book passage from the many agents huddled around the jetty -- they're basically all the same, each reserving trips on the same boats. Be warned about the aggressive touts at the jetty here. They are persistent and annoying, trying to lure you to less popular places with substandard facilities. Boats leave Mersing Jetty at intervals that depend on the tide. The trip takes around 1 1/2 hours and can cost between RM35 and RM90 ($10-$26/£6.30-£16), depending on the power of the boat you hire. Avoid the cheaper ferries that take 4 hours to make the trip (snooze). Boats drop you at either the Berjaya Resort or the main jetty in Kampung Tekek. The last boat leaves for Tioman between 5 and 6pm every evening. If you miss this boat, you're stuck in Mersing for the night.
By Bus -- Transnasional operates five daily buses from KL's Puduraya Bus Terminal on Jalan Pudu (tel. 03/2070-3300). The 6-hour trip costs RM23 ($6.65/£4.15). Buses depart from Johor Bahru and Singapore for Mersing for the ferry departures to Tioman Island. Johara Ekspres (tel. 07/224-8280) and Transasional Ekspres (tel. 07/222-0045) operate buses to Mersing from Larkin Bus Station in Johor Bahru. The trip takes between 2 1/2 and 3 hours, with departures at 8:30am, 12pm, and 1:30pm. Fares for air-conditioned buses range in price from RM8 ($2.30/£1.45) to RM13 ($3.75/£2.35). You'll arrive at R&R Plaza, the main bus depot in Mersing. The jetty is located just next door
There are hiking trails between kampungs along the west coast, and another trail overland to the one beach on the east coast. Other than walking, the most popular mode of transport is water taxi. Each village has a jetty; you can either pay your fare at tour offices located near the foot of the pier or pay the captain directly. The taxis stop operating past nightfall, so make sure you get home before 6pm. A few sample fares: From Tekek to ABC is RM16 ($4.65/£2.90) per person, to Salang RM25 ($7.25/£4.50), to Juara RM65 ($19/£12). Note that these guys don't like to shuttle around only one person, so if there's only one of you, be prepared to pay double.
Berjaya Tioman Beach, Golf & Spa Resort has modern conveniences like postal services, in-room telephones with international direct dial access, money changing, a gift shop, and other services. If you're not staying here, venture into Tekek, where you'll find these services opposite the main jetty.
Island Travel -- If you have not already acquired a good mosquito repellent, do so before heading to any of the islands on Malaysia's east coast. You'll need something with DEET (an active ingredient used in repellents that safely and effectively keeps bugs away from your skin). These mosquitoes are hungry. If you plan to stay in one of the smaller chalet places, you might want to invest in a mosquito net. Also, bring a flashlight to help you get around after sunset.