The best time to visit
The monsoon season peaks between November and March every year. You can expect more rain and rough seas and consequently frequency of ferry services are reduced during this time. Some resorts are closed for the months of December and January, typically re-opening from Chinese New Year (late January or early February) onwards. Those that remain open often offer reduced rates during this time.
Tioman is very popular with Malaysian and Singaporean holidaymakers and it is highly recommended to book well in advance for weekends and the public and school holidays of Malaysia and Singapore.
Equatorial with fairly uniform temperatures year-round, ranging from 21ºC (70ºF) to 32ºC (90ºF). Humidity is high (85-95%). Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm and most rain can be expected between November and February.
Very casual. There are no dress restrictions on the islands and light cotton clothing, t-shirts and shorts would be suitable. In some villages and rural areas, modest clothing is more appropriate.
Currency and credit cards
The Malaysian currency unit is Ringgit (RM) and sen, where 100 sen equals one Ringgit. US$ 1 is roughly RM 3.20 (Check www.oanda.com for up to date exchange rates). Foreign currency can be converted at banks and money changers at the airport and in Semporna.
Visitors are not permitted to take more than RM 1000 in Malaysian currency out of the country and no more in foreign currency than was brought in.
There are no banks and only one ATM on the island, in Tekek, but it only accepts Malaysian cards (with the Bankcard logo). Some resorts and dive centres accept VISA and Mastercard but it is best to have enough cash with you to cover your expenses while at the island. The closest ATMs and banks can be found in Mersing, a 10-15 minutewalk from the jetty
Tioman is a duty-free island, which means that cigarettes and alcohol can be bought at rock-bottom prices and that resorts and restaurants are exempt from the usual 5% government tax.
Please note that there is no duty-free exemption for cigarettes and alcohol carried over the Malaysia-Singapore border into Singapore. When crossing from Malaysia to Singapore, you are required to carry your luggage through the customs checkpoint for inspection
Most of the duty-free shops can be found in Tekek and mostly stock alcohol and cigarettes at duty free prices (no perfumes or chocolates). Every village has one or two souvenir and convenience stores and some of the resorts have their own small convenience store stocking T-shirts, sunscreen, batteries and other essentials.
Telephone and Internet
Some resorts have telephone facilities, including facilities for international phone calls. The access code for making international calls from Malaysia is 00. For more information, dial 103.
Mobile phone reception is intermittent on the island, particularly in the southern areas.
Internet access is sparse and expensive (RM 8-10 per hour). Some villages, particularly in the south of the island, have no internet access whatsoever.
Tap water is safe for drinking in Malaysia, provided that it is boiled first. On Tioman, many resorts make use of mountain sources for their water supply and the water is filtered and safe for immediate consumption. There is also ample bottled water for sale and all dive centres provide freshwater bins for the rinse of cameras and equipment.
Available 24 hours a day. 220V, 50 cycles using a plug with three rectangular prongs similar to UK plugs. Adaptors for other plugs can be purchased at airports and some stores elsewhere.
Health and medical services
The only vaccination requirements are yellow fever for those from infected areas. While still listed as a malaria-infected country, most literature states that malaria has been widely eradicated from most parts of Malaysia. Discuss your needs with an experienced travel doctor.
Warning: divers should never take Lariam because of common side-effects including nausea and vertigo. Discuss alternatives with your doctor.
Resorts and dive centres have basic first aid services and the closest clinics are in Tekek.
Bahasa Malaysia is the official language but English is widely spoken and understood.
Malaysia is eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.
Visitors will need an international driving licence. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road and it is advisable to observe the speed limits, which are generally 50km/h in the city or residential areas and 80km/h or 110km/h on the highway and expressway.
There are no roads on the island apart from the short stretch between the airport and the Berjaya resort and the jungle road between Tekek and Juara. There is a secure car park at the jetty in Mersing.
There is a police station in Tekek and a small police station in Salang.
Visitors to Malaysia are advised that the trafficking of drugs in the country is an offence punishable by the death penalty
Religion and culture
The official religion of Malaysia is Islam but there is freedom of worship. When entering mosques, women are required to cover their hair and no shorts or tank tops are allowed for either men or women
There are no dress restrictions, but it is best to dress modestly when visiting villages or Muslim families. For the beach a normal bathing suit or bikini is perfectly acceptable, but topless sunbathing will not be well received.
Shoes are usually removed before entering homes and also in some shops and restaurants.
Tipping is not mandatory but is widely practised. RM2-RM5. Most hotels and restaurants include a 10% service charge in all their bills.
Citizens from the following countries are required to have a visa to visit Malaysia : North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and the People's Republic of China. Nationals other than those stated will receive a visa upon arrival or are allowed to enter Malaysia without a visa for a visit not exceeding one month. However, it is recommended that visa enquiries are made at the Malaysian embassy or Malaysian consulate closest to you, as regulations are subject to change. Also check http://www.imi.gov.my/ for updated information.
Enquire with the dive centre of your choice about their underwater photography and videography services or camera and casing rental.
Tourist Information Centers
Please contact the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board for tourist information. (http://tourism.gov.my)