Its beaches have been claimed to be depicted in the 1958 movie, South Pacific as Bali Hai but available evidence suggests this is a false claim. In the 1970s, TIME Magazine selected Tioman as one of the world's most beautiful islands.
The island is served by ferries from the Malaysian mainland, Up to 2013, Berjaya Air serviced the island with a propeller plane service from the Changi Airport in Singapore and nowadays, there is only one company operating the route from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor to Tioman Island. The company are called Systematic Aviation Services, and with a fleet of small single prop Cessna aircraft, the trip takes around 1 hr 15 minutes.
The island is part of Pahang territory, although it is geographically closer to mainland Johor than to mainland Pahang, and is accessed via ferry service from the Johorean coastal town of Mersing. Within Tioman Island there are four kampungs: Salang, Tekek, Juara and Air Batang. The telephone numbers in Tioman start with 09-413, 09-419, 09-582, 09-583 and 09-584.
The marine area around Tioman Island and eight other nearby islands have been declared as marine parks and marine reserves.
Apart from its diverse marine life, the inland rainforest area was protected in 1972 as the Pulau Tioman Wildlife Reserve. However, a large part of the original reserve was sacrificed for agricultural and touristic development in 1984; the remaining area is approximately 8,296 ha (20,500 acres). There are several protected species of mammals on the island, including the binturong, long-tailed macaque, slow loris, black giant squirrel, red giant flying squirrel, mouse deer, brush-tailed porcupine, and common palm civet, from a total of 45 species of mammals and 138 species of birds, including the majestic frigatebird. Moreover, Tioman has species that are endemic to its shores. The Tioman walking catfish Clarias batu can be seen on rainforest walks. Kajang slender litter frog is only known from Mount Kajang.
Tioman's corals have been affected by a mass bleaching event in 2010 whereby the island lost a significant portion of its live coral cover. That resulted in a lot of the corals turning a dull white colour and some even fragmenting into pieces of dead coral skeleton. The 2016 bleaching event only just touched on Tioman's Coral Reefs, and as such, the coral has remained in good and healthy condition.
Tioman has been used for thousands of years by fishermen as an important navigation point and a source of fresh water and wood. During the past thousand years, it has played host to Chinese, Arab, and European trading ships, and often Chinese porcelain shards can be found on beaches around the island.
In more recent history, Tioman played host to both the British and the Japanese navies during the Second World War, and the waters around the island are littered with war remains (including HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales).
Tioman island does not allow buildings to have more than 3 stories.
According to legend, Tioman Island is the resting place of a beautiful nāgā princess. Whilst flying to visit her prince in Singapore, this beautiful maiden stopped to seek solace in the crystal-clear waters of the South China Sea. Enraptured by the charms of the place, she decided to discontinue her journey. By taking the form of an island, she pledged to offer shelter and comfort to passing travelers.
Local mythology claims that the island is the embodiment of the mighty Nāgā Sri Gumum. The Nāgā was on her way to visit her sister Gunung Lingga (Lingin Peak) but the great Sri Rama forbade the meeting and Nāgā Sri Gumum was turned into a stone and fell into the deep sea where she now remains, frozen in eternity as this beautiful island with its distinctive topography.
Tioman Island lends its name to the state constituency of Tioman, comprising the island and part of the Rompin district including the town of Kuala Rompin. Its representative to the State Legislative Assembly is YB Mohd. Johari from Barisan Nasional. Its representative to the Malaysian Parliament is former MOSTI Minister Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis, also from Barisan Nasional.
Community radio within Tioman:
From Malaysian mainland: