Pulau Tioman, situated 56km northeast of Mersing, is the largest
and most developed of the volcanic islands that comprise the Pahang Marine Park.
The other islands are Pulau Renggis, Pulau Sepoi, Pulau Labas, Pulau Soyah, Pulau
Chebeh, Pulau Tulai, Pulau Sembilang and Pulau Seri Buat.
Mountainous and covered in dense forest, Pulau Tioman is a haven for birds, bats,
lizards and Mouse Deer.
The underwater topography is a combination of patches of coral gardens and huge granite
boulders, many over 15m high, on sand. Some are quite bare though many are completely
covered in colourful soft tree corals and small sea fans. Bluespotted Lagoon Rays
(Taeniura lymma) are found hiding under every crevice and are unusually tame
The multitude of beautiful angelfish includes the Blue-ring Angelfish (Pomacanthus
annularis) and the larger Six-banded Angelfish (Pomacanthus sextriatus),
both are quite common here but rare elsewhere in Malaysia.
In these calm, shallow and warm waters night dives are especially easy. This gives
us a lot more time during the dive to observe the many interesting sleeping behaviours
exhibited by the denizens here. One hardly has to look for subjects, they present
The diving at Pulau Tioman is seriously underestimated; it requires better advertising
to the international diving community but July and August should be avoided as this
is high season for local holidaymakers, most of whom are swimmers and snorkellers.
Most diving resorts are closed from October to February due to the southwest monsoon
which brings rough seas and squally weather.