Hello! My name is Jean, and I recently went on a trip with my BFF, Reiko! We enjoy the finer things in life and seek fulfilling experiences at the same time. This trip best describes us as - BTTB: besties traveling together on a budget.
We stayed at Paya Beach Resort, which is located at the seaside. Regardless of your room type, you are literally steps away from the sea! The Paya Beach Resort’s 3D2N Full-Board Package covers accommodation, food and leisure with prices starting from 399 MYR (90 USD) for twin sharing. That’s a steal for an island vacation, where we need not apply for work leave to travel overseas!
How to get there
The ferry terminal to Tioman Island is located in Mersing, Johor Bahru. A car or bus journey from Kuala Lumpur would take approximately five and a half hours. If you are driving, there are many parking lots near the pier. The parking fee is 15 MYR (3.30 USD) per day.
Upon the booking of Paya Beach Resort's 3D2N Full-Board Package, we reserved the round-trip ferry tickets, which we collected at Counter 2 upon arrival at the ferry terminal. In addition, we paid the national and Tioman marine park fees that cost 10 MYR (2.20 USD) in total. For foreign visitors, the fees are 30 MYR (6.80 USD) and 20 MYR (4.50 USD) respectively. Thankfully Mr. Sato (my idol guy) was not with me on this trip!
Be mindful that the ferry schedule changes every month, thus, you need to check with Paya Beach Resort at least a week before your journey.
The ferry from Mersing to Kampung Paya (where our resort was located) took slightly more than an hour. The monsoon season had just ended, but the waves were still pretty big and I felt seasick. Nevertheless, the expansive blue sea and glistering beach that greeted us upon our arrival was an instant booster!
Welcome to the Paya Beach Resort!
Paya Beach Resort is located on the left side of the pier and a mere five minutes away. There are restaurants and dive shops along the way - no fear of getting hungry or bored!
Upon entering Paya Beach Resort, we saw the Deluxe Chalets that face the sea. Each of these rooms has its own garden!
We stayed at one of the Superior Beach Front units, which is literally in front of the swimming pool and the private balcony opens directly to the beach.
This room type can accommodate up to four people, but as our trip was planned hastily, we did not ask more people to join us.
The air-conditioner cooled the room quickly, making it tempting to stay indoors to avoid the tropical heat... but who in their right mind would go on a beach vacation and stay in their room to watch television? The bathroom did not disappoint either. The water temperature of the shower was consistent and water pressure was strong. It felt good to take a shower.
One of the perks of paying slightly more for this Beach Front unit was having the beach at our doorstep! However, it is good to note that the furthest room in Paya Beach Resort is just an extra minute walk to the beach.
Driving to Mersing by ourselves allowed us to reach the island earlier. This gave us more time to explore the island and take countless photos. Reiko always takes such nice photos, and I couldn’t resist sharing them.
On our first day, we decided to take things easy. We walked leisurely to Esmilksso Cafe that is located near the pier for a tea session.
We took many photos during the sunset. I was supposed to be posing with my arms in a heart gesture. How did I end up looking like I was dancing ballet?
After watching the sunset, we strolled back to our resort. Our Paya Beach Resort 3D2N Full-Board Package included meals for our entire stay (2 breakfast, 1 lunch and 2 dinner).
We saw a couple enjoying a romantic candlelight dinner on the beach! This should be part of the Romantic Tioman Getaway Package. The package price is pretty reasonable, couples should definitely consider this!
Our dinner was buffet style, and there were three or four side dishes with rice. There were also many dessert choices. I was surprised by the tastiness of the food, especially the chocolate cake - it was simply divine.
Also, there is a pool table in the restaurant. Playing a pool game by the sea is an awesome experience.
There is also a playground for those who are travelling with children.
Although the resort is located by the sea, there is a swimming pool in the compound too!
On the second day, I woke up and glanced towards the sea and realised it was low tide! When the tide is low, it is possible to cross over to the islet in the picture. However, we planned to go out to sea on this day, so we didn’t explore this option.
There are many cats on Tioman Island! I met this cutie when I was on my way to the restaurant for my buffet breakfast.
Time to head for the sea! The 3D2N Full-Board Package includes a sea snorkelling session and we set sail on one of the traditional blue fishing boats!
Two excited ladies!
Our first stop was at Pulau Renggis, where we saw plenty of corals and colorful fish!
I love this shot because it looks like I was directing the fish!
All underwater photos were taken using the Olympus Tough TG-3. The photo quality is very good!
One of the resort staff, Jeffrey, took these pictures that were closer to the seabed. Initially, I asked him to take some photos of Reiko and I. After taking our photos, he said that the camera was good and dived down to take more pictures of the underwater scenes that I could not see from where I was floating. These are the sea creatures that one can see near Tioman Island. There are nemo, sea urchins, and even small sharks!
I want to learn diving after seeing these photos! Tioman Island is a great place to learn how to dive, and if there’s ever a chance, I’d definitely return!
Our second stop found us at the Marine Park Centre Tioman… and acting silly!
At the Marine Park Centre Tioman, one can go diving, sunbathe on the beach or cross the newly-built bridge to admire the breathtaking sea scenery. We returned to the boat around noon to make our way back to the resort.
It was lunch time when we returned to our resort, and guests that got the full board package headed straight to the restaurant for our meals. The 2nd day’s lunch was Chinese cuisine, and it was pretty sumptuous with four dishes for two! The taste was great, especially the sweet and sour chicken.
While we were enjoying our lunch, we heard some commotion outside the restaurant and went out to snoop. There was a huge monitor lizard! Besides that, we saw squirrels, monkeys and other animals in the vicinity of our resort.
After lunch, we went back to our room for a shower and took an afternoon nap. Vacations should be leisurely like this! There is a spa service in the resort, but we overslept and didn’t get to try any massage.
Taking photos and having fun by the beach.
Here’s a tip for taking wefies without the help of a third party: Find a good angle, set your camera in a secure spot, and start recording a video. During the recording, try to slow down or stay in a fixed position. After that, you can extract great candid photos from the video. Check out this photo of Reiko and I! Does it look like it has been taken by a photographer?
The sunset at Tioman Island was really beautiful! We were very lucky. The locals told us that there was no rain since we came to the island.
On our last night at Tioman Island, we decided to have a feast. The restaurant’s a la carte menu has an extensive list of delicious dishes! I love the taste of the otak-otak and asam sotong that we tried that night. The seafood were very fresh!
How much can two ladies eat? For the fun of it, we recorded our eating moments from dawn to dusk!
After dinner, we returned to our room and watched ‘V for Vendetta’ on the movie channel.
On the third day, we were determined to make the most of our remaining time to explore Tioman Island and we set off early in the morning. The lines on the beach during low tide were beautiful, don’t you agree?
I was very excited to explore the islet that lies beyond the stream.
Reiko kept taking photos of me. Travelling with a companion who loves photography will give you plenty of photos to reminisce the trip!
I felt like a kid as we tried to make the most of our last hours at Tioman Island. I even coerced a crab to be a guest on my palm.
After having our fill of fun at the islet, we returned to Paya Beach Resort. Nearby, we saw a bridge that leads into a forest and decided to check things out.
We found quad bikes (all-terrain vehicles) and some outdoor activities that visitors can partake in! Regrettably, we only had three days. Otherwise, we may have considered joining.
We also found a waterfall in the forest, which took us more than 10 minutes to reach. Along the way, there were mosquitos but as long as you take spray on insect repellent in advance, you should be fine. I vaguely remember visiting this place when I was in Tioman Island years ago.
We left this nature spot shortly after to return to our resort, as we planned to have our lunch before our ferry ride to Mersing.
After departing Paya Beach Resort, we settled for burgers at a Malay restaurant near the pier. Malaysian-style burgers are delicious, and paired with the beautiful sea before us, this was an unforgettable lunch!
At last, we reluctantly boarded the ferry to leave Tioman Island. We love this island on the eastern coast and look forward to returning in the future!
8 Facts about Tioman Island:
- Tioman is a tax-free island. Alcohol is very cheap, but choices are lesser as compared to Langkawi.
- There’s a private airport on Tioman Island and you can charter a flight to the island. However, the cost is substantial.
- The cheapest way to reach the island: travel by bus or self-drive to Mersing ferry terminal and/or Tanjong Gemok ferry terminal and take a ferry ride.
- Those who wish to learn diving or to get their diving license can consider doing so at Tioman Island. You can find the diving package in here
- There are plenty of restaurants along Paya Beach. Some operate till late at night, so you need not worry about getting hungry.
- Guests of Paya Beach Resort can join the daily 3pm free guided tour to the nearby mangrove swamps and Monsoon Rainforest.
- You will not get bored on Tioman Island! Besides snorkelling and diving, there are other activities such as deep sea fishing, ATV adventures, outdoor paintball shooting games, etc.
- The 3D2N Full-Board Package at Paya Beach Resort is the most value-for-money! It includes food, accommodation, leisure (snorkeling or trekking) from 399 MYR (90 USD) per person, and it actually gets cheaper if you are traveling in a bigger group. Besides the full board package, there are different promotional packages to suit different preferences. These packages can only be booked through the website. For more information, check out: Paya Beach Resort, Tioman Island
*As you will not be able to enjoy the perks of these all-in packages through other hotel booking websites, you are recommended to book directly with the hotel.