‘Everything you need to know about getting from Singapore to Tioman Island.’
Singapore to Tioman – Overview
Welcome to the complete step-by-step guide on how to get from Singapore to Tioman Island by bus. By the end of this article, we hope that you have a complete understanding of how to get from Singapore to this beautiful island in Malaysia. You should be able to save valuable time and money by following these specific steps.
In case you are wondering, Tioman Island is known as ‘Pulau Tioman’ in Bahasa Melayu. With Tioman located off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, you will have to use more than one form of transportation to get to the white stretches of sand. We will outline what transportation types are required and how long you can expect this trip to take.
Why should you visit Tioman Island?
Tioman is a beautiful island that is located 32 kilometres off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is approximately 39 km long and 12 km wide. Although Tioman has seven villages and sections of dense rainforest, most tourists visit the island to enjoy the sand, scuba diving and snorkelling. With undeniable beauty, Tioman Island is a popular tourist destination for people in both Malaysia and Singapore.
Singaporeans and visitors to Singapore, love Tioman because it is one of Malaysia’s ‘southern’ islands. Consequently, it is closer than other islands such as Penang, Langkawi and Pulau Redang. Tioman is also considered to be a duty-free island, so it has much lower prices than you will find in Singapore. The seafood here is a solid bargain relative to eating out in Singapore.
The most populous town on Tioman Island is Kampung Tekek. It is located along the central western coast. Some of the most popular beaches on Tioman include:
There are some world-class hotels and resorts located on Tioman Island. Japamala Resorts – By Samadhi (9.2/10 review score), for example, is a wonderful place to stay. It is ideally located on a private beach with crystal clear water. Bushman Tioman (9.3/10 review score) and X Rector Minsu (9.5/10 review score) are other positively reviewed properties.
If you are going to for more than a day, then consider going jungle trekking or renting a boat for some world-class diving and snorkelling. Tioman Island has a lot to offer, including its very own golf course!
Jetty to Tioman Island
Before we explain how to get from Singapore to Tioman Island, you should first know that there are two main jetties (ports) that service ferries to Tioman:
Tanjung Gemok Jetty
When you plan your trip to Tioman from Singapore, you have to determine which one of these two jetties you want to use. Tanjung Gemok Jetty is farther from Singapore, but it is considered to be more reliable in ferry services. They seem to follow ferry departure schedules more consistently. Mersing is closer and more convenient to reach by bus, but ferries are not quite as reliable.
Deciding on which jetty you will use is essential because the bus operators in Singapore mainly go to one of these, but not necessarily both of them! The last thing you want to do is get a bus in Singapore that terminates at the wrong jetty!
Getting from Singapore to Tioman – Guide
1. Book your bus and ferry tickets to Tioman well in advance.
To get to Tioman Island from Singapore will require both a bus and a ferry ticket. There is a small airport in Tioman, but in the past, only direct ‘prop plane’ flights from Kuala Lumpur were offered.
Like most of the pristine islands in Southeast Asia, Tioman can get quite busy during peak periods. Long weekends and special holiday periods during the dry season are particularly busy. When children are out of school, Tioman becomes a very popular family destination for Malaysians, Singaporeans and those travelling in this region.
Bus tickets to Tioman
At the time of writing, multiple bus operators in Singapore offer services to Tioman’s jetties. We have provided a list of relevant bus operators below for your convenience:
The One Travel & Tours
WTS Travel & Tours
You can expect this list to change over time as bus operators changed their routes and new competitors entering the market.
To save time, we recommend that you use online booking websites to quickly check which bus operators are going to either Mersing Jetty or Tanjung Gemok Jetty on your intended travel dates.
What websites sell bus tickets to Tioman from Singapore – (Mersing and Tanjung Gemok Jetty)?
Over the last 10 years, more and more websites have been offering online bus tickets between Malaysia and Singapore. Getting tickets to Tioman from Singapore is no exception. Remember, there are two main ferry points (Mersing and Tanjung Gemok) to get to Tioman. Consequently, you should complete multiple online searches before finalizing your bus operator.
Here is a list of popular websites where you can purchase bus tickets from Singapore to Tioman:
Some of the bus operators also offer direct booking via their respective websites. It might be wise to check the prices using one of these websites and then compare the price on the official website of the bus operator. This will highlight any differences in cost and schedule.
2. Travel to your pick-up point location in Singapore to catch the bus.
When you are booking your bus ticket from Singapore to Tioman Island online, be sure to note the departure location.
Do not expect all bus operators in Singapore to depart from the same station en route to Tioman Island. If you are concerned more about convenience than price, you might want to book your bus ticket with a bus company that is close to your hotel, house or apartment in Singapore.
We often recommend our readers to stay close to an MRT station. Being close to a station ensures that you can get around the city effectively and access your bus departure area, stress-free.
Some strategic hotels that are located beside MRT stations in Singapore include:
Marina Bay Sands: 5-star, 9/10 review score, beside Bayfront Station.
Fullerton Bay Hotel: 5-say, 9.2/10 review score, beside Raffles Place Station.
Taking the MRT in Singapore to your bus departure area.
We strongly recommend taking the MRT to your bus pick-up point from Singapore to Tioman Island. Utilize Singapore’s public transportation system as much as possible. You can refer to these comprehensive guide articles related to buying MRT tickets:
How to buy MRT tickets in Singapore?
How to buy Singapore Tourist Passes?
When we were deciding how to get from Singapore to Tioman Island by bus, we used a stored-value card on the MRT. There are other options available, but it depends on your itinerary and intended duration of stay in Singapore.
What stations/departure areas are there in Singapore for buses going from Singapore to Tioman?
We completed an online search to see where bus companies depart from Singapore en route to Tioman. Although it was challenging to find all the details, we saw that Discovery Tours, for example, goes to Mersing Jetty and Tanjung Gemok Jetty from Bugis MRT Exit D Taxi Stand. Consequently, you can take the MRT right to Bugis Station and walk directly to the bus.
3. Take the bus to the Singapore-Malaysia border to clear immigration.
The bus ride from downtown Singapore to the border takes approximately 30 minutes. If you go at rush hour, expect more delays. A lot of the buses to Tioman depart Singapore in the morning, however.
Don’t forget to bring your passport!!!
Be well prepared for your border stop. In the Singapore departure area, you have to get off the bus and take your luggage. Therefore, make sure you know what your bus looks like! (plate number, paint job, driver, etc.).
It’s quite easy to forget these details when you are busy carrying your luggage and worrying about immigration. We have crossed the border on multiple occasions, and sometimes tons of buses are lined up. Try to take a photo of your bus before you enter the immigration zone.
Once you clear Singapore immigration, you will get on the bus again and go to Malaysian customs. An officer will stamp your passport. Then, get back on the bus, and you should be good to go! Remember to collect all of your luggage before you travel to Tioman.
How long should it take you to cross the border on the way from Singapore to Tioman Island?
According to our experience, it typically takes 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes to cross the Singapore-Malaysia border. You can expect it to take longer if you are travelling during a peak period, such as a long weekend or a holiday season such a Chinese New Year. Expect it to take at least a few hours if you arrive during peak time.
4. Ride the bus to either Mersing or Tanjung Gemok.
With your passport stamped, you are now well on your way to Tioman. Your next stop along the way will either be in Mersing or Tanjung Gemok.
Keep in mind that Tanjung Gemok Jetty is farther from Singapore than Mersing Jetty.
We researched the distance between them. Tanjung Gemok Jetty is 39 km away from Mersing Jetty, and this takes about 35 minutes (driving).
5. Purchase your ferry ticket to Tioman (if you haven’t done so already!)
We don’t recommend taking the bus from Singapore to Mersing or Tanjung Gemok without pre-booking your ferry ticket.
What if the ferry is sold out on the day that you arrive?
Although you could risk it and get onto the ferry going to Tioman, it’s better to be safe than sorry primarily since you’ve invested so much time to make it this far in your journey.
6. Check-in and ride the ferry to Tioman.
Once you arrive at either Mersing Jetty or Tanjung Gemok Jetty, check-in for your boat ride to Tioman, then, board the boat and get ready for Tioman! Listen carefully to any safety briefings being announced.
How long is the boat ride from Mersing Jetty or Tanjung Gemok Jetty to Tioman?
The boat ride from Mersing Jetty or Tanjung Gemok to Tioman typically takes 1.5 hours (90 minutes). But it can take up to 2 hours. This approximate time is subject to change based on weather conditions.
For example, if you are travelling to Tioman during the dry season, you can expect much calmer seas than during shoulder seasons. The swell here can get choppy during the rainy season. You are better off going to Tioman when the skies are clear, and the sea is calm.
7. Select the correct Jetty on Tioman Island (closest one to your hotel)
There are five popular jetties on Tioman Island:
Kampong Genting Jetty
Kampong Paya Jetty
Kampong Air Batang Jetty
Kampong Salang Jetty
We suggest that you check which one of these jetties is the closest to your hotel or Resort on Tioman Island. The last thing that you want to do is get dropped off at the wrong jetty and then not have transportation to your hotel!
8. Get a ride from the jetty to your resort on Tioman Island.
Ideally, before you even get on the ferry to Tioman Island, you should already have a plan on getting to your resort or hotel. Since there are five main jetties on the island, know which one to get off and see how you are going to get to your hotel.
Although there should be transportation options available right at the jetty when you get off, you can also call your hotel or resort in advance. It is common for resorts on Tioman Island to meet their guests at the closest jetty.
How long is the entire trip from Singapore to Tioman Island by bus?
You can expect the bus ride from Singapore to Mersing or Tanjung Gemok to take between 3 and 4 hours. Remember, Mersing is closer by about 35 minutes. Also, the amount of time at the border will significantly impact how long it takes!
Then, once you arrive at the jetty, the ferry to Tioman usually takes 1.5-2 hours.
Therefore, you can expect the entire trip from Singapore to Tioman to take approximately 6-7 hours. For example, if you take the 6.30 am bus from Singapore, it should arrive in Tanjung Gemok between 10-10.30 am. Then, the ferry from Tanjung Gemok Jetty to Tioman Island will depart at 11 am and arrive around 1 pm.
Where should you stay on Tioman Island?
When you are planning your accommodation for Tioman Island, there are few considerations that you should make. First of all, you have to think about where you want to stay on the island.
Do you want to have a beachfront room, or are you satisfied staying away from the beach?
Secondly, you have to think about how much you are willing to spend per night. It is also essential to think about how far your resort is from the closest jetty.
There are some excellent hotel and resort options scattered along different beaches on Tioman Island. For example, along the southern shoreline you can stay at:
Bagus Place Retreat (3-star, 9.2/10 review score)
Minang Cove Resort (8.8/10 review score)
Then, as you work your way up the western shoreline, there are more ‘positive reviewed’ properties such as:
Japamala Resorts – by Samadhi (9.2/10 review score)
X Rector Minsu (4-star, 9.5/10 review score)
There is also a cluster of properties along Tioman’s eastern shoreline. Bushman Tioman is one of the highest-rated properties there with a review score of 9.3/10.
Additional thoughts about taking the bus from Singapore to Tioman
Hopefully, this step-by-step guide on how to get from Singapore to Tioman Island by bus has been useful! Ideally, you want to make this trip as stress-free as possible. Consequently, if you do have any additional questions, please feel free to send us an email or comment below.
There are things that you have to plan before you travel from Singapore to Tioman Island. Since Tioman is located in Malaysia, you have to make sure that your passport is up-to-date and book your tickets well in advance. You will require a bus ticket, a ferry ticket and either a hotel or resort booking on the island. You can also purchase a round-trip bus ticket and a round-trip ferry ticket to make your planning more convenient.
Tioman Island has multiple beaches that are worth checking out. Therefore, it is one of those places that you can visit numerous times and still have more to explore. You may be surprised by the natural beauty of Tioman. Expect lush jungle terrain and beautiful clear water. The underwater world here is simply breathtaking.