Kuala Rompin To Tioman Island
Most travelers would board the ferry from jetty in Mersing, Johor to get to Tioman Island, but many are not knowing the journey takes longer. Unless you are travelling from southern part of Malaysia or Singapore.
If you are from western, eastern or northern peninsular Malaysia, its much easier to boat the ferry from Tanjung Gemok (Gemuk), Kuala Rompin, Pahang. The journey takes about an hour and ferries there are being run by few different operator. Some might just operate only during the Malaysia school breaks, when there are more travelers to Tioman, normal times they would just operate out of Mersing.
Its also not advisable to be Tioman Island during the monsoon season (Nov-Feb), unless you are there for surfing (there is a surfing school in Tioman Salang Beach, which also carries few brands of surfing attire). The wave during monsoon season reaches as high as 4-5 meters, hence many boat operators and resorts are closed for business. Fresh vegetable and poultry are hard to come by during those seasons as those stuffs are being carried by fisherman boat all the way from Mersing.
The jetty in Tanjung Gemuk, Kuala Rompin is located about 15 minutes drive from Rompin town, next to Endau river. You turn left to the jetty before reaching the bridge to Endau from Rompin. Few decades ago, there isn’t bridge linking Kuala Rompin to Endau, we have to rely on the cargo ferry that is being tied to a chain, and the ferry is being pull from one end to the end, and vice versa. Those were the memories I could still remember every times whenever I need to cross from Kuala Rompin to Endau, johor.
As Tioman Island is within the constituent of Kuala Rompin, the Pahang state government has make the effort to further promote Tioman via Tanjung Gemuk as the gateway. Advance booking is required during the school breaks (March, June, September, November, December and during festive seasons). As Tioman Island is a duty free island (to further promote the island), there is a customer department being housed besides the jetty to prevent any smuggling into the mainland.
Its take about an hour from Tanjung Gemok to Tioman island, and the ferry would stop at all the popular beaches when its reaches Tioman. First stop (if not mistaken) is Genting, Melina, Paya, Tekek, Ayer Batang, Panuba and Salang in that order, and in the reverse order during the return trip. I purchased a return ticket at Tanjung Gemok. As Tekek is the central town in Tioman, the stop is longest and much busier. There is an ATM machine in front of the post office at Tekek town, but expect the network line might not be connected most of the times. I experienced its myself.
During my last trip to Tioman, I stayed at Salang Beach, as it’s the nicest beach of all, and much happening compared to the rest of the beaches. Shops, restaurants, diving school, tour or island hopping tour operators are aplenty there. I did a island hopping, Waterfall trail and snorkeling (3 dives) package with one of the operators. Would definitely go back again for scuba with one of the well run diving school in Salang.
Right before the night falls, the most enchanting activities is playing along the beach and sea, while watching the sun touches the far end of the horizon. Mind you, its full of activities during the dawn times along the beach, coupled with the sunset, its just so spectacular and mesmerizing, beyond words can describe. I counted myself so lucky that to witness two consecutive sunset over two days, not being block by dark cloud or rains.
When the night falls, all the restaurants would start to sprung out, western, malay or Chinese cuisine can be found there, as well pubs. Otherwise just get hold of some beers or liquor from the duty free shop and enjoy the night and breeze, while watching some anglers trying their luck at the salang jetty.
Its something that you might want to try when you are in Kuala Rompin the next times, just hop to a ferry and find yourself in one of the most beautiful island !