Pulau Tioman can be reached by a combination of land and sea transport from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The major gateway to the island is Mersing, a coastal town at the west of Johor state. The common route for most visitors is to drive or take a bus ride up to Mersing, then wait for the next available ferry out to sea. Tanjung Gemok is an alternative ferry terminal about 35km north of Mersing at Pahang.
Berjaya Air formerly operated flights from Subang Airport (KL) but this has been suspended indefinitely (since 2014). For those with private yachts, a new marina facility lies in Tekek, with power, water supply and easy customs clearance. The moonsoon season (Nov-Jan) suspends the frequency of ferry departures, though at least one trip is usually made daily.
From Kuala Lumpur, use North-South Highway and head south towards Johor Bahru. Turn off the Ayer Hitam exit and drive towards Kluang, which will pass through Kahang and isolated rainforests. Follow the signboards to Mersing and you should arrive in four or five hours, over a distance of 400 km. If you have a map and do your homework, trunk roads are a good alternative which will evade all tol costs.
An example is the road from Bahau (after Seremban) to Kuantan; turn off at Rompin and follow it south to Mersing. From Singapore, visitors can drive up across the Causeway to Johor Bahru and follow the coastal road towards Mersing, passing through Kota Tinggi via the Tebrau Highway over a 150km journey.
Once in Mersing, a private parking lot can be secured next the jetty complex that charges by night. Some of the hotels at Mersing town provide free parking if you stay a night in their rooms, with complimentary transfer to the jetty. Buses are available are available from Puduraya Station (Kuala Lumpur), Larkin (Johor Bahru), and Queen and Lavender Street Bus Terminals (Singapore).
From the bus terminal at Mersing, it's a 1km walk to the jetty or a short cab ride away. Taxis are always stationed at both bus and jetty terminals. Alternatively, the jetty at Tanjung Gemuk (35km north of Mersing), also offers ferry rides to Pulau Tioman during non-monsoon months - with a slighty faster duration of sea travel and no tidal issues.
Bluewater Express runs the main ferry service from Mersing, accompanied by smaller operations during peak months between February and December. There are generally three rides (once during monsoon season) per day, from 7am to 4pm. The trip takes about two to three hours depending on tidal conditions and wind speeds, with the ferry making a stop at every village except Mukut, Juara and Nipah.
Tickets cost MYR35 per way; pay double for a return ticket. A small MYR5 marine park conservation fee is levied on visitors. Bluewater Express ferry tickets and the marine park conservation permit may be obtained at counters within Mersing Harbour Center, a commercial complex opposite the Mersing Ferry Terminal. The doors open from 6am onwards for visitors to catch the earliest ferry.
Alternatively, Cataferry operates a newer ferry service from Tanjung Gemok, a jetty 35km north of Mersing along the coast, to Tioman. Cataferry offers both standard and premium seats and generally, a much more comfortable ride compared to Bluewater Express. Their schedule also runs on a daily basis with online booking options available, wtih a recent option for departures from Mersing Ferry Terminal.
Cataferry also offers stops to nearly every village in Tioman, including Mukut and Juara. Finally, Berjaya Air operates a 10-passenger flight service from Subang Airport (Kuala Lumpur) or Changi Airport (Singapore) to Tioman, open to public but only on charter basis. The plane lands at a small airstrip in Tekek. In future, a major airport will be built at Genting Village to help grow Tioman as a tourist destination.
Once in Tioman, visitors may rent motorcycles or bicycles to help at getting around. Semi-paved jungle trails connect various villages across the island, but speedboats may be chartered for a much less exhausting trip if you have money to spare. 4WD cross-island transfers are also available from Tekek Jetty Terminal to reach Juara Village, unless a direct ferry route is taken through Cataferry.