While the overwhelming population of locals are friendly and harmless, there will be a couple of truly evil characters.
In 2011, a 30 year old French woman,Ms Stephanie Foray was robbed and murdered on Pulau Tioman. As the story goes, she had been drinking with two local men and one of them had suggested sex. When she declined, the man had killed her and later buried her body in a cave.
Some years earlier, I had the pleasure of meeting two very pretty German tourists on Pulau Tioman. They later told me that a local lad had been following them at night back to their chalet.
The stories above prove that one can never be too careful. Even though Tioman is relatively safe compared to some other islands, danger still abounds. Common sense tips for women to remember are...
1) Don't drink excessively with strangers whether locals or tourists.
2) If you detect the stranger you are drinking with is starting to get drunk, LEAVE.
3) Go to the reception and tell them if you suspect someone is following you. Tioman is a very small community so everyone knows everyone on the island.
4) Seek company of other tourist groups if you feel threatened by someone.
WARNING: DO NOT STAY HERE
Myself and friends decided to take a short trip to Tioman over the holiday weekend of Hari Raya. The island is mostly deserted as it is monsoon season so we went without booking accommodation. We stayed at Mokhtar's place because we thought it was cheap and cheerful for 1 night. They have signs up that you need to check out by 10am. The next morning there was NO ONE around, (still sleeping) so we went for breakfast to come and deliver back the keys. The owner comes running out at noon when we were delivering back the keys and was very insistent that we pay extra nights because we did not follow by the rules. We calmly explained no one was around, lest no one on the island and he got very angry and started to push our friend. He told him not to push him or touch him, and the owner very aggressively ran for a hammer to intimidate to pay. The owner completely flew off the handle and started yelling and advancing towards us with a hammer, then resorted to get a pair of hedge clippers to intimidate us to pay and screaming and yelling like a crazy person. Slamming the hammer into the desk and yelling and screaming at us and advancing towards us. If we thought he was joking we would have just left, however he had a crazy look in his eye and we really thought our friend's life could be in danger so we paid an extra 50RM to get away safely. THIS GUY IS CRAZY AND NEVER STAY HERE. We found out later they have a bad reputation on the island. We thought he could have been on some sort of drugs, he was very much capable of harm and it was a very very unpleasant experience. Tell all your friends, DO NOT GO HERE. We finally found the sweet spot on Juara beach at Tim's Beach hut. Brilliant place, very very very highly recommended! Saved the whole experience.
2 weeks ago a close friend of mine from Sweden stayed in Juara.during her 5 nites there,she had a 3 of her undies stolen at night and often being 'spyed' or stared at while sun bathing during the day and a couple of times had peeping Toms while she was showering....to add all this the worse thing happened on her last night!!
After having dinner at a restaurant that caters for the chalet she was staying...already noticing a few young local boys there chucking their beers aggresivly at the same time always staring at her...she didnt finish off her meal and made way back to her hut....to her surprise they started following her and tried to grab of her shirt as she slammed the door...it was a terrifying moment and stayed up all night just to chk out early the next day...when ask the owner of the guest house why the boys acted that way to her surprise..the reason was that its 'normal' for them as they where drinking that night!!
So Juara boys @busmen..bar or Ranebow watever ur are called....IS THIS the way you treat tourist....wheres the local malay soft 'sopan' heritage....????
And THIS IS WHAT you say about Juara's laid back locals???More of 'getting laid' attitude!!!
Be carefull of the ferries to/from Tioman during Monsoon. While it is 20 years ago I feel this advice is still relevant. By the way I sail as a hobby and have completed heavy weather sailing in the Scottish Western Isles - I hold my offshore certificates - so I know what I am describing. I am going into detail to emphasise the danger.
In Mersing the main ferry & hydrofoil were not running as monsoon had not finished. However we were directed to another ferry which would run. We bought our tickets from an official looking kiosk - as far as I remember at the quay - and waited for the ferry to go. We continued to wait as travellers collected for the journey - coincidentally it was also getting dark - and we set out just after nightfall. We were in a converted fishing-boat with small wheelhouse forward and a bench seat running with our backs to the gunwale (side of the boat).
Mersing was - and probably still is - a river estuary with a sandbar at the entrance. All traffic has to cross the sandbar / go through a narrow channel to get in/out. As we sailed down towards the mouth of the estuary the waves got increasingly big - though it had been calm at Mersing. In no time the fishing boat was struggling up big rollers and crashing down on the other side. I was very concerned but there was nothing to be done - there were no passenger life vests and the crew were in the wheelhouse - unavailable to the passengers.
Anyway the rollers became very big and it was all we could do to hold on to the gunwale to try to balence. Eventually a swedish lady's nerve broke and she panicked - she rolled around on the deck scraping at the timber, trying to get a grip but without success. The crew stayed in the wheelhouse and no-one could help her as everyone was trying to hang on themselves. After a minute a man (who turned out to be her husband) struggled with difficulty up to the wheelhouse to talk with the crew and found the door was locked. It took him about 4 attempts before he shouldered in the door. Then there was a row - which we could not hear above the gale - but we could see him argue while hanging on to the side of the wheelhouse.
Abruptly the boat started turning. It was an ill considered manouvre but the crew couldn't see what was coming in the dark. We were climbing up the roller as it turned and were in the worst possible position when the crest of the wave hit us - side-on to the wave - almost rolling over the boat and capsizing us. The correction was equally violent and a number of people lost their grip and fell on to the deck of the boat as it rocked violently.
Then we were around and the next wave picked up and we surfed - a complete fishing boat with 25 people on board - back up the estuary staying on the one wave for about a half-mile before it petered out. The estuary was calm when we got back to Mersing - unlike the passengers who were very shaken. There was a blazing row with the crew who tried to claim that we would have been alright in a few more minutes as we were about to crest the sandbar. The very shook - and lucky to be alive - passengers then set about trying to find accommodation.
I believe ;
1) They waited until dark as this was a very unofficial trip - and the authorities could claim they were unaware of it if there was a problem.
2) These fishermen are very poor. If they can supplement their income with unofficial ferry trips to the islands it will help a lot - who can blame them.
3) As a sailor who has been in capsizes while racing I believe that we were very close to capsizing that night.
This is just meant as a caution - Only go on official ferries - I would recommend in the daylight - and keep an eye on the weather before you set out.
Follow your own instincts regarding safety as the local people can be under financial pressure and willing to risk all for a financial gain.
My friend and I wanted to rent out a double kayak but we found that they were very overpriced. 25 ringgit for an hour, on top of that, we had to pay 7 ringgit for 1 life jacket as well.
The waters around Paya were too shallow or choppy at times and if you went out a little further, you enter boat lanes and it gets a little dangerous.
While we were busy having our lunch, there was some movement in the shrub behind us and when we turned our head, we were surprised to see a Monitor Lizard, almost 4-5 feet from head to tale. The kids got a shock of life and ran away from the site. The adults were watching the giant lizard with eyes wide open. Later, everybody was throwing pieces of chicken and sausages and the lizard was happily gulping down the stuff without any difficulty. I guess, these giant lizards were used to such gestures from the visitors. It was perfectly at ease with the humans and I was wondering if we are doing the right thing by feeding these lizards. Later we realized, there was a whole family of lizards. As people kept throwing eatables, more and more lizards kept joining the troop. We spotted at least 4 monitor lizards in the vicinity.
Later on durip the trip, we encountered monitor lizards in quite a number of places and we were told by the resort guys that the lizard is fairly common all along the island. They are harmless to human beings, unless provoked. Nevertheless, we should exercise full precautionary measures, specially when kids are around.
1. Precautionary measure against sand flies
Please note that Tioman Islands is full of sand flies. We need to guard our kids and ourselves against sand fly bites.
Sand flies are similar to mosquitoes, but their bites are more painful than those of mosquitoes. And moreover, they are present even during the day time, unlike mosquitoes which are predominantly nocturnal.
How to protect ourselves from sand flies:
Any skin oil is the best answer to Sand Fly bites. Insect Repellants, no matter what they may claim, really seem to have no effect. Oil stops them completely. It is irrelevant what oil, coconut, mustard, skin oil etc., I recommend mustard oil to keep away the flies. Their pungent smell will surely keep off the flies (this tip is advocated and patented by me-ha. ha. ha. ).
The mosquitoes come out during sunrise and sunset time. So you may like to bring long pants and a long sleeved cotton shirt if you don’t like to use mosquito repellent.
Agreed to miss hana regards to the situation in Juara...2 weeks ago I was in Salang waiting for me gal as she wants to stay in Juara for a nite...I wasnt interested as I have been there before and really know how its like(not worth it)
Not to my surprise she came back the next day with full of red bites..as some plp are sensitive to these bites and infection was on its way...a trip to the clinic and anti-biotics for a week!!....too bad for her first trip to Malaysia....no booze no fun,no sun no fun!!
with all the promotion on this beach..(nicest on the island)...I dont think its all worth it...with the amount of sand flies there!!
On top of the nasty bites they gave it gets infectious too!!
So take note on this!
So many cases from friends that the sand Flies in Juara beach(Tioman)will need a treatment from the Doctor..
the beach the looks nice from a distance but in fact full of sand flies!!
beware of unexpected visit to a clinic on you beach holidays!!
I agreed to a fellow member regards to Tioman espacially the village of Juara..
I ve been to the east coast islands for more then 10 years and have seen how the locals have progress during these times...but Juara is a sad case or worse!
Getting there alone will be a ripp off..the Taxi will charge you between 30-100 per person depending on their mood and needs!!
The most expensive ride over 7 km road,even if its still in construction...
then you arrived in Juara you get attitude problems with the locals...no doubt they look friendly,nut beware of whats going in their minds!!
At one time a 10 year old boy offered himself to sleep with me!!!
To me its not worth the 'beach' every body id talking about..Juara Beach aint worth the trip and hassle since there are other options like Saland,ABC or Perhantians Island still tops everything else...
Not to my surprise a Chalet runned by someone thats not from Juara will never last there,espacially with the attitude the locals are behaving!
What a waste as it a break that the village needs...plp coming in to change the perception of the mentality they are having...
I guess they like being rude and arroggant as they are...thats Juara...
The Chalet Manana is no longer in operations...guess they belived its not worth their time going thru arroggant mindless plp...a pity.
Best advise have clean and disturbed fun in Salang,ABC,Nipah or Japamala or any private beaches on the west side...still a good part of Tioman left...
today tioman is known to be a package tourist with "life jackets" all over the island...as a result of the high density corals all over the islands are dead or dying....rubbish is a big problem espacially during monsoon where all the rubbish start to show up on the beach.
with the expanding of the road work to juara..we will be expecting lots of these:lifejacket " tourist in years to come.
And during monsoon its a nightmare being there...with boats that has no proper safety and locals are just ripping tourist off..espacially the when it comes to transport and boat rides...also the chalets are not worth the money...i have seen othet options on the islands in terengganu which beats Tioman anyday....
my conclusion is if there are other fellow travellers who are seeking the island experience....head of to the parhentians,redand,langkawi or even kapas...Tioman for me are full of sleazy wanna be islanders who wants to make instant fortune....long run...a dying island.
collecting shells in this beach can be a zoologist's dream.
unlike many beaches these shells are very much alive.
dead ones end up as ornaments, expensive.
collecting and transporting shells and corals are punishable under law
Although it’s not really a danger it’s worth mentioning; If you leave food or drinks at the beach when you go swimming make sure there are other people in close proximity. If left alone for more than 30 seconds with no people around the monkeys will snatch your lunch for sure!
My incident lately was totaly being lied and duped as we were given such an information to alter our own understandings and beliefs.
We arrived by boat fr Salasng to Juara with the idea of going to a particular beach on the south of the jetty...a travellers den that we were recomended..actually thru out our journey fr the islands in Thailand and also few plp and operators we met in East Malaysia Islands...
so very excited as we heard so much of this chilled out place...also seen the posters all over the Parhentians and Pang Ngan..
BUT the moment we landed in Juara the locals there seems not giving us any help or info towards this place...I was amazed and knowing that they are on the same village after all!!!?
Anyways we headed towards this red colored building and ask again and the respond was that its been closed and there is no other resorts or chalets over the southern side..and they are obviously trying to sell us their rooms.....WHAT happened to the freedom of choice!!?Hey..its impossible that its closed down...to what I ve been told its where most travellers hang out in Juara!!
And some of these plp are so rude and arrogant when the talk to you...makes you just wanna leave but we were so tired as the boat ride was a little rough and cost us a bomb!!
So getting late and we got a room somewhere near the jetty.....
FIRST thing the next day is to walk to the south end..looking for our intended 'spot'......and as to my suspicion...the chalets is still there runing with a few travellers hanging around!!!!Such a nice place totally different from the entire village,,,mixed of Thai and Malay....no wonder its been an envy towards the villagers...and the plp runing it arent Tioman locals...cool boys definately been around the island scene for a while...
We quickly took all our bags and get a new room there...even we were duped for already paying 4 nites over the North end...
So BEWARE and NOT to be fooled by the stories the create....as it seems I ve met a lot more innocent travelers facing the same situation...