I was screaming and shouting but the ferry departed just in front of my nose.
Being able to spend a relaxing weekend on a secluded and wonderful island at the East Coast of Malaysia, is one of the points that I would mention when being asked why I don’t want to go back to Europe.
Getting to that island in the first place however would be not on this list of plus points.
By now I traveled five times to Tioman (the above mentioned island) already, and I made all kind of experiences along the way. First a lot of bad ones, now more and more good ones.Escape Singapore for a weekend, find the easiest way to Tioman Island!
And to guarantee that your weekend trip is perfect (yes, “weekend” implies timely limited unfortunately) I list you the best ways of getting over, tested by me personally below. Have a safe and good trip!
Part 1: How To Get From Singapore To Mersing
Your trip to Tioman comes in two parts (except if you fly).
First you have to get to Mersing, which is the little city on the East Coast of Malaysia where the ferry port is situated that will send you off to Tioman.
Then you have to transfer from Mersing to Tioman. This happens via ferry, and is the more easy part.
1. Book A Direct Coach Transfer From Singapore To Mersing
Medium (approx 30 SD pp)
There are several travel companies that offer daily coach transfer to Tioman. Most of them depart at the Golden Mile Complex near Lavender MRT. Easiest way is to book via a travel agent so you have a fixed time and price.
Most of the buses depart early in the morning (between 5AM and 6AM) so you will be able to catch the early ferry from Mersing to Tioman (usually between 9 and 10AM).
2. Book A Direct Private Cab From Singapore To Mersing
More Expensive (approx 65 SD pp with two people)
There are several cab operators that offer to pick you up from your home (either normal cab, minivan or bus, depending on your travel group size) and bring you either directly to Mersing or transfer you to an already waiting other cab in Malaysia that will take you to Mersing then.
The prize for a normal cab (4 persons) is at the moment approx 130 SD from door to door. Thats 32.50 SD per person, which can still be considered good. Write me a simple email if you need some very reliable contacts (operating since 15 years and that I personally use every time as well).
3. Go To Johor Bahru First And Get A Cab There
Cheap (approx 30 SD pp with two people)
If you have time and you are spontaneous, you can go to Johor Bahru first, which is the first city after the Singapore – Malaysia border. Cabs going to Mersing operate from the Larkin Bus terminal in JB.
To get to Johor Bahru you need to get to the “Woodlands Checkpoint” in Singapore first which is the border to Malaysia.
How To Get To JB:.
- Bus No. 170
Departing from either Queen Street Bus Station or the bus-stop along Rochor Canal Road (just after Sim Lim Square) and runs from 5.20 a.m. to 12.10 a.m. everyday.
The bus will stop at the Singapore checkpoint but will not wait for you whilst you clear immigration, so take all your belongings with you. Keep your bus ticket and hop on the next Bus No. 170 which comes along. You don’t have to pay again.
- Singapore-Johor Express Coach
ADeparting from Queen Street Bus Station to Larkin Bus Terminal in J.B. The ticket costs S$2.40.The Singapore-Johor Express Coach runs from 6.30 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. at 15-minute intervals.
The Singapore-Johor Express Coach travels more quickly than Bus No. 170, which makes many stops along the way to J.B. However, there is no luggage space on the coach, so you’ll be asked to buy a second ticket (S$2.40) for your pack!
Just like Bus No. 170, the express coach will not wait for you at the checkpoints. You’ll have to take all your belongings with you, keep your coach ticket and hop on the next one which comes along. You don’t have to pay again.
The bus will stop again at the Malaysian checkpoint, which is at the other end of the Causeway linking Singapore and Malaysia. You will have to get off to clear immigration. Once more, the bus will not stop for you to clear immigration, so keep your bus ticket if you intend to catch the next bus.
Once you have reached the Larkin Bus terminal in JB, just look out for the blue cabs that will bring you to Mersing. The current prize is approx 80 to 100 Malaysian Ringit.
4. Go To Johor Bahru First And Get A Bus There
Cheapest (approx 20 SD pp)
Follow the above instructions and transfer to the Larkin bus terminal in JB first.
Now instead of taking a cab you can go for the cheaper option of booking a bus ticket to Mersing. There will be plenty of counters and agents walking around asking you where you want to go to.
Its definitely the cheapest way of getting to Mersing, but you might have to wait until a bus departs.
5. Fly To Tioman
Most Expensive (approx 270 SD pp)
There is indeed one operator that offers direct flights from Singapore to Tioman and back.
Part 2: How To Get From Mersing To Tioman
Easy answer. There is only one way. A ferry.
Once you arrive at the Mersing Ferry Port don’t get run over by one of the many travel “agents” approaching you for tickets.
Also, take care that your cab/bus driver is not dropping you of at a travel agent (his partner) telling you that you must buy your tickets / book your hotel in Tioman there. You don’t.
How To Get Your Ferry Tickets
- - Get your ferry tickets, the operator is “Blue Water Express“, from their little sales counter just in front of the main waiting hall (left side).
The ferry schedule will be written down on a board and there are usually at least one leaving in the morning and one in the afternoon.
- - One way ticket is 35 Malaysian Ringit, Return is 70 Malaysian Ringit.
Ask for an “open” return ticket, which means you can hop on every boat you want on your way back from Tioman to Mersing. It wont cost you more and is much more convenient.
- - The ferry schedule are depending on the current low-high tide timings but the first ferry usually departs before or around 10AM.
- - If you want to be really sure that you get your seat and you wont have to wait 2 hours for the next ferry, I can again recommend you a very reliable (and personally used) travel agent, that has his office directly at the ferry port, in easy walking reach to pickup your tickets once you arrive. Just drop me an email and I send you his contacts.
How To Get Back To Singapore
To be safe you can arrange a pickup with your personal cab/bus driver already on your way to Tioman.
Otherwise you book your bus return ticket directly when booking the bus travel to Tioman, or you book your bus ticket when arriving at Mersing and waiting for your ferry over. (this is what I usually do)
You can also just come back from Tioman to Mersing and take one of the many waiting cabs (but more expensive then to Mersing) or try to hop on and find a free seat on one of the many departing buses.
In general i made the experience that there is “always” a way back, and this part of the travel is much easier then the way to Tioman.
If you have made any experiences with buses or ferries, timings, schedule or missed transport, please let everyone know and post it in the comments below!
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