Located approximately 136km to the north east of Johor Bahru lies Mersing, a small town famous for its charm as a gateway to observe the traditional seaside Malay village life, idyllic islands, sandy white beaches and waters; home to a multitude of marine life. This particular charm has been the drawing point for holidaymakers, tourists, divers and snorkelers from various parts of the world, including Singapore, to come to Mersing to experience it for themselves. Click here to find out how to get to Mersing from Singapore.
Whether you are looking for picturesque photography opportunities or a quick and relaxing getaway, hopping onto the next ferry and jetting off to the islands off Mersing are certainly worth the trip.
For visitors who intend to visit the islands off Mersing, it is recommended to not visit during the monsoon seasons as the islands may be inaccessible during this period due to the rough tides and strong winds. Generally, the monsoon season in Malaysia occur between the months of November to March, so it is best to plan your holiday during the months of April to September for the best weather. Always check the weather conditions before heading to the sea. Visitors need to check ferry schedule and purchase ferry tickets prefeably up front.
1. Pulau Tioman
A popular area for holidaymakers and scuba divers, Pulau Tioman is one of the islands that needs no introduction. With its dense forests, coral reefs, duty-free status and various resorts and chalets, there are various attractions to suit every visitor’s’ needs. One of the key attractions is the beach located at the rural yet pleasant coastal Ayer Batang Village, mostly known to the locals as ABC Village. With approximately 1.5 km stretch of sand, lush landscapes and clear waters, the area is a hotspot for backpackers.
Another key attraction in Pulau Tioman is Mukut; a small fishing village. The main attraction here though is the vast granite mountains and rainforests – home to the famous Gunung Nenek Semukut, or better known as the Dragon’s Horns on Pulau Tioman, as well as the Asah Waterfall.
Other key attractions are Tekek, Nipah, Genting, Salang, Juara and Paya. Things to do in Tioman.
2. Pulau Aur
About 80 km to the east of Mersing lies Pulau Aur, an island well-known for its pristine beaches and coral lagoons. The island is a popular tourist spot, particularly among Singaporeans. Slightly further ahead lies another island known as Pulau Dayang. Together, the two islands become a haven for divers and snorkelers to venture deep into its clear waters to observe various species of marine life.
3. Pulau Dayang
Known to be one of the best diving locations in Malaysia, Pulau Dayang is favored among scuba and snorkelling enthusiasts. A vast array of marine life is available in its waters, including sharks, whales and rays. For those who are keen on diving, there are diving courses offered for beginners and advanced divers.
4. Pulau Besar
One of the nearest islands to Mersing. Getting to Pulau Besar takes about 30 minutes by boat and the island has many things to offer in terms of nice resorts, pristine beaches, an 18-hole golf course, water sports, jungle trekking and colorful coral reefs. If you happen to have the time, go on a boat ride to the neighbouring island; Pulau Harimau to take a dip in the island’s’ natural pool.
5. Pulau Harimau
An uninhibited island, Pulau Harimau is an ideal paradise for divers and snorkelers. Although called Pulau Harimau (Tiger Island), the island is not inhibited with tigers. There is a cavern, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy the waters as well as its magnificent surroundings.
6. Pulau Pemanggil
Fancy visiting a place known for its folklore? Hop on a boat to Pulau Pemanggil. Located about 4.5 hours away from Mersing, the island offers clear waters, sandy beaches, amazing coral reefs, unforgettable fishing trips, delicious local fruits, and not forgetting the traditional folktale of its village. The island is known to have one of the best fishing spots in Malaysia, so for fishing enthusiasts, expect to have a memorable fishing trip when you are on this island.
7. Pulau Rawa
One of the smaller islands off Mersing, Pulau Rawa is a beautiful island suitable for those who would like to experience canoeing and paddling around the island to view its rugged cliffs and caves. The best thing is it only takes 30 minutes to get to the island from Mersing via a speed boat, or 1 hour via normal ferry.
8. Pulau Tinggi
45 minutes away by boat from the Tanjong Leman jetty lies Pulau Tinggi, an island rich in history, nature and pearl white beaches. A famous attraction is the Marine Park Centre; where visitors can find useful information about the island, particularly its turtle hatchery and giant clam breeding activities.
9. Pulau Sibu
Although the island is called Pulau Sibu, the island is mostly known as the Sibu Islands as it comprise of several other smaller islands such as Pulau Sibu Hujung, Pulau Sibu Tengah, Pulau Sibu Kukus and Pulau Sibu Besar. A popular weekend destination, Singaporeans usually visit Pulau Sibu Besar for watersport activities and a quick getaway as it takes about 3 hours to drive from Singapore. However, visitors can only get to the island via the Tanjong Leman jetty.
10. Pulau Tengah
Privately owned and gazetted as a Marine Park, Pulau Tengah is rich with history as it was formerly used as a Vietnamese refugee camp in the 70s. The island is accessible to tourists and can be reached within 30 minutes via boat from Mersing.