This story about the Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort in Tioman and beach experience is written by one of our contributors, Nabilah. Some parts of the article may have been edited for length and clarity.
I went on an all-girls trip to Pulau Tioman, consisting of myself, my 3-year-old daughter, and 2 girlfriends that I’ve known for more than 15 years (!!). We stayed for 3D2N, during the Awal Muharram weekend from 20-22 August 2020.
To be frank, we chose Tioman as the reasonably priced resorts in other East Coast islands i.e. Perhentian, Redang, Lang Tengah are already fully booked! We were determined in our searches as we had been longing to immerse ourselves in a beach vacay on a gorgeous island after being cooped up in our homes in the city for months.
Finally, we were blessed to come across the prized treasure that is in the form of Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort at Tioman. Hooray for still having rooms available and is perfect for our little party of 3 and a half women.
P.S. Check out these 6 best beach resorts in Tioman!
Getting to Tunamaya Resort
It takes about 5 hours of driving from KL to Mersing. As we did not want to be overly tired, we split our journey by staying 1 night at Ayer Keroh, Melaka. We took off for Mersing jetty first thing in the morning, to catch our 11am ferry.
There are only 2 jetties (Mersing and Tg. Gemok jetty) with ferry operations to Tioman. It is highly advisable to immediately book ferry tickets online (if the ferry schedule is already available) right after confirming your hotel booking. Ferry tickets sell out fast due to the infrequent ferry trips between the jetties and Tioman. A one-way trip takes around 1.5 hours, so be wise in choosing your time of departure if you do not want to lose precious daytime hours. Also, ensure to arrive early to the jetty, as early as 2 hours before departure as the ferry would sometimes take off earlier than the scheduled time.
Only 2 ferry operators are available, namely Bluewater (1 adult one-way trip costs RM35, with free seating), and Cataferry (a bit more expensive and exclusive).
Do take note that there are several jetties at Tioman. For Tunamaya, you need to stop at Genting Jetty, where a Tunamaya transfer boat will wait for you. Just remember to inform Tunamaya beforehand on your ferry departure time and they will arrange for a transfer boat accordingly.
Arriving in Tioman and Tunamaya Resort
Upon arrival at Genting Jetty in Tioman, we were greeted with sunshine, calm weather and gentle waves.
After embarking on Tunamaya’s transfer boat, we were gradually awestruck by the blueness of the seawater, contrasted with the lush island greenery. The cherry on top was when we arrived at Tunamaya’s private jetty, thanks to the picturesque Gunung Semukut as the resort’s landmark, the long stretch of private beach and the bright sparkling blue sea water. Truly a cure for sore and tired minds ?
Tunamaya is located at the southwest part of the island, at Kampung Mukut. The resort’s accommodation comprises 2 long stretches of kampung house villas with a beach or garden view. The garden view has plenty of greenery with a small clear stream, where you can see pretty water lilies and fish swimming freely. The beach view is self-explanatory where your feet will immediately touch sand just a few steps from the villa's entrance.
Ambience and rooms at Tunamaya Resort
My friend, Raje booked Tunamaya directly via their website. The resort was having an MCO discount sale, so we took the 3D2N Stay & Relax Package which costs RM1,588 for 3 adults (kids 3yo and below stay and eat for free syukur Alhamdulillah!).
Credit: Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort - Tioman Island on Facebook
The package is inclusive of a stay in the Partial Family Villa (1 Queen and 1 Single bed), daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a return boat transfer from Genting jetty to Tunamaya.
Our Partial Family Villa's entrance faces the idyllic walkway and water lily-filled stream, and much to our surprise, our backyard is... the BEACH. Needless to say, no time was wasted upon checking in our villa and we quickly made our way down to the beach. A word of caution: while the beach is sandy, the sea bed is mostly rocks, so it is advisable to tread carefully when you are in the water or wear appropriate beach footwear like snorkeling shoes.
P.S. Love resorts with private pools? Then you'd love this resort in Tioman!
Halal food at Tunamaya Resort
The resort has 1 in-house restaurant serving halal food. Most travellers staying at Tunamaya would dine there as there are no other restaurants or small eateries around the area. Meanwhile, as our meals are already covered in our package, we could choose from an array of ala carte dishes from the menu. Kids may order from the kids' menu, which has generous portions (much like an adult's!).
Activities at Tunamaya Resort
Bearing in mind we had a small child, and our aim was to just chill and relax, we only signed up for snorkeling. The resort can arrange for a trip with the local boatman. They have readymade packages to choose from, and most would include a shopping trip to the duty-free zone.
Our trip was customised, focusing only on snorkeling sessions. For RM 200 per adult, we were lucky to get a private boat (equipped with life jackets for adults and children) to ourselves and to travel to 3 points.
The first stop was Renggis Island, where we swam by a small island surrounded by the clearest blue water, the friendliest fish and lively coral life. It was my daughter's first experience of swimming with fish and she got accustomed to the waters pretty quickly.
Next stop was a private beach besides Pulau Tomok, where we caught our breaths and just sit in the clear shallow waters, basking in the scenery. Our final stop was Tomok Island, where the fish was even friendlier (I could feel them nibbling on my fingers) and we played spot the rainbow fish while just floating on the water.
Overall the whole trip lasted about 4 hours, from 8.30am to 12.30pm.
Credit: Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort - Tioman Island on Facebook
If there is high tide or the waves are too choppy, but you're still feeling the urge to swim? There's an infinity pool situated near the entrance at the jetty.
P.S. Check out this complete guide to Tioman, Redang and Perhentian!
Tips for Muslim travellers
Bring your own prayer clothes and mat since the resort does not provide these items.
Recommended duration and best months to visit
We were there for 3 days and 2 nights. Honestly speaking it is not enough, and we wished we stayed for another day! However, reality quickly brought us back to earth as ferry tickets back to Mersing have sold out for the next day. If one has the spare time and money, by all means, stay the whole week at least! I am not entirely sure of the best months to visit but definitely go during the dry months between March - October.
For anyone seeking peace and quiet, families with small children, groups of friends wanting to reconnect and celebrate years of friendship, this is the place to go. I would recommend it simply, for the views, privacy, convenience, comfortable villa room and reasonable price.
Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort Tioman
Rate: From RM788 (for 2 Adults, inclusive of other bundles)
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