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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 05, 2020
Headline for 8 Fascinating Facts About Tioman Island – Palau Tioman Explorations!
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8 Fascinating Facts About Tioman Island – Palau Tioman Explorations!

Pulau Tioman is an island in the South China Sea that is famous today thanks to having gained acclaim as a hot tourist destination for those who are looking for the perfect tropical beach getaway. There is much more to the island though, as you will learn in the facts listed below.


Most Beautiful

In the 1970s Tioman was listed as one of the most beautiful islands in the world by Time Magazine. It was ranked in the top ten thanks to its breathtaking physical attributes such as the gorgeous beaches. Seems like the magazine had something to it because today a holiday in a Tioman island resort is much sort after.


Volcanic Rocks

Tioman has, apparently a lot in common in a geological sense with Borneo. This can be ascertained by a study of volcanic rock so it indicates that once upon a time, Tioman may have been connected to East Malaysia, despite now being very far from Borneo.


A Queen's Picnic

In 1972, in February, the royal yacht named Britannia had weighed anchor in secret on Tioman so that Queen Elisabeth, Prince Philip and Princess Ann could enjoy a picnic on the shore. Despite it being a private and personal little holiday for the royal family, reporters got wind of it and delighted in talking about Prince Phillip's tan when they got back to England.


Giant Clam Fossil

In the 1960s, a giant clam fossil was unearthed in Tioman by a club belonging to the RAF. It was said to be so big that a toddler could crawl in and sleep in it. Giant clams are now considered an endangered species. They can live up to 100 years and grow to weigh about 200 kilos.



The arrival of resorts the likes of Berjaya Tioman Resort on the island is a fairly recent endeavour as Tioman did not have freshwater or telephones until the development project of 1963 under the First Malaysia Plan.


Dragons or Asses

In the 1970s, the mountains known today as Dragons Horn or Chula Naga at the highest point in Tioman was known to the locals as the Asses Ears. Not very magical, if you ask me.


The Origin

The name Tioman is said to have been derived from the local name for the hill mynah bird. There is a story to this which tells of how long ago, a fisherman on the island kept a pet bird that was admired greatly by all the villagers. When it died, the villagers missed the bird so much they named the island after it by coining the words "tiong" with "teman," meaning "bird friend."


Apple Queen

Australian Apple Queen Jan Slattery toured Tioman in the August of 1969 and had famously declared the island to be perfect for apple orchards. This proved to be quite an apt assessment as there are what she called, "equalising temperatures" on Tioman all year round making it great for the growing of robust apples.