Tioman island, Malaysia
Uber-stylish villas in an awe-inspiring setting, complete with aqua ocean and lush jungle views
Tioman island is home to rugged rainforest, talcum-powder beaches
and translucent sea. The set for the 1958 film South
Pacific, it's utterly idyllic: honeymoon heaven. Yet when we
visited in 2008 it was almost tourist-free, and there were no big
chain hotels dwarfing the beautiful virgin landscape.
Set in a tranquil, picture-perfect cove of its own, JapaMala is the ultimate jungle outpost - but one with deluxe accommodation. Its 13 wooden villas peer over pristine ocean and tropical jungle; the vibe is exclusive yet friendly.
Blissed-out couples can enjoy free snorkelling, kayaking, diving or island trips; guides can lead you on wildlife tours and rainforest treks to nearby villages. But as you sink into your lounger, listening to birds chirrup and the gentle roll of the waves, you may decide to just stay put and let nature do the talking.
Reviewed by Rachel Everett
- Peaceful island life - perfect for those seeking serenity and rejuvenation
- Stylish villas with a view, perched in the jungle or overlooking the crystal-clear ocean. Some have private hydro pools
- A snorkellers' paradise - we saw tiger fish, blue crabs, red snapper, garoupa and coral in the technicolour underworld
- Attentive, friendly staff
- Now that there are no longer flights from the mainland, the resort is very difficult to reach. The journey from both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore involves a long coach journey and a ferry ride
- Italian, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese food rule the day; we would have liked more local fare
- There's only one kayak - bag it early!
- Likewise, there are only 6 sunloungers on the beach; not enough for 13 villas
- Tours are quite costly and the free trek to the nearest village was more of a climb, which we couldn't finish
A collection of wood-built villas and chalets in 11 acres, some deep in tropical foliage, others overlooking the sea...Conde Nast Traveller (UK)