JapaMala Resort

Tioman Island, Tioman & East Coast, Malaysia Book from

A super-stylish island retreat, with luxurious treetop living and an unspoilt private beach - ultimate romance and total relaxation
After our pre-dawn ferry to Tioman Island, the set for the 1958 film South Pacific, we were met with glowing smiles, ushered onto a private speedboat and whisked away to JapaMala’s picture-perfect cove. Soon, we were sat in a beachfront cabana, watching the sun colouring the sky pink and revealing the crystal-clear South China Sea. All we could hear was the wind rustling through the jungle, the waves breaking on the white sands, and the distant chatter of monkeys and chirping of birds.

Lush green undergrowth shrouds the resort from the rest of the island; wooden walkways lead to grown-up treehouses. Some are perched directly above the ocean, boasting breath-taking sea views. Others have vast hydro-pools hidden under palm trees. All are super stylish. Spend your days sauntering between the pool and beach, snorkelling amongst multi-coloured coral, and getting spoilt in the spa. JapaMala is a sanctuary of tranquillity in a sublime corner of the world; the hardest decision you’ll have to make is which restaurant to eat in...

Highs

  • Peaceful island life - perfect for those seeking serenity and rejuvenation
  • Villas are stylish, spacious and serene; commanding total privacy amongst the lush jungle, many also have ocean views
  • A long, pristine stretch of private beach, plus a technicolour underwater world with tiger fish, blue crabs, red snapper, garoupa and coral
  • Endless luxury and flawless service from the moment we arrived
  • Complimentary sunset cocktails served at the end of the jetty, very romantic

Lows

  • Active types may get a little bored, but JapaMala can arrange boat trips and there are treks through the jungle to the local village
  • There's only one kayak and 6 cabanas on the jetty - bag them early!
  • Likewise, there are only 6 sunloungers on the beach; not enough for 13 villas
  • Mozzies are sandflies are prevalent, but JapaMala provide Tiger Balm

Best time to go

Tioman Island is just 2 degrees from the equator, meaning the weather is generally a hot 30 degrees+ all year round. May to August is peak season, but March, April, September and October are lovely months to visit, too. Tropical rainstorms sometimes make an appearance, but burn off quickly. Monsoon season is from November to February.

Our top tips

Don your snorkelling equipment at the end of the jetty and paddle towards the coral around the tip of the bay, it’s more colourful and plentiful. Staff will point it out for you.

Also ensure that you keep your room shut - while we were there, some guests forgot and the local monkeys raided their minibar!

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Resort
  • 13 villas
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • TV room
  • Snorkelling + kayak
  • Diving (by arrangement)
Room: Treetop Chalet

Rooms

There are 13 Kampung-style villas dotted between the trees and boulders, complementing the natural landscape and providing plenty of privacy. Each is rustic-chic unique and feels impossibly luxurious. Bathrooms all feature powerful rainfall showers.

We were in a Tree Top Chalet and spent a lot of time on the terrace, curled up in our suspended wicker chair. We often had monkeys perched on our windowsill and the jungle provided a soothing soundtrack. Sea Cliff Chalets are similar, but they jut out over the canopy, with mesmerizing views of the ocean.

The Sarang rooms are more luxurious. Jungle Luxe Sarangs have a living area and an outdoor tub. Spilt-level Hillside Sarangs have a veranda, a living space and a plunge pool. For ultimate romance, opt for the super-secluded Seaview Sarang, where you can gaze out to sea from your private plunge pool.

The more modern two-storey Penghulu’s House can be found at the end of the resort, right on the beach. It has a double and a twin bedroom, lots of living space, and its own pool.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

There are two restaurants at JapaMala, split-level Mandi Mandi pavilion, nestled in the jungle, and beachfront Tamarind Tioman.

Come sunset, everyone gathers at the end of the jetty for complimentary cocktails from the bar. It’s the definition of romantic. They also host the occasional barbecue here.

We took dinner at Tamarind Tioman, where spicy Thai fusion is served by candlelight. Spring rolls were crisp, stir-fried vegetables spicy, and lemongrass prawns plump and juicy.

Our lunchtime pizza at Italian Mandi Mandi was light and full of flavour, but we got serious food envy as we watched plates of grilled fish and bruschetta pass us.

Breakfast, served at Tamarind Tioman, was a sprawling spread of fruit, yoghurt, pastries and cakes. An a la carte menu of hot dishes includes eggs, pancakes and some local dishes.

Fresh juices, coffee and cocktails are served throughout the day at all three locations, and drinks and nibbles can be ordered to your sun spot.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity: Spa

Activities

  • You can easily spend hours chasing colourful fish through the corals; we saw blacktip reef sharks, clown fish and parrot fish. Dive excursions can be arranged, too
  • Jump in the kayak and paddle along the coast line, discovering hidden coves; on your return, curl up in a cabana, or sprawl on the bamboo mats on sand, with a book in hand (there’s a huge selection available in the book-swap library)
  • Spoil yourself in the spa with a massage under the jungle canopy, followed by a dip in the clifftop hot tub. Treatments include the “Healers” massage, a Thai oil massage and pre-sun body conditioning
  • Take a trek to Genting, keeping your eyes peeled for tropical birds, monkeys and monitor lizards
  • The hotel can arrange excursions to waterfalls, visits to Monkey Bay Marine Park, and round-island cruises

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wildlife

Kids

All ages are welcome, but this is predominantly a grown-up resort for couples. Little ones might get bored, so if you are travelling as a family, we’d suggest you do so with older kids or teenagers.

Family friendly accommodation:

Two-storey Penghulu's House is the resort's only family villa, right on the beach. The double bedroom has a vast living space opening to a spectacular view of the sea; the twin has direct access to a beautifully decked plunge pool.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
9/
Overall

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