We have recently traveled to one of Malaysia’s most beautiful ecological paradises, located a 2-hour ferry ride off the mainland’s east coast. Tioman Island, a marine park quite famous in the diving community, got our hearts from day one, but we fell deeply in love with it during our stay at Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort. Here you’ll find our honest review of this amazing place!
Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort
This exclusive and isolated resort is located at the southern tip of Tioman Island and is only reachable by boat. You can get to Tioman Island by taking a 2-hour ferry from the cities of Mersing (Johor) or Tanjung Gemuk (Pahang) or by flying from Subang airport straight to the Island’s capital Tekek (flights are temporarily suspended for lack of demand since the pandemic). Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort organizes boat pick-ups at Tekek and Genting Jettys to the resort. The boat ride takes around 15-30 minutes depending on the weather conditions.
Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort is located on a secluded beach and is framed by Tioman Island’s famous Twin Peaks mountain in the background. Surrounded by thousand-year-old rain forests and the most pristine waters, this resort is what comes to mind when people refer to Tioman as an ecological paradise.
Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort provides 54 luxury wooden villas with sea views, rainforest views or garden views, and family villas. We stayed in a Rainforest Villa so this is the one we will focus on in this review.
The villa is quite big! There is a private balcony right at the entrance and another one in the back, with rainforest views. The back balcony is the most peaceful place to read when it rains and we spent hours relaxing to the sounds of the rain and the forest comes alive.
The room is spacious and the decoration is on point, counting with a desk, two lounge chairs, a wardrobe, a minibar, and a tv set. Electric kettle, complimentary tea, and coffee are also available.
The villa is air-conditioned and has a private bathroom with a great shower. Room service happens every day in the mornings. Rates here start at 180 euros a night for the Garden and Rainforest Villas and 200 euros a night for the Beach Villas.
Unfiltered Room Photos
Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort has a main restaurant and bar – the Pawana Restaurant and Ombak Bar – which serve great food all day long, a Spa, a games room, and a complete dive center. It also has Tioman Island’s only infinity pool although, during our visit, it was unfortunately closed for renovations.
Resorts can be quite similar when talking about beautiful beaches and beautiful rooms but what makes Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort so special in our opinion, is the connection with nature. There are few places on Earth you can sleep right next to the rainforest and go swim with baby sharks the next day – all within the same hundreds of meters square. So we decided to review their activities in this section since they were the highlight of our stay!
Dive Center & Kayaking
Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort has a very complete dive center with professional instructors and gear. NDL open water dive courses are available including certificates and leisure dive experiences are available at a variety of sites including diving day trips to Chebeh Island, Fan Canyon, Labas Island, Tiger Reef, and Jahat Island. Leisure diving trips cost around 40-80 euros.
The dive center is also where you can rent kayaks and snorkeling gear for the day. We rented a kayak and the water is so clear you can actually see the corals from the top of the kayak. As a tip, you can wait until around 3-4 PM when the tide is low and go to the adjacent jetty for the best views of live corals.
Snorkeling & Coral Restoration
The sea right in front of the resort compromises an area of dead coral, followed by live coral, a sandbank, and an underwater cliff and Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort is actively working on restoring the coral on their private beach. Can we give extra points for sustainable ACTIONS?!
Once we heard that it’s possible to go face to face with marine life and admire live corals, turtles, clownfish, and even reef sharks in their clear turquoise waters we didn’t wait a minute more. And it was the most incredible snorkeling experience we had on our trip so far!!
Hot tip: If you want to see reef sharks, we do recommend going snorkeling by the end of the afternoon near their jetty. We spotted 7 – quite big, over 1 meter long – baby sharks during our swim and it was the most thrilling experience.
Jungle Trekking & Water Filtering
Right behind the resort are the famous Twin Peaks mountain and the resort has a few jungle trails prepared which you can go by yourself or with a guide. The longest, which takes around 2 hours one way, is towards Asah Waterfalls, and the quickest, which took us around 45 minutes up, to a viewpoint called Tunamaya Mountain.
Another awesome thing is that their water comes straight from the mountains, is filtered by the resort, and is available at Water Dispensers around the resort. Pure fresh water at your convenience has to be one of the nicest things a place can do for you.
Free WiFi is only available in the lobby and restaurant area, although you can pay for a satellite WiFi provider in order to have wifi available in your room. If you want to relax and forget about the outside world for a few days, this won’t affect you at all. The satellite wifi is really cheap (around 2 euros for 24 hours) but it has a small quota and ends pretty quickly.
Breakfast is served daily from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM at the Pawana Restaurant, right in front of the sea. During the week and off-season, you can choose your breakfast from a set menu, and during weekends and high season, breakfast is served in a buffet setting. We had both and thought the buffet is much nicer, as the set menu only have a few options to choose from.
Lunch and dinner are also offered at their restaurant with a great variety of á la carte dishes and the food is amazing!! We recommend trying their soft crab burger and grilled salmon dishes and their Sago Gula Melaka dessert. Dinner for two costs around 30-60 euros.
10 / 10
Value for Money
9 / 10
10 / 10
8 / 10
9 / 10
9 / 10
10 / 10
6,5 / 10
Note: we base our ratings on same-level accommodations in similar locations, therefore we’ll never compare a Hostel in Asia with a Hostel in Europe or a guesthouse with a 5-star resort.
Tioman Island should definitely be on your must-visit places in Malaysia list, but if you still don’t know where to go, then you have your answer right here. Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort will offer you the best this island has to offer: marine diversity, jungle trekking, wildlife encounters, great food, and the most comfortable villa.
The staff there is also amazing and they offer great service, from the moment you get to their jetty are personally recognized and accompanied inside, to the check-out when they provide you with a bag of snacks for the journey back on the ferry. The only downside for us is the wifi, since we work with social media it was quite hard to keep updating our pages – even with their paid satellite wifi.
The excitement of being so close to nature AND having luxury service all at once is really hard to beat. Overall, we can’t wait to go back!
This was a sponsored stay.