Every year, Start In Tioman (SIT), a premier scuba diving event organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia Pahang Office takes place at Kampung Genting in Tioman island, drawing many divers of various levels who are grouped into different batches. This programme successfully puts Tioman on the international map as a commendable diving spot, besides creating awareness among the public on the importance of protecting the marine life and ecosystem.
However, what makes this year’s (2016) SIT historic is the fact that this five-day programme incorporated a unique set of divers: the muslimah (Muslim females). Interestingly, there is already a group called Muslimah Divers that has already in existence since 2010, founded by Hajah Mastura Manap, with the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Culture Malaysia Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin as the patron. The objective of this group is to encourage and give opportunities to the muslimah divers all around the world to pursue their interest in extreme watersports, particularly scuba diving, in the way that is more Muslim-friendly by adhering to the Islamic principles as closely as possible. To that end, the Muslimah Divers collaborated with the SiT 2016 organisers for first time to make diving a more meaningful and relevant activity among Muslim ladies.
SIT 2016 did not just enlighten the participating muslimah towards this sport but also helped the participants to obtain a diving certificate and license all at once. Throughout the first two days, SiT held classes to introduce marine life to the muslimah divers, the do’s and don’ts when diving, including ways on how to how to keep track of their prayer times at sea.
For the next two days, the participants put their diving skills to the test, applying everything they learned in class previously. They were brought to the diving spots and dived to almost 20 metres deep. By the end of the programme, they were all certified as beginners, which is already a big license for them to dive all over the world.
To Muslim ladies out there who are keen to experience diving and get up close and personal with marine life, Muslimah Divers would be able to assist you in making your dream come true through the association’s various diving sessions. Those who are interested can directly check the association’s website regarding classes and fees.
A: 9-1 Jalan USJ 1/1B, Regalia Business Center, Taman Subang Mewah, Subang Jaya
T: +6 03 8081 1370
What can non-divers do in Tioman?
Tioman Island has always been the best spot for everyone who loves snorkelling and admire the marine life. There are no restrictions and you may stay in the sea to snorkel as long as you want. Snorkelling does not require heavy equipment and you can easily stay float on water either using life jacket or not.
Besides, for those who want to snorkel do not need to swim because the water currents can easily carry them from one coral site to another. Certain areas in Tioman have high concentration of coral reefs, giving everyone the chance to view all the amazing marine life easily. Most snorkelling spots are sheltered from the open water, making them safe and suitable for children too.
Kampung Juara, which is only between 15 and 20 minutes’ speed boat ride from Kampung Genting, has a Mousedeer Farm where visitors can get up close and feed these sly animals with hibiscus. Most mousedeer that inhabit the centre are from the wild, but now have been tamed. Entrance fee is RM15 per person.
A: Mouse Deer Farm, Kg Juara, Pulau Tioman
T: +6 012 956 1326
Suzila Batik Arts & Crafts Centre is just south of Kampung Genting jetty. At this batik centre, travellers are taught by the founder himself, Suhadi, to make batik using traditional materials. Travellers may draw their own batik on canvas as wall frame or make their own batik sarong or pareo. The tuition fee ranges from RM25 to RM80. A simple batik might take an hour or two to make, while a more complex pattern might take a whole afternoon. The centre also retails ready-made batik with prices based according to the complexity in designing and making them.
A: Kg. Genting Pulau Tioman, 26800 Rompin Pahang
T: +6 017 738 0089 / +6 013 751 4312
Where to stay?
Damai Tioman Resort is a beachfront property offering an on-site dive centre and restaurant. All rooms come with private terraces, air-conditioning units and en suite bathroom with amenities and 24-hour hot water supply. There are also selected rooms that come with a satellite TV and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Those who can’t take their eyes off from social media will be glad to know that free Wi-Fi is provided at the resort’s public areas. Guests can also request for sightseeing arrangements at the tour desk. A souvenir shop is also available adjacent to the resort.
A: Kg. Genting Pulau Tioman, 26800 Rompin Pahang
T: +6 09 413 1442