Once top ten of the most beautiful island in the world by Time magazine now Pulau Tioman faces environmental consequenses.
Tioman today sits 30km away from the mainland. 39km long and 12km wide, Tioman was once a monsoon shelter for merchant ships, war ships, a haughty bunch of pirates and a few families of fishermen. The first written record of Tioman was found in the journals of Arabic merchants who came this way some time before 1,000AD. The Indian, Persian and Chinese traders followed suit.
During World War II, a small detachment of the Japanese army was sent to set up a watch base on Tioman. After the war, Tioman fell into oblivion until it was rediscovered by movie makers. Fame and fortune followed suit and Tioman became the Paradise Island of Bali Hai in the musical "South Pacific". The listing as one of the top ten islands in the world by TIME magazine in the 1970's made the island popular beyond its dreams and visitors have been pouring in since to savour that little piece of island paradise.
Lured by amazing coral reef and incredible fishes, Pulau Tiomas was the favorite destination of diving and snorkelling. Tourist poured into this tiny island looking for white sandy beaches. Now most of the coral is damaged and affected by bleaching, a stress condition that leads to the breakdown of the symbiosis between corals and unicellular algae (zooxanthellae).
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