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The Tioman Island Museum takes a closer look at Pulau Tioman's history, in particular how Tioman played a crucial role during the time of the Maritime Silk Routes, which flourished for almost 1000 years, from the 10th to the 19th century.

During this time, the waters around Tioman were ruled by the Orang Laut and Orang Lanun. The Orang Laut (Sea People) and Orang Lanun (Pirate People) lived a mostly nomadic marauding kind of existence, subjecting to repeated attacks the traders that then plied the Tioman seas.

The trading vessels that originated from the Middle East, China and as far away as Portugal, Britain and Holland, were often laden with rich cargoes and so were a frequent victim of the marauding pirates.

However, due to the highly lucrative business of the Silk Route trade, the attacks didn't discourage the intrepid merchants from sailing these seas. In fact, quite the contrary.

Still, Tioman Island was always a welcome sight to the sailers, for a number of reasons. First of all, Tioman's prominent twin peaks of Nenek Semukut, also known as the Devil's Horns, used to serve as an important navigational aid. After, all maps were very rudimentary in those days.

Also, since weather and see conditions here can be quite destructive during both the northeast and the southwest monsoon, Tioman's leeward side was a good place to seek shelter.

Lastly, Tioman was crucial for survival, because it was rich in fresh water, edible wildlife, bananas and coconuts.

It's interesting to note that Tioman has at various times in its past been inhabited by people, although most populations, apart from those that settled in Tioman's coastal areas, were transient.

Given this presence of people, it's no real surprise to hear that there's also ample evidence in the ceramics and relics discovered from the wrecks off Tioman Island, and Tioman Island itself, that bespeaks of Tioman being an actual site where maritime trade took place between the various nations involved in the Maritime Silk Route.

The Tioman Museum has on display a modest collection of artefacts on display that includes 11th to 19th century trade ceramics, coins, maps and sea charts. Other items displayed are samples of the natural resources that were traded in the past, as well as prints and paintings.

Together, these artefacts tell the story of the Pulau Tioman of an important era, a time when the island served a vital role on the Maritime Silk Route that laid the foundations of this part of the world today.

Tioman Island Museum
Sudut Muzium Pulau Tioman
Kampong Tekek
Tel: +609-419 1360

Tioman Island Museum opens daily except Monday
Admission is RM 1.00 per person (12 years old and above) Last-minutes available. No booking fee.

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The Maritime Silk Route
The Maritime Silk Route

Ancient vase, a relic of a bygone era
Ancient vase, a relic of a bygone era

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