I went to both these islands back in 1994 and am thinking about re-visiting this autumn as I am going to be in Malaysia again.
Has anyone been recently? When I went to Babi Besar was hardly built up at all and incredibly picturesque, if it is now full of high rise hotels etc I would prefer not to go so I can preserve my fond memories of the place. Any views?
Also I stayed in beach huts when I went but I haven't been able to find anything like this through google - can you recomend any hostels maybe (cheapest possible, I love dorms)?
i think the island resorts and ferry are closed because of the monsoon in autumn,though i think it might be possible to get to babi besar.
i don't know about babi besar, i think i was there in 92, but cant really remember... i doubt it would be to developed too much more now.
i was on tioman several times in the first half of 90's and then in 2006. i suggest to visit salang on the north west tip or juara on the other side of the island for budget accomodation and nice beaches and jungle.
salang was not so much different than in the 90's, some new hut operators, some new restaurants, new concrete jetty... but no major development.
juara on the other side is quite isolated, more a sleepy local vilage than a resort location, at the time i was there 08/2006 it was quiet and almost tourist free. but the sea is more rough, eventhough it has long deserted beaches. they were building a road to juara in 2006, but i don't know if thats finished now.
i think most of the hut owners have no web pages, you just come and choose where to stay : )
try check out on http://www.impressions.com.my/Besar/Dcoconut/besarwriteup.htm
i don't think there have any huts anymore....i just found out 3-4 resort over there