Two more long weekends left before 2019 comes! Not sure of where to go? Instead of running away from the hectic city lifestyle to another equally packed city, how about retreating to an island? My pick will be Pulau Redang. Rows of palm trees, white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, colourful corals, turtles — I can go on and on.
Located off the coast of Terengganu state, Redang Island is a haven not only for divers but also for travellers seeking respite from the hustle bustle of city life.
How to go to Redang Island
Take a flight to Kuala Terengganu. From the airport, catch a taxi/van to Merang Jetty and then a boat transfer to Redang.
Best time to go to Redang
Between April to late-September is the best. Most hotel resorts are shut from November to March when monsoon strikes the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
Where to stay in Redang
Most hotel resorts offer full-board packages, including return boat transfers, accommodation, snorkelling trips and meals. Here are some of my top picks.
Sari Pacifica Resort & Spa Redang Island
I stayed at Sari Pacifica during my last trip to Redang. Sari Pacifica beautifully sits a few steps away from the white sands and sparkling waters of Pantai Pasir Panjang (Long Beach). I love how this boutique resort is situated on the quieter end of Long Beach, away from the crowd. The spacious tropical-style villas come with top-notch features: huge beds fit for a Sultan, generous-sized bathrooms, private balconies with a daybed, a beachfront pool and restaurant. I was pampered like a queen!
Redang Island Resort
While most Redang resorts offer a beachfront view, Redang Island has something different. Situated at Teluk Siang bay, Redang Island Resort consists of chalets, all of which have an open balcony with breathtaking views of the rainforest AND the sea. Killing two birds with one stone!
Images courtesy of Redang Island Resort
Nestled deep in Teluk Dalam Bay, The Taaras is the most luxurious beach resort in Redang with stretches of beaches and stunning azure waters. With plenty of suites and rooms, including a five-bedroom private villa perched high on a cliff overlooking the South China Sea, The Taaras is a paradise for couples looking for their n-th honeymoon!
Image courtesy of The Taaras
Things to do in Redang
Just chill and relax
Even when your mind is set to go snorkelling or diving right away, the swaying palm trees, turquoise waters and beautiful white sand might say otherwise. Let yourself get lulled into the relax mode once you step on Redang Island. Just chill and relax on the beach lounge chair, sip your favourite cocktail, read, eat, sleep and repeat!
Snorkelling in Redang
Redang Island is a snorkelling paradise, and you don’t have to go far to see marine life up close. The most popular snorkelling spot in Redang is the Marine Park Centre. It offers a wide range of snorkelling activities with the main attraction being shoals of colourful creatures, coral fishes and barracudas.
Some sites also give you a chance to swim with large sea turtles, only an arm’s length away.
While I’m not a diver, but I do know that Redang Island is popular among divers across the globe, thanks to its numerous dive sites. Huge white coral reefs, turtles, baby sharks, coral anemone and schools of fishes are some of the reasons why thousands of divers flock to the island every year.
There are plenty of dive centres sprawling across the island, running professional PADI courses as well as customised dive trips. If Redang Island suddenly motivates you to get your first diving license, you know where to head. Equipment is available for rent.
Visit the Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary
Aside from snorkelling with turtles, you can visit the Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary to learn about their conservation efforts. To ensure the survival of turtles, the residents of Redang Island have come up with a sustainable initiative. Because of its status as a designated turtle landing point for mating and nesting, the beach of Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary is off-limits. Instead, visitors will be brought to a secluded cove on the island for a guided tour by the staff.
I missed the opportunity to visit the turtle sanctuary during my last trip there but would definitely plan a visit there next time.
Good Places for Makan and Drinks in Redang
If you’re staying at Long Beach, look out for Summer Point that serves delicious and tasty Malaysian Chinese-style cuisine. This beachfront restaurant is quite popular and runs out of food quickly, so make sure you arrive there early.
If you wish to have pizza and cocktails with great vibes and music, head over to Luna Bar, located just a stone’s throw away from Sari Pacifica Resort.
Redang Practical Info
Know Before You Go
Bring sufficient cash. There is no ATM on the island. Only the luxury resorts accept card payment. Otherwise, everything is in cash.
Mobile phone coverage is spotty. Take this opportunity to go on a digital detox!