Redang Marine Park (Taman Laut Pulau Redang) covers all 9 islands in the Redang Archipelago.
Redang Island is famous for its crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and the tropical fish that inhabit the numerous reefs, many within 50 feet of the shore.
In contrast to the neighboring Perhentian Islands backpacker hangout, Redang has a more upmarket image, as almost all accommodation on the island is resort-based. The largest beach is Pasir Panjang on the east side, featuring half a dozen resorts. However, on the south end this beach usually has more choppy water and the beaches will have more debris than the beaches around the bend to the north. The snorkeling is also found to the north of Pasir Panjang. Scheduling your vacation around the summer school break will mean drastically fewer people at the resorts and it would not be uncommon on the beaches on the north end of the beach for you to be one of only a handful of people if not the only person on the beach.
Redang has a tropical climate with temperatures steadily around 30°C and frequent but brief thunderstoms. Like the rest of Malaysia's East Coast, Redang is affected by the northeast monsoon in winter, so most resorts are closed and ferry transport schedules are severely restricted between November and February.
No matter which way you choose to arrive, a marine park fee (RM5) is levied on all visitors to the island. Transfers can be arranged directly with resorts.
Berjaya Air has recently opened an airstrip on Redang (code RDN), located on the south side of the island near the Berjaya Redang Spa Resort. As of July 2005, there is one daily flight each to and from Kuala Lumpur (RM249 one-way) and Singapore (RM350 one-way). The airport is connected by roads to both of Berjaya's own resorts and to the southern fishing port, however transfers from the airport to anywhere else will require a combined car & ferry ride that must be arranged in advance. Note that the flights utilise the secondary airports of Subang(SZB) in Kuala Lumpur and Seletar(XSP) in Singapore instead of KL International(KUL) and Changi(SIN) respectively.
A considerably cheaper if somewhat less convenient option is to fly to Kuala Terengganu, a one-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur, and continue from here by boat. There are half a dozen flights daily on MAS and Air Asia, with a full one-way fare costing around RM170, but advance fares can go as low as RM80.
The traditional way to get to Redang is by boat. The main jetty is at Merang, some 30 km north from Kuala Terengganu. From Merang, the trip to Pasir Panjang takes about 40 minutes on comfortable, large speedboats and ferry boats with prices are more or less standardized at RM40/80 one-way/return.
In season (March-October), there are also ferries directly from the Shahbandar Jetty in central Kuala Terengganu to the Berjaya Jetty on the south side of the island, with approximately 1 hour 15 minutes journey.These are operated by and intended primarily for guests of the Berjaya resorts, but they'll take non-guests on board if there's space available. Ferry Fare (two-way) is chargeable at MYR 100.00 nett per adult and MYR 50.00 nett per child (Aged 2-12 years old). Resorts can schedule on-ward travel and can accomidate even incredibly early departurs from the resort area.
There are no scheduled ferries between Redang and the Perhentian Islands, however day-trip and dive boats are constantly travelling between the two so a relatively economical transfer can usually be arranged if you have the time, inclination, patience and flexibility to ask around and wait for a boat that's departing with seats still available.
In a word, you don't get around Redang much. Roads on the center of the island connect together the airport, Berjaya's jetty and two Berjaya resorts as well as the southern fishing port, but provide no connectivity elsewhere and there is no public transportation along them either. While the main strip of Pasir Panjang is easily covered on foot, travelling from one beach to another will require either chartering a boat (there are no organized water taxi services) or clambering across the 1.5-hour jungle trails leading from Pasir Panjang north to the Berjaya Beach Resort and south to Redang Kelong Resort. The people here are mainly Malay dealing with agriculture and cultivation with cows, goats and chicken as poultry.
Redang is very low on sights and most visitors spend their time lazing on the beach or exploring the corals. There's some fairly active wildlife though, including inquisitive monkeys (don't feed them), energetic squirrels and large monitor lizards.
Snorkeling is the number one activity on Redang and rightly so as the coral reefs are quite spectacular. Many resort packages include snorkeling tours by boat to nearby islands, but there are some decent reefs right off Pasir Panjang. The best of the lot is at the southern end next to the aptly named Redang Reef Resorts, and the small hill/island in the middle of Pasir Panjang is a nesting ground for baby sharks. It is very important to be concious while snorkeling if you are using fins as it can take many years for the coral to re-grow. The snorkeling is quite protected making the water quite calm and fins are not necessary.
Running a close second in the popularity contest is scuba diving. The waters around the island are usually crystal clear - although visibility can drop dramatically after a storm - and home to a host of sea creatures including turtles and reeftip sharks. While Redang caters to divers of all levels and is a popular place to complete a diving course, some of the sites further out can have fairly strong currents. More or less every resort on the island has its own dive shop, but it may be worth looking beyond the house shop as quality varies considerably.
Coral Redang Divers, Pasir Panjang (at Coral Redang Island Resort). Very professionally run PADI outfit with custom-built dive boats. Single dives from RM70/105 with/without your own gear.
Redang Bay Divers, Pasir Panjang (at Redang Bay Resort). Lowest prices on the island - RM50/85 with/without your own gear. Dive station here is not as fancy and sophisticated as the one in Coral, but the friendly and helpful staff make up for it. Only MAUI instructors on the island.
Redang Pelangi Dive Centre , Pasir Panjang. Competitive price, offering dive services, courses as well as Scuba Discovery for non-divers. Professional Dive Master and Instructor from either PADI/SDI certification. Contact: pelangijanshir[at]gmail.com for more details.
Other available sports options include beach volleyball and sea kayaks, but jet skis and water skis are mercifully absent (banned to protect the coral). Fishing within the marine park is not permitted, but fishing boats can be hired for excursions beyond the 2-mile park limits.
Underwater cameras also available for rental at RM30 per day with pictures burnt in CD at the end of the day. Walk in to Redang Pelangi to enquire for more.
Every resort has its own restaurant, serving up burgers, pizza and bland local food at outrageous prices (at least by Malaysian standards); a few better options can be found lurking in the gaps.
Redang Laguna Food Court, Pasir Panjang (at Redang Laguna Resort). Don't be put off by the name, this is a simple full-service restaurant offering the some of the most authentic local food on the island. The menu covers the usual Chinese and Malay favorites, but throws in spicy Thai-style salads (called here kerabu, RM10) as well as Terengganu's state dish, the fish sausage keropok lekor (RM2). Still, the best deal here is the curried fish heads, a huge bowl of which costs just RM8 and feeds three (reservation 24h in advance required). Open for dinner only.
Sandfly Cafe, Pasir Panjang (next to Redang Bay Resort). Serves up basic local fare at half the price of the hotel restaurants as well as a limited Western menu, and the second-floor seating is pleasantly breezy. Try the beehoon ikan masin (fried rice vermicelli with fish, RM5) and the ais kacang (shaved ice with syrup and goodies, RM3.5). Open all day.
Tap water is salty and not drinkable. Bottled water is widely available at around RM3 for a 1.5L bottle.
Unusually for Terengganu, alcohol is widely available both in convenience stores and the resort restaurants (probably because most resorts are run by chinese businessmen), although it's not exactly cheap. A can of beer purchased at a store starts at RM7.8 and a flask of cheap Malaysian vodka at RM15, but the restaurants will happily gouge you over RM100 for a bottle of wine. Self-catering aside, nightlife on Redang is limited to resort bars offering blinking lights and Chinese tour groups belting out karaoke.
Redang does not have any backpacker accommodation. Most resort charge about RM200/night, always quoted for two people staying together, but steep discounts are available if you book a package or visit in the off or shoulder seasons.
One budget option is the campground at Teluk Kelong, but even this is more of a mid-range affair with prebuilt tents with beds, toilet/shower, electricity, etc. From RM80/tent/night with full board, can be booked via travel agents.
Redang Pelangi Resort . Full board accommodation in wooden rooms with air-conditioning and attached bathroom. Package includes accommodation, meals, snorkeling trips as well boat transfers from Merang Jetty to Redang. A cozy and friendly staff to provide a home away from home services. Ideal for snorkeling and diving packages. Contact: +609 6242 158 or reservation[at]redangpelangi.com
Redang Lagoon Chalet . Offers simple wooden rooms in traditional malay arhitecture with built in bathrooms and air-conditioning at RM100-150/night. Food can be bought at the canteen at ~RM10 for an all-you-can-eat buffet meal (halal food only). Package of 3 days 2 nights start at RM315 per person including air-conditioned room with attached bathroom, 8 meals, return boat transfer from mainland, 3 snorkeling trips and rental of snorkeling mask and lifejacket. Contact +60-9-6665018.
Redang Bay Resort . Reasonable rooms with air conditioning. It's a bit like a Butlins resort, with announcements made on a speaker system. Mostly caters for package deal snorkeling trips for Malaysians. They fill boats with up to 30 snorkelers in life jackets. Food at the canteen is reasonable, though it offers no choice.
Sari Pacifica Hotel, Resort & Spa - Redang Island , 603-89428888, Located on Malaysia’s famous Redang Island, Terrenganu, Sari Pacifica Hotel, Resort & Spa, Redang Island gives you access to some of the best diving and snorkelling sites in this part of the world. The distinctive artistry of Malay craftsmen is evident at every turn. With a generous six hundred square feet of elegance and Luxury, a bed fit for a Sultan, each villa evokes the ambience of ancient Malay courts. Redang Island, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu 43300, Malaysia.
Ayu Mayang, Pasir Panjang. A basic operation offering simple but functional chalets with air-con, hot water, 23.5-hour electricity and limited pest control. Rack rates from RM160/chalet with breakfast.
Berjaya Redang Beach Resort, tel. +60-9-630-8866, . Located in Teluk Dalam Kecil, this Malaysian-style resort offers a wide range of recreation activities. Better rates available during non-peak season.
Coral Redang Island Resort, Pasir Panjang, tel. +60-9-6920110, . A small 40-room operation offering comfortable beachside chalet accommodation with a pool. The perfect place for a quiet island getaway. Food is reasonable. One of the better locations for snorkeling as it's between the two areas accessible from the beach, the water is protected by land mass on either side and therefore extremely calm here and free of beach debris.
Laguna Redang Resort, Pasir Panjang, tel. +60-9-6977888, . The largest and one of the newest of Redang's resorts with 212 rooms, fairly pleasantly done in a pseudo-Thai style, and with good access to the beach. Rooms are set in large buildings and some are quite a distance from the beach. Pool, jacuzzi, three restaurants, Internet cafe. Can be quite noisy due to night activities. Rates from RM440/night.
Sari Pacifica Hotel, Resort & Spa - Lang Tengah , 603-89428888, An elegant resort located on Lang Tengah Island about half hour’s boat ride from Kuala Terengganu. It is in the midst of the best kept marine park on the east coast of Malaysia with one of the best breathtaking diving and snorkeling sites in Malaysia. The resort is built in local traditional Malaysian “kampung” style architecture. The princple reception and restaurant building enjoys glorious views of the setting sun as it descends over the peninsula. All of our resort villas feature elegantly draped king size beds fit for royalty while some rooms come with double queen beds.
Redang Beach Resort,Pasir Panjang, tel. (603) 2031 5079, . Redang Beach Resort offers basic and comfortable accommodation of 120 newly built chalets, with both standard and deluxe rooms for your choices. All rooms are air-conditioned with attached toilets and bathrooms. These rooms are specially designed to cater the needs of family, couple and individual trips. Room rates around RM310/night.On the main beach of Redang island, next to Laguna Redang resort.
Shopping opportunities on Redang are largely limited to touristy gewgaws in the resorts' little convenience stores. One of the larger operations, open until 11 PM, can be found at the Redang Bay Resort with one store for food and drinks and another for clothes and souvenirs. Similarly, in Redang Pelangi Resort, the convenience store opens until midnight, offering a variety of snacks, can drinks, and toileteries; and the sourvenier shop which offers a wide range of unique sourveniers. Often the smaller souvenir shops that are not attached to the convenience shops are closed during off-peak seasons.
There are no unusual health risks on Redang. Wear sunscreen and heed the warning flags on the beach, although they're more or less permanently set on green. Asian women travelling solo or in pairs may at times find themselves getting unwanted attention from local men working at resorts but it is relatively harmless and probably has its roots in cultural perceptions of gender roles.
Wearing bikinis and skimpy beachwear is acceptable and going topless is not. However, due to the culture it is preferably if you wear your swimming clothes decently.
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