We decided to take on Redang Island the last Labor Day weekend. Redang Island is located at the Terengganu State, East of Malaysia. We travelled by airplane (50 minutes from Kuala Lumpur) to Kuala Terengganu, and from there it will take about 30 minutes to the Syahbandar Jetty. You can take cab or arrange the transportation earlier with your hotel.
We stayed at Laguna Redang Island Resort, situated along the white sandy beach of Pasir Panjang. There are many family-friendly resorts along this beach. I would say unlike Perhentian Island that has more backpackers-option, Redang has more resort-based style hotels.
We filled our first two days with snorkeling trip as our kids love swimming. The elder one is into sea creatures whilst the 2 year old is into boats! On the first day, we joined the hotel’s snorkeling trip to open sea near Pulau Ekor Tebu area. The hotel’s staff was really kind and helpful. They accompanied the kids with floats and bread to feed the fishes.
In the evening, the kids joined the Save the Turtles Awareness Program organized by University Malaysia Terengganu. With a donation of RM20, they got a chance to release the baby turtles into the ocean. Below are the dates for the future program in Redang if you are interested in one. Refer to their FB Page – Sea Turtle Research Unit UMT for more information.
I would say the main highlights of our trip were on the second day. We hired a private boat (reasonable price – you can ask the locals to find one for you, not through the hotel) to go around the island. Our first drop of point was at Tanjung Dalam, this is near the Taaras Resort. Here, you can find many turtles swimming and if you are lucky they will come near you. The boatmen brought some squids so we were lucky that the turtles were hungry and able to feed them breakfast.
We then went to two more snorkeling point, Pasir Chagar Hutan and Pasir Mak Simpang. We found large, gorgeous corals here and of course beautiful fishes. Some corals were as large as houses, and looked eerie too. I wished to go nearer, but I am coward haha – the thoughts of maybe there’s a shark behind it crossed my mind. But subhanAllah, the scenery is simply amazing!
Another snorkeling point you should not miss is a few metres from the Pasir Panjang (long beach) itself. At the southern end near Redang Reef Resorts, my husband saw sting rays and an adult shark. In addition, the small island in the middle of Pasir Panjang is a nest ground for blacktip reef sharks. We found lots of it there and my son saw a moray eel, too.
The hotel also provides trip to Marine Park every morning, but the place can be overly crowded with all kind of people. The coral is not much to boast about. However, we saw large moral eel near the jetty. Sadly said, I saw two siblings with face full of chicken pox fresh scars while we were there.
On the last day, me and the little one chilled by the beach. We spend hours with Frisbee and sandcastle while the bigger one tried canoeing with his father. Besides swimming, you can see people playing kites, volleyball and football with the locals along this beach. There are no stalls though selling food except at the end of the beach, so do pack your bag with snacks. The Laguna resort also has quite a decent swimming pool with slides for some splash.
On the hotel, I was impressed how it is very systematic. From the boat ride, bag transfer, and meal time; their staff able to handle the crowd smoothly. Foods are delicious and refilled fast, and they were quickly attend to our needs. No wonder it gains the top spot in the tripadvisor.
Night time was not so quiet, not so loud which is perfect for families. We took a stroll by the beach at night, just listening to the waves and watching the beautiful sky. It has romantic atmosphere too, as couples holding hands and wrote love notes on the sand. Even my 9 year old highlighted that the stars there are nicer than in the city. Simply said, it feels our three nights there are not sufficient.
Do take note that the island is opened only from March to October every year due to monsoon season. I would say for family, the best time to visit Redang is from May-August to avoid any choppy waves and sea sickness. The boatman also mentioned about jellyfish season, sometimes in August if I’m not mistaken. All in all, we love Redang and hope to come back!