The islands of the Redang Archipelago are Malaysia's gems in the South China Sea. It comprises Pulau Redang, Pulau Pinang, Pulau Ling, Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Kerengga Besar, Pulau Kerengga Kechil, Pulau Paku Besar, Pulau Paku Kechil and Pulau Lima. Most of the islands remain inhabited.
Located 50 km from the mainland and a less than an hour boat ride from the Merang Jetty, the archipelago is surrounded by crystal clear waters, pearly white shores, a colorful array of spectacular marine life, a breathtaking sunset, and what could be the world's most mature coral garden.
Boats leave for the island daily in the morning. Immediately upon arriving at Redang, the turquiose sea offers an enticing invitation to 'test the water'. Many have been deceived by Redang's crystal clear water. As if to dispel an illusion, unsuspecting visitors would jump into the sea only to discover themselves in water deeper than expected !
These sun soaked islands have been gazetted as a Marine Park back in 1985, and enjoy the protection of the Department of Fisheries of Malaysia. The biggest island, Redang is the spirit of these islands. It is known to travelers from both in and outside the country since years ago and has its place in The World Best 10 Most Beautiful Island ranking.
Most of the islands are in the southern of Redang Island, including the Marine Park Headquarter which is sited on Pulau Pinang. There is an office in the marine park to inspect and supervise all activities in this area. Several units of chalets are built overseeing the sea, but it is only for the enjoyment of government servants.
Northern side of Redang Island is the famous diving point, the Turtle Bay. A turtle conservation center is located here for studies purposes. During nesting season, turtles are hatched and released back to the sea. Educational visit and camping can be organized by writing to the organization of concern.
The majority of resort operators on Redang are scattered in the southern, along Pasir Panjang beach, offering visitors a plethora of accommodation choices to suit their budget, from basic wooden beach huts to luxurious 4-star comfort. However, it is always cheaper to buy an all-in package than to book an accommodation alone.
Needless to ask what can you do while in the island. Snorkeling, diving, trekking…everything, anything, will definitely bring you an unforgettable holiday.
‘Crystal’ clear is not enough to describe the condition of the water here, you can only imagine…imagine and, imagine…You are now standing in the sea, water covers up to your legs…you can still counting your toes while watching the fish swimming around your bare foot, sand that you step on are as fine as powder, to the edge of the sea, water and sky are at one hue….
If snorkeling or diving are the activities that you long for, don’t waste this chance. You do not need to be a good swimmer. Just grab a life jacket and snorkel or your diving gear and jump into the water. Plenty of good snorkeling and diving sites here: Mat Dollah, Pulau Kerengga Besar, Pulau Kerengga Kechil, Pulau Paku Besar, Pulau Paku Kechil, Turtle Bay, Tanjung Tokong, House Reef, Marine Park Headquarter, etc. However, deep sea snorkeling is not necessary though there are 2 snorkeling boat trips to bring you to any of these area. There are snorkeling sites just right in front of the resorts. As for diving trip, you need to book with the dive shop at the resorts. Non diver can sign up for a scuba diving course on the spot. Check up for the detail of the fee charged.
You are not alone in the sea, never. Redang is fascinating with its underwater world. Nemo, the crown fish, bumphead parrot fish, angle fish with beautiful long tail..… perhaps you can also have a chance to see cuttlefish ‘flying’ with its almost transparent body, giant leatherback turtle swimming down under to look for food… ummm, coral is the creatures gifted by the Divine to the sea. Mulitcolored Christmas trees coral standing like a guardian to the sea. Wave your hand over the rocks, these colourful little ‘flowers’ will all fold up and all retract back into the rocks... then slowly they will all start popping back up again... Staghorn coral fields, nudibranchs, clams with colourful, sea urchin, sea cucumber, or maybe lobster who hides behind the rock, stingrays, sea cucumbers, spider shells and sea stars.……isn’t it all these has made you eyes dazzle?
Redang Island is still very much covered by rainforest. Trekking in island is a good idea and different experience. The best time to trek is before 8 o’clock in the morning, when the sun just rises from the other end of the sea and leaves are still moistened by the morning mist.
There is a trail that leads from Pasir Panjang to Teluk Dalam on the other side of the island. Take the path at the back yard of Redang Bay Resort and follow the well marked trail. Trekking boot is not unnecessary although it is better to have one on.
If you are lucky enough, other than usual plants and trees in tropical rain forest, you might see little but harmless animals such as mousedeer having their ‘morning walk’. Sometimes there might be long tailed macaque monkey hang on the trees looking at you. Don’t worry, animals are shy and innocent if you are polite to them. The air is just cool and peace in the morning.
It is about 30 minutes before you reach Berjaya Redang Resort. You can have a panoramic view of this beautiful resort from the high. The tranquil and isolated bay of Berjaya is accompanying by snowy white sandy beach.
Carry on the trekking on a proper sealed road leading you to the solitary fishing village. It is a small native village in the centre of the island and it is certainly worthwhile to get away from the hotels to take a look. Centered around a small mosque which sits up on a small hill, it is a quite and peaceful place.
This is a remote and predominately conservative Muslim area. Just look for any local run restaurant and jump in to have your local breakfast with Nasi Lemak or Roti Canai as a reward for an early morning.
Pay a short visit to Berjaya Redang Resort. You may follow the same trail on the way back when you have finished enjoying the tranquil here or try to get a boat navigates between the resort to other side of the island.
Rock climbing is another good thing to do, if you are daring. The rocky hill at the back yard of Redang Reef is a good point to have a panoramic view of Pasir Panjang beach and photograph taking especially in evening time. The hill is actually not high at all and takes only 10 to 15 minutes to the top. However the trails are only of the width of your feet, which means you need to lean on the rock and move step by step carefully, therefore it is better not to play a fool with these rough and sharp edges rocks. Pay attention to the sea when you are at the top, especially area closes to the rocks. You might see turtle swimming in the sea in some clear days.
Want some nightlife ?..... the ‘traditional’ one will be sitting on the beach, counting the stars and the moon, let the sea breezes away your puzzling thought, listen to the sound made from wave hitting the shore, and sip on one of the few precious cold beers that are available on the island...... or, have a long night by shaking your body in the open air disco on the beach.