Redang Island is an island located on the eastern part of Peninsular Malaysia, off the coast of Trengganu state. It is known for their white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and coral reefs, many of which lie close to the shore.
There are two islands on the east coast of Malaysia that are popular among travellers: Redang and Perhentian. Redang is perceived as a destination for upmarket travellers because majority of the accommodation on the island are resorts whereas Perhentian is the favourite spot for backpackers. I have yet to visit Perhentian, in fact, this was my first visit to Redang and to the east coast of Malaysia. There is another island in between Redang and Perhentian called Lang Tengah, a quiet island consisting of only 3 hotels. As of now, Lang Tengah is still untouched by commercialism; let’s hope it stays this way for a long time to come.
Arriving in Kuala Trengganu
The simplest and fastest route is to fly from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to Kuala Trengganu (KT). I flew with Malindo Air; the flight was only 1 hour. Other airlines such as Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia also fly directly to KT. Another way to get to KT is to travel by bus which takes about 7 hours from KL (or 9-10 hours from Singapore). If you have lots of time on your hands and would like to enjoy the views of the countryside, then the bus is an option.
Ferry/Boat to Redang
Upon arrival at KT airport, travellers can choose to catch a taxi from the airport to Shahbandar Jetty and the ferry from the jetty to Redang.
Taxi from KT Airport to Shahbandar Jetty: RM25 per person; 30 minutes.
Ferry from Shahbandar Jetty to Redang: RM50 per person; 90 minutes.
Alternatively, travellers can make transfer arrangements with their accommodations in Redang. Most resorts in Redang operate their own taxi and boat transfers from the airport and Merang* Jetty respectively, and the costs are typically added to the accommodation package. Resort guests can also opt to pay for the transfers separately at the airport counter.
*Do not confuse Merang with Marang which is another town in KT.
I chose the latter because I was travelling during the Eid public holidays. I wasn’t sure if airport taxis were readily available and the public ferries were running at usual frequency, hence I settled for the resort transfers for convenience and assurance.
Taxi from KT Airport to Merang Jetty: 40 minutes.
Boat transfer from Merang to Redang: 45 minutes.
Total costs were RM80 (one way) or RM160 (return).
Note: Do factor in the travel time allowance from the airport to the jetty and the ferry/boat transfer to Redang (and return trip as well). This will help you book the right flight timings, so that you will not miss your transfers.
When we reached Redang Jetty, our bags were off-loaded from the boat on to a tractor. Yes, a tractor 🙂 Two benches were attached to the back of the tractor; the bags were placed first at the front side of the bench while guests sat towards the end, hoping not to fall off the bench while the tractor rolled slowly for 10 minutes to the resort. I thought the tractor ride was pretty cool!
I stayed at Sari Pacifica Resort, one of the 3 resorts situated on the northern end of Pasir Panjang beach. My room was extremely huge – a high king-sized bed frame (I felt like the Princess and the Pea!), a separate closet for my luggage, a separate room for the dressing table, a rather spacious bathroom that could fit another bed in there, and a balcony with a small round table and a reclining chair!
All in all, the room was large and comfortable but I couldn’t help but noticed that the furniture and fittings were old and not maintained properly. Also, the odd thing was there were no bedside lamps which posed a slight inconvenience for me as I love to read before going to sleep.
Having said that, I’m not very fussy about accommodation as long as it’s clean and comfortable but I was slightly disappointed with Sari as the experience wasn’t at par with the price I paid for the duration of my stay. Food served at the restaurant was mediocre but the pool bar served a decent selection of burgers, samosas and spring rolls. My original choice of accommodation was the Coral Island Resort situated next door to Sari but it was fully booked during the holidays.
However, what I do love about Sari is the pool and the beachfront especially the view from the restaurant! Also, the location of Sari is at the quieter end of Pasir Panjang beach (northern side), away from the southern end where most large tour groups stay.
Things to do in Redang
Aside from swimming in the sea, relaxing or enjoying a game of volleyball by the beach, travellers can sign up for the snorkelling and diving trips organised by the resorts.
Or if you feel inspired by the breath-taking views of white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters, you could write a travel post under the coconut trees, like I did 😉
Best time to go to Redang
The best time to go to Redang is between April and late September. The resorts are shut from November to March when the northeast monsoon strikes the east coast of Malaysia. Some resorts are still opened in October but the weather starts to become gloomy and the waves become larger by that time, hence it’s best to schedule your visit to Redang during the non-monsoon period.
Would I return to Redang again?
Absolutely, but not in the immediate future as I would like to experience the other islands of Trengganu as well.
For the longest time, I have been wishing to experience unspoiled beaches in South East Asia akin to Maldives or Zanzibar but at an affordable price, and I’m quite pleased to say that Redang Island offers almost something similar. However, Redang is a popular destination and there are concerns about its marine life suffering from the negative effects of tourism. As such, I’m hoping that the island community, nature conservationists, the Trengganu state and tourists work in partnership to strike a balance between conserving marine life and sharing the beauty of Redang with the world.
*Linking with #FarawayFiles