Located off the coast of Terengganu, Redang Island is a haven not only for marine lovers but also for travelers seeking respite from the hustle bustle of city life.
Redang Island is a popular Malaysian island destination for diving, snorkeling, and enjoying the beaches and clear waters of Terengganu. Pulau Redang, or Redang Island, is the largest island in the Redang Archipelago. Malaysia and Singapore, which are nearby and offer popular resort style packages, draw the majority of guests to the island. Perhentian Islands, approximately 40 kilometres to the north, tend to be more popular with backpackers in Malaysia, while Redang Island itself caters more to family travelers or those looking for a resort-style island vacation.
Dive or snorkel in the sea around Pulau Redang for a breathtaking experience. The water surrounding Pulau Redang is home to over 3,000 species of fish, 1,000 species of bivalves, and 500 species of corals. To protect the marine life in this marine paradise, the island was made part of the Terengganu Marine Park, a protected marine area meant to protect the island’s ecosystem and biodiversity. Fishermen, marine life collectors, and boat anchors must stay at least two nautical miles away from these islands to avoid damaging the reef.
The best time to visit Redang Island is from June to August. This is the dry season meaning that there will be enough sunshine all day long for you to go about your activities care-free. Redang Island is located on the east coast of Malaysia and is susceptible to bad weather from October/November until March/April due to the monsoon rains. By October, all resorts will have closed for the monsoon season. Visibility is also limited underwater due to the strong currents. In March, a new holiday season begins and all the island will be back in full swing. Redang offers great diving and snorkeling settings from June to August thanks to good weather and calm waters. There will also be an increase in prices, more visitors, and fewer accommodations as a result.
Most guests arrive at Redang by way of one of the ferries from the mainland (Kuala Terengganu) or in the boats operated by the resorts. There is also an airport on the island, which primarily serves the Berjaya resort (the only airline flying there is Berjaya Air).
Kuala Terengganu is accessible by road from Kuala Lumpur. Air-conditioned luxury coaches are available. You can use the highways and drive your personal vehicle. By drive, it’s approximately 7-8 hours from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu.
Food: The island is filled with surprisingly varied cuisine. You can expect menus full of crab, oyster, squid, lobster, and rice dishes from local, Indian, Chinese, and Western cuisines… all of it accompanied by live music. In fact, if you expect big parties or rowdy bars, your search will be in vain since all of the action is concentrated in the resorts’ beachside dining bars or cafes. The typical feature of much of them is live music on the beach! Generally, you shouldn’t worry about food since tour packages to Redang usually cover dining for all 3 meals (served by resorts).
Drink: Water from the tap is salty and unfit for drinking. There are many places that sell 1.5 L bottles of water for around RM3. Terengganu is unusual because alcohol is widely available both in convenience stores and resort restaurants (likely because most resorts are managed by Chinese businessmen), although it’s not exactly cheap. Beer cans cost RM7.8 in a store, and flasks of Malaysian vodka for RM15, while restaurants will happily charge you over RM100 for a bottle of wine. The island’s nightlife is limited to sitting in hotel restaurants with live bands, hotel karaokes, beach discos, or mingling around with other travelers at night bars.
There are no backpacker accommodations in Redang. For most resorts, the rate is about RM200/night, always quoted for two people staying together. However, there are steep discounts available if you book a package or visit during the off-season or shoulder season. You can choose from budget resorts to luxury all-inclusive resorts here depending on what type of vacation you are looking for.
Redang Island’s resorts are mainly family-friendly, providing onsite facilities and activities such as tour and excursion arrangements. Resorts offers all-inclusive packages for those visitors who prefer this type of service. The room-only package is a good choice if you are looking for flexibility and do not want to be tied down by any pre-arranged activities.
As Redang Island is a popular tourist destination, it gets a lot of visitors during peak holiday seasons and on long weekends. You should always reserve your room in advance if you are planning a vacation on the island. Make sure you check out a resort’s latest package because they will often include all-inclusive service at a discounted rate.
The island of eternal sunshine and glimmering waters does not disappoint when it comes to holiday activities. Walk along the beautiful shorelines and take stunning pictures of an island paradise. Explore popular beaches on Redang such as Teluk Dalam Beach or Long Beach (Pasir Panjang). Leap into the waters for a refreshing swim with the fishes. Put on your snorkel mask for a closer look. Swim around a little while longer and you might just bump into a harmless reef shark or turtle. If you want to explore deeper, suit up and dive down under where the mysterious ocean depths await. What’s an island adventure without turtles? These chill sea creatures can be found nesting in the Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary, Pasir Mak Simpan, Pasir Bujang or Teluk Dalam beaches. If you’re lucky to catch a nesting turtle in action at night, remember to observe as quietly as possible!
Land-lovers, you’ll have the chance to trek through an ancient jungle that contains centuries-old secrets. Take in the cooling air of the island’s lush trees and thick flora as you navigate your way through the thickets and various jungle trails with a guide. At the end of each trail, you may be rewarded with breathtaking views and secluded swimming or snorkelling spots. If you’re living at Long Beach or Teluk Kalong, you’ll have the best views of a magnificent sunrise when you wake up at 6 am!
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Money: There are no banks on Redang. There are no ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) either for cash withdrawal on the island. It is highly recommended that you withdraw enough cash in Kuala Terengganu before heading out. The good news is: most resorts at Redang now accept credit cards, so you’ll really only need cash for things like rentals, souvenirs, outside food, snacks and drinks.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Unfortunately, Redang Island poses a significant challenge for wheelchair-bound travellers, especially when it comes to boarding boats. Flying to Redang on Berjaya Air and staying at The Taaras Resort & Spa is the only way to avoid the boats altogether. However, the cost of flying in will be significantly higher. A recently-built road that connects the resorts at Pasir Panjang to Teluk Bakau where Laguna’s jetty is located has made things slightly more comfortable. However, certain access roads leading to some resorts may not be fully paved, and resort grounds are often uneven or have steps that make it difficult for wheelchair users to cross. Most resorts also lack disabled-friendly ramps and facilities. Apart from The Taaras, Laguna Redang Island Resort is by far the most wheelchair-friendly resort with dedicated staff ready to assist.
Daily Essentials: The only shops on the island are sundry shops that sell bare essentials. This can range from medicine, snacks, drinks, tidbits, souvenirs and even beachwear. Keep in mind though that these shops do not carry a large variety of items. You can find such shops in resorts and villages. Alternatively, you can choose to purchase your goods on the mainland (Merang/Shahbandar Jetty) before crossing over to the island.
Infants/Young Children: Bring diapers, baby formula/food and other essential items your child needs as they are not sold here. Some larger resorts like Redang Island Resort and Laguna Resort can provide baby cradles and bathtubs on request. They can also help buy these items from the mainland if you specify the brand and the quantity required in advance.
Laundry: There are no self-service laundry shops/dobi on the island. For clothes washing facilities on Redang, you are limited to resorts. Fortunately, they offer laundry services at reasonable prices. Check with your resort to find their rates and compare it with surrounding alternatives to get the most value for your money.