A trek through Pulau Redang’s island trails is likely to be one of the best methods to really get to know more about the flora and fauna on the island, of which several are rare species. However, trekkers looking to see these uncommon species should engage the service of Redang’s trekking guides. A number of the most well-known trekking routes are listed below for the convenience of casual trekkers.
Trek A: The road of the village
This 3km-road (one way) is an easy trek.
This path serves as a link between Kampung jetty and Taaras (Berjaya) resort. A guest at this resort would have gone through this road, regardless of whether one arrives by public ferry at Kampung jetty or flies into Redang via Berjaya Air. This road intersects through the airstrip, the village and the Redang river. Domesticated animals like goats and sheep can be seen along the route. There are also monitor lizards along the banks of the river.
Trek B: The access road at Pasir Panjang
This route is about 1.5km one-way and is quite an easy trek.
This trail is located along the paved road at the back of Pasir Panjang’s resorts. Constructed in 2010, it spans the entire length of the beach of Pasir Panjang and links Redang Holiday Resort and Teluk Bakau (the jetty of Laguna is here). This road functions mainly to ferry supplies and visitors from the jetty to the back of each resort, especially when bad weather makes it hard to do so from the beach in front of the resorts. If you depart for this route from Laguna’s jetty, you should trek left until you spot a big signboard depicting distances to the resorts. Make a right turn and head to the cellphone transmission tower standing by the staff quarters of Laguna. If you are looking to get on this road from Pasir Panjang’s other end, you will need to enter Redang Holiday resort and walk pass the resort’s dining area until you reach the single-storey bungalows. Make a left turn there and proceed along the paved road situated adjacent to the two-storey guest lodgings. A round-trip of one-way using the paved road and the return journey via the front beach is recommended.
Trek C: Pasir Panjang to Teluk Dalam
The trek is about 2km one-way. Trekking on this route is fairly easy but do remember to wear sandals or shoes.
This road acts as a link connecting Pasir Panjang and Teluk Dalam (Taaras is located here). The fairly frequently used and marked road passes through the forest and has several segments heading uphill as well as downhill. To enter this road, keep an eye out for its starting point from the paved road behind Pasir Panjang’s resorts. It should be somewhere between Coral Redang and Redang Bay and is marked by electrical and water conduits snaking deep into the forest. The other end of the route goes through a mangrove swamp and ends at the empty beach situated adjacent to the beach at Berjaya, which is at Teluk Dalam Besar’s far corner. You will pass through huge dipterocarpus trees as you go along this trail. Get a guide from the staff of your resort for guided treks on this path if you are not sure which way to go on this route.
Trek D: Pasir Panjang to Teluk Kalong
This 0.8km trail (one-way) is easy but trekkers should wear sandals when trekking here.
This route links Pasir Panjang to Teluk Kalong’s north beach, the location of Redang Kalong resort. Trek down to Teluk Bakau’s beach from the jetty of Laguna and proceed along around the bay for around 200 metres until you are close to the end. Then, get onto a trail that leads inland and make a left turn towards the beach. You will end up at one end of the beach at Teluk Kalong. Walk along the beach until you reach Redang Kalong resort. At present, there is no clear path linking this section of beach of Kalong to the next beach so you will have to trek a distance of 500 metres across the forest. Once you arrive at Amannagappa, a walkway which circles around the rocky outcrop to Mutiara Resort (which sits on the south of Kalong beach) is available there.
Trek E: Tanjung Tengah
This uphill trail is around 150 metres. Trekkers might find this route slightly difficult. Be cautious when trekking during wet days as the trail could get quite slippery.
Sitting right at the centre of the beach at Pasir Panjang, Tanjung Tengah provides visitors with a captivating view of Pasir Panjang, the sea as well as the surrounding islands. This trekking path is not properly marked and should generally be avoided when it is raining or when the weather is wet. This is because trekkers on this trail need to climb over rocks and it can be quite dangerous since the path tends to get quite slippery during those times. The entry point to this trekking route is near to the end of Shark’s Bay beach (which faces Redang Beach resort). It might be quite hard to spot it as it is only a narrow pathway bordered by huge rocks. You are on the right track if you reach several steep rocks and a blue rope. You need to use the rope to navigate your way up the rocks during the first stages of the climb (it is steeper during these stages). The rope is already worn so give it a test first before using it. There are various branches midway through the climb. Through these, you would reach places which either has a northern or southern view of Pasir Panjang. The Survey and Mapping Department of Malaysia has placed a concrete marker at the top of the climb.
If you are a more daring trekker, you can check with the staff of your resort as to how to ascend hilltops and rocky cliffs. These are situated along Pulau Redang’s eastern ridge and they provide trekkers with an astounding bird’s eye view of Teluk Kalong and Pasir Panjang. Trekking trails are also available on Pulau Pinang, the location of the Marine Park Centre. If you plan to wander off the designated track, you should employ a guide to lead the way so that you will not get lost. As mobile signals are now widely accessible on Redang, bring along a cell phone with you when trekking so you can make any appropriate phone calls when there is an emergency.
What to see while trekking
There are two ridges of hills on Pulau Redang: three hills on the eastern ridge and four on the western one. Sungei Redang, Redang’s main river, flows through between these two ridges. Bordering the estuaries in Sungei Redang’s intertidal zone (an area with is neither sea nor land) are one of the biggest islandic mangrove forests on Peninsular Malaysia’s East Coast.
Mangroves have an important ecological role in preserving biodiversity as both aquatic and land species can be found here. They serve as a natural habitat for various crustaceans, fishes and mollusks. It is estimated that at least fifty percent of deep-sea fish spend at least one of their life stages here. Mangroves also play an important role in limiting erosion as they dispel waves which otherwise would cause the soil to erode. A small freshwater swamp forest is located upstream of Sungai Redang. It is only one of two such forests on Redang, with the other at Teluk Dalam. Sago palms are frequently found on Sungei Redang’s banks.
Redang’s flora includes sixteen species of wild orchids, of which some are rare. A study discovered that Teluk Dalam has the highest diversity of orchids on the island. There is also a large variety of traditional plants with medicinal properties on the island. A well-known example would be the tongkat ali. An interesting phenomenon – distorted trees leaning towards the wind’s direction – can be observed on the northeastern shore of the island. This is because the forest vegetation there is constantly exposed to winds, particularly during northeast monsoon seasons when there are high winds.
Breadfruit trees, also called sukun in Malay, possess huge decorative leaves and are found in abundance on Pulau Pinang. These trees were introduced by Pulau Pinang’s early residents. The breadfruit was famously involved in the notorious ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’. During the incident, the crew of the ship ‘Bounty’ rebelled against their captain and expelled him from the ship on a boat. The mutiny happened when Captain William Bligh tried to ship breadfruit trees to Jamaica in order to feed the slaves who are starving there. The breadfruit is a carbohydrate-rich fruit which can be eaten in many different ways – it can be eaten boiled, braised, dried, powdered or roasted. Thin slices of breadfruit are fried to make chips. Thick chunks, however, can be served with syrup and butter after baking or frying them. August is the month when breadfruit trees normally bear fruit. The fruits would attract bats and squirrels along with other local animals.
Compared to the mainland, there is a limited variety of fauna on Redang, as is also the case on other islands. There aren’t any large animals on the island – the largest mammals are likely domesticated sheep and goats. Other fauna found on Redang include such animals like the bashful kancil, macaque monkeys, a few species of rodents, four species of crabs, eight bat species, more than fifty bird species (inclusive of migrant species), different species of lizards (inclusive of the large water monitor) and 84 species of butterflies and other insects.
Dark-necked tailorbird, olive-backed sunbird, pink-necked pigeon, swiftlets, terns and white-bellied sea eagles are a few common species of birds found on the island. Both white- and black-nest swiftlets nest in Redang’s various sea caves and cliffs. Sometimes their nests are harvested for consumption as it is said to possess medicinal properties. Harvesting of the nests is only carried out when birds have left the nests, in order to protect their young and the swiftlet population.
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