The beautiful island of Pulau Redang lies about 45 km north-northeast of Kuala Terengganu, or 22 km off Tanjung Merang, the closest point on the mainland.
The Bugis people from Celebes, Indonesia were believed to be the first settlers on the island. Many of their descendants are now working the tourist trade in Redang while others have moved to the mainland.
Over the years, Redang has grown to be one of the most popular destinations for tourists and divers due its pristine nature and rich marine environment.
In 1991, the Redang archipelago was gazetted as the Pulau Redang Marine Park, becoming a protected site under the Government.
The Redang archipelago constitutes the islands of Pulau Redang, Pulau Lima, Pulau Paku Besar, Pulau Paku Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Besar, Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Ling and Pulau Pinang.
Pulau Redang at 7 km long and 6 km wide is the largest island. The highest peak is Bukit Besar at 359 metres above sea-level.
Only the bigger islands like Redang, Lang Tengah, Perhentian and Kapas have resort facilities for visitors.
There are several trails to explore the rainforest on the island, conveniently located behind some of the premier resorts. Going off the beaten track will lead you to scenic hilltops and rocky cliffs that offer panoramic views of the island and sea. A guide is recommended for these kinds of journeys.
Redang’s mangroves are also home to a rich variety of coastal life. Creatures you can see here include crabs, mudskippers, birds, monitors and much more. Deeper within the forest, visitors can glimpse rare orchids and beautiful trees. As it is a small island, only tiny animals such as the mouse deer, monkeys, some bats and jungle rodents can be seen, but it is still worth checking out.
Birds that can be seen here include the olive-backed sunbird, dark-necked tailorbird, terns, pink-necked pigeon, swiftlets and white-bellied sea eagles. Black-nest swiftlets and white-nest swiftlets often make their nests in the many cliffs and sea caves on Redang. The bird’s nests are collected during certain times of the year as they are believed to hold therapeutic properties when ingested in soup form.
Visitors can come here to learn about marine park conservation besides engaging in their own diving and snorkelling activities. The sea bed around the island holds a magnificent variety of life, including moray eels, giant groupers and clown fish. There is also shipwreck close to the jetty which is perfect for exploration through snorkelling.
Many resorts will offer snorkelling in their packages. Pasir Panjang, which is a nesting bay for baby sharks, is the top place to snorkel. Scuba-diving is the second most popular activity; the waters are crystal-clear and you can glimpse all manner of sea creatures in the water. Resorts on the island do offer scuba equipment and diving classes to cater to all ages.
You can also kayak around the island and play beach volleyball, but jet-skis and water-skiing is banned to protect the tranquillity and quality of the marine environment. Fishing is also banned but outside a two-mile boundary around the island, angling is permitted.
Visitors can explore for themselves the many mysterious sights on the island, such as the inexhaustible pool of water at Pasir Gontang, or the beach at Pasir Mak Kepit which they locals believe smell of a fragrance left behind by a princess many years ago.
Other sights include Batu Gajah which are huge boulders on a hill believed to once have been sea elephants; Tok Kong and Batu Surat, rocks said to contain magical spirits and Tanjung Telaga Batu, a piece of rock that is said to grant wishes.
There are three species of turtles that come to Redang to nest – the Green Turtel, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill. Green turtles next between March to December with a peak in August, and January to September for Hawksbills and Olive Ridleys in May. The nesting points include Pasir Chagar Hutang, Pasir Mak Simpan, Pasir Mak Kepit, Pasir Bujang and Teluk Dalam.
Visitors can also visit SEATRU, a large green turtle nursery and turtle conservation centre, perhaps even volunteer to help in collecting eggs and incubating them till they hatch upon which the baby turtles will be released into the sea.
Opening Hours: 9am - 4pm (Mon - Fri)
Address: Institute of Oceanography (INOS), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21030 Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.
The island is rich in flora and fauna, perfect for eco-adventures.
Even being on the island is an experience itself as you can watch the sunrise from the beach, admire the multitudes of stars on a clear, night sky, snorkel, skin-dive or scuba dive to see the marine life, charter a boat round the island or go trekking.
Then there’s the customary relaxation on the warm, sandy beaches!