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Redang Island, Malaysia Travel Guide
 
Last Updated: Mar-27-2012, Hits: 5,870, Rating: 0, Reviews: 0, Votes: 0 Bookmark and Share
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Redang Island, Malaysia Travel Guide Hotels and Lodging (12)
Restaurants (4)
Bars and Nightlife (2)
Attractions (5)
Services (2)
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Lang Tengah Island, Malaysia Travel Guide
 
Location: Asia
Geography: Island, Beach, Jungle/Rainforest
Vacation Type: Romantic, Relaxation, Adventure
Popularity: Off-the-Beaten Path
Costs: Budget, Moderate
Attractions: Scenery, Ecotourism, Fishing, Hiking, Scuba & Snorkeling, Spa & Wellness, Windsurfing

Facts and Stats:
Population: Approximately 1,000
Land Area: 9.7 square miles
Elevation: Sea level
Country Dialing Code: +60
Area Code: 9
Languages: Bahasa Malaysia (Malay)
Electricity: 240V
Currency: Ringgit
Time Zone: Malaysian Standard Time (MST): UTC+8
Current Time:

Introduction:
Redang Island is a quiet resort destination with a dozen or so lodging options. The island is known for its amazing beaches and excellent snorkeling/diving as it is part of a protected marine park. This island is best for those interested in ecotourism and relaxation.

Geography:
Redang Island, also known as Pulau Redang, is the largest of 9 islands that make up a protected marine park in the South China Sea off the east coast of Malaysia. For the curious, the 8 other satellite islands are Pulau Lima, Pulau Paku Besar, Pulau Paku Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Besar, Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Ling and Pulau Pinang. Pulau Pinang, located less than a mile to the south, houses the marine park's visitor center.

Redang is located 26 miles northeast of Kuala Terengganu and 13.5 miles from Tanjung Merang on the mainland, this butterfly shaped island is approximately 4.5 miles long by 3.7 miles wide. The highest point on the island is Bukit Besar at 1,178 feet.

The populated areas include a small village in the middle of the island where the locals live, Pasir Panjang beach on the northeast side where most of the accomodations are located, Teluk Kalong to the south of Pasir Panjang which is home to a couple of lodging options, and Teluk Dalam which is home to the Taraas Resort. The rest of the island is covered with dense jungle and mountains.

Just offshore, in some places as close as 50 feet, is a reef system that is home to incredibly diverse marine life. With over 20 dive spots, Redand Island is a snorkeling and diving haven.

Brief History:
It is believed that the first settlers of the island were The Bugis from Celebes, Indonesia. They first settled at Teluk Kalong and later moved south to Pulau Pinang (Betel Nut Palm Island). During the 1970's, many of the villagers on Pulau Pinang moved to the Redang River estuary on Redang Island. In 1976, the government built a village here known as Kampung Air. The residents supported themselves through the fishing trade.

Resorts began to appear during the late 1980's and the marine park was formed in 1991.

In 2001, the government tore down Kampung Air. Some of the locals moved inland to the location of the current village, while others left for the mainland.

In 2003, the Berjaya Group completed the Redang Island Airport and flights began servicing the island in March of 2004.

As happens in so many places like Redang Island, tourism has taken over fishing as the chief industry.

People & Culture:
The current inhabitants of Redang Island are believed to be descendants of the original Bugis settlers. As was mentioned earlier, many of the locals are fishermen, however, an increasing number of them have turned to the growing tourist trade. The growing tourism presents an interesting conundrum for Muslim locals. Certainly, it brings about jobs and prosperity, but it also brings more exposure to Western values and behavior that conflict with traditional values. For example, Muslims are not allowed to drink alcohol, however, those working at one of the resorts must serve it to guests. For the time being, it seems that the tourism has not created a lot of tension, but as it continues to grow, it may.

For the reasons above, this is a place where visitors should be particularly sensitive to local customs. Boisterous drunks are probably not particularly appreciated here. Dress appropriately, and never sunbathe nude.

As for cultural attractions on Redang, there really aren't any. There are no museums, art galleries, theatres, etc.

Ecotourism:
The waters of Redang Island boast over 3,000 species of fish, 1,000 species of bivalves, and 500 species of coral. While snorkeling or diving here, you will see everything from barracuda to baby reef sharks to green turtles. Potentially dangerous species include the blue-ringed octopus, sea snakes, scorpionfish, stonefish, crown of thorns, cone shells, stingrays, and jellyfish. Most of these will avoid you, but keep your eyes open for them so that you do not accidentally disturb them.

On land, the jungle is home to Macaque monkeys, water monitor lizards, squirrels, bats, and numerous species of birds. Jungle trekking is a popular activity for tourists.

Conservation, particularly with regards to the reefs, has become a hot topic on Redang Island. The reefs here remain in fairly good shape, however, increases in wastewater, damage by snorkelers and boat anchors, and littering have had an effect. The invasive crown of thorns starfish has also caused problems in recent years. Recent studies also suggest that many sunscreen products cause coral bleaching. Buy sunscreen that is coral safe.

Most of the resorts have dive shops that provide equipment rentals, tours, and you can even get PADI certified.

Food & Nightlife:
Nearly all of the restaurants on Redang Island are located at the resorts, most of which offer all-inclusive plans for meals. Some of the resorts also offer ala-carte food courts that are open to non-guests. There are a couple of local restaurants available outside the resorts if you want to try something different.

Nearly all of the restaurants serve a mix of local (Chinese/Malay) and western cuisines that is often focused on seafood. You won't likely see any pork on the menu as Muslims are not allowed to eat it.

The tap water on Redang Island is piped in from the mainland, however, it is not drinkable. Bottled water is widely available to guests. You should try to conserve water when visiting as the island does occasionally experience water shortages.

Redang Island is pretty sleepy, however, most of the resorts have beach bars, some of which offer music and dancing. Good bets for dancing are Redang Beach Resort, Redang Pelangi Resort, and Laguna Redang. Several of the resorts also offer karaoke bars.

Money & Costs:
Redang Island is considered expensive by Malaysian standards, and compared to the neighboring Perhentian Islands that are popular with backpackers. Most westerners will find the island fairly affordable. For example, most accomodations range between $100-$150 per night. While not budget prices, keep in mind that these are all-inclusive packages that include meals, snorkel tours, and other services. Most of the resorts will charge additional fees for stays that include holidays or school closure days.

Malaysia's currency is the Ringgit (RM). There are no banks or ATMs on the island so make sure you bring enough cash. The majority of the resorts accept credit cards, and some also provide currency exchange services, however, it is reported that the exchange rates are not favorable.

Tipping is not mandatory, but is widely practiced. A typical tip would lie in the RM1-RM5 range.

Entry Requirements:
Visitors from some countries will require a visa in order to enter Malaysia. A list of countries and requirements can be found here. All visitors must have a valid passport.

No vaccines are necessary for visitors unless you are coming from an area that is infected with yellow fever. Cholera, smallpox, and malaria have largely been eliminated.

Getting There & Around:
The easiest way to get to Redang Island is to take a Berjaya Air flight from Singapore (Changi Airport) or Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Subang Airport) directly to the island. Otherwise you will need to get to Kuala Terengganu (KT) which is serviced by a number of major airlines. Once in KT, you will need to go to either the Merang Jetty or the Shahbandar Jetty. The boat trip takes about 45 minutes from the Merang Jetty and about 1.5 hours from the Shahbandar Jetty.

Some of the resorts will meet you at the KT airport and drive you to the jetty as part of your package. Some offer this service for an additional fee. The resorts provide their own ferry services and most of them make a couple of trips per day. This trip will take you directly to your resort. If you missed your resort's ferry, you can check the schedule for the public ferry service.

Once on the island, there are no rental cars, bicycles, golf carts or other forms of transportation. There is only 1 road on the island that runs from the jetty at the south end through the village to Teluk Dalam (location of the Taraas Resort) at the north end. There are no roads to Pasir Panjang, however, there is a trail through the jungle that can be hiked to Teluk Dalam.

Weather:
Redang Island has a tropical climate with temperatures that do not vary much throughout the year. The northeast monsoon season lasts from November until late February. The resorts are closed during this time as the monsoons bring heavy rains and rough seas. July and August are the busiest months.

The table below shows the weather averages for Redang Island.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High 82 84 86 90 90 90 88 88 88 86 82 82
Avg Low 72 72 73 73 73 73 73 73 73 73 73 72
Water Temp 81 81 84 86 88 86 86 86 86 84 84 84
Precipitation 11.7" 5.2" 5.0" 4.8" 4.0" 5.3" 5.5" 8.3" 9.3" 12.6" 25.6" 26.5"
Days of Rainfall 21 15 14 16 15 15 17 20 24 24 27 25
Humidity 84 84 83 83 82 81 82 83 84 85 89 86

Tips & Additional Information:
  • English is widely spoken on Redang Island.
  • There is 3G cell service on the island. You may need to get a new sim card for your phone in order to connect.
  • August is jellyfish season.
  • Don't feed the land animals!
  • It should go without saying - Absolutely do not litter!
  • There is a health clinic at the Laguna Redang Island Resort. Any serious injuries will have to be treated on the mainland.
  • In 2000, the Hong Kong based move Summer Holiday was filmed here.
  • Trafficking drugs in Malaysia is punishable by the death penalty.



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