A Rendezvous With Redang
A government-designated marine park, Pulau Redang is another island that promises lots of sunshine, peace and tranquility. Located at about 22 km off Tanjung Merang and about 45 km northeast of Kuala Terengganu, Pulau Redang is a rather small place measuring at about 7km long by 6km wide. The main purpose of gazetting the island as a marine park is to protect and minimize the damage done to the spectacular coral reefs. Just like many other beautiful islands around Malaysia, Pulau Redang (Redang Island) is very proud of its rich marine life that has, over the years, grew in abundance and are sustained by the coral reefs that is flourishing in the mangrove-sheltered waters?
However, due to the attacks by the "crown of thorns" starfish in the 1970s, the reefs are badly damaged and are currently on a recovering stage! Before it could fully recover, agricultural and other developments causes further damage to the fragile corals but thankfully, the quick-healing properties of these corals helped tremendously. What's more? Harmful activities like spear fishing, trawling and water sports have been regulated thus, the corals will now have the chance to thrive once more.
There are altogether nine islands that are covered under the Pulau Redang Marine Park (known as Redang Island Marine Park in English). The islands are Pulau Redang, Pulau Pinang, Pulau Lima, Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Lang Tengah, Pulau Perhentian Besar, Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Pulau Susu Dara and Pulau Kapas. Of all the islands within this marine park, Pulau Redang is the biggest of all. The closest jetty to the peninsular is the Merang Jetty. Often, you'll see speedboats transferring tourists and visitors to the island. The island's archipelago is made up of other smaller islands including Pulau Paku Besar, Pulau Paku Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Besar and Pulau Ling.
The best location for snorkeling on this island is found at the southern coast around the islets of Pulau Pinang and Pulau Ekor Tibu. For scuba diving, check out Redang's northeastern region. Below sea level, you will get to see some of the more beautiful sea creatures including the batfish, angelfish, boxfish and butterfly fish. There are also many multicolored creatures that eat off anemone, sponges and bivalves. You can find these in the areas around the rocks. Pulau Ling is a hotspot for snorkeling and diving. The place is also easily accessible via boats that ply the routes.
For jungle trekking purposes, you may head on to the hilly interior of Redang Island. Between Pasir Panjang and Teluk Dalam beach, you will find a well-trodden path stretching for about 2 km long. Along this route, you will see a small stream and pools with lovely catfish. If you are lucky, you may also encounter a shy mouse deer or monkeys. The abundant flora and fauna is a sight to behold! If you are looking for something more adventurous, there are also rocky cliffs and outcrops that steer off from the path. Here, you will get to see some of the more spectacular sights of Pasir Panjang below.
Aside from the beauty of nature, Pulau Redang also holds many secrets to the past including interesting myths and legends. Some fables claimed that Pasir Gontang possess an inexhaustible pool of water. Then, there is also a princess who lives at Puteri Mayang Mas in Pasir Mas Kepit. Apparently, visitors have claimed to smell a fragrant scent? could it be hers? Batu Gajah, which earned the name from this myth, has tales of sea elephants turning into rocks! There are many more interesting legends and fables surrounding the island, each as interesting as the last. Here's one more. At Batu Tok Kong, the stones are said to resemble people who are immortalized in prayer.
To visit this island, it is essential to make prior bookings for accommodation. There are no budget accommodations, however there are campsites for the adventurous ones. Most of the tourism activities are concentrated around the famous Berjaya Resort although there are some hotels and dive centers towards the southeast of the island. The Berjaya Group planned a massive holiday spot for hotels and other accommodations however, their efforts (in many ways) contributed to the pollution that is now reflected on the island. Pulau Redang is now highly commercialized and serves its purpose as a quick getaway. Do not let the tourist activity deter you from visiting this island. For despite the slight pollution and other "city noises", Pulau Redang could prove to be a fruitful holiday if you know where to find the good spots.
If you're in need of accommodation or other dive information, you may check out this website. It has a list of chalets and resorts as well as other recommended activities. You may also book your holidays with them. Accommodation rates are included as well. Allow these people to help you locate the best dive spots and experience a true rendezvous with Pulau Redang.