Pulau Redang: Swim with the Turtles
If swimming with turtles is on your bucket list, then Pulau Redang is the right destination for you.
Located in the Terangganu Marine Park, the island is one of the larger ones off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is famous for its turquoise-blue waters and white-sand beaches backed with lush green jungle. Most importantly, it is home to the largest green turtle rookery in Peninsular Malaysia.
While the island itself is already amazing, Redang’s underwater world will definitely wow you as well. There are plenty of excellent dive sites and snorkeling spots waiting for you.
How to Get There?
From Kuala Lumpur, you can either take a plane or drive to Terengganu and then take a boat to the island.
Plane: The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu by plane takes about 1h. After landing at the airport, you need to take a taxi to Merang Jetty where the boat is waiting for you.
Road-Trip: A road-trip from Kuala Lumpur to Merang Jetty takes about 5h. Once arrived, you can park your car near the jetty on a parking or use their valet service. They will park your car a parkhouse for the time that you are on the island.
Now all that stands between you and your beach vacation is a 45 min boat ride. Depending on the weather, the ride can be bumpy, so make sure you keep your phones and cameras safe.
The boats are arranged by the hotels on the island. Check with your hotel for the boat schedule.
To Note: When you set your Waze for the road, make sure to type in Merang Jetty not Marang Jetty.
When to Go?
The visiting season for Redang is from March until October, but most turtle hatching and release occurs from June to August. We highly recommend to go during these months. We went to Redang Mid August and saw plenty of baby turtles hatching. We were also able to swim with the big ones in the ocean.
Where to Stay?
We stayed in Redang’s 5-star hotel Taaras Beach & Spa Resort. Located in a secluded bay with its own private beach, we could not wish for a more scenic way to start the day then with a breakfast overlooking the beautiful beach.
The rooms of the hotel are really spacious with a beachy vibe thanks to its wooden furniture and decoration.
Another thing that I personally liked a lot is the fact that they are big in all things sustainable and recycable. They have managed to reduce their plastic waste significantly across the hotel, setting a true example for the hotel industry.
Relaxing at the beach while sipping a nice cocktail was one of our favourite things to do during our trip. If you are more the active kind, the hotel has plenty to offer including a Spa, Seatru Turtle Lab where you can learn about the different turtle species that live around the island.
What to Do?
Swimming with Turtles
PADI Fun Dive
Relax at the Beach
Spa: We pampered ourselves with one of their Taaras Signature full body massages. It was divine!
Relax at the Beach: Sometimes there is nothing better than a good book, soft sand, a cocktail and a comfortable sun lounger.
Kayaking: One morning, we decided to rent one of the hotel’s amazing see-through kayaks and go look for turtles. It took us less than 15 min until we saw the first ones diving underneath our boat. We ended up seeing so many, that we did not know where to look first.
Swimming with Turtles: After a while in the kayak, all we could think of is getting into the water to observe these turtles from up close. We saw countless of them all swimming peacefully among us.
Some of them came really close as they were hoping that we have some food for them.
Another item ticked off our bucket lists!
PADI Fun Dive: Another thing on our bucket list for this year was to learn diving. Since travelling abroad this year is not really an option, we figured that now is a good time. Malaysia has plenty of diving centers on the island and the mainland and the prices for a course are reasonable.
Navvin was hesitant at first though. The idea of breathing underwater worried him. So instead of paying for a full diving license right away and risk wasting tons of money, we opted for a PADI Fun Dive.
Taking that first breath underwater was incredible. After a quick theory session and pool training, we went into the ocean to see a coral reef 8 m below sea level.
Navvin’s skeptic quickly faded and he got hooked on diving.
He loved it so much that we found ourselves in a diving school in Kuala Lumpur just one week after we came back from our trip. We are halfway through and cannot wait to explore the underwater world around Malaysia’s islands.
What to Bring?
Snorkeling Gear: We think it's better to have your own snorkeling gear.
Go-Pro: Redang is surrounded by amazing snorkeling spots filled with sea life. Bring your go-pro to capture some amazing underwater photos.
Sunscreen: Are you planning to come home with a sun-kissed rather than a sunburned body? Make sure you pack some sunscreen. Try buying a sunscreen that is formulated without oxybenzone and octinoxate. These two chemicals are toxic to coral reefs and other marine life.
Long Sleeve Swimsuit: We snorkeled every day. The sun is strong and can easily burn your back. To protect ourselves, we brought long sleeve swimsuits and old T-shirts.
Hat & Sunglasses
Mosquito Spray: There are a lot of mosquitos on the island. While the hotel rooms are equipped with a mosquito net over the bed and a mosquito repellent for the room, bringing a mosquito spray to the island is definitely advisable.
To Note: Malaysia is a tropical country where dengue outbreaks continue to occur every year. Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease that causes high fever, headaches, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash among other things. The best way to protect yourself against it is with mosquito spray.