A journey to my family’s ultimate happy place!
Mention Redang Island and my brain circuits go a little haywire with excitement. Mention it to my kids and you may induce upon yourself a buzzing migraine from the excited screams which are sure to erupt. This island located at the east coast of Malaysia is a paradise which we, as a family have visited every year for the past 4-years. White sandy beaches line azure blue waters, so clear you can faintly see the colourful fishes and corals glimmering in the sun, below the gentle ripples of the waves.
Our Usual Trip
We usually take a drive in the late evening to Marang and stay overnight at any of the tiny “kampung” chalets minutes away from the jetty. We will arrive at about midnight, having had dinner somewhere along the way in Kuantan and would fall asleep almost immediately and wake up before sunrise to catch the first boat out to the island because we want to make the most out of our trip. If they had boats that depart before dawn, you can bet we would be on it!
Must-Have Breakfast and Emergency Shopping
After breakfast at a roadside stall (we usually eat at the same sign-less restaurant serving local fares such as nasi lemak, mee goreng and keropok lekor (a Terengganu delicacy you NEED to try), we would head straight to the jetty where we would leave our car for the next 4 days. Usually, by this time the small shops selling souvenirs and beach essentials like batik pareo’s, swimsuits and shorts, floaties and beach toys would start about their business for the day. My kids would have a field day shopping here because they love contributing to the Malaysian economy on behalf of my wallet.
Once we forgot to bring my daughter’s swimsuit and made a stop at Kuantan town to purchase one at one of the bigger malls and caused a one and half hour delay in our arrival. Had I known such a wide selection of kids and adult swimsuits were available at the jetty I would have not bothered to go through such hassle. Be warned though, the quality may be questionable but for a few days trip, they will suffice.
Getting to the island
Boat trips to the island are usually pre-arranged by the resort you are staying at but you may also purchase tickets at the jetty. We love the Merang Jetty compared to the one in Shahbandar which is smack dab in the middle of the capital of Kuala Terengganu as it is much less crowded and even though the journey to the island is farther away, you get to travel by speedboat which cuts your journey by half. If you were to take a ride from Shahbandar Jetty, you will likely be put on a ferry which takes forever and a day (ok fine close to two hours) to arrive at your resort. Also since the ferry is so huge, you will need to board a shuttle nearer your resort which will send you to shore. In any case, trust me and get the speedboat. The ride itself is an enjoyment on its own! Be prepared for splashes of water though!
It is highly advisable for you to come using a duffel bag or a backpack. We normally bring 2 huge hiking bags but I have honestly seen people dragging trolley bags across the sandy beach which is to me just such a funny sight.
Where to Stay
In terms of which resort to choose, there are plenty to choose from. Depending on your personal preference, you can opt to stay at the more happening Long beach which is known for its nightlife or you can choose to stay at any of the quieter resorts with fewer chalets which promises a more quiet stay.
Activities To Do
You can partake in activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, turtle feeding and even hiking up the hill at some resort which promises a killer view after a hike of one hour or so. Be warned though, novice climbers may find the track to be rather grueling or in my own lovely experience- akin to dying.
Wondering how much snorkelling in Redang costs? Check this out. There is also a budget friendly package like this, but did you know that you can also experience camping-style holiday in Redang? Check out this Redang Campsite
Depending on your resort of choice, some sea-facing resort is also home to bale’s of turtles so if you fancy seeing one, a relaxing swim off your front yard will bring you to one.
I cannot rave enough Redang Island
I can only urge you to visit it yourself because pictures just don’t do justice to the beauty of this island. The best time to visit is from May – June when the water is clearest and visibility is at its best. I hope you find as much joy on this island as we as a family always have.
Tips and tricks: Sunburns
As with most beach holidays, depending on your tolerance of the sun, you will usually come home with sunburns. In the case of my kids, they come home completely different people than the ones they went as. This from the result of staying in the ocean from sun-up to sun-down (literally). My daughter came home from our last trip with a clear mark of where her goggles were on. She looked like an oversized raccoon for 2-months! So here are some tips to help with sunburns:
Have your child take a cool bath or use cool compresses on the sunburned area.
Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen for discomfort and fever. Be sure to follow the directions on the container.
Apply a topical moisturizer, aloe gel, hydrocortisone cream, or a topical pain reliever to sunburned skin.
If blisters are present, don't pop them as infections can occur.
Keep your child out of the sun until the burn is healed (good luck with this).
Give your child extra fluid for several days to prevent dehydration.
Tell your child to deal with the burns because you have specifically told him/her (shouted at the top of your lungs from the safe shaded confines of the veranda) not to swim at high noon because he/she WILL GET SEVERE SUNBURNS! This applies mostly to Asian parents only.
Mama J signing off!