After nearly two hours by ferryboat from mainland Terengganu, the vessel docked at the jetty of Pulau Pinang (Pinang Island), the administrative center of Redang Marine Park – one of the best places to go snorkeling and scuba diving in Peninsular Malaysia. Here, sparkling aquamarine waters immediately greeted our arrival on both sides of the jetty as we walked towards the beach. Snorkelers in bright-orange life vests bobbed in the cove, chattering in delight at the underwater views.
Pulau Pinang is the most popular snorkeling spot in Redang, so I was excited to get in the water. The marine sanctuary contains about 500 species of reef-building corals, over 1000 species of bivalves and about 3000 species of fish. The islands are also nesting grounds for marine turtles like the green and hawksbill turtles. Donning a mask and snorkel I walked into the water and started swimming to the deep. A school of damselfish and black-striped sergeant majors darted around me, attracted by the pieces of bread distributed by nearby snorkelers. Most of the fishes sought shelter in the shade of the jetty, close to the supporting pillars. Below me, near the base of the algae and barnacle-covered columns, there were even dazzling variety of fish – cardinalfish, pompano, parrotfish and butterfly fish – swimming over corals and giant clams.
The Pulau Redang archipelago is actually comprised of 10 islands, namely, 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 (Redang Island) is the biggest of all the islands in the Marine Park, measuring about seven km long and six km wide. The boundary of the marine protected area extends 3.2km out from the islands of Redang.
From Pulau Pinang, we hopped on over to the main island of Pulau Redang, where we checked in at Laguna Redang Island Resort, a sprawling luxury resort set on the idyllic Pasir Panjang (Long Beach), the longest stretch of white sand on the island flanked by brown-colored boulders, which offers the best place to sunbathe on pristine sands and swim in crystal clear waters. It was comparable to the beautiful beaches I’ve visited on Perhentian Islands farther north. I wish we spent more than night in this tropical paradise!
This blog post was made possible through the Terengganu International Squid Jigging Festival 2015, a media trip held last June 2 to 7, 2015 in Terengganu, Malaysia. The event was organized by Tourism Terengganu and media coordinator, Gaya Travel Magazine.