Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Redang the fading indentity Island

Redang Island is one of the biggest islands off the East Coast of Malaysia. It took us almost 1 hour and 30 minutes to get there by ferry from Kuala Terengganu Jetty in a good weather day except, it was hazy when we were there. With the hot sun and full humidity, the supplement of the haze really really help us to feel hotter and dry. I got myself the worst tanned ever in this trip.

Arrived at Pulau Redang jetty in the middle of hot afternoon and hazy day

We reached Redang at noon and the feeling of excitement really posessed me since it was our first trip to any Island after we got married. From far away, we can see the island and the crystal clear water with the shiny golden sand. Just can't wait to spend the whole day doing nothing on the beach and get tan. Yeah right, if we can tahan the heat.

The Redang Jetty looked busy with their activities especially from the tourist boat and the tourists who just arrived with other ferries. Right after we got off from the ferry, we were warmly welcomed by the representative from the resort who guided us to the bus which is readily available with other tourists.

The private jetty of Berjaya Resort

It reminded me of the the scene of a TV series, the Fantasy Island back in the late 70s except there was no little man shouted "The plane! The plane!" [tried to look for them though, I just can't help myself]

Tattoo & Mr Roarke of Fantasy Island

From the jetty, it took us around 10 minutes to reach the resort passed by the hilly road [remember this] and Kampung Redang Baru which I've been told it is a new settlement for the villagers since their old village site have been developed as a jetty and marine park.

Our room that we spent 4 good nights and brought along the sand from the beaches.

We spent 5 whole days in Redang at isolated Berjaya Resort and their private beach. And right after checked in we went to the room straight away, hoping the room given will be next to the beach but it wasn't. Sigh*. Well, it was good enough since we got the package for a VERY VERY cheap price. The room is big and looked exotic with the view of green hills landscape and we can smell the odor of sea breeze and jungle from the balcony.

the local islanders who work at the resort fooling around at the beach after their working hours. That looked fun.

We just cant wait to roam around the resort and headed to the beach right after we settled down with all our stuffs in the room. It is a huge resort and very isolate with a beautiful and clean private beach. We noticed one thing though, most of the tourists were foreigners. Perhaps the local tourists prefer the other side of the island which contained more than 10 other resorts at Long Beach.

Local kids at the resort beach

We spent the whole afternoon till dawn on the beach enjoying the scenic view and its crystal clear water while watching people playing volleyball and snorkeling along the beach. It was so relaxing and how we wished it will last.

At night, we had dinner at a warung just outside the resort's main gate owned by a villager who has his own island tour package and operated by his sons. We agreed to hire them for our island tour package which included island hopping and snorkeling at several spots around the island with a very cheap price compared to the resort's rate. A very good deal for our cheapskate trip I guess.

We befriended with these 2 couples from Vancouver and Japan. And we kicked their butts in ping pong.

Sharom, our boatman aka guide and finally became our personal friend

On the second day, we had our island hopping package from the earlier deal including snorkeling at 2 spots which I forgot the spots' name. The water is so damn clear man, can see the weird looking reefs and all the colorful fish. It was, as if we were in other dimension of this world. The fishes were so tame and it even bit us especially my legs. Maybe they thought they found a worm since my leg's hair looked like worm in the water. Yo fish? Wear spectacles!

This other member of our package from China got seasick while the others enjoying themselves snorkeling. He threw up right in front of me of his yellowish scramble egg breakfast. Euw*

My wife snorkeling with safety jacket eheh. And the others too.

The view of the Long Beach

One of the souvenir shops at Long Beach

Marina Park Jetty

After roaming around Long Beach for almost an hour, we spent our noon at Marine Park and had our lunch there. The best lunch ever, on the white beach, under the trees, with spectacular view. Priceless! At the marine park, we snorkeled more but this time, just near the shore. The fishes there were bigger and more colorful and the worst part, they still bit us especially my legs. Come on fishy! Gimme a break to snorkel in peace!

Crystal clear rocky clift at the Marine Park

We went back to the resort at 5pm after totally burnt ourselves almost half cook. Great. It was only 2nd day and I already got myself tanned like hell. Great.

The third day, we spent our morning on the beach of the resort [again], doing nothing except swimming, sun bathing, reading and enjoying watching people and the scenery. We just love it. Doing nothing. We even discussed to get our own beach home after we retire IF we manage to get the money to buy the house at this kind of beach and that kind of island haha. Well, impossible is nothing right? According to Nike ad.The hilly roadside of the island

After lunch, we decided to go to the jetty by ourselves and explore the nearby village. This time around, we used bike as our mode of transportation and only ONE bike. Remember in the earlier paragraph I mentioned it is a hilly road all the way from the resort to the jetty? Remember? Good. But I didn't! Darn it! I thought that I was still in my good physical and fit [which that was 4 or 5 years back], so it won't be a big problem for me to pedal the bike while my skinny wife pillion riding at the back.

I was wrong. After cycling for almost 5 km of 3 lower hills and slightly a higher one, I had difficulty to breath, my heart was beating like Napalm Death's song and almost fainted when I stopped on the top of the last hill. I asked my wife to hold the bike while I sat on the big rock to readjust my breath and tried my best not to get unconscious. After 10 minutes of huffing and puffing, I felt much better while my wife still looked worry. I was not sure, either she worried I will passed out or worried she needs to carry my heavy ass back all the way to the resort haha.

We can see the jetty from the top of the hill but there were still one more hill to go. After doing some rational thinking, we decided to retreat back. And this time, she rode the bike and I was the pillion rider. Loser? Yeap, that was my middle name that day.

We took a walk around the village

On the way back to the resort, we got in the village and roamed around enjoying the village view. We even stopped in front of one of the houses and spent almost half an hour talking to an old lady of the house. She told us the history of Redang and the current problem they were having there. From the way she talked, we knew she was quite disappointed with the villagers who easily let go of their ownership of their land around the island to the developers. Sooner or later they will lost their heritage for their decendent to the outsider. Quite sad though.

Cows and goats were all around the village and the road. You need to be a skillful driver to avoid yourself from running on their landmines dung

We went back to the hotel when it was almost dark and this time I was back as the rider with my wife at the back. Well, it is less than a km away from the village to the resort, and the most important thing, no hills!

The jetty at non peak hour

On the fourth day, we decided to just spend the whole day at the resort. As usual, we spent the whole morning on the beach. Swimming and reading book under the scorching sun. I love it! And by that time, I was so tanned but who cares. We wont get this kind of weather once we are back to Philly by the end of the summer. After lunch, my wife spent the whole afternoon at the spa and had a massage, pampering herself while I spent my time at the beach pampering my eyes. I mean, pampering myself on books and the view.

Lying down and doing nothing under the sun, on the beach is the best ever thing to do

Since it was our last night at the island, we decided to go to the Long Beach since our boatman or Shahrom said they have "joget" [what the heck?] there and the place is more lively at night. To get there, we need to ride a speedboat for 20 minutes from the jetty. So we went there at 6pm together with 3 other tourists from China. This time, the ride was different because it was almost dark and there was not many tourists around and can feel the solitude and soothing feeling since it was almost sunset.

Our ride to Long Island night trip

Sharom walked between other boats after he anchored his small boat behind these big boats

We spent the whole evening there and enjoyed the early evening, watching the sun disappearing under the horizon and the quiet dawn. Man, that was the best feeling ever. But right after that, when we went back to the resorts, people already started having their dinner and the place was crowded with both local and foreign tourists. Totally different than our resort back in Berjaya. It was havoc and people were practically everywhere.

Long Beach's beach at almost sunset. It was hazy ok.

Later that evening, when the tourists started to go out and enjoy their night, the beach was full of people roaming around and cafe aka pubs were fulled with tourists, drinking and karaokeing and "disko" on the beach at almost all of the resorts. Now I know, what Sharom said by "joget" earlier.

It was one noisy and havoc night. Quite sad to see the local islanders, got themselves involved with this kind of culture. From our conversation, most of the youngsters of the island started to drink alcohol and involve in drugs especially marijuana, meth and other pop in pills. Well, that is what they need to pay for the sake of "development". They lost their culture and exposed to the outside influence. Now we understand what worried the old lady the most when we chatted a day before.

Sharom showed us the creatures that spark light in the water. It's just like firefly but it's in the water. That sounds odd.

We promised the other 3 China tourists to meet them at the jetty at 1130pm while we spent the night together with our boatman and his brother. Sharp at 1130pm, when we were ready to head back home but unfortunately our boat engine couldnt start. Ended up we spent one extra hour waiting for Sharom to fix it which he failed and he had to call his other friend from the village to pick us up and sent us back to the resort.

The unsuccesful attempt of fixing the engine of the boat.

It was a dark night, no moon nor stars but we were impressed with how cool the replacement boatman maneuvered the boat with no light or clear guide without hitting reefs or sand dunes. That was one enjoyable trip back to the jetty and we arrived our room at almost 2am.

We headed back on the last day to Kuala Terengganu by the same ferry, and this time I didn't sit in the cabin but spent the whole trip on the open deck enjoying the last view of the sea and the island with the sea breeze wiped wet my cloth. We really enjoy this so called vacation. And it was a wonder for us, how the pros and cons of development can bring to the places and communities. Hopefully they will sustain the beauty of the environment of the land while they develop it.

With tanned skin, smelly shirts and good memories, we headed back to the shore of Kuala Terengganu and we went to the bus station to get ourselves bus tickets to Penang. Yo Penang! Here we come! and more sun tan! No!!!


  1. Fleece Master, yo what an interesting account of your holiday in Redang! I've been there a couple of times with my family, the first time we flew by Berjaya Air - a fokker aircraft, 2nd time took the ferry - both times had a splendid vacation mainly snorkelling and swimming. No cycling though - waah ex-athlete boleh pancit kah?

  2. Hi Zendra

    Redang must be an extra special island for you and family since you guys went there twice =)). Love it there! Riding bicycle gave us different perspective of the meaning of jalan2 =). Btw, athlete pun manusia biasa yg lutut2 boleh ketaq, apatah lagi EX athlete haha.


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