Pulau Redang is off the East Coast of Malaysia. So far, this is still the most beautiful island in West Malaysia compared to the other islands that I had visited.
Getting to Redang from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore is explained on this website. Therefore, I shall write about getting to Redang from Penang.
The journey from Penang to Merang where the jetty is usually takes a minimum of eight hours drive (inclusive of some quick stops). So, one usually have to stay for a night in Merang or alternatively, travel very early in the morning. Most of the locals would advise taking the early boat ride as the sea is rough in the later part of the day.
We made a midnight journey. It is not something we would recommend. If you have never drove across the East-West Highway, please do NOT attempt to drive at night or even early mornings when it is still dark. The East-West Highway is quite a dangerous stretch of road with winding roads, uphills and downhills, no lights, no proper rest area and huge trucks along the road. There are also elephants crossing signs on the road.
In the olden days, this stretch of highway is closed during the nights for security reasons and also to curb the communist activities.
During our drive, the road was covered with thick mist as some parts are 1,000m above sea level. We travelled from Penang to Baling, Pengkalan Hulu to Grik in Perak. Then it is on to several small towns in the Kelantan state like Jeli and into Terengganu state like Setiu, Macang and bandar Permaisuri. Please get your directions written down as it is easy to miss a turn or two. (I shall not write in full details for fear of missing a town or two!) Ask your travel agent to provide your clear directions.
We reached the jetty in Merang around 7 am in the morning. A beautiful sunrise awaits us.
In Merang, there are small chalets where you can put up for a night before your ferry trip. Merang is really a tiny pekan with almost nothing to do so we do not fancy being stuck in the middle of nowhere!
There are several trips to Redang island. Usually, when you make a room booking, the travel agent would have booked the ferry ride for you too.
There are two types of boat. A larger one with two decks travel slower and takes an hour to reach Redang. A smaller one is faster and takes only 45 minutes.
Redang Island is closed during the monsoon season from late September till January. Most of the hotels are fully booked way ahead. We actually got the reservation through my husband’s Italian associates. So, do plan in advance if you wish to visit Redang.