The best beaches of Malaysia for me lie in the Eastern coast of Peninsula Malaysia. While the Borneo side, especially Sandakan are also gorgeous, I see them more as spots for diving. When I first set foot on the Eastern coast, particularly in the lovely Perhentians, I vowed to myself that I would be back. So here I was, back in the eastern coast, but now in a more popular island called Redang.
The journey to Redang means taking a flight from Kuala Lumpur or from Singapore, which was what we did. We took a Firefly flight from Singapore to Kuala Terranganu. We really didn't reserve any room, since we didn't know what to expect, so as soon as we touched down, we hailed a taxi and asked the driver to bring us to the boats that would take us to Redang.
Our courteous female taxi driver gladly drove us to Shahbandar Jetty in central Kuala Terranganu. As all in Malaysia, the jetty was clean and organized. We easily bought tickets to Pasir Panjang, the most popular beach on Redang. We inquired about the luxurious Berjaya Redang Resort, but it was too expensive for us.
After an hour, we caught a glimpse of a glistening white beach. The water was azure, clear and so inviting. We decided to stay in the biggest resort on the strip, Laguna Redang.
Turns out that Laguna Redang was also the busiest resort, with the most number of guests, both Westerners and Asians. At first, I had a bad impression on the resort. I was worried that we weren't getting enough value for the price we paid (around P6,000 per person for 2 nights with full board meals).
But I finally gave in when we were escorted to a huge garden deluxe room (although it was facing a "forest" and not a garden). The restaurant on the second floor may be packed with noisy diners, but if you come in a little late for lunch or dinner, you get a quieter atmosphere.
The resort was very well-miantained, though it is relatively new. It was HUGE but intimate as well. I commend how the complex was designed to make it feel this way.
The swimming pool was also expansive and surrounded by a wooden deck with lounge chairs that were quite uncomfortable. The poolside also gets very busy during the late afternoon, after a snorkeling trip (included in the package).
There was also this charming convenience store, which was actually a restoration of a once popular beach house called More More Team Inn. If you've watched the Hong Kong produced movie, A Summer Holiday, you would easily recognize this beach house. Ever since the movie came out, Redang has been on the map of Asian tourists.
But what I love most about my stay here was, of course, the wonderful beach of Panjang. I guess the picture above will just make you jet off to tropical paradise.
Pasir Panjang is actually the largest beach in Redang. There are other beaches in Redang, including the private one of the exclusive Berjaya resort. Pasir Panjang branches out into two, with a small island in the middle.
The sand is powder white, similar to Boracay, although Boracay is still finer. It was just refreshing to see those ochre colored rocks jutting out of the azure waters.
And the beachfront was wide, especially during low tide. There are around a little over a dozen resorts on Pasir Panjang, and I think Laguna Redang is the best. The picture above shows the other end of Pasir Panjang. The other mid end resort, Sri Pacifica is located at this side.
I love Pasir Panjang because of its vibe. It wasn't luxurious but youwill definitely feel the tropical energy. People from all walks of life come here to sun bathe, play football, compete in informal beach volleyball tournaments, snorkel and dive. There are a lot of things one can do in Redang, but I chose to arm myself with an iPod and lay on the beach. It was relaxing to watch everyone have a great time in this tropical paradise.
You can actually take a bus from KL to Kuala Terranganu (KT) or fly to KT via Air Asia. You can also check Berjaya Air if you want to fly straight to Redang. If you're coming from Singapore, fly via Firefly. The only drawback here is that you have to take the public ferry to Redang. Most resorts offer transfers from the airport to their resort in their packages. Since we arrived late, we had to take the public ferry. Upon departure, we already took their smooth and efficient transfer back to the airport.
WHERE TO STAY