Who doesn’t like the sound of Island Hopping? If you don’t then you might as well just leave now. Just saying it makes you feel relaxed and happy. Well Northern Malaysia is often discovered by back packers travelling down through Thailand by bus and most manage to stumble upon some of these islands below. Maybe because Islands are so appealing, the reputation they have will never get old. The one most well known is the first – Perhentian Island.
The Perhentian Islands lie around 10 miles northeast of Kuala Terengganu and are easily reached by boat from the mainland or other surrounding Islands. Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil, also known as Large Perhentian and Small Perhentian respectively, are fast becoming the biggest tourist Island off the coast and for that reason it’s the most English speaking also. A great destination for families and backpackers, with a vast range of accommodation suitable for all budgets!
For accommodation look here it’s a great way of comparing what they have and you can easily specify what you are looking for to suit you.
Photo Credit: Alejandro @ Mi Viaje por el Mundo
Pulau Redang was a two hour boat trip away, although there are some speed-boat trips that would be quicker by around 30 minutes. We approached the Laguna Jetty and it definitely had the paradise ‘wow factor’ that you want when arriving on a tropical Island. We had a glorious 24 hours on this Island so some of us got stuck right in and took to the water to freshen up in the humidity. The water was warm but luckily just cool enough to make it refreshing. We had everything from beach volleyball to kayaking to keep us entertained and that was just what we could see from our villa. There was surely a lot more to the Island that I didn’t even get a chance to see. Another different activity they offer is Squid Jigging – check here for my blog on exactly what that is!
For accommodation I would ask you to consider the lovely Coral Resort on Redang, a perfect quiet resort ideal for couples, not too big and intrusive like some resorts but it has everything you need for a comfortable and romantic stay. If you are looking for the big resort feel then I would suggest the Laguna Island Resort. It’s not for me but would be better if you have children with more for them to do.
On the final day of my Malaysian adventure I had only a half day to do one last thing, and I wasn’t about to laze by the pool. We had heard of Pulau Kapas and that it was the closest Island to the mainland, Terengganu. It was 1 hour from leaving our hotel reception to stepping on to the stunning white sandy beaches of Kapas. A taxi took us to the jetty, where a mere 40 Ringet (£8) bought us a return ticket to the Island. A boat would return every 2 hours for us to depart if we wished, so we had a perfect amount of time to splash around, bathe and soak up the beautiful Malaysian sunshine one last time.
I didn’t stay on this island as I said but here are some ideas for accommodation, it’s such a small island that there is less choice. For me that’s not all bad, too much choice is never a good thing!
I would always recommend trying to visit at least one of the islands whilst traveling through Northern Malaysia, I found the locals everywhere to be brilliant but there was something much more relaxed and chilled on the islands – It was the one time where I truly felt I could relax, there was a real sense of calm – I just wish I had more time! Well, don’t we all…