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Terengganu ~ The Islands

• Background • Kuala Terengganu • Sights & Visits • Beaches • The Islands • Kenyir Lake • Getting There •
• Terengganu State Map • Travel-in Terengganu • Stay-in Terengganu •

• Pulau Perhentian • Pulau Redang • Pulau Kapas • Pulau Gemia •
• Pulau Lang Tengah • Pulau Tenggol • Bidong Island •

Located in the South China, off Malaysia's northeast coast, just south of the Thai border, are the island jewels of Terengganu.

Terengganu’s biggest attractions are its picturesque and captivating island retreats offering beautiful beaches of soft white sand, breathtaking blue waters and dazzling undersea gardens.

The Islands
The islands are surrounded by beautiful palm-fringed sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise-blue sea. All manner of aquatic life is visible both near and far from the beach such as turtles, sharks, coral and thousands of tropical fish. There are no roads and not many paths, so the islands are mainly peaceful and untouched - so far. The interior is covered by jungle with a wide variety of species. You can watch monitor lizards, monkeys, geckos, flying squirrels, butterflies and many other types - sometimes right in front of your chalet.

Strewn along the coast of Terengganu these include the Islands of Pulau Perhentian Besar, Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Pulau Redang, Pulau Bidong, Pulau Kapas, Pulau Gemia, Pulau Lang Tengah and Pulau Tenggol.

Pulau Perhentian consists of two islands - Perhentian Besar (Big Perhentian island) and Perhentian Kecil (Small Perhentian Island) Accessed from the mainland by boat from Kuala Besut (1.5 hours), Perhentian Kecil, the more popular of the two, has cheap accommodations and a bit of a backpacker party scene, with Long Beach being the most popular.
Perhentian Besar is the larger island and has slightly more sophisticated accommodation and tranquil beaches.

Pulau Redang is still relatively undeveloped and unspoiled is about 45 minutes boat ride away from Merang, the island provides excellent opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving and jungle trekking to keep you occupied or just relaxing along the glistening white beaches.

Pulau Kapas is a mere 10 minutes by speed boat from Marang. With white sandy beaches lined with shady palm trees to make a perfect niche to laze on, relaxation is the foremost occupation here. But, If you are the type who cannot do without air-conditioning, and all the modern trappings and luxurious comfort in a holiday resort, then Pulau Kapas is not for you.

Gemia Island is situated a short distance away north of Kapas Island. This one kilometre-long private island houses only one resort that is built on stilts over the water. With corals of different shapes, colours and sizes with its plentiful marine life, snorkelling can be done even without taking the boat out.

 Hemmed in by the better-known Redang and Perhentian getaways, is Pulau Lang Tengah. A 40 mins speedboat ride away from Merang, the clear emerald waters and the coral reefs around it is popular with scuba divers and snorkellers.

7km off the coast of Kuala Dungun lies the small rocky island of Pulau Tenggol. Up until now, Tenggol Island is almost unheard of, except among avid divers. The western part of the island, with its secluded white beaches backed by steeply forested cliffs, is a pleasant retreat for swimming, diving, quiet strolls and lazing on the beach. However, only basic chalet-type accommodation is available on the island.

Pulau Bidong is located about 5 miles south of Redang, was a camp for Vietnamese refugees (boat people) fleeing Vietnam after it fell to the communists. Bidong and its surrounding islands are now fairly new diving destinations. There are no resorts on this island

When to Go
Due to the eastern monsoon, the season in the Perhentians is effectively limited to the period between April and October. Outside this, the seas can be very rough and most accommodations are closed March and April is especially good for diving where visibility can hit 40m. Some months may present greater opportunities to catch glimpses of certain marine life. For example, green turtles nest in their greatest numbers in August while September is probably the best month to spot migratory whale sharks.

Climate & Weather
Tropical climate, with daily temperatures ranging from 22°-33°C, and relative humidity between 80-87%. May is usually the hottest month and January the coolest. The northeast monsoon rains in the states of Terengganu and Kelantan usually begin after the first week of November and are characterized by heavy rain spells lasting 2-3 days duration accompanied by strong winds and rough seas. Usually there will be a few of these rain spells, bringing rainfall up to 615 mm in December versus 120 mm in April. In between these rain spells, weather is usually fair with little rain and seas are calm. So it is possible to enjoy good weather if you happen to visit during such calm periods, though bear in mind you'll have to stay at Berjaya resort as it is the only resort open throughout the year.


Marine Park & Regulations
The Marine Park is made up of the area around a group of islands namely Pulau Redang, Pulau Pinang, Pulau Lima, Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Perhentian Besar, Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Pulau Susu Dara, Pulau Lang Tengah and Pulau Kapas

DO NOT BUY any souvenirs made from corals, shells and other marine animals such as starfishes. Anyone found in possession of such items will be fined RM5,000. If the villagers don't know better, advise them not to exploit their environment.
Even dead corals - the bleached ones sometimes found washed ashore should be left where it is found.

Travel Tips
For all their beauty, the Perhentians remain a bit of an up-and-coming attraction and there are some missing bits in the infrastructure to be aware of:


Mobile Phone Coverage

Coverage is spotty but generally adequate, especially on Besar

Money Changing & Credit Cards
Credit cards are generally not accepted, even at dive shops. The only place on the islands where you can get a cash advance or exchange money is the Perhentian Island Resort, which charges accordingly.

There are no power supply to the Islands. Generators provide most of the electricity on the islands. Power outages are not uncommon and in many cheaper chalets power is only provided at night

Can be a nuisance after it rains. Bring repellent and consider burning a mosquito coil (available locally), especially if your bed does not have a mosquito net.

Tap water
Generally not safe to drink. Bottled water is widely available at a fairly expensive RM 3-5 per 1.5L bottle.

There are concerns that the coral reef will be gone in as little as ten years because of the intensive tourism industry. But as long as you take care and do not pick the living coral you will not be contributing to that directly.



Terengganu Islands - Diving
Dive sites are very varied, from current swept rocks close to the Perhentians and Bidong to gentle slopes covered with sea anemones around Redang to underwater mounds in Lang Tengah. All these places also have excellent house reefs that are good for night dives or snorkeling

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[Background] [Kuala Terengganu] [Sights and Visits] [Beaches] [The Islands] [Kenyir Lake] [Getting There]

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