For its sheer alluring beauty, Redang remains one of the most popular islands in Malaysia, and a must-see for any travellers keen on exploring the best of Peninsular Malaysia’s diving. The waters her sparkle with an aquamarine shade, and the sand is invitingly soft in its own pearly whiteness.
Located 45 km off the coast of Kuala Terengganu is the largest of a group of islands dotting the South China Sea off the Terengganu coast. Redang island offers crystal clear waters and numerous dive sites for the enthusiast. Sheltered within the Redang Island Marine Park, the waters here abound with marine life. At mid-day, when the rays of the sun penetrate the sea, brilliant hues of coral, anemones and clams may be seen. The waters around Redang Island also contain two historic shipwrecks. The H.M.S. Prince of Wales and H.M.S. Repulse were sunk here at the start of World War II, setting the stage for the Japanese occupation of Malaya.
This paradise island is perfect for snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, jungle trekking, boating and canoeing. No fishing is allowed within a 3.2 km radius of the island as Pulau Redang is gazette as a marine park. The collection of corals and other aquatic life is also prohibited. The adjacent islands of Ekor Tebu, Ling, Pinang, Bidong, Lang Tengah and Lima island are excellent underwater havens for snorkelers as well. Visitors to Redang Island have a choice of accommodation ranging from budget to international standard hotels. Guests staying at the island can also enjoy playing at the 18-hole golf course.
April to September visibility Up to 20m in peak season, 3m otherwise.
28 to 300C
Between 1 to 3 knots
Terumbu Kiri (off Pulau Pinang)
The southern tip of Pulau Pinang possesses an interesting series of boulders breaking the surface. Outcrops of tabulated and massive corals are found at shallower depths. The rocky seascape is encrusted with both soft and hard corals at about 15 meters, and slopes down to 20 meters at the sandy bottom. Coral-growth towards the western portion is monospecific, usually of the hard coral genera. The southernmost portion is more interesting with soft corals, whip corals, gorgonians and sponges growing along the step-like slope. Fish life includes cardinal fish, damselfish, chromis, snappers, parrotfish, wrasses and soldier fish. While in the open water you are likely to encounter jacks, fusiliers, yellowtails, batfish and black tip sharks.
It is considered by many to be among the best dive sites in Peninsular Malaysia. Gigantic boulders dominate the vista with a carpet of hard and soft corals, sponges, sea anemones and their clownfish inhabitants. From its beautiful plateau, this site lures you downwards to the deep where more treasures lurk. Soft tree corals, cup corals and whip corals bunch together in unison as groupers, pufferfish and sergeant majors patrol about. Big groups of schooling fish also make frequent visits. Jack, snappers and fusiliers are some of the many species you will see throughout a dive. This oval seamount is completely submerged and is located about 50 meters towards the northern tip of Pulau. Lima. The shallowest portion of this reef is at about 20 meters and the boulder terrain drops to 30 meters. Rated highly by local divers, this interesting dive site offers the diver an opportunity to observe macro life forms to possible encounters with the huge whale shark. Amidst the soft corals and tunicates, colonies of sea anemone with clownfish, sea cucumbers, starfishes, moray eels, wrasses, squirrelfish, stonefish, groupers and parrotfish, can be encountered. Usually swept by currents, experienced divers can see a variety of pelagic such as tuna, barracudas, fusiliers and black tip sharks. At about 30 meters there is a garden of whip corals swaying in the current with colourful feather stars clinging on. Towards the sandy bottom where the boulder terrain ends you can expect to find large stingrays camouflaged within the sand.
WWW II Wrecks
The 242m HMS Repulse (British renown class battle cruiser) was part of Force Z, based in Singapore to deter Japanese troops from landing in Peninsular Malaysia. Sunk on 10 December 1941, the HMS Repulse is a war grave, with the remains of about 400 crew members. This is a site for technical diving as the shallowest point of the wreck is the mid-ship section at 33m. The enormity of the wreck never fails to amaze even the most seasoned divers. Its permanent residents include marble rays, groupers, turtles and a variety of reef fish. Whale sharks have been spotted in the vicinity.
HMS PRINCE OF WALES
The 225m HMS Prince of Wales is a British King George V Class battleship completed in March 1941, a few months before she was destroyed in the South China Sea. Also part of Force Z, she sunk the same day as HMS Repulse along with about 700 crew members. The wreck spots a torpedo hole in its bill and it is a dive for experienced divers, as there are challenging currents in the area.
This interesting site is situated towards the cast of Pulau Redang. The western shore is the only coral sand beach providing an excellent area for snorkelers. Comprising of a cluster of 5 islets, diving is best from the southern, the eastern and the northern site. Generally, the terrain is a steep slope of boulders dropping to about 30 meters. Hard corals, such as table coral, stag horn coral, fire coral and porites dominate the shallower depths. At depths of about 18 meters soft coral colonies, leathery soft corals and mushroom corals abound. You will see a multitude of different reef fish, damselfish, iridescent wrasses, parrotfish, green chromis, as well as black tip reef sharks cruising around. Leaving the boulders and heading towards the sandy seafloor, watch for moray eels lurking in coral blocks, stingrays, lionfish and puffer fish.
This popular submerged reef is situated about 100 meters cast of Pulau Kerengga Besar and is marked by a mooring buoy by the Fisheries Department. Granite boulders are scattered around the sandy bottom with the deepest portion at about 20 meters. The faces of the boulders are carpeted with a variety of soft corals (Dendronephthya species), tubastrea corals, sea squirts, sponges and stinging hydroids. Expect to find numerous cowries, spider shells, and large aggregation of colourful Christmas tree worms carpeting coral blocks. Damselfish, butterfly fish, chromis, wrasses, rabbit fish, parrotfish and lionfish inhabit the coral garden. The boulder terrain presents itself for exploration; canyons and crevices harbor groupers, moray eels and lobsters. Mini Mount is a popular choice for night diving. Divers are rewarded with an abundance of night creatures foraging for food around the reef. Plan to dive around 15 meters depth, inspect under the folds of leathery soft corals for cowries with its mantle fully extended, banded shrimps, crabs, sea cucumbers, colourful sea urchins, squids, spiny lobsters and the occasional octopus.
To the southeast will enthrall you with some of the best coral gardens ones again. The pretty sinularia corals exist in every shallow waters. Deep down it is a cornucopia of colours. Batfish, rabbitfish and the white-eyed moray eels can be found if you swim at the right places. Even the rare loggerhead turtles has been spotted here.
Tanjung Tok Kong
Offers the sight of huge submerged boulders separated by gaps. These offer sheer swim-throughs with overhanging corals. On a typical day with a mild current, you can hover past and spot the many chromodoris nudibranchs as well as lurking groupers in the near-dark ledges.Large Napoleon wrasses, parrotfish and unicornfish share these pathways with boxfish and large angelfish. Big jacks will occasionally surprise you with their darting forays. If you think this makes a fantastic sight then your safety stop at five metres will offer a breathtaking vista of green staghorn corals. Tanjung Tok Kong is definitely a site not to be missed.
If soft corals take your fancy, then don’t miss this place. Large groupers, parrotfish and large green triggerfish are prominent here. More enchanting are the corals, both hard and soft. Vast staghorn gardens must be explored at your leisure – you will find plenty of fish and invertebrates lurking within these intertwining abodes.
South of Redang, Anemone City is unique for its l8rn field of colourful anemones with several varieties of resident anemone fish. The reef around the outcrop starts at about 12m and dips down to 27m. There, you?ll find frolicking rays, including the shovelnose, and numerous bottom-dwelling macro species, such as red fantail pipelish.
Malaysian Airlines (MAS) operates daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Terengganu with a flight time of around 45 minutes. There are also flights to Pulau Redang via Berjaya Air (Tel: +603-1846 8228) from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Within Malaysia, there are many buses to Terengganu. From Singapore, take the Pan Malaysian Express (Tel: +(65) 2947 034) from the Kallang Bahru bus depot (of f Lavender Street). The journey takes about 9 hours.
Shahbandar Jetty situated in Kuala Terengganu City Centre. The Merang jetty is about 35 minutes away by coach from Kuala Terengganu airport, where you will take a 40 minute boat ride to Redang.