Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed

Redang Island the Malaysian Maldives 

So what’s your favourite place that you have visited? A common question that is hard to answer. For us when it comes to beach destinations around the world this is it! Redang Island Malaysia is a tropical paradise! Beautiful sand, crystal clear warm water, spectacular scenery, amazing marine life and largely unknown. Keep reading and discover why we call it the Malaysian Maldives. 

Quick Index Redang Island


Why Go to Redang Island?

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Oh No! Our secret is out! Redang Island is our Malaysian Maldives destination.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Redang has spectacular, colourful reefs which rival the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Diving is also a quarter of the price.

We are not joking! You don’t even have to dive to see giant bumphead parrot fish, angel fish, giant clams and the clown fish are everywhere!!! Black tip reef sharks, turtles, puffer fish, red breasted wrasse and titan triggerfish are common sightings.

Redang Island secret paradise revealed only1invillage
This is “our” resident turtle. Please don’t go too close, admire them from afar. Never try and touch one, it really stresses them out and please don’t chase them! He usually takes a lunch break between mid day and 2pm!
Redang Island secret paradise
These amazing giant and colourful clams are plentiful on Redang. As you glide over them, they snap shut to protect themselves.

If your idea of paradise involves palm trees, frangipanis, sitting with your toes in soft, white sand, crystal clear warm water, amazing fish life and serious relaxation, you know what to do……..keep reading!

Redang Island secret paradise
Frangipanis, coconut palms and blue skies. Is this your idea of paradise? It’s definitely ours!
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Amazing water clarity in Redang! It’s warm too.
Redang Island Malyasian Maldives fantastic coral and marine life
Life is much better where it is wetter, under the sea! Snorkelling in the Malaysian Maldives of Redang! Just breathtaking.

We know, we know, you want to go to the Maldives, but, trust us, the Maldives is a huge rip off. Do you enjoy paying $US5 for a 330ml can of Coke? Do you like getting your feet cut on sharp coral? Do you enjoy going for a 1 hour snorkel and seeing one grey coloured fish?

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
You don’t need to spend $400USD a day to find Nemo in Redang! Malaysian reefs are teeming with various species of clown fish.

Is your idea of paradise worth $US400 a night for a 3 star resort? Unless you go to exclusive resorts which charge in excess of $US800 per night, the sand quality is not better in the Maldives. To us, Redang is the Malaysian Maldives!

Compare these photos. Can you tell which one is Malaysia and which one is the Maldives?

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Malaysia or the Maldives?
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed The Malayasian Maldivess
Maldives or Malaysia?

You can see where we’re heading can’t you? Malaysia has everything the Maldives has but on a budget! Train your brain to say Redang Island is my next dream destination. Forget about the Maldives. Malaysia or the Maldives? See, they are even beginning to sound similar!


Where is Redang Island?

Redang Island is part of Malaysia. The island itself is located in the South China Sea. Redang Island is NE of the capital Kuala Lumpur. It used to be a plane ride away, but the runway closed in 2016. It is a bit of a transportation collective to get to Redang Island, which makes it less popular than Langkawi. Yes, Langkawi is beautiful too, but far more crowded. We like the fact that it’s difficult to get to Redang. A plane, a taxi and then a boat ride from KL, makes Redang Island quieter. Redang is close to our other dream destination in Malaysia, thePerhentian Islands.


When is the best time to go to Redang Island?

Redang Island weather is tropical. Redang Island has three seasons. Bloody wet and hot, bloody hot and dry and monsoon season. Best time to go is non monsoon season. June, July and August offer the calmest seas and best water clarity. Many places close on Redang Island from November to February. Always check in advance. The crossing over can be very rough in the monsoon season. Some boats may not operate at all. So the best time to go depends of what type of weather you like!

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
July weather is hot and dry on Redang. It’s the perfect time to escape the southern hemisphere Winter. Not a bad view, if we do say so ourselves!

April is a good time to go to Redang too, but tidal waves bring in some rubbish from wherever all that plastic comes from. When we come in April, we spend a lot of time cleaning the beach.

Redang Island secret paradise
April weather is right at the beginning of the season for holidays. It’s really quiet and you’ll definitely be the Only 1 in the village!

It is however, nothing like the nightmare of rubbish you see on Indonesian beaches. September still has plenty of sunshine. Even in October, when you might get downpours of H2o, it doesn’t last long! Basically Redang is an escape for the southern hemisphere experiencing Winter.

Redang Island secret paradise the Malaysian Maldives
Want endless blue skies, white sand and warm water? Escape the southern hemisphere Winter. June, July and August is peak season on Redang. This is the best time to come and get that beach life!

If you’re bored of crowded European beaches in June, July and August, come on over to the Malaysian Maldives, of Redang! The sun shines all day long, the water is warm and clear and the sand is soft.


How to get to Redang Island

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Air Asia the low cost carrier flies from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terrenganu 6 times a day. Malaysia Airlines, Malindo and Firefly also have direct flights.

Option 1  – Getting to Redang Island

The nearest airport is Kuala Terrenganu. Kuala Terranganu is a 50 minute flight, from the capital of KL. KLIA2 and Air Asia offers the most number of flights to KT daily. From KT airport (Malaysians love acronyms) a 50 minute taxi ride takes you to Shandabhar Jetty. From there, a public ferry takes 90 mins to cross the South China Sea to our no longer secret paradise island.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
The public ferry takes 90 minutes to get to Redang from Marang. It is air conditioned. The boat leaves Syahbandar jetty at 9:00, 10:30 and 15:00.
Redang Island secret paradise
This transfer boat pulls up alongside the public ferry to disembark. The hull of the public ferry will ruin the coral, so this flatter bottomed boat takes over. This boat is upposed to only take 64 passengers. However, it can sometimes be overloaded with 200 people. Health and safety Malaysian style! The process of unloading the passengers and their luggage can take 45 minutes.

Option 2 – Getting to Redang Island

You can also go to Merang Jetty and wait for a boat to fill up to get to Redang Island. Don’t confuse Merang with Marang, which is totally different. The letter e makes all the difference. There is no jetty at Marang. You must go to Merang. Click here for the boat times from Merang Jetty to Redang. Note, we only use this for the return from Redang. We cannot vouch for the accuracy of the times going to Redang from Merang Jetty. Also, we have never booked online, we always pay cash.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Merang Jetty boats are smaller and faster. Journey time to Redang is 50 minutes. Boats generally leave at 8:00, 9:30, 10:30, 13:00 and 15:00.

However, the boats can be more crowded and you may have to wait for one to fill up.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Alamein Boat Services go from Merang Jetty to Redang Island. It’s a bit more crowded and slightly less comfortable than the ferry. But, it’s a lot faster to our secret paradise!

Buy your tickets here to go to Redang if you turn up at Merang Jetty. Your accommodation can also buy your ticket in advance along with your taxi transfer from Kuala Terrenganu. Don’t forget, you will also have to pay a small jetty access charge and the marine park fee. Have to preserve paradise! It won’t put a dent in your budget. It’s 30MYR for non Malaysians, 15MYR for children and senior citizens. That’s the same fee for the Perhentian Islands marine park fee. If, like us, you go to Redang, from the Perhentian Islands, you don’t have to pay twice!

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Buy your ticket at the Merang Jetty ticket counter. You also have to pay the Marine Park entrance fee.

Option 3 – Getting to Redang Island

If you love a bumpy, hold onto your bones boat ride for 50 minutes, you can also get to Redang Island from the Perhentian Islands! On arrival at the Perhentian Islands, we always go to Ayumni House, which is behind Tuna Bay resort and ask the lady there to arrange a boat transfer. The cost is MYR100 per person.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
While you’re on the Perhentians, buy a ticket from the lady who runs Ayumni House homestay. The cost is 100MYR per person and it saves you going back to the mainland.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Hold on to whatever you can! This fast boat will whisk you between Perhentian and Redang in 50 minutes! Warning – It’s a rough crossing! There are 4 rows of padded seats. Boat transfer Malaysian style.

At least 6 people have to go to make it worthwhile for the ‘taxi’. That’s why you need to enquire at least 3 days in advance. In our experience, it’s easier to island hop from Perhentian Besar to Redang Island and not the other way around.

If you’re staying at the Taraas Beach Resort or Laguna Redang Island Resort, they will arrange all transfers for you. This includes a meet and greet at the airport in Kuala Terrenganu. Enquire with your accommodation. 


What’s there to do on Redang Island?

The things to do on Redang Island are all outdoors. This is not a tropical paradise where you want to stay in your hotel room. Some accommodation comes without TVs in the room, which we think is a great idea. How will you catch the moon rise? Yes, there is such a thing. Even massages, morning and evening yoga are an outside activity. 

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
The snorkelling and diving is world class in Redang. Look at those colours. We spend at least 3 hours every day under the sea!

It’s all about the ‘s’ words. Sun, sea, sand and snorkelling! There’s also some hiking, massage, reading and yoga. A few places will rent out kayaks and stand up paddle boards. Believe us, it’s exhausting from dawn until dusk fitting everything in.

Only1invillage's secret paradise Redang Island revealed 1
We’ve got eyes on you, Mr Stingray. These colourful fish are very common in the shallow corals off the beaches in Redang.

The snorkelling and diving is some of the best in Asia. The diving is also very cheap and the equipment you get is of a good standard. Diving instructors are knowledgable. If you’re thinking of getting your PADI license, why not do it in paradise? It really gives Thailand, where J got certified a run for its money. 

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Malaysian humour! You have to come and dive in Redang. Why not get your PADI certification?
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Of course we are going to show you the other half!

Redang is an underwater paradise. Every day, we are busy spotting resident turtles, clown fish, angel fish and rare sightings of bump head parrot fish.

Redang Island secret paradise Malaysian Maldives bumphead parrot fish make the amazing white sand
OMG OMG a school of bump head parrot fish. These huge fish are responsible for all that white sand. Google them.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Blue Ring Angel fish are not rare in Malaysian waters.

Not to mention giant wrasse, titan triggerfish, black spotted cod, moray eels and sting rays!

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Well hello there, Mr Black Spotted Cod. Spotted you!


Almost forgot about the schools of black tip reef sharks which smile at you as they glide past!

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Want to swim with the sharks? Common just 2 metres from the soft, white sand of Redang Island. Some are up to 5 feet in length! Don’t panic, they’re quite friendly. Well, so far they have been!

There is also pristine jungle, like on the Perhentian Islands.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise i
Feeling adventurous? You can hike on Redang. Bring plenty of mozzie repellent though! It’s a jungle out there!
Redang Island secret paradise
Don’t be alarmed when you see monitor lizards on your jungle walk!
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island
You get this white sandy beach all to yourself, after the jungle trek which starts at the back of Coral Redang Island Resort and finishes at this beach next to the 5 star Taaras Resort.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise i
You will be like this too after your jungle trek. Trying to dry out on the granite rocks. Maybe next time, don’t wear a long sleeved top!

Redang Island is, for us, the perfect mix of not too isolated and not too busy.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Cheers to having so much sand to yourself! It’s about midday and there’s hardly anyone on Long Beach.

Nightlife consists of live bands at the various resorts. Thankfully where we stay doesn’t have a band at all. Also, Sari Pacifica doesn’t do live music, which means it is possible to sleep at 10pm.

Redang Island secret paradise
It’s pretty quiet at night on Redang. You’re going to have to make your own entertainment!

During the day, you often have the powder white sand to yourself and 10 other western tourists. Asian tourists avoid the sun from 10 until 4. Your peace will be interrupted 3 times a day when the snorkelling boats come in and out.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise Malaysian Maldives
Seriously empty white powder soft sand beach. Usually between 11 and 4pm, you will have the beach mostly to yourself. Asian tourists like to keep their skin fair, so are not out until dusk! You’ll only see mad dogs and English men, out in the mid day sun! Come to think of it, there are no dogs on Redang, unlike Thailand. Another reason why Redang is our Malaysian Maldives paradise!

Apart from that you can only hear waves, gently lapping against the shore. Oh and course people’s conversations about the amazing fish!

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Helping out with the fresh coconut delivery! If you’re missing the gym, get a work out with nature.


What’s the food like on a tropical island?

One of the things to do on Redang Island is to eat and eat and then eat some more. The Malaysian food is better than the western food. Eating out doesn’t break the bank in Malaysia and Redang Island is no exception. 

Redang Island secret paradise revealed only1invillage
You can have your cake and eat it on Redang Island!

You’ll need great coffee to go with that cake. Forgot to add the latte pictures! Here you go. You can get great coffee on Redang Island. OK, not Milan or Melbourne standard, but what else are you going to drink with your cake?

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise Malaysian Maldives
Coffee time! Would you like a stunning view with that?
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealedMalaysian Maldives rival
If you can catch him, you can eat him! We’re only joking, there’s no exotic food on Redang. It’s great Malaysian and reasonable Western food.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Food on Redang always come with a great view. Here we are having some stir fried vegetables with seafood and plain rice.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise i
Malaysian roti and vegetable curry. Gimme gimmee. The stretchy roti is a Malaysian speciality on Redang. One is never enough!
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise i
Western food is widely available on Redang. However, it’s not the best for authenticity, but look at the view. Our advice, stick to Asian food on Redang.


Where we stay on Redang Island

Redang Island secret paradise
The open air reception greets you at Coral Redang Island Resort.

Our secret island paradise is out, so we might as well share where we stay. Our favourite place to stay on Redang Island is Coral Redang Island Resort. This is a 3 star resort.

Redang Island secret paradise
Coral Redang Island Resort is always our number one choice. A relaxed vibe which is popular with Europeans. A comfortable open air lobby, a great place to work on that all important travel blog!

Good value and modern with a prime position on the beach. What we like about Redang Island is that even though the hotels are built on the beach, they are well camouflaged. They are also about 20 metres back from the water. 

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Coral Redang Island Resort is set back from the beach. Here is the decking area that you can bring your own drinks to, for a small charge.

The service is good and the restaurant is the best option for western food. We have tried every restaurant on the island. The organisation of transfers to and from the island is very good. Visa is accepted for paying the final bill. You cannot book via or expedia. You have to book direct with the resort.

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Coral Redang Island Resort will come and pick you up in one of these tractors from the public ferry jetty. They are excellent at arranging the ferry transfer and drivers from the airport at Kuala Terrenganu. They will also handle your transfer back, when you leave paradise.

There are two types of room available. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Deluxe rooms are more expensive, better decor and you only have one neighbour. Deluxe rooms are two storey stand alone buildings at the front  and centreof the property. The first 6 from the reception area have beach and water views.

Redang Island secret paradise
Deluxe rooms are fresh and decorated with neutral colours. Our top tip ask for an upstairs room, so you don’t hear your neighbours’ footsteps.
Redang Island secret paradise
The bathroom in the deluxe rooms at Coral Redang are spacious and modern. You also get a fridge and a huge safe.
Redang Island secret paradise
If you want a beach view at Coral Redang Island Resort, you need a top floor room at the front of the property.
Redang Island secret paradise
Always keep the windows closed. There are some very cheeky monkeys around.

Standard rooms are set further back from the beach. They are cheaper but are newer. They have a more plain decoration. The standard rooms don’t have a fridge. The showers are more powerful, however than deluxe rooms. You have more neighbours, especially if you are in the middle floor. Beds are newer and slightly more comfortable than in the deluxe rooms. We like both rooms and have stayed in both. Both rooms have a massive safe. The safes are big enough to store laptops, something quite rare. There are also family rooms. There is a block facing the pool which is ideal for 2 kids and 2 adults in a sort of adjoining room.

Redang Island secret paradise
Breakfast at Coral Redang in the open air restaurant.

Breakfast is included at Coral Redang Island Resort.

Redang Island secret paradise
Western options include cereals. The milk is UHT.

There is fruit, yoghurt, cereal, croissants and toast. There is also an egg station. Don’t expect poached, egg white omelettes or soft boiled eggs. The egg station is strictly for fried eggs and omelettes.

Redang Island secret paradise
The egg station at Coral Redang Island resort. Get your fried eggs and omelettes made fresh to order.

There’s always hash browns (English and Australian style), baked beans and some kind of starch like noodles or rice. On Sundays it’s roti bread breakfast day! Our absolute favourite flaky bread with a yummy curry sauce.

Redang Island secret paradise
Hot Asian options vary daily on a rotational basis at Coral Redang Island Resort.
Redang Island secret paradise
Food is kept warm in these silver serving trays. Hot breakfast options at Coral Redang Island Resort.
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Croissants and DIY toast options available for breakfast at Coral Redang Island Resort.
Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Juice and water options. Juice is concentrate. Coral Redang is the only restaurant that offers free drinking water for lunch and dinner. Also as a paying guest, you can get filtered cold and boiling water on demand from a fountain on site.

Coral Redang Island Resort also have a very professional dive centre. Snorkelling and diving trips go out every day and the staff speak English, Mandarin and Cantonese in addition to Bahasa Malay. The equipment is modern and clean. If you have your own diving equipment, there is a small discount. So bring your oxygen tank, just joking! Waterproof cameras, masks and snorkels are available to rent. Life jackets, masks and snorkels are part of the snorkel trip package.  Kayaks and stand up paddle boards complete your water sports adventures. Thankfully there are no banana boat rides or giant doughnuts on Redang Island. 

Sari Pacifica click here to book

Redang Island secret paradise
Sari Pacifica has a prime position on the beach of Long Beach. It’s a 4 star resort. No loud music or karaoke here.

The beach view frangipani villas are the only choice here. You have well padded veranda lounges and a king sized bed. The food isn’t the best here. There’s no live music at night which makes this and Coral Redang on the quiet end of the beach. 

Redang Island secret paradise
The beach front villas at Sari Pacifica. Imagine waking up here!
Redang Island secret paradise
Back view of the frangipani villas at Sari Pacifica. Hmm wonder why they’re named frangipani villas???
Only1invillage's secret paradise Redang Island revealed 2
Secure your place on the day bed. Outside the beach front villas at Sari Pacifica on Long Beach.
Redang Island secret paradise
If you can’t afford a beach front villa, the lagoon view rooms at Sari Pacifica.

Laguna Redang Island Resort Click here to Book

Laguna Redang Island Resort is a big development. Even though it is large it blends quite well into the scenery. This is rated as a four star resort and caters mainly for tourists on a package, which includes daily snorkelling. During peak season, the breakfast buffet can be chaotic! 

Redang Island secret paradise
The view from inside Laguna Redang Island Resort. It has its own dive centre and kampung style nightly restaurant for non guests.

If you want a pool for the kids and a jacuzzi for yourself you have to stay at Laguna Redang. Make sure you venture out between 11 and 4pm and you’ll be like J (see picture below!)

Redang Island secret paradise
Be the only 1 in the pool between 11 and 4 at the Laguna Redang Island Resort. Although very popular with mainland Chinese tourists on a package, they don’t come out until the sun goes down.

Popular with Chinese tourists on a package. However, most Chinese people stay in the shade between 10am and 3pm, so you’ll have the facilities pretty much to yourself during daylight hours. Beware as the temperature drops (by 2 degrees from 32 to 30) the vampires begin to come out and the peace will be shattered!

Redang Island secret paradise
Laguna Redang is a huge resort. It occupies the far corner of the beach next to Long Beach.
Redang Island secret paradise
Laguna Redang has their own private pier and boats. If you stay with them, they will handle your transfer from the mainland at Kuala Terrenganu. They also have a mini ‘train’ to get you from the pier to reception.

Redang Beach Resort Click here to book

Located just next door to the big complex that is Laguna Redang is Redang Beach Resort. Yes, the names all get a bit confusing! This is also quite a big resort. The sand in front is powder white and has a volley ball net set up for the 5pm games. Note: no one plays before then, it’s too hot! 

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Redang Beach Resort has wide beach in front of its property. It doesn’t have any lounging chairs. Bring your own towel and take shade under the coconut trees.

This is a 3 to 4 star hotel, depending on your tastes. The rooms seem comfortable enough and you get the usual tea making facilities. 

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Redang Beach Resort can be noisy because it has TVs.

The Taaras Beach resort Click here to book

Redang Island secret paradise
The Taaras Resort has a spectacular beach and the turtle spotting trips all stop here.

Expensive and posh for Malaysia. Read Tripadvisor reviews however, for the service. Commanding a whole white sandy bay all to themselves. The Taaras is a bit remote. Stunning location, definitely a mirror image of some Maldivian islands. Once there, you don’t have many choices for food or activities. It’s a place to stay if you want luxury and you don’t want to leave the one beach.

Redang Island secret paradise
Turtles just off the shore of the Taaras Beach Resort are huge. You can get really close to them, but, please, don’t touch them!

Turtle spotting happens just in front of this luxury resort. So you don’t have to pay for a boat trip, because this is where you end up. The turtles here are amazing! But, it is sad to see that the tour operators let people get too close. They also feed the turtles squid to encourage them to hang around. We don’t like this practice and prefer to see our resident turtles on Long Beach. 

Redang Island secret paradise
Big adult turtles hang out near the Taaras Resort on Redang Island. Please respect their space!

There is a beach right next door which has the same soft white sand. We trek across the island and it takes about 50 minutes of pure sweat through the jungle. Don’t bring anything valuable as there can sometimes be people ready to snatch your belongings. (see the jungle trekking pictures)

The beaches on Redang Island

Long Beach

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
The view of Long Beach. The beautiful curved and sheltered beach is 800 metres long. This is where we stay at Coral Redang. Sari Pacifica is next door.

Coral Beach

Redang Island secret paradise only1invill
We call this beach Coral Beach. But, we don’t really know its name! It is around the corner from Long Beach and about 400 metres long. Redang Beach Resort and Laguna Redang are on this side.

Used to be a resort Beach

This is where we want to buy and develop a resort! After that we want to set up house on this island, our beautiful Malaysian Maldives. There used to be a resort here and it is a bit eerie exploring here. But, go through Laguna Redang Resort, past their private jetty area and into the back area to get to Delima Resort and you will arrive here! We are always the only people here. We don’t know what this beach is called. There are no facilities here obviously.

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
We don’t what this beach is called! But there’s never anyone on it! Okay, if you look really carefully, you might see another person.

Well if we haven’t convinced you that Redang Island is the Maldives on a budget, you’ll have to go yourself and prove us wrong. We love it so much, we have been six times! Pop on over to the Perhentian Islands, our other fave Malaysian Maldives islands, while you’re in the area!

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage Malaysian Maldives
Sunsets and sun rise on Redang Island are just stunning. Bye for now!
Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
We hope you enjoy reading all about our no longer secret Maldives like destination! Any comments, feedback or improvements welcome. See you soon Redang! Love from Jason and Christina.

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