Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Pulau Redang

Pulau Redang Marine Park is made up of 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.

The Redang group of islands are known as 'continental islands'. During the Pleistocene period, there were intervals when the sea level dropped, creating land areas that connected the islands with mainland. When the continental ice caps melted in the later periods, the islands were once again isolated from the mainland. What we see today is the result of the earth's climatic and geographical changes that have occurred over millions of years ago and this also includes the sea landscape .

Pulau Redang is the largest island in the park, about 7km long and 6km wide. There are a number of tiny uninhabited islands sprinkled around Pulau Redang itself such as Pulau Ling, Pulau Kerengga Besar and Pulau Paku Kecil. These islands harbour much life beneath the rocky outcrops and pearly white pockets of beaches. A natural playground for divers and snorkellers alike, the islands are within easy reach by boat from Pulau Redang.

The Redang Archipelago is truly a gift sent from the heavens. The water surrounding these islands is teeming with marine life. About 500 species of living, breathing soft and hard corals create a wondrous seascape just below the white caps. And in turn these reef-building variety of corals shelter a host of inhabitants - a myriad species of bivalves and fishes. It forms part of Indo-Pacific Ocean's breeding ground and nursery for many species of fish and other marine life. Sponges, algae and plankton provide a rich soup of nutrient for the thriving community. Green and hawksbill turtles drag themselves onto the white, sandy beaches to deposit their fertilised eggs into deep holes excavated under cover of night. Flying foxes, pythons, birds, mousedeers, monkeys and iguanas take refuge under the canopy of the forest. And in the late evenings when all human activities have quieten down, listen closely for you will here the heartbeat of the land, the whispers of the wind and the secrets of life - at Redang

The people

In 1770, the English EIC or the East India Company was considering Redang Islands as a serious contender for a trading post. The Dutch were already making headway into Indonesia and Malaysia, and this gave them main control over the spice trade. The British were fast running out of time and they were desperate to gain a foothold in the South China Seas trade. But lengthy talks with local rulers only produced inconclusive results and the English dropped the idea of a trading post here for an island off Borneo's Northern Coast. Pulau Redang fell into a lull of peaceful slumber, until Bugis settlers arrived. They settled on Teluk Kalong, a beach on the eastern side of Pulau Redang.

The original people of Pulau Redang are descendants of the Bugis settlers who sailed all the way from the Celebes (Sulawesi) in Indonesia to start a new life far away from their homeland where local discontentment were starting to build up from the many centuries of clan wars. The Bugis were reputed to be formidable warriors and skilled seafarers. For centuries they fared well as trade merchants travelling round the Indonesian Archipelago through to the Malayan lands. During the 18th Century, many Bugis migrants came to the Malay Peninsular. They were eager to find a land free of overlord exaction. They made alliances with the Malay Sultans and some even offered their services as mercenaries, fighting for different warring factions.

The Bugis migrants settled on the west coast of Malaysia especially in the states of Johore and Negri Sembilan. But there were a few who plied the East Coastal waters in search of paradise. After a long search, a boat full of migrants landed on Redang. Batin (Batin meaning Holy Man) Talib, one of the 7 siblings who made up the early settlers, moved his village from Teluk Kalong to an island just south of Pulau Redang.

These days, Redang has a variety of different accommodation catered to tourists and holidaymakers. These resorts are located at Pasir Panjang, a few bays away from the village

Getting there

From Kuala Lumpur

Head east towards Kuantan. You will be driving on the Karak Highway (Highway 2) all through to Kuantan, which takes approximately 3 - 3½ hours. Once arriving on the outskirts of Kuantan town, it can get a little tricky. Head towards the Northeast, on highway 3 (the coastal road) or Highway 14 which will lead you to Kuala Terengganu.

From Penang

Head towards Kota Baharu via the East-West Highway (highway 4). Perhaps one of the most scenic routes found in the Peninsular, the East-West Highway is one of the last frontiers to be conquered, so to speak. A stronghold for the communists in the 60's and 70's where terrorist activity was rampant in the area then. This may be the reason why going through this part of Malaysia seems a little alien. There are neither plantations nor housing development lining the highway. Zip back 60years and this would probably have been the landscape for most parts of Malaysia. Little trunk roads splitting dense forests, with no evidence of civilisation far into the horizon.

Look out for the 'Elephant Crossing' Signs. Wild elephants forage at night and may cross the highway to other feeding grounds within their roaming range.

From Kota Baharu, head South for Merang. This is a seaside village just outside of Kuala Terengganu. If you're unfamiliar.Kuala Terengganu is Terengganu's capital city. Merang is really where you should be going to catch a boat to Redang but you may have a bit of problem leaving your car as there are few long-term carparks. Ask your tour agent for further information on safe park.

From Johore or Singapore

travel north on the North-South Highway and exit at Yong Peng. From Yong Peng, take highway 1 to Labis and later onto Segamat. Segamat will lead you to HighwaThe trek into the jungle starts at the end of the beachy 12 and all the way to Kuantan. From Kuantan, head towards the Northeast on highway 3 (the coastal road) or Highway 14 which will take you to Kuala Terengganu.

At Kuala Terengganu

either park your car at a designated safe park (a daily parking rate of RM4 - 7 fee will be levied) and then hitch a ride on the connecting shuttle to Merang village - all hassle free and arranged by your travel agent .OR make your own way to Merang village and park at the seaside restaurant and resort for a fee of RM4 per day. The only problem with this arrangement is that from here to the Merang jetty;is a pretty long way off and lugging all that dive equipment etc will put out even the most enduring, enthusiastic, hungry-for-a-holiday-holidaymaker! Unless a taxi happens to drive by on this quiet stretch of beachfront, you'll have to make it to the jetty on foot.

By Coach

Please refer to Terengganu article for coach schedule

By Boat

Only from Merang Jetty to Pulau Redang

From Merang Jetty, there many speedboats awaiting guests to Pulau Redang and Lang Tengah. Different speedboats are attached to different resorts on the island. If you have booked with a resort on the island, more than likely the appointed boat will already be there waiting for you. Some boats belong to the resort and is therefore easy to pick out with the resort's name clearly printed. But many are hired boats and belong to private operators so just inform the boatman which resort you are staying at, and he will direct you to the right boat.

Delay is a normal occurrence. There have been occasions when passengers had to wait quite a while for other guests delayed enroute, so be prepared! Pulau Redang is roughly 22km from the Merang Estuary and the boatride takes approximately 45mins.

BUT A WORD OF ADVICE: please bring your own lifejackets especially for young kids as many boat operators do not carry child-sized jackets. You can get this at Carrefour in Mid-Valley Megamall or at Toys-R-Us outlets

If you have some time to spare at the jetty, take a stroll around - savour fresh coconut juice served straight from the fruit, for only RM2.50 each. Or grab a bite at the roadside stalls nearby where they can whip up a serving of fried rice topped with fried egg for you.

By Air

MAS(Malaysia Airlines) - scheduled flights please click on malaysia airlines

Please note that all information with regards to PACKAGE DEALS, ACCOMMODATION AND AIR,LAND&SEA TRANSFERS are subject to changes without prior notice as stipulated by the respective operators concerned. Please check for confirmed time schedules upon booking your holiday.

Pulau Redang- best time to go

The monsoon season on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia sets in towards end of October and lasts through till late February/Early March. The best time to visit the East Coast is in March and April especially for diving where visibility can hit 40m. It is not advisable to visit this part of Peninsular Malaysia at its peak of the monsoon season - that is, November till early January. The seas are rough and the boat and resort operators are closed between October and February.

Packing Checklist

  • Swimsuit
  • Snorkelling gear - mask, snorkel, fins, booties, life jacket (prescriptive mask if required)
  • Diving equipment- mask, snorkel, fins, booties, regulator and octopus, BCD, dive table, dive logs, marine life ready reckoner, dive computers, knife, lycra or 3mm skin suits, gloves, underwater torches, dive watch - it's advisable to bring your own kit as rental can be expensive
  • Dive card
  • Life jackets especially for children
  • Waterproof pouches, torch
  • Clothing - shorts, t-shirts, sarong, towel, light dress
  • Toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturiser, after-tan lotion, shampoo, soap, women's sanitary products, shaving foam and shaver, comb
  • Sun block, mosquito repellent, mosquito netting, hammock(e-shoppe)
  • T ravel journal, reading material
  • Binoculars
  • Prescriptive medicine, dietary supplements, motion sickness tablets


- Electricity

There is electricity on the island and run on normal 240V.

- Telecommunication

The general phones are at the reception and some resorts allow overseas call. However there is no Internet service on the island. 012,018,019 can be received at certain areas on the island

- Nursery

The resorts on Pasir Panjang beach do not carry such facilities

- Photo Developing

There are no developing shops on the island. If required, Kuala Terengganu town has 1 hour developing shops.

- Money changer

A few resorts will be able to change US dollars and Singapore Dollars. All resorts have credit card facilities: visa and MasterCard preferred.

- Language

The staff at all resorts can speak English but if need to, it will be best to talk to the reception for any enquiries, requests or grievances.

- Things to buy

The resorts do sell some toiletries and some t-shirts and island souvenirs but nothing to shout about. There is however, a sundry shop at Redang Bay Resort where snacks, bottled mineral water and toiletries can be bought.

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. Did you know that hermit crabs do not grow their own shells? ..they inhabit abandoned or empty shells. For all you shell collectors out there, have a thought for these poor, homeless creatures.

Pulau Redang's Best Dives

There are numerous dive sites in the area with different places suitable for different levels of dive proficiency. We have compiled a number of the more popular dive sites for you which have differing terrain and lifeforms to explore. It's best to check out each dive site before you plunge in. Then you will be able to request for dive sites that suit you best rather than be herded around by dive instructors; not knowing what to expect and what to look out for when you're there. Experienced divers are constantly searching for new sites around the islands, so keep your ears peeled for any news on this as usually they tend to be little secrets kept amongst dive groupies.

Please note: at different times of the day, you may be able to see different marine life. Also weather conditions vary with the season and tidal changes.All these and other factors may affect the conditions at the dive location. What we have here is a general observation at time of dive. Do check with your dive instructor on the conditions of the dive site you wish to explore.

1. Batu Che Esa(Mini Mount)

(Difficulty: open water and higher)

sketch from Dennis Ho's log book

This is a very popular site for both day and night dives; and most divers start their dive tours here. Divers descend from the buoyline marking the area. 2 large boulders and 2 smaller ones create a coral pass where large Freckled Porcupine fish(Diodon holocanthus) and yellow pufferfish sometimes float pass in groups. A variety of corals such as the Dendronepthya sp (looks a bit like villi lining the walls of our stomachs) cover the rock faces here. Tubastrea corals, sea squirts, healthy barrel sponges, and stinging hydroids make up a beautiful little rock garden here.

The Bluespotted Ray(Taeniura lymma) glides effortlessly on the sandy seafloor, foraging for food. If you can, look under the table corals( Acropora hyacinthus) -.there may be a large coral grouper (Cephalopholis miniata) hiding here. Groupers are large and bulky and their shape does not allow for great speed. Hence they take cover in holes and under corals lying in wait to surprise their prey, usually small creaturessuch as anthias, eels, crabs and octopus.

sketch from Dennis Ho's log book

Schools of pelagic fish can be found snooping around like the Horse-eyed Jacks and trevallies. The boulders and coral formations provide nooks and crannies for all sorts of smaller organisms to live in. Barrel sponges (Xestospongia testudinara) provide good bases for feather stars to cling onto. These appendages are not parts of the sponge but are in fact distant relatives of the starfish. Feather stars(Comantina SP) extend its arms out to trap planktonic food drifting by in sporadic current flows. These creatures come in a variety of colours which adds to the effervescent beauty of these reef gardens. Other smaller reef fishes fluttering around the corals are the Bennett's Butterflyfish, the longfin bannerfish(which look similar to a Moorish Idol) and the Blue-ringed Angelfish.

2. Terumbu Putih(Big Mount)

(Difficulty: Advanced level and higher)

sketch from Dennis Ho's log book

The little tip for this dive is to attempt it as the first dive of the day. If you've done multi-level diving that day, then you may not be able to really explore the area in greater detail. This is a deep dive and can be challenging especially during spring tides where there are no markers present. Divers have to descend immediately upon arrival, all the way down to the peak of the mount some 18m below the surface. Here, divers get to see Black Corals (Antipathes sp.), whip corals and sea anemones fiercely guarded by tomato or pink anemonefish. The anemonefish is a fascinating fish and has rapidly become a favourite with marine aquarium enthusiasts. Fiercely territorial, the adult couples can tolerate a few juveniles sharing their anemone but not other adults. The female is the larger of the pair. If anything should happen to the adult female, the adult male transforms into a breeding female to take her place and one of the juveniles will quickly take on the role of the breeding male. Anemonefish are hermaphroditic , that is, they can change sexes to suit the situation and all anemonefish are protandrous hermaphrodites which means that they are all males and then convert later to females when need be.

Soft corals such as Dendronephthya sp. thrives on the walls of the boulders and can be seen spread out from 10m to 30m depth. These corals bloom in a rainbow of colours and have been called 'wildflowers of the sea'. The famous Gorgonian Sea Fan is found on the vertical walls of these large boulders. Its colour usually ranges from cream to pale pinkish orange but a variance of red is due to a thin layer of algae coating. Sea fans are so named because its intricate net of meshes fan out to catch floating plankton with its wriggling polyps. It grows slowly but can measure more than 3-4m(10-13ft) if left alone. Interestingly, researchers are analysing the chemical substance secreted by these sea fans in their endless quest to find a way to inhibit cancer growth.

Yellow-tail barracudas, reef sharks, black and white tip sharks, turtles, the occasional Spanish mackerel, yellowtail fusiliers, sweet-lips, giant groupers have been seen roaming about. And it seems, there have even been occasional encounters with whale sharks and manta rays.

3. Batu Mat Chantek

(Difficulty: open water and higher)

sketch from Dennis Ho's log book

Divers descend with a buoyline at this site onto a submerged reef piled high with boulders. For first time open water divers, use the buoyline to guide you down as there may be a mild current that can pull you away from the group. The boulders are plastered with soft and hard corals alike. Sea anemones, barrel sponges with alabaster sea cucumbers stringed around them, feather stars, table corals, brain corals, staghorns and mushroom corals abound here. Mushroom corals (fungia sp.) are generally solitary and usually come in shades of brown and yellow. These corals are unique in that they are able to move around. They can dislodge themselves and are capable of slow lateral movements using their tentacles to propel themselves.

Nudibranchs are common sightings at Mat Chantek and so are beautiful denizens such as the butterflyfish, damselfish, yellow boxfish, rabbitfish, triggerfish, cardinalfish, and coral groupers. Common stingrays are found on the sandy bottom surrounding the reef. Yellow -tailed barracudas swim around the reefs in groups, trevallies, permits, yellow and gold fusiliers are relatively common too. As the current sweeps into the reefs, it brings larger pelagic or free swimmers into the area where they search for food. Sometimes fish fries swarm together forming almost a solid body to confuse their predators such as the yellow tailed barracudas. These fish fries move in unison and even make sharp turns all together in one sweep.

Diving at Mat Chantek, one gets the feeling that one is actually swimming in an aquarium at Monterey Sea World rather than in the open sea. It's rich, rich, RICH with marine life- a great introduction to sea life.

4. Black Coral Garden

(Difficulty: advanced level and higher)

Photo courtesy of Moti Uttam

Black corals (antipathes sp.) are plentiful here and their home ranges from 10m to 35m. Black corals used to be harvested for jewellery but is now fully protected within the park circumference. Many other tropical reefs in the Indo-Pacific area are still being exploited for such economic reasons. Along with this collection of black corals are rare shrimps, sometimes seahorses and razor fish that take protection amongst the polyps of the corals. These little creatures may be a bit difficult to spot for the untrained do follow your dive instructor closely and he or she may be able to spot one or two specimens for you. Stonefish have been found in recesses of the rocks, well camouflaged to the colours of the rocks and corals. Colonies of algae attach onto the body of this sedentary creature helps it blend with the surroundings. So be careful - do not hold on to rocks as, if provoked, the Stonefish injects powerful poison into its victim through the hollow spines of its dorsal fins. Also watch out for triggerfishes. They are particularly aggressive during their nesting season and will attack unsuspecting divers if it feels that its territory is threatened.

5. North of Pulau Lima

(Difficulty: advanced level and higher)

sketch from Dennis Ho's log book

When the tide changes course especially during spring tide, divers can experience a rush from the drift dive experience here. Circular spadefish or commonly known as batfishes crowd curiously around divers upon descending. There are a variety of corals here which include the whip corals, acropora such as table corals and staghorns, wrinkled soft corals nestled in the crags of the continuous build of hard corals; rough knobbly corals are seen scattered along the reef and deeper are the gorgeous pink Gorgonian Sea Fans. Titan Triggerfishes dart in and out of caverns, warily watching us as we sink deeper into the bowels of the sea. Once in a while, the Giant Wrasse makes its visit. These great ancient-looking beasts may throw a new diver off-guard as it edges slowly away but they really are quite harmless - no worries!

Don't forget to practice the safety stop on ascent!

6. Southern End of Pulau Lima

(Difficulty: open water and higher)

sketch from Dennis Ho's log book

A speedboat ride of about 5mins from Pasir Panjang Beach took us to the Southern tip of Pulau Lima. The descend took us down to the first shelf of hard coral terrain and gently led us down to the second tier before levelling off at a depth of 18m. This led us towards the south west where huge bommies of Porite Coral (porites lutea) are found. These porites and together with other hard and soft corals ,form the basis of reefs. Bommies are one of Indo-Pacific's principle reef builders. Reef topography is built by live organisms. So when you see a reef structure, what you're actually looking at are layers of coral skeletons and remains of other reef animals cemented together through a continuous calcification process. This process of reef building stretches over millions of years as layers of skeletons are placed over layers. New life grow over these dead layers and the piling continues. When we immerse ourselves in such beauty, we usually do not realise that this underwater garden is the world's oldest and most complex ecosystem rivalled only by the tropical rain forest.

Not long after descending, we noticed 4 yellow-tailed barracudas tailing us. Perhaps they were sent to scout out the situation because as we turned around to face them - they swiftly swam back to rejoin the remaining school of 20 a distance away. The barracudas' presence remains a little unnerving but after a while of getting used to, we realise that they are harmless and will retain a standard distance of perhaps 20 or 30feet from divers. Other pelagics such as horse-eyed jacks and big-eyed trevallies hover around during feeding times and sometimes a rainbow runner or two would swing by for a meal.

But one thing, the month of May onwards the waters are swarming with jellyfish. Great for the breeding turtles where food is in abundance but maybe not so good for divers or snorkellers. The change in tides and the monsoon season closing in may bring these jellyfishes in from the open sea. I'm not really sure what type of jellyfishes they are, but to avoid getting stung, wear a full-length wet suit.

7. Pulau Ekor Tebu

(Difficulty: open water and higher)

A wonderful array of hard corals found here including the blue corals(heliopora coerulea). Wrinkled soft coral(sarcophyton trocheliophorum) growing up to 3ft/1m across are found closer to the surface. When its polyps are fully extended out during feeding, the coral has a furry appearance. But has a smooth, leathery texture when the polyps are retracted. Sometimes when these wrinkled soft corals will interlock with each other in groups over a section of the reef - looking like a misplaced white rug.

Nestled amongst the hard corals, are little protruding blue/purple laces. A closer inspection reveals the Tridacna crocea. The Giant Clam. They live in small cracks in shallow reef flats and near the upper reef surfaces where they can receive maximum sunlight. Clams flourish in the Indo-Pacific oceans because of its symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae. These are what we know as algae and the algae need sunlight for its photosynthesis activity. The zooxanthellae takes up the carbon and phosphates dissolved in the sea water. Through photosynthesis,the algae convert them into oxygen and various organic compounds which is released into the clam's bloodstream. But why do they have such colourful mantles? Through years of evolution, clams have adapted to the intense sunlight by developing a protective pigmentation - sort of like sunblock. Vibrant shades of blue, green, brown and yellow characterise their mantles.

The corals are perfect nesting sites for triggerfishes. These fishes sometimes feed on the sea urchins also found in the area. Sea urchins wear an armour of the long spines, which are used to pierce their enemies. The lodged brittle spines break off in the enemies' flesh and can inflict a lot of pain. To avoid direct contact with the sea urchins, Triggerfishes blow jets of water under the urchins to topple them so that the fish can feed on the soft under-body.

8. Batu Ling(Ling Rock)

(Difficulty: open water and higher)

drawing courtesy of Dennis Ho

The tip of Ling rock breaking out of the water marks the area. Underneath the surface, a continuous plateau formed by the Acropora sp. spreads right across to Pulau Chupak nearby. Please refer to map for dive sites. This dive site is generally an easy dive with a spread of soft corals on the Porite formations If possible, this may be a good place to search for the smaller organisms such as the Spanish dancer or other Nudibranchs, the mandarin fish, the ghost pipefish and crustaceans. One may encounter small troopes of cuttlefish flitting by. But when we dived here then, visibility was only 25ft caused by the early morning rains.

9. Pulau Chupak

(Difficulty: open water and higher)

photo courtesy of Moti Uttam

A rocky underwater terrain suitable for experienced divers as it can be a little choppy in this open area. Way back in '98,there used to be a carpet full of Sinularia Coral (flexible soft corals) on the north eastern face of the boulder from as shallow as 5meters below the surface..

Green turtles cruise this area for food and there have been sightings of a loggerhead turtle, which is good news as these turtles are a rare find in these waters. The Porite formations host a variety of sea creatures such as the white-eyed moray eels. The general reef fishes such as the sergeant majors, the schooling bannerfishes, the Blue-Ring Angelfish, coral groupers, yellow boxfish, eight banded butterflyfish, the odd parrotfish, pairs of rabbitfish, batfishes. The black-spotted pufferfish and two-line spine cheeks have been seen here. But, going on macro, try spotting the nudibranchs, flatworms and look out for the colony of christmas tree worms - like tips of bottle brushes, they come in all sorts of colours: blue, red, orange, yellow..definitely lights up my dives!

Generally a good recreational dive site for those who are keen to spot fishes that they have read so much about in our Coral Reef and Fishes section!

10. Pulau Paku Besar

(Difficulty: open water and higher)

drawing courtesy of Dennis Ho

A 5min boat ride from Pasir Panjang beach where divers are dropped off at the northeastern tip of the Paku Besar island. Depending on the current situation, your dive instructor will take you round to the sea facing front to explore the Acropora based reef. Humphead Parrotfish in schools of 20 or so have taken up residence here. These peculiar looking fishes graze on the corals and can be heard chomping on hard corals. They can grow up to 120cm and are extremely shy animals, usually moving away when divers approach. Parrotfish are so-called because their front teeth are fused into beak-like plates - ideal for picking hard corals and algae. Together with the algae, they consume a huge amount of rock particles which are ground by special teeth at the back of the throat. The rock particles are pulverised into sand which is used to help digest the plant matter. This fine white sand is later passed out of the body with the faeces. Like a sand-making machine, the parrotfish contribute greatly in building white, sandy beaches on the islands. At night or when napping during the day, they are found sleeping in herds for safety.

Do keep an eye on the open ocean as schools of pelagic such as tunas and rainbow runners sometimes circumnavigate the reefs.

11. Pulau Kerengga Kecil (Little Ant island)

(Difficulty: open water and higher)

photo courtesy of Moti Uttam

Good diving ground for new divers or divers who have little experience in open seas. Clusters of large Porite boulders become cleaning stations where cleaner wrasses(Labroides dimidiatus) service their customers by picking parasites off their mouth, body and gill chamber. Other fishes recognise these cleaners by their characteristic colour pattern and their bobbing movements and usually the cleaning stations are set up in relatively permanent locations. The cleaner wrasse grows to a length of between 8 and 12cms and is the only creature (apart from cleaner shrimps who conduct exactly the same service) who can freely dart in and out of the mouths of large predators without the fear of being eaten. Some of its regular clients are nurse sharks, giant black stingrays and even barracudas. Sometimes business is so good that a queue builds up at the service station! So don't forget to look in crevices and under the boulders for some action. Bring a torch with you.

12. Pinang Wreck

(Difficulty: open water and higher)

photo courtesy of Moti Uttam

This old 15M freightship is a good place to dive as it is pretty much protected from the strong currents. During low tide, the tip of the freightship can be seen protruding out of the water. A 15min boatride will take you to the marine park centre where the ship lies. Soft and hard corals cover the deck of the ship. Luscious Dendronephthya and gorgonian sp. spill over one side and clusters of Tubastrea sp. fill the other making room for stacks of staghorns. The last time we were there, a school of oriental sweet lips were found napping at the hull of the ship.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Pulau Tioman

Tioman is the biggest and most impressive island at the east coast. There is a brisk jungle covers a ridge on the west section of the island, which ends at the idyllic location of a beautiful palm fringed beach. Tioman offers a wide range of activities for visitors: snorkeling in crystal clear water, discover the beautiful underwater world when you go diving, or just laze on the beach while you work on that tan. Also, there is a jungle on the island that is just begging to be explored. The dense forest is a habitat for many kinds of flora and fauna.

Tioman was discovered as a holiday destination quite some time ago. It was the setting for the supposedly mythical magical island of Bali Hai from the 1958 Hollywood movie 'South Pacific'. In the 70s the Time magazine selected Tioman as one of the world's most beautiful islands.

Tioman is still rated as one of the world's most beautiful islands. It presents itself as a paradise island in the tropics. But sometimes you have to search for this paradise off the beaten track.

According to the Local legend, the mystical Tioman Island is the resting of a magical dragon princess who whilst flying from China to her beloved prince in Singapore, sought solace in the crystal waters of the South China Sea.

She was so pleased with the surrounding charm, that she discontinued her journey, and search for happiness in order to give pleasure and comfort to weary passing seafarers as well as providing shelter and refreshment to fisherman by turning herself into this beautiful island.

The island offer underwater adventure, snorkeling, windsurfing, outdoor adventure and of course, fun !!


The main gateway to Malaysia is through the new K.L. International Airport at Sepang located approximately 50km south of Kuala Lumpur. The Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang serves a few domestic and regional airlines. Other major international airports which serve as entry points are Penang, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi.

The main entry point by sea to KL is Port Klang, about 50km away from KL. Malaysia is also accessible by rail and road from Singapore and Thailand. Flight schedule to Tioman from Kuala Lumpur (departure from terminal 3, Subang Airport) - Berjaya Air (tel : 03-2452828 (fax 03-2458689). Air fare : Adult-RM141++ , Child-RM71++, Infant-15++(per person/way) Kuala Lumpur - Tioman : 0915 hrs, 1300hrs Tioman - Kuala Lumpur : 1100hrs, 1420hrsFrom other destination like Penang, Langkawi Island, Kuantan and Singapore you need to transit at Kuala Lumpur and before to Tioman. For further info contact us. Berjaya Air recently launched its direct flights between Seletar Airport, Singapore and Kampung Tekek Airport in Tioman Island. With the new service, tourists from Singapore, can reach Tioman Island in 40 minutes.

Trip to Mersing and Tanjung Gemuk (jetty to Tioman) by road

There are 2 access point to Tioman island :

1. Mersing

2. Tanjung Gemuk (near Kuantan)

Driving from Johor Bahru or Singapore to Mersing Drive to Kota Tinggi from Tebrau Highway and proceed your journey to Mersing, a quiet fishing town. The town is approximately 138 km. Well, you will never miss it as you can see the signboard to the town. At Mersing, you need to take a ferry to Tioman Island. There are secured parking spaces at a very cheap rate (around RM5/nights) so you don't have to think about your vehicle safety!

Driving from Kuala Lumpur to Mersing (399 km) One of the common road to the island is by PLUS highway to the South and exit through Segamat. From Segamat, continue your journey to Kluang and from there you can go to Mersing.

Driving to Mersing is a long ride and frequent travelers can shorten it by following routes:

1. KL - Kuala Pilah ( winding road) - Bandar Muazzam Shah (will exit between Endau & Mersing) - Mersing

2. KL - Kluang - NITAR - Mersing (Using this route, you'll avoid the winding road before reaching Jamaluang)

Both Bandar Muazzam Shah & NITAR are the palm oil plantation estates, thus the traffic is not heavy esp. during the festive seasons.

Advisable to use either routes only for day drive. Normally, I prefer to use Kluang - NITAR route. By the way, there's a small island called Pulau Cawan near Mersing. During low tide u can walk to this island and according to legend there's one nenek kebayan (old witch) residing there.

Public transport from Johor Bahru to Mersing Taxi fare is approx. RM100/cab per way (charter). Bus fare is about RM8/way from Larkin Bus Station, Johor Bahru. One of the coach service operator is Johora Express. Depart at 8:30 a.m. These are not frequent though.

Alternatively, you can take any bus to Kuantan from JB/Singapore but should not be surprised if you get charged the full JB-Kuantan (RM15) fare even though you might only be going halfway. This is actually legitimate as these buses cannot pick up new passengers on the way and Mersing is not considered a major station.

Most of the express buses will drop you off either at the roundabout from which you should take Jalan Abu Bakar to get to the guesthouses (there are only 2 main roads in the town). Alternatively, you might be dropped in the back of the Embassy Hotel. Just walk straight to the big buildings into the main town to Jalan Abu Bakar.

If you get accosted by travel agents upon getting down from the bus, ignore them. You don't need to buy your tickets right there.

Public transport from Singapore to Mersing Bus express is available at Newton Circus Food Court ("IN" Entrance car park) and Jalan Sultan Bus Station. Depart at 6:30 a.m. daily.

Public transport from Kuala Lumpur to Mersing You need to go to Puduraya bus station and the fare is about RM16.60/way. One of the coach service operator is Transnational Express, tel : (603) 238 8155, the buses leave at noon and about 8:30 at night with the ride taking about 6 hours. Taxi fare is approx. RM300 - RM400 per taxi (chartered service).

Additional info on public transportation There are buses to Mersing direct from Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu (KT), Cherating and Johor Bahru as well as KL.

From KT, there are about 5 buses a day leaving early in the morning until 2:00 in the afternoon and also overnight.

These buses stop at Kuantan and you can board there. From Cherating, there are buses at 10:30 a.m. and 11:40 at night. From Kuantan, the ride takes 4 hours (RM10.35) and from Cherating, 5 hours (RM13.30).

Bus companies are limited and you probably take Transnational which uses quite poor buses (by Malaysia's high standards) to Mersing

Driving to Tanjung Gemuk
Kuala Lumpur - Temerloh - Kuantan - Pekan - Rompin - Tg Gemok KL-Karak Highway - Route No 2 - Route No 3
Kuala Lumpur - Seremban - Bahau - Muadzam Shah - Rompin - Tg Gemok PLUS Highway- Route No 51-Route No 11-Route No 12- Route No 62- Route No 3
Melaka - Tangkak - Segamat - Muadzam Shah - Rompin - Tg Gemok PLUS Highway - Route No 23 - Route No 12 - Route No 63 - Route No 3
Singapore - Johor Bahru - Mersing - Tg Gemok Route No 3
Kuantan - Pekan - Rompin - Tg Gemok Route No 3

Trip to Tioman by ferry/Speed boat

From Mersing to Tioman

You can go either by speed boat (max passenger 20) or speed ferry (max passenger 150). The speed boat is reasonably good and gets you there in less than 2 hours. The best part is that there is a speedboat that leaves earlier than the alternative speed ferry.

The speed ferry seat more people and take only marginally longer - perhaps taking 1.5 to 2 hours to the island. These cost RM30. When you take either kind of boat, you can ask them to drop you wherever you want on Tioman. The ferry port is just outside the center of Mersing town.

From the JB-Rompin road, take Jalan Abu Bakar straight past the town for about 200 metres and the port will be to your left right after the Mersing Tourist Information Center. It is right next to the R&R Plaza which is the express bus station. More on Mersing Town.

Speed ferry - 1 hour 30 mins *Temporary Unavailable
Ticket Fare RM30.00/way(adult) - RM25.00/way(child 3-12 y.o)

08:00a.m( Mersing - Tioman )
( Mersing - Tioman )

09:30am( Tioman - Mersing )
02:30p.m( Tioman - Mersing )

Note : subject to tide & passenger

Normal F erry - 2 hours
Ticket Fare RM30.00/way(adult) - RM25.00/way(child 3-12 y.o)

11:30a.m( Mersing - Tioman )

08:00a.m( Tioman - Mersing )

Note : subject to tide & passenger

Speed boat
Ticket Fare RM45.00/way(adult) - RM40.00/way(child 3-12 y.o)
Time 07:30 a.m, 10:30 a.m , 01:30 p.m, 03:00p.m( Mersing - Tioman )
09:30 a.m, 01.30 p.m, 03.00 p.m( Tioman - Mersing )
Note : subject to tide & passenger

Last update: April 2005

Keep your eyes WIDE open as the lucky ones can spot the dolphin when you travel to Tioman by ferry/boat.

Tanjung Gemuk to Tioman

Ferry capacity : 116/122 passengers

Terminal facilities :

  • Comfortable jetty passengers waiting list
  • Tourist Information Counter
  • Cars and bus parking area enclosure (96 vehicles)
  • 300 passengers waiting area
  • Additional trips for public holiday
  • Special group booking available

Ferry schedule :

From Tg Gemok - Tioman

From Tioman - Tg Gemuk

09.00 a.m

10.00 a.m

12.00 p.m

12.00 a.m

04.00 p.m

04.00 p.m

Ferry fare :