(Worth It or Not?) Island Hopping Between Pulau Redang, Pulau Perhentian & Pulau Lang Tengah
If you don’t know, Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Lang Tengah & Pulau Redang are 3 islands on the east coast of Terengganu. They are close to each other and at a non-swimmable distance (unless you are an aspiring 🏊♂️marathon swimmer). It would be nice to hop between these 3 beautiful islands on your trip, isn’t it? However, is it worth it? Read on to find out!
Is It Possible?
Short answer: Yes.
However, it’s complicated as it involves more than 1 possible route and (ka-ching) 🤑cost calculations. We shall analyse further but first, let’s dive in to see why you should visit these 3 islands.
Pulau Perhentian vs Pulau Lang Tengah vs Pulau Redang
To be more specific, it should be Pulau Perhentians as there are 2 Pulau Perhentians namely Pulau Perhentian Kecil and Pulau Perhentian Besar. These 2 islands demand more time, patience and willpower to explore their well-preserved beauty and well-protected marine park. Just like Pulau Redang, both Pulau Perhentians have lots of beautiful 🤿snorkelling or diving sites. Accommodations here are also more varied in price range, as you can easily find a budget or a more luxurious accommodation.
Pulau Perhentian Kecil has lots of places to be explored, is packed with extreme activities and gives off a backpacker vibe. Besides s🤿norkelling and diving, you can go hiking or 🛶kayaking.
At night there are fire shows along the Long Beach, with the mini 🔥fire show starting at 7:30pm and the grand fire show at 10:30pm. It is also more developed and has cheaper accommodations. There are no 🚗cars here, and most of the transportation modes are boats (called water taxis), so there will be lots of walking for you.
P.s: For more food options and a cheaper stay, the Fisherman Village is the best place to stay. The only downside is that it’s a bit far away from the most happening beach on the island, the Long Beach.
Pulau Perhentian Besar is quieter with a more private atmosphere, which makes it more 👨👩👧👦family-friendly and suitable for a 💏honeymoon vacation. It is also more convenient to travel around as most resorts here have their own jetty. Apart from that, this island is less developed with more expensive resorts and restaurants.
Pulau Lang Tengah
Also known as the Lang Tengah Island, Pulau Lang Tengah is the smallest out of the 3 islands, but hey! Don’t look down on it ok? This midget island has 4 accommodations and each comes with a private beach.
There is also a turtle watch site and a couple of hiking trails. It is also less crowded compared with its neighbouring islands making it more tranquil and pleasant for diving and snorkelling. Due to lesser crowds, the corals here are in pristine condition.
As a bonus, you get to watch blue tears at some beaches. Ask the locals or hotel operators about the best sites to view this magical phenomenon that is only visible at night.
One of the most beautiful islands in the world, Pulau Redang is famous for its white sandy beach and crystal clear water. The clear water provides high visibility making it a world-class 🤿snorkelling and diving spot. As a gazetted and protected marine park, Pulau Redang is the home to many pelagic 🐠fishes and corals.
On top of that, there are many resorts along the beaches with some of the most comfortable stays you can get. Most of them offer all-inclusive packages with 🍝meals and 🤿snorkelling or diving excursions twice daily.
Pulau Redang is comparatively bigger than Lang Tengah and Pulau Perhentian. Among these 3 islands, Pulau Redang also has the most facilities, accommodations, attractions and activities. The 💸cost of spending your vacation here is also more expensive compared to the other 2 islands. However, there is no denying that the experience with the resorts here is superior to that of the other 2 islands because you get what you pay for.
How To Travel Between Islands?
Is it possible to hop between Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Lang Tengah & Pulau Redang in a day? Yes, but you are going to need to have a big fat purse which vomits notes on demand. It can be done by chartering a private boat which costs around (defibrillator at stand-by) RM600 to RM1k per boat and trip! Most of the resorts on the 3 islands offer ferry arrangements, but of course, you can book a 🚤boat yourself online too.
For a cheaper way to travel, you are advised to go back and forth from the mainland jetties. There are 2 mainland jetties to disembark from to get to your designated island. Kuala Besut (Pulau Perhentian) and Merang Jetty (Lang Tengah & Redang Island).
Best Island Hopping Routes
Okay! Listen up. Here is where things get a little bit complicated. Let’s start with a 🌎geography lesson here to understand how, why and which is the best option for island hopping between Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Lang Tengah & Pulau Redang. First of all, these 3 islands are naturally arranged in such a way that Pulau Perhentian is on top followed by Pulau Lang Tengah in the middle and Pulau Perhentian at the bottom. Now, you might think that you can head to either Pulau Perhentian or Pulau Redang and hop from 1 island to another just like 1,2,3 but no, you can’t do that. Here is the reason why.
To understand why you’ll have to first learn a bit about the boat transfers. Generally, this is how it looks.
Kuala Besut (Mainland) ⇄ Pulau Perhentian Perhentian ⇄ Pulau Redang Merang Jetty (Mainland) ⇄ Pulau Redang Merang Jetty (Mainland) ⇄ Pulau Lang Tengah Pulau Redang ⇄ Pulau Lang Tengah
Notice that there is no transfer between Pulau Perhentian (top island) and Pulau Lang Tengah (middle island). According to a thread on Tripadvisor from 8 years ago, Mama's Chalet on Perhentian Island offers private boat service between Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Lang Tengah. However, the cost and whether it’s still available is unknown.
If you are thinking about going to Pulau Lang Tengah first and then head to one of the 2 big islands (Pulau Perhentian or Pulau Redang), followed by the other big island and skipping Pulau Lang Tengah in the middle, we can tell you that this plan is doable. That is because there is a boat transfer to and from Pulau Perhentian or Pulau Redang with private boats that costs approximately RM600 per boat per trip. Flight to Sabah & Sarawak is cheaper, I know. If you are lucky, you can share the 🚤boat with other travellers hence cutting your cost.
Alternatively, you can take trips to the jetty on the mainland then use an e-haling service or drive to the other jetty and back to your designated island. This route is cheaper than the previous option. It costs around RM55 - RM80 per return trip for an adult. However, you need to allocate more time for travelling as each boat trip is approximately 45mins - 1 hour provided that the ⛅weather is good. You also need to keep in mind that the boats run according to schedule, and they don’t run very frequently so you might end up using a day just for boat transfers.
Another way is to take up a Pulau Perhentian + Pulau Lang Tengah + Pulau Redang package. Some resorts offer this package which includes transfers between islands so that you don’t have to arrange them yourself. Headaches removed.
How Long Should I Stay?
It is advisable to allocate at least a week for your holiday no matter which route you choose to enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
Best Diving Season
These islands are only open from around April to October because November to March is the monsoon season. This is when the weather is bad and the sea is 🌊choppy. During the monsoon season, ferries and boats will have a hard time going on the sea, and it is definitely a no-no to 🚫🏊♂️swim, dive or 🤿snorkel in the sea too. It is hard to predict when the exact month the monsoon will end, so be sure to check with your resort operator.
June to August is the peak season where accommodation prices are the highest and full booking is almost guaranteed. So if you plan to come around this period, make sure to book your accommodation early. August and September are when the water is warm and has the highest visibility, making it the best season to dive and 🤿snorkel.
Money Saving Tips
Buy instant food from the mainland like instant noodles, bread & jam, oats, eggs, etc and bring them to the islands.
Some restaurants on Perhentian like Amelia Cafe n' Chalet and dive shops have water refill service for RM1 / 1.5 litre. Alternatively, you can buy water from the mainland (away from the jetty) which costs around RM1.50 because, on the island, the same bottle of water can cost up to RM4.
Make sure to pack all your 🧴shampoo, sunblock, 🧼soaps, 💊Panadol, etc because there is no supermarket or pharmacy here and things can get hella expensive.
Now that you have a better idea about these islands, is it worth hopping between Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Lang Tengah & Pulau Redang or not?