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Tag / redang

Last weekends we organized a family trip to Redang, the island paradise that I’ve been quite a few times, when it comes to Redang, it is always an expectation of bright sun, crystal clear sea, and white sandy beach. In another word – everything that Redang Island Resort is not.

the chalet style rooms at Redang Island Resort
the chalet style rooms at Redang Island Resort

Redang Island Resort is not without its plus points. It is relatively close to the airport and they provide free transfer. You never need to see the beach or get your feet wet to get to the place.

Touted as a 3 star hotel with 98 rooms, the resort usually place you in a block of 4 rooms, with mostly wooden interior that’s masterfully painted in the dullest color imaginable. If you are here to relax your colored eye sight, it is the place to go.

For a resort that is situated at the tropics, the room also comes with air conditioning that takes an hour to reduce one Celsius, be thankful to the ceiling fan provided.

Outside the room, expect a lawn and garden that would fit right in any primary school too, very nostalgic.

beach? what beach?
beach? what beach?

For those who hates beach, this is the perfect place to be. The hotel is built within the jungle at the southern tip of Redang island, on a small hill. To get to the beach, you’ll have to track through some challenging terrain. Climbing down perhaps 50 meters or so, you’ll be rewarded with a small and pretty dismay beach facing the busy harbor. The water is slightly clearer than those in Port Dickson though.

The swimming pool is actually better than the beach, and the swimming pool was quite bad.

For food, there’s a single restaurant at the hotel, I didn’t check if McD would deliver though. Oh, food isn’t included in the package (RM 250 per room via booking.com).

If you want to incorporate a little bit of drinking at night, rest assure that the bar does offer beer for RM 18 per can. No cocktail, whisky, wine, or any of those nonsense.

Other activities offered by the hotel includes a round island trip (RM 800 for up to 7 pax), and even snorkeling (RM 35 per trip or RM 45 for 2 trips, etc.). Bicycles are also available for rental, and I’d think is quite essential as the room and lobby is otherwise a bus ride away.

I would however, advice against their jungle tracking offer since you can just do that by going down to catch a glimpse of the beach.

In short, if you want an experience at Redang that you would expect being in a cheap hotel at Fraiser’s Hill minus the cool temperature, this is the place to go.

It wasn’t the type of holiday we expected, hence we checked out after an hour and went to Redang Holiday Beach Villa, and everything got back on track.

P/S: Berjaya Vacation Club: thanks for the sleight of hand. You got us this time.

Just got back from Redang island for Project AWARE + diving trip. 2010 is now officially a diving year for me since this has turned out to be the 5th diving trip of the year after Sipadan/Mabul, 2 trips to Tenggol, and a previous trip to Redang in June.

Project AWARE at Redang
Haze, Joel, Wan Czin, Yuki, Horng, Ian, Irene, Vinn, Zess, Gabriel, Terence, KY

Project AWARE is also known by the less glamourous name of International Cleanup Day whereby beach enthusiasts all over the world come together and basically spend a morning clearing up a section of beach from things that shouldn’t be there.

Our group managed to picked up some 500+ cigarette buds from just one small stretch of beach in front of a resort, and there were 5 other teams that picked up similar amount of ciggy buds and other junks too. One other interesting thing we picked up, among ropes/bottle caps/slippers/etc was a piece of soiled underwear :S

Diving at Redang Island

Project AWARE is usually partly sponsored by the resort, and hence we also scored 3 dives at a reduced rate. However, the visibility weren’t great, and our instructor too were reluctant to take us to some of the more interesting/challenging sites due to the larger amount of divers on each trip. This was actually my 2nd participation of Project AWARE, with the previous one all the way back in 2004 at Redang, my 2nd dive trip.

After this trip, I now logged 45 dives in total, with 31 of them from this year and 14 from 2004.

3 Layer Tea and lor mai kai at Redang Beach resort

Since this is a space is sorta known as a food blog, I shall also introduce the best 3 layer tea from this side of Malaysia – the little kopitiam at Redang Beach Resort manned by an uncle. The blend of evaporated milk, tea, and palm sugar’s perfect! The lor mai kai (steamed glutinous chicken rice) is pretty awesome too!

As for accommodation, we stayed at Pelangi resort, which in my opinion is a bit better than Redang Beach resort. There’s attached toilet on each room instead of communal hostel style arrangement, for example. Food wise they’re both similarly sad though.

There’ll be a bit more on this trip in the coming post(s), but in the mean time, please help complete the survey on Shark’s fin on the side bar on your right. I need the information for an upcoming post, thanks!

This is the last food post from the Redang trip last month. After stopping by for keropok lekor, our last item on schedule before heading back to KL was naturally, lunch.

Ed again served as the guide and this time he brought us to Restaurant Golden Dragon in Chinatown

restaurant golden dragon at kuala terengganu
a very straight to the point “non halal” sign

I knew that it had to be at least a pretty decent place soon as we arrived. The restaurant was absolutely packed even on a Monday, and we had to wait for a table. There was a big group of middle aged ladies with “I love Redang” t-shirts, which doesn’t bear any significance to anything but I just felt like mentioning.

brinjal, long bean, salted fish, roast pork and bbq pork
long beans, eggplant, salted fish, roast pork and BBQ pork

Ed ordered a large portion of roast pork and BBQ pork, and I made orders of several other pre-prepared dishes to go with steamed rice. We had long beans, eggplant, omelet, bitter gourd, and some soup too.

Though the BBQ pork (char siu) was ordinary, the roast pork (siu yoke) was actually rather good. We actually ordered a second serving of roast pork to make up for going 3 days porkless on the island.

bitter gourd, omelet, soup, rice
bitter gourd, omelet, soup, rice

While the other dishes were commendable, my favorite had to go to the salted fish fillets. The aroma and taste was just so “right” I used it to replace soya sauce. Omelet  with salted fish, roast pork with salted fish, bitter gourd with salted fish, egg plant with salted fish, they were all awesome!

the group from Redang trip
Terence, Kim, FA, Ed, Horng, KY & Joe, Kerol & Haze

Including drinks, we only had to pay RM 8 per person for the meal. It was really cheap considering the amount of items we ordered. I’ve read that they serve pretty good “tai chau” during dinner time too.

map of Kuala Terengganu Chinatown

Address:
198 Jalan Kampung Cina
Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu

GPS: 5.333684, 103.132921
Tel: 09-622 3034

As the previous Redang island post mentioned, we arrived at Kuala Terengganu 2 hours too early for our boat ride to the island. To kill time and satisfy our stomach, we head to Chinatown, a road aptly called Jalan Kampung Cina at KT for some breakfast.

roast duck noodle at kuala terengganu
duck noodle at coffee shop just next to the Chinatown gate

Even at this primarily Muslim dominated state, Chinese food is actually pretty easy to get, and there’s a  local taste to it too. Most Chinese in Terengganu speaks either Hokkien with a very Penang like accent, or Mandarin. Cantonese is spoken here too but quite a lot less prevalent.

All these basically means that you shouldn’t have any problem ordering food. Unlike the hawker scene in KL that’s dominated by foreigners whom you just don’t know what language to start with when trying to converse with them.

KY and Kim
KY and Kim enjoying some roast duck noodle as breakfast

The duck noodle stall offers wantan noodle, roast pork, char siu, and of course, roast duck. Kim and I both ordered the roast duck with wantan noodle (RM 4-6). The meat was very fragrant, tender, and juicy, and I love the abundance of lighter sauce on the noodle with the thicker roast duck sauce on the meat. There’s a bowl of pork wantan soup accompanying the dish.

I wouldn’t mind stopping here for breakfast again if I find myself at KT. Yums!

kuala terengganu chinatown map

By the way, check out Kim’s account on Redang too.

Address:
Jalan Kampung Cina,
Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu

GPS: 5.331986, 103.132667

Before earlier this year at Sipadan and Mabul islands, my previous diving trip was Redang, way back in 2005. After the very first dive at Mabul island, I realized how much I actually missed diving and promised that I would do it perhaps 4 times this year.

I guess I over achieved, it is June and I’ve went on 4 diving trips already. This time at Redang island, it was a trip organized by Terence to con our buddy Horng in getting his PADI Open Water certification.

turtle at Redang
Terence chasing the green turtle

Together with Haze, Kim, Kerol, FA, Joe (went to Tenggol with), and dive instructor Edvin from OceanXplorer, we started our journey just after midnight from KL to Kuala Terengganu on Friday.

The drive took a little less than 7 hours, which proved to be a bit of a mistake in scheduling. As our boat does not leave till past 9 am, we ended up having to spend over 2 hours at Kuala Terengganu for breakfast. Should have left at perhaps 1:30am instead to optimize the journey and catch more sleep prior.

haze, FA, kim, kerol at Merang Jetty
Haze, Kerol, FA, and Kim. bottom rigth: 2 vagabonds found on the boat

In contrast with the departure point to Tenggol at Dungun where there were perhaps half a dozen people heading to the island, Merang Jetty was absolutely packed. There were tourists representing all continents, a cacophony of foreign languages and various local accents served as white noise while we board our relatively comfortable boat.

A little less than an hour later, we arrived at Redang.

KY & Haze, Joe with his cam, Horng and Edvin
KY & Haze, Joe, Horng getting his PADI certification by Edvin

While Tenggol was a hidden paradise, Redang felt more like a well oiled machine all prep up for tourists.

Boat load of people being herded to the resort registration counter like sheep by hounds, tractors hauling your luggage, loud PA system announcing snorkeling time, and huge dining area not entirely unlike school canteen.

Eagle Ray at Redang island
freaking lucky Horng, Eagle Ray on his first ever dive

Having said that, while I don’t particularly like the commercialization of the island, it does have advantages some can’t live without.

There’s projector with Astro showing world cup, convenient store, pub by the beach with dance floor and all sorts of alcohol, and even eateries offering pretty awesome Cantonese noodle and lor mai kai (glutinous rice with chicken).

Terence, Horng, KY, Joe geared up for diving
Terence, Horng, KY, Joe,  diving at Redang on 2nd day

I did 5 dives at Redang, the first was the shore dive in conjunction with Horng’s very first compressed air breathing experience in the ocean. We saw a magnificent spotted eagle ray!

nemo, cleaner fish
puffer fish, nemo’s cousin, and cleaner fish on my fins

The second dive we did was with the resort’s dive operator at the site just a couple minutes from the beach. The dive turned out to be pretty forgettable, not a whole lot to see and a tad too many divers at the same time. I did manage to get some cleaner fish to service my fins though 😀

Luckily quite a lot of people left the island on Sunday (our 2nd day). The lesser crowd was a blessing, and though not related, the diving was much better too.

blue fish, more nemo, moray eel
blue coral fish, moray eel, more nemo, blue spotted sting ray

Our second dive at Tanjung Tokong dive site had the best visibility I’ve ever experienced, we could see well over 30 meters. It was like diving in 1080p HD quality.

We ended up visiting a lot of nemo in our 5 dives. There were other usual suspects like moray eel, trigger fish, cleaner fish, shrimp, puffer, porcupine fish, green turtle, and blue spotted sting ray. There weren’t a lot of nudibranch though.

Unfortunately, there were also some signs of coral bleaching due to the warm ocean temperature, hopefully that will reverse itself in due time.

shrimp, ikan kembong, porcupine fish
another eel, ikan kembong?, cleaner shrimp, porcupine fish

While the diving weren’t superb, they were still pretty enjoyable. The excellent vis at Tg. Tokong was a savior, and of course the feeling of being in water with total freedom and almost total quietness was always something I love.

Kim and Kerol did a discovery dive with Ed and totally loved it, I think there’s probably more certified divers in #porkgang next year. As it stands, all the guys are certified divers, and none of the girls are. Lets change that soon guys!