After spending a few weeks exploring the cities and highland areas of Malaysia we headed east explore some of Malaysia’s most beautiful islands in the South China Sea. Our first stop was Pulau Redang, a remote island just south of the more popular Perenthian Islands. Redang is the largest of several marine park islands that are protected and regulated in the Terengganu state. We were invited to stay at the secluded Wisana Village, the only resort on the island which is owned, operated, and run by local island villagers who are mostly family members.
Wisana Village is located in the south-east corner of Redang Island. To arrive from western Malaysia you must take a speedboat that has very limited service. Merang jetty has boats that depart for Redang Island at 9:30, 13:00, and 15:00. The very ride is very quick, less than an hour, and as you pull up to Wisana Village you’re greeted with an incredible view of the beachy sanctuary you get to call home for a few days.
The gorgeous one piece I am wearing was designed by my friend Natasha who is the creative force behind swimwear line Mer Culture. The elevated fit and well-placed design makes me feel sexy and confident, something I usually struggle with when I am exposing so much skin. The cut is incredibly flattering, and slightly cheeky, which enhances my curves in all the right ways. This particular design was inspired by one of my favorite places, Morocco. Each collection from Mer Culture is inspired by an exotic land and its unique crafts, like the Moroccan Zillij tiles from the Grand Mosque Hassan II in Casablanca which influenced the pattern of this swimsuit.
We were treated to impossibly clear seafoam and turquoise water, silky soft white sand, and more sea turtle encounters than we can count. The clarity made the ocean seem reflective, we could even see our shadows floating underneath us. We booked daily private snorkeling trips with a few other guests for around $25 each, much pricier than we typically pay but well worth it as we were surrounded by friendly sea turtles and black tip reef sharks.
We went free ping around a shipwreck that had sunk during WWII and has since transformed into a psychedelic underwater haven for fish. The reef in the area is vibrant and full of aquatic life thanks to the strictly regulated protection of the area. We were amazed to see massive clams, neon coral, bright pink sea slugs, tons of angel fish, parrot fish, and curious clownfish that got bravely close to us. In Redang Island, there are Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, and Green Turtles. I love how their faces always look a little bit grumpy.
I wouldn’t recommend going to turtle bay, here boats full of tourists are in the waters feeding the sea turtles. This obviously curbs their natural instinct to hunt and provide for themselves and is irresponsible wildlife interaction. The turtles here were three times the size that we had seen elsewhere on the island. They were completely used to humans and would swim right up to our faces searching for food. One swam by me so quickly it’s fin smacked me in the head.
Our private snorkeling trip the second day ended at Kerangga Island sandbar, which is actually almost entirely made of white coral. It was very painful to walk on, but an incredibly beautiful spot far away from civilization. We enjoyed a few leisurely moments soaking up the pure white seabed and translucent aqua waters before heading back to Wisana Village.
Snorkeling trips aren’t required to see incredible aquatic life. We spotted at least three sea turtles every time we swam at the Wisana Village private Teluk Kalong Kechil beach. The white-powder sand and crystal clear waters make it easy to have a great vantage underwater and watch these majestic creatures as they gracefully sway through the ocean waters, snack on the seabed, and float upwards for quick gasps of air.
Wisana Village offers guests the chance to stay in rustic wooden beach chalets with balconies equipped with modern amenities and luxurious bedding that are snugly situated right on the edge of the water, each with an incredible sea view. We could literally walk out or door and be in the warm sea water in less than 30 seconds. Behind the chalets is a lush jungle that provides shade in the afternoon, and the occasional monkey climbing down to say Hello. We rose with the sun to the sound of waves crashing just outside our doors and birds singing their morning songs high above us in the palm trees. The perfect way to start the day in this serene tropical oasis.
The decor at the Malay resort is beachy bohemian with an open-air restaurant that serves buffet-style meals with local dishes and a cozy lounge area complete with colorful bean bags, floor mats, and panoramic views of the Kerangga Island sandbar. This was the perfect idyllic place to relax watch the sunrise in the morning and the full moon rise in the evening. The resort was at full capacity during our stay but it still felt tranquil and due to a small number of available rooms. Make sure to book in advance if you want to experience this paradise yourself and note that Wisana Village operates from March to October and is closed during monsoon season.
Wisana Village was truly paradise found. Isn’t it just picture-perfect? Where have you experienced a charming beach getaway? Tell us in the comments and maybe we’ll go check it out ourselves.
Thank you Wisana Village, for hosting us, Bus Online Ticket for transportation, and Mer Culture for the swimwear! All opinions and photos are my own. Please read the Miss Filatelista disclosure policy for more information.