Maybe it's not the first place to spring to mind when you are planning a resort holiday, but Kelly Landry's experience in Malaysia could add another destination to ponder. White sandy beaches, crystal clear blue sea full of marine life, stunning snorkelling and scuba-diving all await you in the Redang archipelago in Malaysia
The Palau Redang Marine Park is a 90-minute ferry ride off Malaysia's east coast. It's made up of nine islands Lima, Paku Besar, Paku Kecil, Kerengga Besar, Kerengga Kecil, Ekor Tebu, Ling, Pinang and Redang, the main island.
The archipelago has a unique ecosystem with 500 species of live corals, more than 1000 species of invertebrates and around 3000 species of fish including manta rays, stingrays, sharks and whale sharks.
Redang Island has two beaches. Long Beach is the welcome mat to Laguna Redang Resort which is in the traditional Malay style and makes the most of cooling South China Sea breezes.
The low-rise resort has 222 rooms ranging from standard to Laguna suites. They are light and airy and have beautiful timber floors. Deluxe rooms and above have balconies overlooking gardens, rainforest, sea or pool.
Two restaurants will spoil you for choice. Local and international cuisines, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are available all day. Sang Suria is an open concept restaurant, surrounded by manicured gardens and the South China Sea. Paradise!
There are three pools and of course a day spa. For activities, just head to the Recreation Centre. There's kayaking, banana boating, archery, beach volleyball, massage, pool table, board games and fishing trips on offer. The Beach Club has live entertainment and four karaoke rooms.
Kelly decided to explore the huge rainforest and joined a Jungle Trek. The guided walks are great for animal spotting and learning about the jungle's role in traditional medicine. The wild ginger plant is used by locals to relieve joint pain. They rub the sap on sore spots and swear they receive instant relief.
Several trails go off the beaten track to scenic hilltops and rocky cliffs. As you go deeper into the forest you will see rare orchids, marvellous trees and tiny animals.
Redang's mangroves are home to a rich variety of coastal life. Crabs, mudskippers, birds, monitors and other unusual creatures live there.
You probably should explore the island before you explore the water. Clear waters have temperatures between 27°C and 31.5°C and you just may not want to get out! An astounding variety of marine life awaits you. Barracuda Rock provides close encounters with the well-known fish, and the reefs west of Pulau Chipu have the world's largest concentrations of anemones.
Mini Mount is a favourite day and night dive site. There are angelfish, parrotfish, wrasses, groupers and other reef dwellers to enjoy on a day dive. Nocturnal crabs, eels and urchins provide something really different on a night dive.
Related: Capital shopping in Kuala Lumpur
Redang Marine Park, 90 minutes by boat off Malaysia's east coast.
Laguna Redang Island Resort rooms start at $150 a night, including breakfast.
Singapore Airlines has flights to Kuala Lumpur.
- Perth $1071
- Melbourne $1168
- Adelaide $1182
- Sydney $1187
- Brisbane $1190
Sales, validity dates and conditions apply.
Air and ferry connections to Redang Island are available.
Prices correct at September 23, 2010.
For further information
Laguna Redang Island Resort
Ph: +609 630 7888
Fax: +609 630 7878
Visas: Australians can enter Malaysia without a visa. Thirty-day entry permits will be issued, but customs officials can grant 90-day permits at their discretion.
Electricity: Plugs have three pins, identical in shape and voltage to British plugs, so Australian travellers will need a UK adaptor. They operate at 230V at 50Hz.
Time zone: GMT +8.
Currency: Ringgit Malaysia (RM).
International dialling code: +60.
It is recommended travellers to Malaysia see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there may be specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au and www.welltogo.com.au.