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Feel the serenity as your feet step onto the sandy white beach and you hear the calming waves splashing its blue and green clear water on the shore. Are you ready for your next beach adventure?
Malaysia is renowned for its beautiful, pristine beaches, one of which is a tiny island situated about 6km off the coast of Marang, on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
The island is known as Pulau Kapas, literally translated as Cotton Island, perhaps owing to its soft, white and smooth sandy beach.
Just a short 10-minute boat ride will take you away from the busy mainland from Marang jetty to this island where you can enjoy a relaxing trip surrounded by nature. Its close proximity to the mainland is probably one of the main reasons why this island is popular among the locals as a weekend getaway, as its relative isolation offers a form of refuge to those looking for a moment of tranquility.
Despite its smaller size compared to other islands in Malaysia, this tiny island is inhabited by a decent variety of marine life like seashells, turtles and soft corals, some of which can be observed in close quarters when you dive or snorkel around the island. If you want to cruise on the cool waters, kayaking and windsurfing are also some of the activities you can explore.
For a more unique experience other than swimming, diving or snorkelling, try your hand at squid jigging or ‘candat sotong’ as the locals say, where you use a handline of nylon string with a barbed sinker attached, to lure and catch squids.
Squid jigging is typically done later in the evening or at night. Take a fishing boat and cruise further towards the sea. You can find many tour operators offering a package for squid jigging at reasonable prices. Guides are also available to bring you to the best spots with abundant supply of squids to last you for a long time!
Adrenaline junkies, you’re in for a trip too. If you crave for that little rush, why not head on over to Batu Berakit or Bukit Singa for something more adventurous? Hike up Bukit Singa for that Instagrammable cool aerial view of the cliff jutting out into the clear blue sea. While caution is advised as you navigate the uneven steps of the hill, the hike itself is not too difficult to manoeuvre, taking no longer than 30 minutes for a moderately fit hiker.
More daring stunts, you say? Savour the spectacular view at Batu Berakit before you feel the rush as you plunge into the deep blue sea!
While you’re vacationing in Pulau Kapas, take the opportunity to visit another tiny island close by, the Gemia Island. The island can be reached via boat or rented kayak from Pulau Kapas or directly via boat from the mainland Marang Jetty. While the activities you can do here are similar to Pulau Kapas, it is worth the trip for a more secluded space which affords the island a peaceful and romantic vibe. Spend a night at the only resort on the island, Gem Island Resort & Spa at one of their villas and view the sunset with your partner for that ideal evening date.
As a marine conservation area, Gemia Island is also famed for the resplendent views of marine life where you can snorkel amongst the stingrays and the sea turtles. You can also swim next to the (tiny) sharks at the ‘Shark Bays’ where many small-sized sharks live. This may be one of the few places where you can boast about swimming with sharks without constantly fearing for your life!
One of the best things about Pulau Kapas is the availability of a range of accommodations, even though there aren’t too many places to stay on the island. Depending on your budget and your preference, you can choose to either stay with only the most basic amenities where you can cook and camp like the Longsha Campsite, or pamper yourself with the extra lavish facilities at the more luxurious villas such as at the Kapas Turtle Valley.
It can cost you between RM15 to rent a tent at the campsite per night or around RM200 a night if you want to splurge at a hotel here. Knowing that you have the flexibility in choosing the right type of accommodation for you and enjoy the paradisiacal beach without breaking the bank sure is a bonus!
We hope that you are as excited as we are to explore this beautiful island once it is safe to travel again. Stay safe!
- The island is not open during monsoon season between November and February
- We suggest visiting the island between April – August
For a sneak peek of what awaits you in Terengganu, visit their website at Beautiful Terengganu.