By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu*The opinions expressed in this post are strictly the author’s personal opinions and other individual’s experience may vary.
——- MY FIRST TIME EXPERIENCE BEING (AN UNOFFICIAL) VACATION PLANNER TO MY FAMILY.
4 months ago, I went to Redang Island but I never had a chance to write about it. By chance I mean, I don’t have ample time to do so and somehow writing about my own vacation will drive readers goes bleghhhh. However, lately I felt the urge to write about it probably because I really need a vacation and nature is the best stress reliever. Besides, this is my first time being a vacation planner for my family. Originally, one of my eldest brothers and I decided to give a present of vacation package for the 30th anniversary of my parent’s wedding to them. My father somehow had another plan in his mind. He wanted all of us go and join the vacation. My mother didn’t mind at all and I was at that time is the only one who had a free time to be a planner. After doing some research on the price and where the best resort to stay is, I stumbled upon Redang Mutiara Beach Resort. Compared to other resorts, this place is quite affordable if you wanted to stay on the island.
We drove from Kuala Lumpur at 10.00 PM on 11 April 2014 whereby the total hours taken to arrive at Terengganu is nearly at 8 hours. We almost lost because finding a small jetty (Merang Jetty) in the isolated area in Terengganu is not easy. Luckily, Waze and Google Maps is pretty much comes in handy in times like that. We arrived at Merang Jetty during Dawn and we slept at Mosque right after Subuh Prayer. Around 8.30 am, we took our breakfast and readied ourselves to wait for our ferry to come and get us. The Itinerary give by Redang Mutiara Beach Resort is pretty much clear and detailed. However, they failed to excel at punctuality. We waited for almost an hour before the ferry arrived and take us to their location. Being an unofficial planner is not easy especially people are expecting you to do everything and if every single thing is not going the way that they wanted, they’re all whining like a bitch. That’s what happened to me. I booked a family suite for my family considering we have 9 people including my parents and my brother’s wife and son. The resort website featured the pictures of their resort near the beach. I was expecting that our family suite is near the beach but it was disappointing seeing that the location is almost isolated and a bit far from the beach. One thing that I really enjoy from the location of our family suite is it is very close to café. Whenever breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, we are among the first one to arrive.
I am also surprised to the lack of organization and cooperation from the staffs there. We arrived there and somehow expected a ‘welcome drink’ at a café as stated in the itinerary. I was wrong. We have to do our own drink and only food is served according to time give. The dry pantry is located near the café where you can get an unlimited supply of Nescafe, Tea, Milk and Sugar there. The hot water also available most of the times considering the part of ‘you have to do your own drink’ is 24/7. The disappointing look from my father when he got to know about this is just unbearable. Of course, it is my fault because I didn’t ask but hey, who would expected that a welcome drink is ‘do your own drink’. If this happened to any of you, you will be sure as hell didn’t expect it too. The family suite is pretty nice. It has 2 rooms with 2 queen beds in it. There is only one toilet attached with shower and sink and it is located in between of the 2 rooms. The food served at the resort is okay. The reason I say okay is because of the price we paid, we should get more than that but somehow, since the taste is not so bad and you can eat how much you wanted to eat, I probably should stop complaining.
The lack of activities to do at night is what baffled me the most. I was expecting to see some board game as they did mentioned indoor activity in the itinerary. My brothers did go out and play a carom but that’s it. The rest of it like throwing darts or playing card is nowhere to be found. The resort should improve their itinerary by informing the details where to get it and who is the person in charge in the activity. When we arrived on the first day, the staff told me that snorkeling activity will begin at 2.30 PM and anyone wanted to join should wait at reception. My brothers and I decided we wanted to join on tomorrow’s snorkeling trip because we are too exhausted that evening. An 8 hours non-stop driving from Kuala Lumpur and a very little amount of sleep could do that to you. On a second day, I woke up with the hope of going to a snorkeling trip that I missed yesterday. When I asked the counter, they said the boat is already gone. I am so angry at that time. In the itinerary they said it would be at 9.45 but dude, I was there at 9.30. Having to be dismissed right away by the unfriendly staff, I went to a beach to cool myself off. Later, my brothers joined me too. The beach cured my anger right away. With very clear water, white sand and you can see some of the tropical fish, it is magnificent view. After 1 hour playing in the water, we have been approached by another staff at the resort asking whether we wanted to go to snorkeling. I told him that some of the staff said that the boat to snorkeling already gone. He claimed that’s not true and asking my brothers and I to go to the jetty right away. The false information like this showed that some of the staff there is incompetent and should not be allowed to work at reception area. Just imagined if there are no staff reached us and told us that snorkeling has not yet started. It would be PR disaster because I would sure as hell did not want to recommend any of my relatives and friends to go there.
We went to Marine Park which took about 15 minutes to arrive from Redang Mutiara Jetty. Upon arrival, I was so amazed. The water is super clear and the tropical fish in it is so colorful. We wasted no time there. Although I don’t know how to swim but floating is one of my skills that I am so proud of. Using the goggles and life jacket provided by the resort, we started our adventure in Marine Park. My youngest brother tried to teach me to swim but it already failed in the first 5 minutes considering I am panicking whenever he let go of my hands. Some of the visitors there brought white bread with them to feed the fish. I just hope they feed the fish responsibly and know where to put the plastic package of the white bread where it belonged. 1 hours and half passed us by without any of us realize it. I really enjoyed this activity. If I knew how to swim, imagine what would I say if I try scuba diving? That would be so much fun. We went back to the resort with the smile of my face. Of course, my face burned and my body ached so much but it’s all worth it. In the evening, there is another snorkeling activity arranged by the resort. I persuaded my parents to join the activity. Unfortunately, we didn’t go to the Marine Park but we go to another island with wide beach that doesn’t limit people to do swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. Marine Park is gorgeous but this one is more tourists friendly. My dad who is enthusiastic in fishing felt that he could catch some of the big fish there if he brought the fishing rod. Most of the area in Redang Island is protected area so there is no fishing activity allowed there. If you wanted to go fishing, you have to rent a boat and went to the area that fishing is allowed which is a bit far from the island.
By the way, if you happened to go here and expected some fresh seafood to be served during BBQ, please lower your expectation. I really hope that their BBQ in itinerary will serve fresh seafood like squid or seashells and it’s not. It turned out my father was right. There’s a hot dog and some frozen food that has been cooked earlier. Another disappointment served us that night. We went back to KL on 14 April 2014. We checked out right after the breakfast and arrived at Merang Jetty around 11. We did some sightseeing at Kuala Terengganu before heading back to Kuala Lumpur at 4 PM. We arrived at KL around 11 PM. Yes, we are disappointed with this vacation but I redeemed this feeling with the experience of having to try snorkeling for the first time and enjoyed the serene feeling underwater with fish swimming under me. It may look ordinary to some of you but heck; I would love to do it again and again. You will find no picture on Marine Park because we left our phones at the suite. Even if i bring my own camera, it does not have waterproof feature where it would be useful to take picture of tropical fish at the Marine Park.
Overall rating for this Redang Island trip:
My Rating: 3/5
1) Marine Park (Snorkeling Activities): 4/5
2) Facilities: 3/5
3) Accommodation: 3 /5
4) Food: 3 /5
5) Staffs: 2.5/5