Dotted with fishing boats against a backdrop of tropical hills, we knew we’ve arrived in paradise on earth when we pulled in to Redang Island Jetty. Redang Island, one of the most famous islands in Terengganu, with its crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches, is perfect for snorkeling and diving or just lazing underneath slow swaying coconut trees on the beach.
Our pickup vans were already waiting, and we were quickly ferried to the luxurious The Taaras Beach and Spa Resort. The word “taara” means “Goddess of the Sea” in Sanskrit, and this resort is Berjaya Hotels and Resorts’ star among its stable of hotels. The resort is located north of Redang island, nestled in a bay with a private beach that overlooks the azure waters of the South China Sea. This provides guests with the best view on the island and it’s perfect for those seeking to relax and reconnect with nature.
Arriving at the resort, we were greeted by friendly hotel staff who handed us cool towels (aah, it felt especially good in the hot weather!). We took a seat and sipped our refreshing guava juice, while the staff checked us in. The check-in process was smooth and fast since we didn’t have to queue, definitely a plus point!
Once the check-in process is done, we were brought to our room, a one-bedroom Garden Suite. The double storey Malay style house reminded us of our childhood kampung. Surrounded by lush greenery and tall coconut trees, the hustle and bustle of the city seemed like worlds away and we instantly fell into a relaxing mode.
The 70 sqm room is equipped with a living area, complete with a sofa set, a flat-screen TV and a working desk, although once we made ourselves at home, work was the last thing on our minds! There is also a fully stocked mini fridge with tea or coffee making facilities, perfect if you want to chill in the room and take a rest from sunbathing.
The bedroom, which is separated from the living area, is simple but functional. Decorations are kept to the minimum with rattan sofas and wooden furniture, making the room breezy and clutter-free. A king-sized bed sits in the middle of the room, and there’s a built-in Netflix TV (which we might have spent the evening watching reruns of Friends with but we are in denial mode so, no judging please!). The wardrobe is spacious too, which is perfect for overpackers! There are bathrobes, slippers and umbrellas for us to use and you could also store your valuables in the safety deposit box.
Hands up if you get easily excited about hotel bathrooms. Well, this one surely deserves a spot on our Instagram feed! There are His and Hers sinks, a toilet AND a bidet (definitely a rare sight for this Malaysian). Plus, we loved the deep bathtub in the shower, which we happily soaked in after spending the day out in the sun. What bliss!
The resort has everything you need. There are swimming pools for both adults and kids to lounge around and when the kids have enough of the sun, there’s the Jojo Playroom, which is an indoor playground with plenty of activities and games to choose from.
On vacation but don’t want to miss working out? Fret not. The gym is fully-equipped for all your training needs, from strength training to cardio, and you’ll find everything you need here. It doesn’t hurt that the gym has an amazing view of the bay! There’s also a yoga studio for you yogis.
All those activities would surely make you hungry! Don’t worry about looking where to eat as there are three dining options here. You could sip on mocktails while enjoying the sunset at the Bayu Bar and, if you’re feeling fancy and want to treat your loved ones, head over to the beach fronting Beach Brasserie for Western fine dining.
Meanwhile, breakfast is served at the Asean All Day Dining and you could also enjoy a buffet lunch or dinner here for authentic Malaysian dishes, international and fusion-inspired cuisine. For a five-star resort, we thought the dinner buffet was decently priced at RM130 nett as it has a wide array of dishes to choose from. We loved the roasted beef with percik sauce and the prawn sambal. Super yummy!
Verdict: We loved not having to leave the resort to look for food and activities! In our books, this is what a perfect vacation looks like 😉If you’re looking for a luxurious, private resort to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, check out The Taaras Beach and Spa Resort!
See and Do
While the idea of lounging on the beach with a book is tempting, you shouldn’t leave the island without checking out what’s under the sea. There is a reason why Redang is such a popular spot for snorkeling and diving! We’ve compiled three must-do activities while you’re here at The Taaras!
Snorkeling is fun but if you love the underwater world, dive deeper into the sea as it’s a totally different world! Don’t have a diving license? No worries, discover scuba diving requires no prior diving experience! Redang Island is famous for its colorful coral reefs and spotting sea turtles, reef sharks, stingrays, and various marine species. Also, make sure to visit shipwreck sites that would definitely make your trip memorable!
No other place in Peninsular Malaysia has a higher rate of sea turtle nesting than Chagar Hutang Beach in Redang Island, Terengganu. While the beach is off-limits to the public, you’ll still be able to spot green turtles just off the coast from the resort’s beach. The turtles are quite friendly but don’t touch or feed them! The Taaras is also home to the SEATRU Turtle Lab, where you could learn more about sea turtle’s life cycle from nesting and hatching to species identification and understanding its natural predators. During the hatching season (June to October), you might be lucky enough to see the release of hatchlings into the sea!
Want to check out the under the sea without getting wet? Try kayaking, but take it up a notch and rent one of the transparent kayaks that allow you to see sea turtles and fish on the reefs below! Kayaking around Redang island in a day is an intense fitness challenge as the island is huge. But, we’re not saying that it’s impossible! Try it during the dry season (March to October), when the waters are generally calmer.
With such a wide range of accommodation options across the country, it can be a challenge to pick the one that’s best for you. To be in the know when it comes to Malaysia’s outstanding stays, keep your eyes peeled for Traveloka’s ‘Super Stays’ posts, a bi-weekly hotel special featuring our top picks!