A pleasant 15-minute boat ride from the coastal village of Marang, on the eastern coast of Malaysia, is all it takes to travel the short 5 kilometers to idyllic Kapas Island known locally as Pulau Kapas. The natural wonderland is a favourite destination for many international and locals travels alike who are keen to visit Pulau Kapas and frolic in the waters of one of Malaysia’s better known tropical destinations.
Accommodation on Kapas Island
Visitors have a choice of accommodation options that range from dormitory style rooms, modest bungalows through to more luxurious units. Accommodations are dotted around the islands white sandy beaches allowing visitors to get a real feeling for peace and space.
It is easy to get to the island of Kapas. Flights from Kuala Lumpa can be made to Kuala Terengganu, the closest airport about 30 kilometers from Marang. Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines service this airport on a daily basis, on arrival one can take a taxi to Marang for approximately 15 to 20 RM.
If one is traveling from Singapore there are a number of daily bus services available, look for the Transnational line that operate from the Lavender Street Bus Terminal. Tell the bus driver that you need to be dropped off close to or at Marang. Buses also operate out of Kuala Terangganu, again alight at Marang. There are a number of buses operating out of the famous Hentian Putra Bus Station in Kuala Lumpa, destination of Kuala Terangganu. They leave early in the morning or late at night, and the journey will take about 7 hours. Buses also operate out of Penang on the west side of Malaysia and take 9 hours. If the bus service does not go to Marang don’t worry there are any number of taxis offering cheap fares to get you to Marang, and then daily , fast speed boat services will ferry you out to Pulau Kapas.
When to Visit Kapas Island
It should be noted that there is a definite season for tourists and travelers to visit the island. This is due to the Monsoon Season (October to February), when strong winds whip up the seas and make snorkeling impossibly dangerous. Therefore consideration must be made as to when to venture onto the east coast of Malaysia as wild winds lash the coastline, fishing villages and islands forcing resorts to shut up shop. The best time to visit the island is anytime between March and September with July and August being the peak season. However the resorts open as early as February to accommodate the day trippers and more adventurous overnight stayers.
The weather as in most equatorial areas is a fairly constant 21c to 31c with the humidity ranging between 85% and 95%, it does get very humid. Remember that Pulau Kapas is an island off Malaysia (an Islamic country), so dress accordingly and if concerned err on the side of conservative. There are no banks or ATM on the island, although some resorts do take MasterCard or VISA cards. However the best advise is to take cash as this can be used anywhere. If you forget to get cash out from Kuala Lumpa or Kuala Terangganu you can find ATMs in Marang. While there is tap water on the island it is best to drink only bottled water. There is no Internet on the island although phone is available at most of the resorts and some resorts offer international calls.
Snorkel, Relax, Beach Sports
The best snorkeling is to be done off the northern tip of Gemia Island just off Pulau Kapas. Here you can find giant Puffer fish, sea urchins, eels, giant clams and a myriad of other sea creatures. There are also a number of dive sites for scuba divers. The best-known dive site would be the Second World War site known to the local tour operators.
If snorkeling or diving is not your forte then perhaps a 45-minute jungle walk through a tropical paradise is more to your taste. Remember that Pulau Kapas is a tropical island so take plenty of drinking water when trekking through the greenery. Most resorts also offer a variety of beach sports for their visitors and there are a few eateries and shops scattered along the beach. Many rock pools adorn the waters edge, and to further entice the tourist there have been the occasional sighting of turtles making their way up the beach to lay their eggs.
Pulau Kapas has a lot to offer travelers. Being such a sort distance off the coast means that getting there is so simple and quite cheap. Take plenty of sunscreen, cash and a willingness to indulge in the laid-back lifestyle of the island and your holiday will certainly be one to remember.