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Malaysia's hidden gem - Redang Island

Nestled in the South China Sea, just off the coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Redang Island promises travellers white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. A diving and snorkelling hot spot, Pulau Redang - as it is known in the local Malay language - is within the boundaries of a Marine Park and thus is home to a wonderful array of marine life below the water depths.

Coral reefs - home to more than 3,000 species of fish and 500 species of coral - sit below the crystal clear water and marine life is only a few steps away from the beach fronts. Go out further into the sea and you may even encounter the majestic sea turtle. Some of the island's resorts run conservation programmes to encourage these creatures to nest on the quiet beaches of the island.

For those interested in seeing the sea life up close, a trip to the Marine Park Centre is a must. For just RM5 (around £1) and a short boat trip, island guests can visit the Marine Park where an abundance of barracudas, eels, triggers and other colourful marine life can be found. There are also options to rent snorkelling or diving gear. For divers, there are also two historic shipwrecks around the island. HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse both sunk here during World War Two.

For those who prefer to stay on dry land, there is also the forest to explore. Not only is the forest home to monkeys and monitor lizards but it is also filled with stunning and unusual species of flowers and foliage.

Travelling to the island is best done through Kuala Terengganu airport. It is a short 45-minute plane journey from the country's main airport of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). From Terengganu, your chosen resort would usually organise a boat trip to travel the 45km over to the island from the mainland's Merang Jetty.

Because of its East Coast position, Redang Island effectively shuts down between November and March and is best visited from mid-March to late April through to the end of September.

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