My day job does not exactly allow me to spend school holidays with my family and so when this particular holiday period became free all of a sudden, I grabbed the opportunity to book us a holiday package at an island resort. Mind you, we have lived in the East Coast for 16 years and my kids have never seen any of the beautiful islands here.
So, it was only logical that I started looking for an island resort. Then it dawned unto me that I am a person who absolutely hates crowded spaces. I despise the thought of having to wrestle hordes of tourists for a spot in the pool, on the beach or getting my face kicked at while snorkelling.
With great care and concern (not to let my teenagers down) I googled ‘island resort, romantic, quiet, beautiful beach’. The first name that popped up was Lang Tengah. I went a step ahead and searched for ‘blog+lang tengah’. Several private blogs came up and going through them, I found this place to be my type. It had the beautiful beach, romantic ambiance and did not have a disco that will go boom-boom till early morning.
It wasn’t long before I searched through Agoda and found a package I could afford, while promising a relaxed trouble free vacation I so desperately need with my family.
The package was for two garden view villas with all meals for three day two night stay at Sari Pacifica Lang Tengah Resort (Sari Pacifica also has a resort on nearby Redang). Apparently, this resort belonged to a former cabinet minister well known for wearing bow-ties most of the time.
So the day came and we made our way to Merang (not Marang) Jetty, North of Kuala Terengganu. Merang has a number of boat jetties, each going to a particular island or resort. So, best to just Waze yourself to Merang Jetty. The one which services boats to Sari Pacifica is located after a Shell Patrol Station on your left. Ample parking is available but they charge you RM10 per day.
After getting your stuff, walk over to a tent with tables to buy your boat tickets. Boats depart for Lang Tengah at 0830H, 1030H and 1500H. I would recommend that you try to catch the 0830H ride. The reason will be revealed in due time. Anyway, the rides will set you back RM160 per adult and RM80 per child for a return trip….and they only take cash (RM). So come prepared with wads of RM notes to pay for these services. Also, have your breakfast before you get here because there aren’t any eateries nearby.
So now your boat arrives and just as you are about to get on board, a Marine Parks guy comes and asks you to pay for a ‘conservation fee’ of RM5 per head. Yes, its an official fee and a receipt will be issued. What the heck, its for conservation of the marine parks right?…….I hope….
So you get on a boat which takes a maximum of 12 pax and it starts cruising along the river towards the river mouth. As soon as the boat hits the open water, the operator lets the throttle rip and you start cutting the waves at a cool 35 knots….or slower if the waves are choppy. We had a beautiful sea state and thus our ride was a splendid one.
Its a 45 minute ride to Lang Tengah from Merang Jetty. At first you do not see anything ahead of you, and then slowly the shape of an island appears.
The excitement builds up as you get closer…..
…and eventually you set your eyes upon one of the most colourful boat jetties you have come across in your lifetime.
The waters were so beautiful that I’d swear you’ll feel like jumping into the water right away.
Yes….those are little fishlings swimming en-masse because mother nature taught them something about strength in numbers or if you stay ahead in a pack, the fellow at the back gets eaten first…….
We arrived at the island at around 0915H. This resort has a 1500H check-in policy, just like other hotels or resort but with a twist. The manager on duty did not blink an eye when I asked if we would check in early. We got one villa right away while the other was given once housekeeping had done their part. Mind you it was still 0930H and we were already changing into our swimming gear in our own rooms, 5 hours ahead of normal check-in time. This is why I recommend the 0830H boat.
We booked two garden view villas next to one another. The pool view villas are basically the same but a little pricier…..because you save 30 steps to the pool.
To be continued soon in Part 2……stay tuned.