If you are looking to settle for a quiet island holiday, Pulau Kapas, Teregganu, Malaysia may be just the place you need to whisk yourself away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Hello, Pulau Kapas! Source: jonesaroundtheworld.com
All of us need a break or a holiday every now and then when the stress from daily life, work or anything else makes us want to scream and rip our hair out due to extreme frustration. And what better way to escape from such stress than going for a vacation on an island that is less hogged by tourists, a place where its natural beauty is still very much preserved and you can get all the peace you want?
A Little Bit about Kapas Island – Location of Pulau Kapas Terengganu
Cute Pulau Kapas map marking the location of Pulau Kapas. Source: kapasisland.com
Pulau Kapas is part of Terengganu, located about 6 kilometres east of Marang, Kuala Terengganu. Pulau Kapas (Kapas Island or 棉花岛) is named as such to reflect the beautiful white beaches that is scattered around the island. Perhaps at the time the name came about, the beaches probably looked as white as cotton, or even like cotton themselves?
The best time to visit Pulau Kapas is during the off-peak season – consider travelling to the island somewhere in March and in October to avoid large crowds as tourists start trickling in from April until September. We suggest going around early March for the best Pulau Kapas weather though!
Interesting Things to Do in Pulau Kapas Terengganu
Snorkelling & Scuba Diving
Beautiful corals at Pulau Kapas. Source: kapasturtlevalley.com
You may be surprised to know that Pulau Kapas has a beautiful range of coral reefs underwater, some claim to be even better and healthier than other more popular islands such as Pulau Redang or Pulau Tioman. Even though there are fewer types of coral species available there, the reefs and the wonderful marine life are worth checking out.
You can rent a snorkel for RM 10 or join a snorkel tour for a more expensive fee of RM 40 (you can try haggling for a lower price though). If you are feeling more adventurous and you can swim really well, you could also consider snorkelling all the way to a private island next to Kapas Island, called Gem Island.
Visiting Gem Island
Gem Island from a distance. Source: gemisland.com.my
You could go for a day trip Pulau Kapas to Gem Island (also called Pulau Gemia) – this private island houses a Pulau Kapas resort called Gem Island Resort & Spa, where you can get a comfortable stay within a beautiful lodging.
Gem Island has two lovely beaches with its soft white sand where you can relax and are great for snorkelling, swimming and scuba diving. If you are lucky (most likely you are), you can catch sight of harmless sharks as you snorkel or scuba dive.
You will need to take a boat ride from Longsha campsite to get to Gem Island. Just ask around at Longsha campsite and the people there will be able to arrange a boat for you.
Exploring the beaches
Beautiful beach view. Note the pathway that leads you from one beach to another. Source: tinywanderer.com
Pulau Kapas has gorgeous beaches where you can see and feel for yourself the fine white sand and the clear blue waters that make this place one of the most beautiful islands in Malaysia.
A unique thing about Pulau Kapas is that you can walk using the pathway that is built-in along the beaches to travel from one stretch of beach to another. However, do take note of the low and high tides – some secluded yet most beautiful parts of beaches on the island may require a low tide so that you can cross over to them.
Kayaks for rent anyone? Source: dhiavivadea.com
If you are not inclined to walk from one end of the beach to another, you could also tour around the island on a kayak, which can be rented at Kapas Coral Beach Resort for a rate of RM 20 per hour. Kayaking allows you to visit the more secret bays of the island that otherwise are not very accessible by foot.
If you have done that already and can’t think of anything else better to do, just race in a kayak against one another for a change for those travelling in a group!
Hiking up Bukit Singa Pulau Kapas
What a lovely hill view of Bukit Singa! Source: afiqhalid.com
Apart from water activities, you could also hike up the two small hills of Pulau Kapas, collectively known as Bukit Singa. The hills are not that tall, possibly measuring about 100 metres, and you can definitely cover both mounds in a few hours.
Do hike with caution as there are sharp rocks and steep pathways to watch out for. Not only that, but you will also find bird’s eggs randomly scattered around and you wouldn’t want to step on those too!
Where to stay in Pulau Kapas Terengganu
Overview of Pulau Kapas accommodation. Source: kapasisland.com
While there are not many resorts around Pulau Kapas that most people would consider comfortable as compared to living in the city, here are some notable ones that you could consider for Pulau Kapas hotel:
Kapas Beach Chalet
View of KBC. Source: backpackingmalaysia.com
Otherwise known as “KBC”, this Pulau Kapas chalet is a popular Pulau Kapas accommodation with clean, well-maintained rooms. KBC can be quite a confusing place for newcomers since it is made up of two sides, the beach chalets run by a Dutch while the other part, made up of budget rooms and dorms, is run by local Malay.
The beach chalet offers air conditioned rooms at a rate of RM170 per night. For the budget rooms, you can get a double fan room with shared bathroom for RM80 per night or a double air conditioned room en suite for RM120 per night. A dorm bed for RM19 per night will be the cheapest option here.
Kapas Turtle Valley
One of the chalet huts at Kapas Turtle Valley. Source: guidegecko.com
If you don’t mind spending a bit more than usual for accommodation, then Kapas Turtle Valley might be a choice worth considering in your Pulau Kapas resort options. This Dutch-owned Pulau Kapas hotel offers double room with private bathroom, hot showers, breakfast and wifi (yay internet!) for a rate of RM 240, not bad for a Pulau Kapas package.
The resort’s bungalows are located in a private beach on the island facing the sea, and it is interesting to know that Kapas Turtle Valley is the only place that accepts card payments. However, do note that the accommodation requires a minimum of two nights stay per booking.
Welcome to Longsha Campsite! Source: jonesaroundtheworld.com
Being the more popular camping ground, Longsha Campsite is a great alternative for Pulau Kapas accommodation if you are keen on experiencing camping life on an island. All you need is a camping tent and a sleeping bag or mat which you could rent from the campsite for a fee of RM 5 per night for each item. You could save up a bit more if you bring your own sleeping bag though.
Basic facilities are available such as cold shower and squat toilet. You can also use their kitchen facilities to do some cooking for yourself. This campsite is the perfect place to stay for backpackers and solo travellers – you get to meet new people and make new friends here.
Other places of stay:
- Harmony Campsite
- Qimi Chalet
- Kapas Coral Beach Resort
- Ombak Kapas Island Beach Resort
- Pak Ya Sea View Chalet
- Kapas Island Resort
- Captain Long House
Where to Eat at Pulau Kapas
Chalkboard menu of KBC Restaurant. Source: stephmylifetravel.com
We get it – food is definitely a major concern when it comes to travelling, especially on an island vacation. Here are some spots with some key takeaways you can consider to satisfy your hungry belly:
- First makan place you will see as you reach the Jetty on Pulau Kapas
- Great food!
- Friendly service
- One of the few places on the island with internet connectivity, although the line isn’t as very fast
- Excellent service
- Good food choices
- Fresh fruit juices
- Good for romantic settings, candlelight dinner available
- Important: You will need to order your meal before 4pm.
- Good place to hangout with books – there is a large selection of titles you can borrow
- Great for lunch
- Good variety of food
- Yummy BBQs on Friday nights
- Important: Kitchen is only open from 8am to 3.30pm and 7pm to 9.30pm.
Do Your Own Cooking at Longsha Campsite
- Nope, this is not a restaurant’s name
- Well-equipped kitchen available for use at this campsite
- Perfect for backpackers, solo travellers or anyone who likes cooking own meals
- Important: Remember to buy your own groceries prior to visiting the island!
Things to remember about Pulau Kapas
So what are the things to be careful about when visiting Pulau Kapas?
- Pulau Kapas is not open during the monsoon season (November-February).
- Pulau Kapas is not a party island – do not expect pubs/bars and bonfires. Bring your own alcohol as the island only has a few places that sell beer that can be rather expensive (RM10 for a can of beer).
- Bring enough cash as there is no ATM available on the island.
- Consider bringing your own food, or groceries to do some cooking if you plan to go on a more budget trip.
- Remember to bring insect repellents to ward off those pesky friends!
- Bring sunscreen for skin protection as Pulau Kapas weather can get too warm.
- Stock up your chips or cookies from mainland (if you like to munch stuff at odd hours) as sundry shop is not easily available.
- Watch out for sea currents and the corals as the sea can get very shallow very quickly at low tides. Avoid touching the corals and anemones, and be careful not to step on sea urchins!
- If you like your night walks, remember to bring or get a torchlight.
How to Get to Pulau Kapas
Boat trip takes about 20 minutes from Marang Jetty to Kapas Island. Source: hasrulhassan.com
You will need to get to the Marang Jetty (not to be confused with Merang) at Kuala Terengganu by bus or taxi before you take a 15- to 20-minute boat ride from the jetty to Pulau Kapas. Alternatively, you could take a flight to Sultan Mahmud Airport and grab a transport to Marang Jetty.
Below are the time slots for boat departures as a rough guide. Do take note that departure times are subject to season changes. Round trip boat tickets are priced at RM40.
Marang Jetty Boat Departure Times:
Pulau Kapas Boat Departure Times:
The beautiful white sand that stretches for miles at Pulau Kapas. Source: dhiavivadea.com
In a nutshell, Kapas Island is a wonderful place to go for a holiday if you wish to seek a quiet place for a tranquil retreat and to do some soul-searching. It may not be the most popular islands among tourists but that is what makes this island more closely preserved in terms of its natural beauty.
Where to next after Pulau Kapas? Hint: Lang Tengah Island!
An amazing sight on Lang Tengah Island – of white sandy beaches, clear blue waters and lovely blue sky.
Where to next, you ask? We say Lang Tengah Island!
This less heard island is slowly gaining popularity over the years as an underwater paradise for divers and snorkelers. Located close to Pulau Redang, Lang Tengah Island is a beautiful place for a relaxing vacation with its white sandy beaches and plenty of flora and fauna to offer.
While on the island, come stay at Summer Bay Resort and let us make you feel at home right away during your visit! Various tour packages are available to make your holiday a warm and unforgettable one, do take a look at our packages for more details!
This article is brought to you by Summer Bay Resort.
Hope this helps provide some insight to make your trip planning a little easier – Remember to like, share and tell us in the comments below if Pulau Kapas is in your bucket list!