Kapas Island Travel Guide

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Overview of Kapas Island

Located about 6 kilometres east of Marang, Terengganu, Kapas Island (Pulau Kapas) is a famous holiday destination among both locals and tourists. The island got its name from the Malay word for cotton, referring to the sandy white beaches found on the island. Aside from the beach, the island is also well-known for its crystal-clear waters and beautiful coral reefs. 

Kapas Island is perfect for families that want to spend a relaxing time together during the weekends, as well as for backpackers who are looking for a cheap island getaway. While it is not as famous as the neighbouring Redang Island or Perhentian Island, many still regards Kapas Island as a diving and snorkelling paradise.

What to Do

Travellers mainly go to Kapas Island for the beaches and snorkelling. Since the island is not as packed as Perhentian or Redang, people often come here during weekends and holidays to get away from the crowds.

Beaches

There are several beaches on the island for travellers to wind down and relax. There is a pathway that connects you from one beach to another. However, you should take note of the high and low tide as some of them are only accessible during low tide.

Snorkelling and Diving

Snorkelling is one of the top activities to do on the island and travellers can rent snorkelling equipment cheaply on the island. Many of the best spots for snorkelling are within 100 metres from the beaches, but travellers can also join a snorkelling tour which can take you to other locations.

For divers, there are plenty of diving spots around the island such as the World War II Japanese shipwreck for wreck diving. Aqua Sport Divers is the only dive centre on the island and offers Open Water and Advanced Open Water certifications. 

Besides that, travellers can rent kayaks and go around the island to visit several secret bays that are difficult to go to on foot. For thrill-seekers, it is also possible to do cliff jumping at Batu Berakit. 

Hiking and Jungle Trekking

If you are looking to shed some sweat, you can make your way to Bukit Singa or Batu Berakit for a hiking session. The journey to Bukit Singa will take about 40 minutes, and to Batu Berakit is about 1 hour. At the end of the hike, you will see a spectacular view of the surrounding sea. 

Turtle Spotting

If you are lucky, you will be able to see turtles swimming around the island, and on rare occasions, you will get the chance to see turtles laying their eggs on the beach.

When is the Best Time to Visit

The island is closed for visitors during the Northeast Monsoon season, which falls from October – February. Meanwhile, the best time to visit the island is from April – August during the island’s peak season.

How to Get There

By Sea

You can take a boat to Kapas Island from the Marang Jetty in Marang. The journey from the jetty to the island should take around 10 – 20 minutes.

By Car / Bus

The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Marang Jetty by car takes around 4 hours 30 minutes. If you are planning to take the bus, you should buy a ticket to Kuala Terengganu and make your way to Marang Jetty from the bus terminal using the public bus or taxi. If you are using the public bus, tell the driver to drop you off at Marang.

By Air

You can fly to Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Terengganu from KLIA or KLIA2 in Kuala Lumpur and take either the public bus or taxi to Marang.

How to Get Around

The island is quite small, and all parts of the island are accessible by foot. You can also rent a kayak to go around the island and visit harder-to-reach areas.

What to Eat

You will have no problem in terms of food as each accommodation has its own restaurant. There is also a restaurant called the Jetty Café near the island’s jetty. If you are staying at the campsite, they have a kitchen where you can cook your own meal.

There are several places on the island that serves alcohol, but it is quite expensive.

What to Buy

Near Kapas Beach Chalet, you can buy jewellery made from old porcelain salvaged from shipwrecks near the island. Aside from that, there is nothing much you can buy on the island.

Where to Stay

There are several small resorts on the island that provides basic accommodation to travellers at a relatively low price. If you are looking for cheaper accommodation, you can also rent a tent and stay at one of the campsites on the island.

If you are looking for a more luxurious experience, you can stay in the resort at the nearby Gemia Island.

What to Bring

Remember to bring sunblock and proper beachwear as you will spend most of the time on the beach and in the waters. There is also a lot of mosquitos around, so bring insect repellent as well.

Buying drinking water, alcohol, and snacks before going to the island would be a wise choice as there are only a few places on the island that sell convenience items, and it can get quite pricey.

If you are planning to go for jungle trekking, remember to bring along comfortable shoes. Those who want to go on night walks should bring a torchlight.

What to Wear

Since Malaysians are predominantly Muslims, it is best to dress conservatively. However, it is okay for travellers to wear bikinis or swimwear on the island. Sunbathing naked or topless on the beach is unacceptable.

Things to Note

  • There is no ATM on the island. While several places accept credit cards, it is always a good idea to bring enough cash with you before departing for the island.
  • Internet connectivity on the island is extremely limited. However, you can get some internet line at Jetty Café, and some resorts offer Wi-Fi.
  • Be mindful of the tides as the sea can get shallow quickly during low tides. During this time, avoid going out to snorkel to prevent damage to the coral reefs and potential injuries from sea urchins.

Summary