Tenggol Island – A Truly Hidden Gem

IMG-20160430-WA0023 Looking for an enchanting island that’s not overpopulated with tourists or overly commercialised? Then Tenggol Island is the right fit for you! Tucked safely away in the east coast of Malaysia off the South China Sea, Tenggol Island is located about 29.7 km from Kuala Dungun, Terengganu and is well known for its 20 or more diving spots, tropical jungle, white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. The island has well-preserved corals and interesting species of aquatic life but you’d be surprised to know that even some of the locals have not been to this island. There’s really no denying the fact that Tenggol is easily one of the most spectacular islands in the east coast of this country. Enough said of the  introduction, let’s get started to explore more of this fascinating island gem right away !

Getting Here

If you’re coming in from Kuala Lumpur by road, it’s just a 3 and a half hours drive to Kuala Dungun, Jalan Rajawali, A’King Jetty. By flight to Kuala Terengganu Airport from KL  it takes about 1 and a half hours  while to Kerteh Airport, it only takes a mere 45 minutes to reach and finally about 10 minutes taxi ride from the airport to Kuala Dungun Bus Station. Once you have reached the jetty, hop onto the speedboat and soon you’ll arrive at the island whose outward journey takes roughly about 30 to 45 minutes.

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When to Go

This is probably the most important factor when it comes to planning your island destinations. As Malaysia faces the Monsoon season, it’s best to avoid going between the middle of October until the end of March as the island will be closed. The best time to go would be from July to September.

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Where to Stay

You can opt to stay at the Tenggol Island Coral Resort on the island itself, Riverbank 101 Dungun Guesthouse at the jetty, or the selections of hotels, homestays and vacation homes offered in Dungun. One particular vacation home that has been getting a lot of buzz lately is the Casa Tanjung Jara (www.facebook.com/casatanjungjara) and it is only 10 minutes away from the jetty. Dungun is such a charming town, so it would be advisable for you to stay in it instead of on the island so that you can explore, while enjoying your activities in Tenggol at the same time.

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What to Do

Since Tenggol is such a secluded island and focused on maintaining their wonderful underwater coral treasures, there are only a few water sport activities that you can indulge in. Among them are island hopping, snorkelling and scuba diving. There are also many scuba diving and snorkelling spots that visitors can enjoy. Scuba enthusiasts can have fun witnessing incredible sea creatures below the deep turquoise sea and might even get the chance to see a whale shark, which usually appears from August through October. Furthermore, they can also explore stunning ship wrecks. Aspiring scuba divers can partake in PADI Courses, which is a very popular scuba course and get their diving license. If scuba diving isn’t your thing, choose to snorkel instead and see the corals, fishes, sea turtles, as well as tiger sharks. For those who love photography, you’ll surely love taking photos at this island because it’s totally Instagram worthy. The scenic landscape are so breathtakingly beautiful that you can’t get enough of them.

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What to Expect

Bear in mind, to get to this place, but it comes with a price (literally). While other snorkelling and scuba diving packages are usually reasonable at other commercialised islands, Tenggol charges pretty much higher than the rest, say RM200+ or so just for snorkelling packages. However, there’s a reason why it’s expensive because it’s all for a good cause since the locals are very passionate at keeping the marine life away from harm. Besides, islands are often damaged easily by too much visitations from visitors, usage of sunblock, stepping on the corals, and so forth.

Verdict

Should you go to this island despite the expensive packages? Yes! Consider this in your bucket list. If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle bustle of city life and away from the “typical” islands, then you’ll definitely not regret heading down here. Tenggol is so isolated from everything else, you’ll have more than enough privacy and you’ll never believe it to be the safe haven paradise it actually is.

Note to Visitors : 

According to the Island ‘s resort operators, the Monsoon season usually starts from November until February each year, with the last operation being end of October . Diving trips however are still open during October ( subject to availability)