For most visitors, the chief attraction of Redang is the abundant marine life. The reefs have endured a lot over recent decades, including a mid-1970s attack by the crown-of-thorns starfish, and silt deposition caused by development. More recently the coral has suffered from bleaching due to high water temperatures. Thankfully, coral reefs have remarkable properties of self-renewal, and Redang’s marine environment appears to have stabilized in a reasonable state.
Conservation has certainly been helped by the designation of the Redang archipelago as one of Malaysia’s marine parks, and by the regulation of activities such as spear-fishing, trawling and watersports. The best snorkelling is off the southern coast around the islets of Pulau Pinang and Pulau Ekor Tibu; the larger resorts take endless boats stuffed with tourists to the main sites, so find a smaller group if you can. Diving is also excellent, with most sites off Redang’s eastern shore. Almost every resort has its own dive shop, and divers also come here on day-trips from the Perhentians.