ISLANDS OFF THE

MALAYSIAN PENINSULA

Top spot in the SEA region for diving, eating well 

and beach parties, but also a bit commercial

2 months hopping across the Perhentians, Pulau Lang Tengah, 
Pulau Redang, Pulau Pinang, and Pulau Langkawi in Malaysia 

Here’s a little piece of history for island-nerds and history buffs interested in early voyages of Asia-Pacific exploration: From 1847-1862, ‘the Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia’ was published, containing first-hand accounts on research and exploration of the geographical area of East Asia and Oceania. In this journal, English ethnologist George Earl proposed two names for the islands of South East Asia: Melayunesia or Indunesia. ‘Malayu' derives from Sanskrit and Tamil words which can be translated as ‘land of mountains’. ‘Nesia’ is Greek for islands. The world’s largest archipelago just south of Malaysia ended up using the name Indonesia as country name. However when Malaysia got independence it wasn’t the name referring to its islands that was used, instead a name referring to the unification of three (‘si’) states, the Malaysian Peninsula and the two regions in Borneo, was invented. Okay, no more history from now on…

During our travels, the Malaysian Peninsula has somehow always been a transit or a short stopover. Once on a travel from Bali to Bangkok. Another time during a circling around the South Chinese Sea. A third time, en-route from Indonesia to the Philippines. And then again, on a fourth trip where we flew in with the Andaman Sea as our primary target. Nonetheless, the different islands that are spread along the Malaysian peninsula have been good halts on our journeys and worth the time. We’ve circumnavigated mountainous Langkawi Island in a rental car, trekked around the tropical Perhentian Islands, and snorkeled along the beautiful coasts of Pulau Lang Tengah and Pulau Redang. In general, Malaysia’s beaches are supreme and the landscapes are beautiful. We must however admit that Malaysia never really got under our skin; we’ve thought about why and maybe it’s due to some lack of culture, or maybe it could be the too-much-planned and too artificially arranged holiday setups that one finds along coast lines, cities, airports, wherever one goes. Or we may just have spent too little time here? We wouldn’t have missed any of our Malaysia island experiences though, and we think the whole Malay archipelago deserves more time.

 

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© Anders M. Pedersen & Jakob M. Pedersen

All photos have been taken by Anders & Jakob.