The long weekend from Saturday 28th April to Tuesday 1sy May 2012 was spent on Gem Island (or Gemia Island as it is sometimes referred to) with family friends Raj, Nina, Sachin and Kavita.
The Gem Island Resort and Spa is the only accommodation on the island. Their package includes breakfast and dinner while lunch is al-a-carte. The rooms are basic but nice with beautiful views of Kapas Island and its palm trees. The food at the resort also good however the local cuisine was much better than their attempts at western cuisine. Overall it is a great place, I think any bad reviews that it gets it mainly people expecting a 5 star, which it is not.
Gem Island Resort & Spa
Gem Island is a tiny, rocky island covered in lush tropical greenery and fringed by curves of pure white sand. It is 5 km from the east coast of peninsular Malaysia in the state of Terengganu, just north-west of Kapas Island. Boats to the island depart from Marang jetty which is a 30 minute drive south of Kuala Terengganu (almost an hour drive from the Kuala Terengganu airport).
The Boat Trip to Gem Island
Gem Island is only a few hundred meters from the larger Kapas Island. Each morning we Kayaked over to Kapas Island where the snorkelling was fantastic. Corals were bleached but lots of fish – so take some bread over to feed them.
Although Kapas Island is larger its facilities are even more basic – no air conditioning. On the Monday we took a stroll along the beaches on Tapas Island around to its accommodation. It had a little cafe which was good for a cold drink but not much else.
Pool at Gem Island Resort
Bump Head Parrot Fish – This beast was huge – At least 1m across
We basically spent each day Kayaking, Snorkelling and Swimming. We had no problems keeping ourselves entertained doing this however there is not much else to do so if you don;t swim and play on beach an overnight trip may be enough.
On the Monday night the resort arranged for us to go Squid Jigging or Candat Sotong in Malay. They picked us up at 8pm and we had about half an hour boat ride out. You fish with a line, heavy sinker and 3 lours. You drop the line over and let it hit the bottom, about 15 to 20 meters. You then keep jerking the line until the squid latch onto the lours. Everyone caught 4 to 6 squid over the hour.
Turtles come ashore on Gem Island yearly to lay their eggs on the beaches. They run a conservation scheme where they collect the eggs and protect them and the hatchlings. July is the time to go if you want to see the turtles.
Gem Island is a great weekend away.