Malaysia: Gunk Holing the East Peninsula Coast

Published 8 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Kuala Terengganu is a city where most things are available and is covered by Noonsite with my Awi additions (docking).


10 miles south of Kuala Terengganu is Kapas Island.

There is a good anchorage between the two islands Puala Kapas and the little Island Pu Gumia. Go in close to Kapas and anchor opposite the second sandy beach in 15ft. Excellent snorkelling on the reef between the islands and outside of this reef and all round little island.

A rundown resort on Gumia has baby turtles in a pool. Go over obvious stairs, on north beach, for a walk on the other side. A good place to scrub the bottom.

The second anchorage is south of the jetty close in. All resorts or bungalows seem friendly.


Has an excellent breakwater – go inside and anchor in a shelter on the North side. With one metre draft, I went aground going upstream before the bridge. If you want to try it at high tide keep close to the port side as you go up. Many interesting fishing boats. Tie dinghy at concrete stairs past the narrow pass as you head upriver.

Shopping is good and a morning market excellent. Many food stalls open all day. For diesel or petrol take dingy to bridge and tie up on Southside and walk to Petrol Station.


Very deep anchorage and you must take a mooring. Good diving here and there are many operators (US$30 a dive with all equipment).  Walks ashore. Check for “just under the water” mooring buoys, as I damaged my propeller leaving here.


Again an excellent breakwater not shown on the chart. We anchored up the river and wandered the town for a couple of days. We also took the dinghy 5 miles up the river. On the south side of the river near the entrance is a good lunchtime fish café.

More of the towns we missed may also have breakwaters and you can sail near the coast to check this

out. Fishermen are helpful if you want to enter an interesting creek.


A much larger city with Immigration etc. You are meant to check in at each stop, but we did not, and here we anchored near the mangroves opposite the police station for 4 days and no one bothered us. A dinghy trip up river was enjoyable, we stopped many times to talk to folk aboard the many varieties of fishing boats.


Again, there is a breakwater here, which is just a long line to protect the entrance with rocks on the other side. Watch out for a buoy or a lit foam float about a quarter mile down river, as to the North of it are a line of rocks covered at high tide.

The small village was grotty, but the big town was 60 miles upriver. We had a bumpy sleep as the river is wide. Not worth visiting BUT next morning we travelled along the bank opposite the village towards the ocean and found a very narrow entrance to a canal parallel to the shore – 3 miles along this we came to the entrance shown on the chart. It looked foreboding, but we saw a tug with a barge go out through it. The fishermen here were delighted to see us and gave us fish. You could possibly enter here into a calm anchorage. We asked the fisherman – who say the channel is deep.


Said to be the most beautiful island in the world – but I strongly dispute this.

The Marina is a government one and cheap. A good place to leave your boat as it seems secure. As we were now in Pahang State, we checked in with 3 authorities who all seemed not to be bothered if we did or did not. The Harbour Master said to come by when you are leaving and check in and out. The youthful immigration

boys said to come when we check out and the customs did not seem to know why we were

there. An interesting day.

Tioman is DUTY-FREE.  There are many dive excursions. We took the free bus heading South and ended up at a beautiful beach with a resort for 1000 on it. The beach was deserted and we took the bus back three hours later. We dinghied to ABC, a tourist village which is to the North but inside the bay. Had breakfast and later lunch and enjoyed walking.

The walk/climb over the Island to Juara went through the magnificent jungle – many monkeys and small animals and a great variety of plants. Locals say it should take 2 hours, but it took me 5 and after a swim and a few beers, we took a scary ride on a motorbike to get back to the Marina.


Next day we sailed to Juara and spent 4 days there.


Nearby Pu Tulai was our next stop for another 4 days. Great drying reef and beach exploration. At the south tip of the island we saw stairs and climbed to an interesting enormous structure which we were told was for the cell phones. It looked much more important than that.


We took a ferry here from Tioman Island – will take the catamaran there later. The river mouth is shallow.

I found a good engineering shop there with Jabsco impellors too. They rebuilt my prop.

It looked as though if you did not tie to a fishing boat, you could pass the ferry terminal and anchor further up at the wider part of the river.

Bernie Katchor

sailing yacht “Australia31”

Around the next Bend – a 7-month journey along the many rivers of Guyana and Venezuela

A book by Bernie and Yvonne Katchor (2010)

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