Raise your hand if you’ve never seen or taken part in a turtle hatchling activity before. Yes, we know that we won’t be able to see from across the screen, but we reckon that there aren’t too many of you who have done it.

So imagine our surprise and excitement when Resorts World Genting extended the invitation for us to join them on their Resorts World Kijal Media FAM (familiarisation) Trip to Terengganu. This sounds cheesy but we could already hear the sand and sea calling out to us.

kijal 1
Source: RW Kijal

For those not familiar, Resorts World Kijal (formerly known as Awana Kijal Golf, Beach & Spa Resort) is located in Kemaman, Terengganu, which is at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. A bus ride from Kuala Lumpur would require approximately 4 hours to reach here; it’s shorter if you’re coming by car.

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So what awaits you at this idyllic resort by the sea? Let’s see: The refreshing Pantai Kijal that boasts a 3.7km beachfront that is within the private beach that encompasses 7.6km of pristine sands; an impressive 18-hole championship golf course; a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities; relaxation pampering; and 4 different eatery venues with unique theme settings.

Of course, the main spotlight were the turtles. But fret not, cause there are many more activities to fill up your time slot while staying in Kijal. Let’s dig into it, shall we?

1. Baby Turtles Release

Baby turtles
Source: Sari Divers

The beach isn’t just known for its sandy and beautiful beaches, for it is also the breeding home of hundreds of green turtles. Each year, the dark mottled green giant turtles lumber ashore in the dark of night to lay their eggs and continue the circle of life.

Guided by millions of years of primordial instinct, the mother turtle will dig an 18-inch deep hole with her rear flippers while emitting a “deep hoarse gargling, aqualung breaths” when she’s laying between 100-120 white ping-pong ball sized eggs in the hole. The entire egg-laying process can take up to 2 hours, sometimes even longer.

CRYING-TURTLE-570
Source: Associated Press via Optimum Nature

Often times we wonder, why is the mother turtle crying? Well, according to the experts, the jellylike “tears” that oozes from the female creature’s eyes is actually mucous that is produced to keep the sand from entering her eyes. After she’s done covering her eggs, she leaves behind tracks that look as if a tank had driven on the designated spot.

For those that don’t know, nesting season is normally between May and August and peaks in June and July. Do bear in mind that there’s no 100% guarantee you’ll actually see turtle laying eggs or a hatchling, depending if lady luck favours you.

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Although we didn’t get to see turtle laying eggs before our eyes, we got to take part in the next best thing – the release of baby turtles. Imagine being able to witness adorable tiny turtles flopping their way back to their natural habitat. It’s an unforgettable experience everyone should see at least once.

Sea turtle eggs usually require around 45-60 days to develop and hatch. Upon hatching, they need to be released into the sea within 7-10 days. Our baby turtles were 2 days old.

During the programme, our guide cautioned us against using flash lights/photography as the glare can blind the baby turtles’ eyesight. Instead, mild light exposure was used during the session to allow us an opportunity to snap some pictures of these cute creatures.

It didn’t matter that people were pointing the babies toward the right direction, these hatchlings somehow knew where the ocean is, as if the crashing waves were calling out to them. It was a mixture of feelings as we watched them scuttle swiftly towards the sea – we were both elated and strangely emotional.

Here’s a short clip compiled by LuvFeelin:

Out of the approximate 100 baby turtles released that night, only an estimate 1% of the hatchlings will make it to adulthood. That’s because there are many dangers lurking in the vast ocean. During the next month, they will travel widely. Many will be eaten by sea predators, drown in fish trawls, or get entangled by fishermen’s longlines; hearing that was truly heartbreaking.

2. Turtle Eggs Planting

A photo posted by Hype Malaysia (@hypemy) on

Not far away and literally by the beach is a small hatchery area where the turtle eggs are collected and kept in the enclosed sand for incubation purposes. The hatchery is fenced up so that the eggs will be protected from predators and other threats. These eggs are coveted for consumption as a source of protein and they’re also sold in local markets for a high price.

There’s a reason why visitors are advised to allow the new hatchlings to slowly trot on the beach instead of directly releasing it into the sea. It is said that when a baby turtle trots on the beach after hatching, it will always remember this particular beach as home even after travelling far away.

Amazing, isn’t it?

3. Comfy accommodation with a spectacular view

The 5-star hotel boasts 340 rooms which can be divided into various categories – namely Deluxe Room, Premier Deluxe Room, and Premier Sea View Room, while the Deluxe Suite and Premier Suite are design to transform into a luxurious Duplex accommodation.

The Deluxe Room and Deluxe Suite are specially catered to couples as the interior unique design (thanks to the splashes of crimson red) evokes romance and passion. If you happen to be on your wedding honeymoon, we’d advice you to take advantage of the wedding package available.

They also provide minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, hair dryer and basic toiletries, as well as television with in-house movies. The TV also comes with 12 channels – 8 satellite channels plus 4 premium channels.

4. Pamper yourself at the Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa

kijal spa
Source: The Sun

You can always choose to spend a pampering afternoon at the full-service spa. Open daily from 10am to 8pm, Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa offers various Aromatherapy Massages as well as Foot & Hand therapy.

The Spa Menu is as follows:

  • Ancient Healing therapy
  • Body Conditioning
  • Stress Reduction
  • Neck & Shoulder Massage
  • Javanese/ Swedish/ French Massage
  • Volcanic Stone Massage with “Boro”
  • Manicure
  • Pedicure
  • Foot Reflexology
  • Royal Facial
  • Hair Wash/ Blow Dry

5. Recreational activities & facilities

kijal Rediscover_Leisure_img
Source: RW Kijal

When it comes to recreational pursuits, tenants can have a splashing good time in the huge swimming pool. The pool is basically one huge playground that has a kids’ pool which covers 5,600 square feet, while the adult section covers 11,000 square feet. Walk-in guests are also allowed in the swimming area for a small fee (Adults – RM30, Children – RM20).

Of course, that’s not all. Other leisure facilities include outdoor jacuzzis, sauna rooms for those who wish to detox, in addition to the indoor children’s playroom (Smarty Club) catered to hotel guests with families. For those worried about unintentionally slacking off on gym day, don’t worry, there’s also a compact fitness centre in the hotel for you to work up a sweat.

6. Playground on site

kijal playground 1

Aside from the aforementioned facilities, we were also pleasantly surprised to see a giant chess set as well as a snake and ladder game in the playground. These fun games aren’t the only ones available, there are also basketball, badminton, and tennis courts to entertain you and your group of friends.

7. Get wet & wild with these sea sports

It would be a missed opportunity if you were living by the beach yet not take advantage of all the water sports available at Resorts World Kijal. Our favourite was the single banana boat ride. It’s not hard to see why this particular sea sport activity is well-liked among the young and old: it delivers the thrill of a jet-ski but with extra padding.

Other exciting water activities include:

  • Jet-skiing, waterskiing, and parasailing
  • Motor boat rides
  • Sailing boat and catamaran rides
  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • Windsurfing
  • Body boarding and knee boarding
  • Scuba-diving and snorkelling
  • Fishing trip
  • Squid jigging (seasonal)

But what if one doesn’t want to get wet in the ocean, you ask? Not a problem as the resort also offers these following beach activities:

  • Beach volleyball
  • Sepak takraw / Ragabulat
  • Sand castle building
  • Kite flying / making
  • ATV rides
  • 2-Wheel Electric Scooter
  • Golf Buggy (Electric Golf Car)
  • Cycling (Bicycle Joy Rides)

8. Romantic dinner by the beach at Oasis Beach Bistro

kijal obb

Looking for one-of-a-kind dinner venue to impress your special one? The sea, the sand, and the moon have long been the quintessence of romance and Oasis Beach Bistro (OBB) offers a wonderful combination of all the above. Facing the magnificent sea, patrons will get to enjoy the western food and barbecue buffet while being entertained by a 2-piece live band. The bonfire also contributes to the overall ambience.

Do note, however, that OBB only serves BBQ twice a week (Friday and Saturday). But then again, there’s always other food corners that serve appetising cuisines: Restoran Kampong Meraga Beris where local delicacies are served on top of a “sampan”; Waterfall Café, which has an excellent all-day dining menu that includes their homemade pizza; Hainan Express; and another favourite, the Open Herb Garden, where golf buggies are used as food counters.

9. Take a swing at their Championship Golf Course

kijal golf_rates_img
Source: RW Kijal

For those into golfing, Resort World Kijal’s 18-hole championship golf course has a par of 72, and consists of the Palma and Rimba Nines,” the press release reads. Walk-in guests are also welcome to participate in this exciting game. Fees vary for weekdays and weekends/public holidays, as well as for the 9-hole course and 18-hole course. Golfing equipment are also available for hire if you forgot to bring your belongings.

10. A day trip to Kuala Terengganu

Although there’s plenty of activities and facilities to fill up your schedule at Resort World Kijal, those with extra time on their hands can opt for a day tour to Kuala Terengganu as there are plenty of sightseeing and local delights to look out for. (P/S: It requires 2 hours to travel to KT so be prepared for the long journey.)

  • Pantai Kemasik

On our way to Kuala Terengganu, we made a short pitstop at Kemasik Beach (15 minutes away from the resort) to check out the locals selling fresh fishes and other seafood. We were told that most of the catchings here are usually exported to Singapore as the fishermen here are able to fetch a higher price. Alternatively, locals used them to fry fish crackers, known locally as keropok lekor.

  • Noor Arfa Batik Craft Centre (NACC)

Besides the traditional fisherman’s village, we also visited the Noor Arfa Batik Craft Centre. Established in 1980, Noor Arfa Batik isn’t just a retail outlet for handmade batik-wear, visitors can also learn the process of batik making, as well as the traditional way of making a songket for baju melayu. If you have a passion for batik and would like to paint your own designs, be sure drop by this famous batik maker’s boutique.

More info here.

  • The majestic Crystal Mosque

It sits next to a river bank and shines like a precious gem during the day, Crystal Mosque (Masjid Kristal) is a stunning architecture made of steel and glass, located in Taman Tamadun Islam (Islamic Heritage Park), on Pulau Wan Man (Wan Man Island). This grand mosque also shares grounds with “some of the world’s most renowned Islamic monuments”.

BONUS:

11. Resorts World Kijal promotions

kijal
Source: Wotif

In case you need more reasons to pack your bags and come to Kemaman, Terengganu, Resorts World Kijal is promoting 3 special packages that is valid until the year end (31st December 2016) – namely Turtle Watching Package, Kijal Weekend Golf Package, and Kijal Weekend Promotion.

  • Turtle Watching Package: 3D2N stay in a Premier Sea View Room with breakfast for 2. In the event that there are no turtles to be seen, the activity will be replaced with either turtle egg planting at the hatchery or the release of baby turtles. This package is priced at RM670 nett.
  • Kijal Weekend Golf Package: This offer includes a 1-night stay in a Deluxe Room and 1 round of 18-hole course golf for 2 people. This package is priced at RM276.
  • Kijal Weekend Promotion: This promo is catered for those who simply want to chill and relax at the resort. This offer comes with a 1-night stay in either a Deluxe Room (RM199) or a Premier Sea View Room (RM249). It comes with a buffet breakfast for 2 at Restoran Kampong Meraga Beris.

kijal entrance

The details for Resorts World Kijal are as follows:

A huge thanks to the peeps at Resorts World Genting and Resorts World Kijal for making this happen. Our seaside experience was in a word – euphoric.

Sources: RW Kijal, Chicago Tribune, Ramble & Wonder.

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Justin
Usually awkward & quiet, but gets talkative once the conversation revolves around movies, TV shows, music, and entertainment. (Contact: [email protected])