Malaysia’s Cotton Island, Kapas…with kids

Sand as white and soft as cotton…the name says it all…Kapas (Cotton in Malay)

Kapas island is situated only 6 km east of Marang, Malaysia but the trip on our ferry felt like an eternity.  Smashing through the waves I held onto my two girls, being super paranoid that they will be swept off the boat by a huge wave.  The sea was most definitely different than we came to know the calm Malaysian seas to be…

The boat came to a halt on the white sand of Kapas island.  A steel structure was pulled closer to the boat for the passengers to disembark.  Already wet from the splashing trip, getting down the steps straight into the water with shoes and all was just part of the adventure…luckily we just had to walk 600m to our hotel with the beautiful jetty in front of it where the rest of the passengers disembarked in style.  Note to self: The Malaysian guy on the boat is not calling his friend he is actually making an important announcement, useful to listen carefully and pay attention!


As we approached our resort all hope for a great time disappeared as an empty swimming pool awaited us and two very disappointed girls wanted a very good explanation as to why there is a pool but no water…Was this turning into one of those trips where everything is going to turn out wrong?

It was time to unwind and get wifi to notify family of our safe arrival. We headed to Kokos Beach Bar right next to our resort. I requested the wifi password from a singing barman who was clearly enjoying his job too much.  Through his singing he just pointed to a sign on the wall…”Here no wifi so enjoy the moment and talk with everybody”… Great!

As we enjoyed our well deserved ice cold beer with our toes in the sand, the sun started to set over the island and we became to realise that this singing barman was not helping himself behind the bar…but that he was truly in his happy place…Kapas.

More About Kapas

Kapas is roughly 1.5km x 2.5km with only a few places to stay and eat – all on the western side of the island.  The coast is lined with staircases and walkways making it possible to explore the island from top to bottom within a day whilst swimming, lying around in hammocks and swinging on one of the hundreds of swings randomly to be found amongst the trees along your route.  (Excluding jungle trekking).

What makes Kapas so special?

Kapas is an escape where you can find yourself again.  The peacefulness and laid back character of this island can only be experienced to be understood.  You can’t help but to be drawn to the inviting hammocks strategically positioned in front of the restaurants. Bookshelves filled with books with covers that tell its own story of miles already traveled.   Kapas must be Malaysia’s best kept secret as tourists are few and far between.

How to get to Kapas

Catch the ferry from Marang, Terengganu.  Tickets are sold at the jetty @ RM40 p/p for a return ticket, kids are half price. On the island there is no transport but everything is accessible by foot.


The few accommodations along the coast will most definitely cater for all different tastes.  We found Kapas Island Resort great value for money for a family getaway despite the pool not being in working order. Qimi Chalets are great value for couples with the most romantic setting and beach.   Kapas Beach Chalets (KBC) is perfect for the wandering backpacker and for the elite you can spend time on your own private island at Gem Island Resort and Spa,  just a couple of meters from Kapas Island.

Things To Do

Besides lying around in hammocks, staring at the ocean on a swing, reading and exploring the walkways, there is also jungle trekking for the more adventurous, snorkelling, kayaking and scuba diving.  Squid fishing at night is also quite an attraction. (Check out our Vlog)

Food and Drink

A variety of foods can be found at the few restaurants along the coast from budget to midrange meals.  Alcohol is very scarce and on the expensive side.  We recommend to buy your own before departing to the island.  A sundowner is a must whilst being mesmerised by the spectacular sunsets.

We were pleasantly surprised by this beautiful island.  Has your holiday ever started out as a nightmare just to turn out into one of the most memorable ones yet?  Would love to hear about your experiences!!

Happy Wanderlusting!


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