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An Island Escapade to Perhentian

Written By: jipp - Jun• 09•14

So, I’ve just returned from Perhentian Island. I’ve been wanting go there for so long so the opportunity of going there with my colleagues just came at the very right time. Missing a flight was not really a good beginning for such an anticipated holiday but I actually miscalculated the time taken to travel from my house to the nearest LRT Station and later to the KL Sentral before getting on the KLIA Express to the brand new KLIA2. When you are in a rush, every minute does count. I felt like forever to walk from the train to the boarding gate. Like seriously, I don’t know why they can’t design the airport like the Changi Airport in Singapore where you don’t need to break your legs to walk from the entrance to any of the boarding gates. Grrrr!

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In the end I didn’t have anyone else to blame but myself. I procrastinated too much and I had to pay for it. Luckily I was only required to add seventy bucks to book a seat on the very next flight to Kota Bharu. I was two hours late but I made it to Kuala Besut jetty (gate-way to Perhentian Island) just in time before the departure gate was closed. I had to apologize to everybody including the gate keeper who jokingly said “We don’t get paid for over-time you know”. Opppsy. 😀

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So, across the sea we went and it was quite a rough ride which was why cruising on a boat in the late afternoon is not recommended. We were there during the school holiday so most of the hotels were fully booked. In the end we managed to get rooms at Coral View Resort on the Pulau Perhentian Besar although it is at Pulau Perhentian Kecil where most of the actions are. Pulau Perhentian Besar that I found out is more family-oriented where the ambience is more relaxing and less-crowded compared to Pulau Perhentian Kecil especially at the famous Long Beach which is more like a party beach. It is where most of the backpackers go and I gotta say I didn’t come to Perhentian Island as a backpacker but more like a tourist. 😀

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Things are quite expensive at Pulau Perhentian Besar or at least around Coral View Resort where we stayed. I paid RM300 per night for a room which is probably worth less than RM100 in Phuket or even Bali. They don’t even provide a water heater to boil water and there is no coffee mix on the table – something that I got so accustomed of seeing at most hotels that I went to. I think it is part of their business strategy to leave visitors with no choice but going to any of the cafes which are very limited in number anyway. The choices of foods are very limited too and I don’t even want to talk about the prices. I found it both amusing and meh.

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Of course the highlight of the whole trip has to be the snorkeling trip. We paid RM40 each and we were taken to 3 different spots, starting from a very beautiful beach on the South of Pulau Perhentian Besar. It was so beautiful that I decided to skip the snorkeling and took a walk around the beach instead. To tell the truth, I never believed that seawater could be so clear and I had the perspective that most of the picture postcards of seawater were photoshopped to make them look clearer than they actually were in real.

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Of course, that was before I came to Pulau Perhentian. The seawater is so clear I could almost touch the bottom of it with my bare eyes. Pulau Perhentian really is all about relaxation. It is very quite which is in complete contrast with the likes of Phuket and Bali where it is almost impossible to escape the crowds. In Perhentian Island, it is very likely that you’ll find yourself suddenly having the whole beach all to yourself.

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Our next snorkeling destination was a place called Teluk Pauh. This place is quite famous among snorkelers for one thing – the turtles. It is here that you’d see so many snorkelers cramping up in one small area just to take a look at turtles. Whenever somebody spotted one, everybody would scramble to come close to it. I found it quite amusing but it was part of the fun too.

I did manage to see one and it was surreal to see a turtle swimming live right before the eyes. Somehow I was choked with emotion. It really was a beautiful sight. I could only hope for a better future for this amazing creature which has long been threatened with extinction due to rampant sale of turtle eggs. I still can’t understand why the state government has not banned the sale of turtle eggs in Terengganu when its tourism is so associated with turtles.

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Of course it is always good to save the best for the last. It was the last destination that I really saw the beauty of the underwater world that Pulau Perhentian really has to offer. For one we had the beach all to ourselves so there was no ‘territorial issue’. We were free to roam around without having to keep a distance from each other because there was plenty of space for everyone. The beach was so secluded it reminded of the movie The Beach where the beach is so beautiful that people would kill each other to keep it a secret hideaway, although I’ve been to the real filming location and was quiet unimpressed.

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I was so fired up with excitement that I decided to dump my life jacket and swim freely like a male dugong. I did snorkel in the Andaman Sea when I went to Krabi last year but seriously it was no match compared to the beauty of the corals at Perhentian Island. Some of the corals were humungous I felt so small in their presence! Looking down at the underwater world when I heard nothing but my own breath has proved to be so relaxing. I think that is the real beauty of snorkeling. It is so relaxing and it really makes you feel like you are living the moment. ^_^

But of course, the more things I saw, the more frustrated I became because I couldn’t go any deeper than the surface. I renewed my intention of getting a diving license at least before the year ends. Quite ironically, I had always wanted to get my diving license at Perhentian Island. I did ask around and there were quite a number of companies offering diving courses for PADI license at the island so I didn’t really go there for nothing.

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Nights at Perhentian Besar are quite dead or at least at Coral View Resort where I stayed. The restaurants close very early – at around 10 pm – so you’ve really got nothing else to do but retreating back to your room. I did see a Chinese restaurant that sold beers, but I was with a bunch of Malay friends so it was quite inappropriate for me to drink when they are watching. Heh. The thing is, I was fresh from a trip back to Sabah for the Kaamatan (Harvest Festival) so I was still heavily intoxicated – literally. UHuks.

Islands might be more about beaches where you can just lie down and be sun-kissed but that did not stop me from doing a little bit of hiking. There are a few hiking trails at both of the islands but of course there was no way we could do all of them since were only there for two nights.

We did hike from Coral View Beach all the way down to Tanjung Batu Lochek where we came across beautiful beaches and resorts and even abandoned government-owned buildings in between and it was one of the most relaxing hikes that I had even done. One good thing about hiking on an island is that no matter where you are, you know you are still on that island so you don’t really have to worry about getting lost or something. 😀

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I did get a chance to come to the famous Long Island on my very last day at Perhentian Island. It was there that I saw why CNN has ranked the island at #13 in the list of World’s Best 100 Beaches. Of course being the epicenter of activities in Perhentian Island, Long Beach is so lively with tourists and backpackers.

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From Long Island, we hiked up to the air turbines which is probably the prime landmark of Perhentian Island – although they look quite abandoned with lack of maintenance. The 30-meter turbines are already beautiful but it is the view from there that makes it such an amazing place to be. The walk way has been left to rot and most of the railing cables have been badly damaged due to corrosion. The jetty has turned skewed and it’s just a matter of time before it falls down. What a shame because it really is a beautiful place.

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Perhentian Island is without doubt one of the most beautiful islands that I’ve ever been to. Again, it really is all about relaxation where you can simply break yourself away from the crowds and have a beautiful beach all to yourself. You’ll find somewhere where you can swim in its azure blue water – alone – to enjoy your me-time without much care of the world.

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I returned to the mainland with a promise to myself – that I’d come back to explore more of the beautiful Perhentian Island. 🙂

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8 Comments

  1. Audrey says:

    Firstly, this new layout is cool! Secondly, OMG that’s sooooo expensive for a room of that standard *gulp*

    When you go there next, let me know? Tumpang sekaki to dive 🙂

    • jipp says:

      Thnaks Audrey. Oh yeah, I’m so sure I’m gonna be back there again soon. Thinking of doing my PADI there. Will let you know 🙂

  2. Ken Wooi says:

    I didn’t enjoy the snorkeling session at Phuket/Krabi – the seabed is… dead.
    Now… I gotta see when I came make a trip to Perhentian. The last time I went to Redang was back in 2009.

    Can I know who organized the RM40 snorkeling trip for you? What’s the agent, or is it arranged by the hotel? 🙂 Thanks!

    • jipp says:

      Haha. You’re very true about the seabed in Phuket and Krabi being dead. There is nothing much to see there. I can assure you there’s much more to see at Perhentian Island. Actually there are plenty of companies or even individuals who can arrange a snorkeling trip for you. You can easily find them just about anywhere in any of the islands. Our snorkeling trip was arranged by another friend and RM40 is actually quiet expensive which was why I was quite mad at him. I knew some companies could offer RM30-RM35. 🙂

  3. thomas says:

    you should have stayed in Perhentian Kecil,better food and some night life

  4. Oh, I fall in love with this island. The transparent water along with the rock cliffs look amazing. I will travel to this amazing island within my 5-day off holiday in September. Thanks so much for the awesome post!

    • jipp says:

      Ya, it’s very beautiful. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it there. I’ve been focusing on traveling to other countries that I had no idea what I was missing in my own country.

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