Sunday, August 02, 2015

Day 1 of the Perhentian Islands Trip 2015 [Includes a Snorkelling Session with Perhentian Island Resort]



I absolutely detest early flight! However, i didn't have a choice as there wasn't any bus service from Singapore to Kuala Besut / Kota Bahru on the date i wanted and taking the multi-city flights was the best option.

It was only slightly past 6am at this point and despite the tiredness, i was quite amused that i finally got to walk along the sheltered walkway from Tune Hotel to klia2 terminal!

Some of the retail shops at the Gateway@klia2 were already opened for business! Honestly, i think shopping in Malaysia is now much more exciting as compared to Singapore.

Of course you still need the customer base and from the look of it at a quarter past 6 o'clock in the morning, the terminal was already filled with so many people!

It helped to be a domestic transfer terminal, i guess as that would attract many more locals to take the train. In Singapore, it just didn't make sense for us to fly from Changi Airport to Seletar Airport when it would take us less than half an hour by taxi.

For AirAsia, all check-ins would be completed via the automated check-in machine. There a few exceptions; for example, if you have an infant with you. Baggage check-in was via another counter nearer to the domestic departure lounge.

Anyone still remembers the now-closed budget terminal at Changi Aiport? The retail scene at that terminal was literally nonexistent and i often tried to check in later since i didn't want to bore myself.

At klia2, it's a different story altogether even though it was frequently labelled as a budget terminal. There were tons to shop and if not for the early timing, i might still be able to stuff myself with more food after a not very satisfactory breakfast at PappaRich Express.

Got a glimpse of the pilots who would be manning the AirAsia plane i was taking to Kota Bahru Airport; remember them for their super loud and clear announcement over the PA system.

The sun had barely open its eyes; yawns! In comparison to an overnight flight (tried it twice to Beijing and Taiwan), i would very much prefer an early morning flight.

Landed at Kota Bahru - my first time to the Malaysian state of Kelantan!

The extremely noisy twin-propeller plane for FireFlyz - this was in my fact my choice carrier but i had difficulty paying online for the tickets! :(

Arrival lounge was tiny and the above photography was taken from the luggage belt which was also just a few meters away from the tarmac.

Our land transfer that was arranged through Perhentian Island Resort at RM 70 per person, both ways as i didn't want to bother myself with the hassle.

Leaving for Kuala Besut jetty!

Rural, agricultural sights along the way. In case you are unaware, the state was governed by the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS); one of the biggest opposition parties in Malaysia.

For the urban kids, you would find loads of cattle on the fields with some eating grass right by the roadside!

45 minutes on the road and you would come to this bridge that crossed the river; you would still require another 15 minutes to reach the jetty.

At 10am, we had another hour to go before we can take the ferry which means i can explore the surroundings! Was still facing a lack of sleep though and both of us were feeling a bit hungry.

Found a kopitiam (even though it was branded as a cafe) that served pretty decent roti canai and teh tarik! Best of all, the April Cafe had free wifi!

Official entrance of Kuala Besut Jetty. For backpackers, do check out the numerous travel agencies housed within for accommodation, ferry tickets and even tour packages to Redang Island!

I even saw one banner promoting a package to Cameron Highlands! Imagine how great it would be to enjoy the seas and then follow by relaxing on the cool mountain! One word, shiok!

Those interested in trinkets for Perhentian Islands can buy them from the souvenir shops. Generally you get the same thing; key chains, fridge magnets, T-shirts etc.

From the short time i was at Kuala Besut, there was one place that came to mind that had a familiar vibe; Sungai Rengit town which i visited in my day trip to Pengerang.

It exuded that laid-back charm and reminded me of my childhood days in the kampong at Nee Soon. Yes, i am one of the few borne in the 80s who have lived in a Singapore village.

Kitty kitty!

Price list for your reference! As you can deduce, i got a better deal through arranging with Perhentian Island Resort. If i have taken the authorised taxi way, i would have to fork out RM 150 for a two-way journey. 

About time to step into the jetty! 

As with visits to all marine parks in Malaysia, you are required to pay a marine conservation fee of RM 5 per person. What would happen if someone itchy fingers and goes to scratch the foil for all the dates?!

Nothing much at the jetty but i did feel that something was amiss. 

This was the vessel that shall transport us to Perhentian Island Resort! With a journey that would take us about 45 minutes, i am truthfully not looking forward to it!!

Located approximately 19 kilometers from mainland Malaysia, we were subject to waves that splashed into the boat and soaked our attire! There was a concerted effort (on my part) to protect my luggage as i could not imagine having them wet!! 

The speedboat slowed down when we reached the Perhentian Islands; the surreal atmosphere was a far cry from the extremely exciting ordeal we had a few moments before. 

A beautiful mosque that was situated at the Fishing Village on Perhentian Island Kecil. Perhentian Islands are made up of two islands; one Besar (big island), one Kecil (smaller one).

With wobbly legs, half soaked jeans, wet and messy wind-ruffed hair, i was just glad to have made it safely to the island in one piece. I told myself i have to get used to it as there was still a return trip i have made two days later.

Whatever the case, i am on the highly recommended Perhentian Islands and i must make full use of my time to check out the snorkeling! 

Checking in to the television-less Perhentian Island Resort, took a bath and it's time to take our lunch before we embarked on our first snorkelling session with the resort! 

Took a few bo-liao photos while waiting for the session to start; honestly, i wasn't expecting much after the not-fascinating snorkelling at Pulau Manukan and Pulau Sapi

We shall be taking the itinerary for the afternoon session. Price was listed as RM 40 per person and included both life jackets and snorkel mask. 

The innovative map that showed you the snorkelling spots surrounding the Perhentian Islands. 

For a marine park, i was appalled at the way the staff treated this stuffed turtle; poor chap was nailed to the board as if crucified like Jesus! Use super glue or something lah before the horrific sight frightens the young kids! 

Returned from our snorkelling session which proved to be way better than expected. There were separate detailed postings on the three locations; Tiga Ruang, Tanjung Basi and Marine Park and you may find them here, there and that respectively. 

After resting for two hours due to a dizzying spell for me, we stepped out of the room to find two eagles on top of the tree! Or so i thought until i got back to Singapore, zoomed in to the photo and realised the two eagles were pigeons. 

A spectacular sunset greeted us when we got to the restaurant! Thankfully Perhentian Island Resort wasn't facing the East or else i might attempt to wake up early to catch the sunrise even though i still require more sleep!

You may continue to  marvel at the sunset while having your buffet dinner. I am a fast eater and there's only so long that a sunset, no matter how beautiful, can captivate me for a sustained period of time. 

Without a television in the room means we would have to find something to do and i guess we could start by exploring the other side which was blocked by a boulder and could be reached by either climbing this staircase or wet our shorts by walking across in waist-height water. 

No way am i going to soak my shorts and tee shirt! View of the jetty from the staircase; do note that if you are afraid of the dark, the lighting at the staircase was rather insufficient and you may want to make use of the torchlight function on your mobile phone. 

An elevated platform with a pavilion overlooking the sea! However, access was restricted and you may only enter if you are a customer. A customer of what, you ask?

Traditional Malay Massage! Alex was ecstatic as this masseur was male and if you remember from my posting on Perhentian Island Resort, the spa at the resort catered only to the female clientele.

He left down his name on the appointment list for a massage session the next day as massaging right after dinner was said to be harmful for the body. On a side note, you would not want all the food taken during dinner to be purged as well. 

The other side which housed the Coral View Resort. I shall share more on the snorkelling experience at this side but just to give you a teaser, it was the best i had at Perhentian Islands.

Bloody!! The sea cucumbers were like on the shore and there were dozens in front of me! Mom would be super happy although on second thought, she would never join me on such trips; too hot for her liking.

Coral View Resort - the rooms appeared really cosy and i could not resist asking one of the occupants (a friendly, Caucasian lady) if television were provided. The answer was a straight no!! It appeared to be a Perhentian thing i guess.

Accommodation type and rates for your reference; the next time i drop by Perhentian Islands, Coral View Resort would likely be top on my list! 

Restaurant for Coral View Resort - unlike Perhentian Island Resort, the ambience was much better and it helped to have seating right next to the beach! 

Turned another corner where we continued our journey. There were a number of food options along this stretch and i did regret signing up for full board package!

Went back to Sri Tanjung Restaurant of Coral View Resort since our dear Alex had assured the waiters there that he would be back!!! He really needs to shut his mouth sometimes....

Ordered a 1.5 liter mineral water at RM 5.50 instead of a glass as i needed to top up just a bit more. The six sticks of chicken satay (picture was placed at the travelogue post) at RM 13 were dry and overcooked. To put it bluntly, the onion with satay sauce tasted better.

This plate of garlic butter prawn was salty rather than buttery and ingredients other than the prawns tasted off. Want to guess how much we paid for it? RM 26! 

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For my summarised itinerary to Perhentian Islands, click here

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