Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Perhentian Island Resort (PIR) - Review @ Perhentian Islands [Terengganu State, Malaysia]

Now's the time for a full scale review of the resort i stayed in at Perhentian Islands; the Perhentian Island Resort which was also known in its abbreviated form, PIR.

I am thinking of doing this on a somewhat semi-chronological manner, starting from the time we arrived at the jetty, followed by categorisation bordering on accommodation, food, amenities and surroundings.

Good first impression with crystal clear water that greeted us upon arrival - someone just threw a piece of bread into the water; hence the mad rush from the fishes to grab a bite!

The jetty - basically anything to the left belonged exclusively to PIR while the right side had an elevated stairway across boulders that would allow you access to Coral View Resort and a few other resorts along the coastline.

Left side - an idyllic setting which reminded me of my opinion of Paya Beach Resort when i first set eyes on it.  Problem was; i didn't have an enjoyable stay at Paya Beach Resort!

However, i remained optimistic with this inviting view right in front of me! No thank to the harrowing speedboat ride we just endured from Kuala Besut, i was in severe need for a bath and the water was simply irresistible! 

Proceeding to the reception; i was aware that check in was indicated at 3 pm and with about 3.5 hours more to go, i was thinking it would be a frustrating long wait before i could get the key to the room and take a shower. 

My mind was already thinking of Plan B; dump the luggage with Alex and then start snorkeling so that i wouldn't have to get too irritated with my half soaked attire. 

Welcome drink! 

Reception - we were so fortunate; our room was ready but they had to prepare our meal vouchers as part of the full board package we board during the Malaysia Travel Fair in Singapore! Whatever the case, we were the first to get the key! 

Before you exclaim, this villa-on-stilts housed four rooms in total and we were assigned to just ONE of them. As expected from the cheaper package, this was located at the back of the resort although it boasted a garden / pool view.

Entering from the back - throughout our entire stay, i think only one other room was occupied and they were as quiet as mice. 

Which was kind of eerie at night given our deserted location.

Stepping into the room - the brown blanket caught my attention as i am resistant to its texture and often find myself perspiring whenever i am wrap in it!

Other than that, the room was relatively spacious, with plenty of muted sunlight streaming in from the covered windows. 

Basic amenities except for no in-room safe. I didn't even take to use the fridge which was covered with black mold on the door sealant. Something else was missing and it finally dawned on me when i sat on the bed; no television!!!

Guess the main objective was for 'forcing' the guests to rest and maybe relax by the attached balcony while marveling at the dazzling sunset. Alex was in shock for a few minutes by the way; bugger needs the switch on the television in order to sleep in a foreign country. 

Bathroom - normal and served its purpose. Those who wish to take a lazy bath in the tub might have to look for the stopper; i could not find it anywhere although my intention was just to fill up the bathtub to soak my dirty clothes! 

The room wasn't as bad as the one at Paya Beach Resort; however, i had to deduct a few points; the room allocated faced the setting sun and the room was warm despite a full blast air-conditioning! 

Condition wasn't optimal as well; having a towel to cover the holes of the balcony windows was an aesthetic disaster but i do appreciate the kind gesture to protect us from the night bugs. 

Lastly, i was constantly awakened by the calls of the geckos at night and they were so loud; i believed they were right above us and of a much bigger size compared to our house lizards! In addition to geckos, be prepared to chance upon other animals / insects as indicated on this information sheet pasted in the room. 

Our meals were taken in the restaurant right next to the reception. This was also the only place where you can find a flat screen television showing cable channels. Only issue was its placement which restricted the view from most diners except for a selected few!

Meal vouchers and the timings; buffet style offerings for breakfast, lunch and dinner although you may top up if you prefer to order from the ala-carte menu.

I am not going to touch on individual items as there were too many to cover and usually for buffets, there are bound to be hits and misses.

What i noticed was that the mains would always include rice, noodles, vegetables, chicken, fish and mutton / beef. Unlike my younger days, i would take a small portion from each dish just to test the taste before going for a second round with bigger servings!

One dessert i could not stop drinking was during lunch on the second day; the bowl of hot greenish sago soup, known as burbur biji nangka! I had like about five bowls in one go! 

Breakfast setup with our usual porridge, cereal, bread, croissants, nasi lemak; no live station for fried eggs / omelettes though which would have been a hit given our love for eggs! 

On both days, i was satisfied with just the pain aux raisins which were eaten with a special touch; additional butter was slathered on both sides before placing them in the toaster and then turned them over for toasting on the other side for evenness.

Last breakfast on PIR; we were given rambutans and mangosteens! The former was nothing to scream about while the latter had perfectly segmented meat! So, so good! 

A convenience / gift shop can be found, selling essentials like toothbrushes, toothpastes, shampoos, snacks and ice creams! You can find some souvenirs too even though my recommendation is to buy them at Kuala Besut; larger variety and much cheaper too!

Pool table and table soccer in case you are bored; not free though at RM 5 a game! 

Uncomfortable reading corner with limited books and a television that was never switched on, at least not during the few occasions that we walked past.

Swimming pool should you prefer chlorinated water - do keep in mind that the birds seemed to enjoy taking a bath in this water. 

Pinang Seribu Spa - Alex badly needed a massage and it was after a few minutes of guessing that we realised the spa doesn't accept male customers!!!

Prices for your reference. Funny that it was indicated on the document that only facials are limited to women; we did clarify with the receptionist (she spoke better English) and she confirmed the clientele is solely women. Sexist!

Beach volleyball, anyone? 

My favourite place had to be the sea sports centre; meeting place for the two complimentary snorkeling trips as part of our package.

Our snorkeling vouchers. 

Details of the two daily sessions of snorkeling trips; afternoon session had been covered in separate postings and you may click the hyperlinks for Marine Park, Tanjung Basi and Tiga Ruang for more details!

PADI programmes were available at the same centre! Should i take on the open water diver programme to strike out the item on the bucket list? Maybe i can consider 'discover scuba diving' first to ascertain if i should advance to the next step on the sea lover ladder.

You may rent a canoe too but don't attempt if you are bad in managing the vessel. It can be quite scary when you could not manoeuvre back to the beach even though for cruel onlookers like us, it can be quite a funny sight. 

Rental rates for your information! Weak swimmers like myself should consider renting a life jacket! No mask and snorkel for us as we have the easybreath snorkeling masks

Who could resist the water?! Definitely not me! 

Many, especially those with young kids, preferred to stay around the main beach area where there wasn't many rocks and better water clarity.

For slightly more adventurous folks, do check out the area to the far right of the resort; the marine life was bustling there and a godsend for snorkelers! I would publish a post on it soon, i hope. :P

The "internal" streets for the villas; a tap was available outside each villa for you to wash your sand-caked feed before you enter your room.

View of the pool and main building (reception, gift shop, restaurant etc) from our balcony. 

A pond close to our villa; i didn't notice its existence till the last day as there was a heavy thunderstorm and i guess the water level sort of swelled up. 

As mentioned earlier, the beach was private property and limited only to guests of PIR although it's quite hard to identify guests who came from the other resorts accessible by walking across the elevated stairway to the right of the jetty.

Sunset was best viewed from the beachfront area; in front of the main dining restaurant. Pull a few chairs and make yourself cosy! 

Panoramic photos taken by iPhone! The function was so much easier to use when compared to my full fledged Olympus TG-3 camera! 


Perhentian Island (Besar),
Terengganu State, Malaysia


Resort Map
As above.

Promotional Package
This is only for reference as the package was purchased during the Malaysia Travel Fair back in 2014! Included as per indicated; we had to make our way to Kuala Besut jetty ourselves. 

Do's and Don'ts
For your reference.

Additional Information
Prefer to pay lower fees for accommodation? You may consider the hut (called A Frame) which didn't come with air conditioning and the last i saw, priced at RM 150 a night.

Water taxis at the entrance of PIR in case you are not on fullboard and / or like to do some exploration! I would gladly take up turtle beach if i have more time!

Left with only Singapore dollars? Change to Malaysian Ringgit from the in house money charger; rate was terrible by the way! It's S$1 to RM2 whereas the conversion was S$1 to RM2.78 back in Singapore! 

For my travelogue to the Perhentian Islands, 
click here

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