Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Travelogue to Perhentian Islands - The Besar One @ Terengganu [West Malaysia]

My journey on my third snorkeling trip this year started on a rather exciting note; i am catching a plane at 8.30 pm right after work in NUS on the other side of the island and there was no "available" cab until about 6.30 pm! 

Thankfully the traffic was not as heavy as expected and the chatty uncle managed to "deliver" me to Terminal 2 at 7.00 pm, where a visibly impatient Alex was waiting for me. We were supposed to have a nice, relaxing dinner before boarding the plane lor.

[7.55 pm] With no time luxury, a quick meal (i had a slice of pizza from Pezzo) was all we could have and it's time shortly to take the plane to Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2; known in short form as klia2.

[9.16 pm] The Tigerair plane lifted off the runway at 8.33 pm and we reached klia2 about twenty minutes ahead of time! 

[10.00 pm] After clearing the Malaysian immigration, we checked into Tune Hotel which was literally a stone throw away from klia2. An early domestic flight was scheduled early next morning and i figured it would be less stressful to reach the night before and have a more satisfying sleep.

[6.10 am] Took a sheltered route to klia2 and it's amazing to see so many shops that were already open at this time! Are the commercial entities in klia2 operating on a 24-hour cycle?!

Had another go at PappaRich after the not so impressionable visit in Singapore. Again, it wasn't memorable and the order taker misheard my kopi for kopi O! 

[7.20 am] My third AirAsia flight within a year; absolutely love the clear and loud announcement over the PA system! Don't you hate it when the pilots in most airlines tend to mumble through their lines?!

[8.43 am] Landed ahead of schedule again and was greeted by the terrifying din from a twin propeller jet a few hundred meters away. Land transfer was booked in advance and i was so accustomed to seeing my English name (Cavin, that is) that i totally overlooked my dialect name scribbled on a piece of paper held by the chauffeur at the arrival hall. 

[9.00 am] Passing through the countryside of Kelantan state and it was an hour later that we arrived at our final transfer destination; Kuala Besut jetty. 

[10.10 am] The next ferry was at 11 am and with plenty of time, we checked the surrounding and finally settled at this April Cafe that provided customers with free wifi! 

[10.55 am] A marine conservation fee had to be paid and once that's done, please be prepared for an exhilarating ferry ride! At the end of that almost forty minutes ride, i was half soaked and thinking i should honestly consider leaving a will when i returned back to Singapore.

[11.31 am] View upon arrival.

A much more spectacular view of the crystal clear water! For those men who were focusing on the lady in the water, she wasn't naked!

[12 noon] While normal check-in for Perhentian Island Resort was 3 pm, we were fortunate to be informed that our room was already ready! Even though it looked like a big house being allocated to us, we were just taking one of four rooms in the building. 

[2.00 pm] As part of the full board package i bought from Travel Malaysia Fair, two snorkeling trips were included! I had blogged separately on the first session (takes place at 2 pm daily) that brings snorkelers to Marine Park, Tanjung Basi and Tiga Ruang.

[6.45 pm] Kindly be assured that the snorkeling would be at most two hours! I was so affected by nausea towards the end that we rested in our room for almost three hours before crawling out for dinner and taking in a beautiful sunset! 

[8.00 pm] Buffet dinner didn't quite appeal to me and i was on the lookout for grilled food! Found a nice place at the next door Coral View resort but what we ordered definitely didn't commensurate with the high price! 

[8.22 am] The room didn't come with a television!!! By the way, it was a good thing as we slept quite early and i managed to clock in more than nine hours of sleep before waking up for buffet breakfast! 

The morning snorkeling session starts at 10 am and we made use of our time by exploring the private resort beach in front of us! The hill in the picture resided at Pulau Perhentian Kecil (the small island); we didn't step onto the isle as Alex wasn't keen... :(

[10.00 am] Start of the snorkeling session! This time round, i was prepared to fight against the giddiness by having a lighter breakfast!

Locations consisted of Shark Point (no shark spotted), Teluk Kekek and turtle watching; this was the first time i sighted a turtle in all my snorkeling expeditions, combined! 

[12 noon] Alex had an appointment for a one-hour massage whereas i continued to snorkel at a spot beside Perhentian Island Resort where the water was shallow and teeming with rich marine life that didn't disappoint!

[2.00 pm] Took a much needed bath and had buffet lunch at the resort. With fingers that wrinkled like a century old man, i badly needed a bowl of hot soup! 

[4.00 pm] We jumped into the water again as our decision was to take an early ferry the next day for better time management and this might likely be our last snorkeling this year.

The area outside of Coral View Resort was a must-explored as i chanced upon a lot of sea cucumbers that mom would love for me to secretly bring them back to Singapore, sea snail, reef shark, many families of clownfishes (popular known as Nemo nowadays) and even a camouflaged stingray! 

[6.00 pm] After a shower (i took no less than four showers / baths when i was in the resort), we retraced our footsteps to a crowded restaurant we passed by the night before. 

So as to satisfy our craving for grilled seafood! Everything at The Barat Restaurant was to our liking (except for the prawns which numbered only two) and it was so worth forgoing our buffet dinner at Perhentian Island Resort (PIR).

[7.20 am] A thunderstorm at 2.00 am woke me up from my sleep and i managed to savage a few pieces of clothes that we left to dry at the balcony! Anyway, the so-called river meandering through the resort appeared more like a river after the storm. 

[7.30 am] Grabbed our breakfast and hastily woofed them down the throat as we were supposed to be at the jetty in fifteen minutes! Loving the pain aux raisins, especially after spreading butter on it and giving them a double-surface toast!

[7.56 am] Arrival of the ferry and seeing how full it was, i thought people would be alighting. Nope, that didn't happen and i truthfully thought it was over the maximum load; discounting the 'captain', there were eventually twenty one of us and quite a number of large luggage. 

[10.00 am] We had to endure more than an hour of wait as the land transfer we pre-arranged mistakenly thought we were taking the 12 noon ferry! 

[2.42 pm] I should have followed the group of Malaysian gals and took the 12 noon ferry as the flight back to klia2 was delayed by more than half an hour! Oh well, it is always better to be early than late for a flight. 

[4.10 pm] Good to see the aviation tower of klia2 and from the above photograph, you should be able to ascertain the proximity of Tune Hotel to the budget terminal. 

[5.07 pm] Rushed to have an early dinner at this restaurant that was strongly recommended by my younger sister! Summarised verdict: Hometown is way better than Old Town when it comes to Nasi Lemak! 

[7.15 pm] Home sweet home and it's always heart warming to hear the pilot says: "for Singaporeans, welcome home". 


Expenses (Per Person)
Accommodation at Tune Hotel (twin-sharing) - S$81.82
Airfare to KL (2-way) - S$137.17
Airfare to Kota Bharu (2-way) - RM 184.11
Full Board Package with PIR - S$180
Land Transfer to Kuala Besut (2-way) - RM 70
Miscellaneous - S$100