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Perhentian Paradise

MALAYSIA | Friday, 5 July 2013 | Views [1991]

The journey from Ko Phangan to the Perhentian Islands on the east coast of Malaysia was a bit of a nightmare.It consisted of the following ... Taxi, ferry, bus, mini van (arrived in Hat Yai), realised I was not going to make it to the intended border crossing in time so had to take another mini van there and back to a different border in order to get my passport stamped as my visa was about to run out. So I had to stay in a dodgy hostel near the bus station in Hat Yai, then the following morning I took a mini van to Sungai Kolok at the Thai/ Malaysian border, then a bus to Kota Bharu where I found that the last speed boat to the Perhentian Islands leaves at 4p.m so I had to stay in Kota Bharu for the night.

The next morning I was up early and took a bus to Kuala Besut then finally jumped onto a speed boat to the Perhentian Islands! It took the best part of 2 days to get here but once I arrived I knew that it was well worth it! I decided to stay on Perhentian Kecil, the smaller of the 2 islands, this is regarded as the backpacker island. As our speed boat pulled up the pier I was blown away by how clear the crystal blue water was and Coral beach looked amazing lined with palm tree's. The place looked all that much better due to the glorious sun shine, something that I aint seen that much of in Thailand. I took a walk across the island and found some accomodation near Long Beach which is the more livelier part. Here I had my first encounter with one of the massive monitor lizards on the island! Then I was out straight away down to the beach with my snorkel and mask! I snorkelled under the jetty and saw loads of amazing fish, some in scholes of thousands! But I had better snorkelling a bit later on the other side of the island. Only a 15 minute walk as the island is quite small with no roads or transport. Here I got to see loads of clams, clown fish (nemo's) and black tip reef sharks. They were only small, less than a metre, so I felt safe! That evening I got talking to a couple of backpackers, Andy and Clare, when I was having my tea and they became my island buddies. That night we watched the fire show on the beach and had a good few drinks including our first taste of 'Monkey juice', the local rum!

The next morning we were a little bit worse for wear but what better way to cure it than going on a snorkelling trip. We spent the day visiting 5 ot 6 different locations around both islands. The first being Shark Point, here we caught sight of a few black tip reef sharks, this time they were the parents and at least 1.5 metres in length! We also went to Turtle Point and snorkelled with green turtles. One of them in particular was massive! He was on the bottom for ages so a few of us were duck diving down 5-6 metres to get a better view. The other locations had some beautiful coral and really clear water where we seen some triggerfish and LOADS of Nemo's, up to 10-15 in the same location! For 30RM
(about £6) it was great value. In the evening we went for a BBQ on the beach, we waited 2 hours for our food as they clearly underestimated how many people were going to turn up. I had an early night as I was exhausted and had arranged a scuba dive the next day.

The following morning I dived at 'Temple', regarded as one of the top dive sites on the islands. The visibility was not amazing, due to the full moon and tidal currents, but we still saw some amazing things ... 3 Bamboo sharks, triggerfish, blue spotted stingray, moray eel and thousands of twinstripe fusilier. I was supposed to be diving at a shipwreck in the afternoon but not enough people turned up so I rearranged it for the next day and just went snorkelling again instead. That evening was our last so we watched the fireshow on the beach and enjoyed a few drinks. We all had a laugh and I even bumped into a couple of scousers!

After checking out the next day I went to the dive company then out to 'Sugar wreck', a ship wreck also regarded as one of the top sites here. The visibility was terrible at first only 1-2 metres when we were 18 metres down. But as we came up it got better and I could see the wreck laying upside down, we got to see some puffer fish, box fish, juvenile barracuda and a scorpion fish which was laying 100% still and completely camouflaged itself in the same colours as the wreck. After the dive I had just enough time to grab a quick shower and some food before getting the speedboat back to the main land.

I've visited a few islands on my travels but this ranks up there with the best! It was just sun soaked paradise!! Shame I only had 4 days. But onwards I go, back to Kota Bharu for a night then I fly to Kuala Lumpur to connect to Borneo!


Tags: amazing beaches, monitor lizards, paradise, scuba diving, sharks, snorkelling, turtles



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