July 24, 2014

Perhentian Island (Kecil) 2014

WARNING: SUPER long post ahead. 

Spent two days writing this post in between my VD marathon and didn't want to separate into two posts, so yeahh. 

Have fun enjoying my first post in 2014 :) 

Few weeks ago when my friends and i were planning on a post-exam trip to somewhere awesome, a few islands came into mind, we discussed, and in the end we chose Perhentian Island since it was highly raved by so many people who went there. Being the Asians that we were, we wanted to find out about the place before we went there, looked for blog posts, reviews, transportation and accomodation. TO NO AVAIL. Okay it wasn't really actually to no avail, but we needed to do a lot of 'research' online to find out sufficient information about the trip, only to find out that we couldn't book a room where we wanted to stay. Hence, the thought of writing this post. Oh, and did i mention we found out that there was actually a Perhentian Besar (more local family-oriented area) and Perhentian Kecil (where it was supposedly more happening place, more suitable for young people - obviously we were gonna stay there)? So yeah, this was actually quite un-planned, as compared to the previous trips that we had been, seeing that we only went to buy the bus ticket 2 days before departure and Evelyn whatsapping chalet receptionists on our way to Perhentian Kecil.

For your convenience, this is a blog post about Coral Bay Beach experience, and this is one for Long Beach experience.

Anyhooooo, back to my experience.

Day 1

HL was kind enough to get the bus ticket for us for Sani Express from Hentian Putra (if you're planning to leave from KL, because that is the only place to go Perhentian via bus) at RM45 for one way to Kuala Besut. Apparently there was only one morning and one night travels of KL-Kuala Besut per day, so you have to plan your days well accordingly. We  at 10pm and arrived the jetty at around 6.30am the next morning after all the little stops along the way. Lucky for us, we didn't need to wait long until the first boat to the island at 7am, which cost us RM70 to and fro. We also bought a return bus ticket from the aunty at the jetty for RM47 because she kept scaring us about how we might not be able to buy a ticket back to KL when we come back because it is a weekend. Better to be safe than sorry i guess? So off we went! 

(Time for pictures, y'all!)

This is a view of Perhentian Kecil at half past 7 in the morning. Doesn't it seem like we're driving into the sunrise? Oh, my camera takes awesome pictures. Sad that it's gone now. (Story of its tragic death later on)

This is my travel companions, minus Hwa Lee, the photographer. Her photo will come later on :) Evelyn and Shilpa were attemping (?) to do the YOLO sign, as a symbol of how our trip will be like. But it wasn't really a YOLO trip actually hahaha

So, we arrived at the beach at about 7.30am and were eyeing for Panorama Chalet and Matahari Chalet because we have read reviews and concluded that these two places are our top priority. They weren't kidding when they said these two chalets were next to each other. We left our bags on some snorkeling vendor's bench while some of us stayed with the bags and the rest went to look and enquire about rooms.

Sorry for the bad photo, for the rising sun was shining brightly and hiding the Matahari Chalet signboard. It was a crazy and funny experience looking for the reception, because their reception are like this: 

Small table in the breakfast place. Don't get me started on Matahari Chalet's reception, because i wasn't wearing slippers around and we had to go through this little road through grasses to get to the BACK, following a weird little signboard to get to the reception (Thank you two kind white women having their breakfast to tell us where to find the reception), so i didn't follow. Did NOT want to get my bare foot bleeding before i even start my snorkeling trips. 

So we settled for Panorama's family room (with A/C) at RM200 with two queen size bed and enough place for one extra bed at RM20. Matahari only had some double rooms for RM150 (with A/C too), so we chose Panorama as the more economical choice. Sorry i did not take pictures of the room, but some pictures later on might give you an idea how the room was like. It only had ONE yellow bulb in the middle of the room and one more bulb in the toilet, but the electricity comes only at night and mid-day, which was written at the website. I brought a torchlight, so we used it in the bathroom when we needed to bathe during no-electricity hours. 

The view of Panorama chalets

After we settled in the room, we all got ready for LE BEACH :D All armoured with sun block and swim wears, we had a little breakfast at ridiculous price, and then went for snorkeling. Each chalets have their own snorkeling package, so we thought we would save the trouble of going around and just went on with it. I negotiated RM45 instead of RM50 for a long trip of snorkeling :) And so, we went.

But first, lemme take a selfie;

Must love Ryan's GoPro! (which she went all the way to Singapore to collect from her brother and back just in time for the trip - Thank Youuuuu) Though it didn't take the BEST pictures out of water, all underwater photos in this post are from her GoPro. Or maybe it was just all of us noobies who do not know how to operate the camera properly :P But as you can see, the quality of the pictures was better gradually.

Poor couple are trying as hard as possible to seem invisible while we take our Asian selfies. But did you notice that dude's eyes trying to peep at us? Fufufufu

We had quite a boring guide this trip, so it was just o-kay for me. And the marine life was nice, as usual, but not as i had expected. Long trip for snorkeling consist of around 6 places including one at some village for lunch. Horrible, expensive lunch. But it was expected as island food are always more expensive. Be prepared to eat mostly Malay food, for those who can stand it or not-up-to-standard Western food. 

 The last stop was at some beach where the boatman stopped us from far away, and told us to swim to the beach ourselves to hang out. All of us got down and swam at our own pace, except Evelyn and Ryan who took the boat to the beach after a short while in the water. 

And so, the boatman had a nap in the boat while we whip out the cameras when we reached the beach. Somehow Shilpa thought it would be funny to untie my bikini top while we were getting ready for a shot and this is her running as far away as possible from me after doing it. 

And the angel Moh swimming to my rescue to help me tie it back. 

Shilpa swimming back to the group cautiously as i give my Fiona glare at her. Maybe a little Damon-evil-smirk as well (Forgive me for the Vampire Diaries reference, Shilpa got me all hooked onto it now that exams are over.) Eventually i pulled down her bikini bottom to expose her butt, because, revenge :) Thank God for crystal clear water, ey? 

All is well after, and we took a selfie. So we finally got our group picture after all the hoo-ha and a few individual shots. Looking AWESOME. 

And helped shilpa get a boob job and penis transplant.

After we lost purpose of staying on the beach for such a long time, we went back to the boat only to find that the couple was napping on the boat, either being tired of waiting for us or just having a nap on the boat feels good. I'd prefer to think the later to free myself from guilt though (Hehe!). Oh, and did i say that there was absolutely NO TOILET on that beach? There were a few huts here and there, so i was expecting there are some toilets but all of them were chained shut so eventually i asked a local guy (also napping wtf) where is the toilet and he said there are none on that beach. My poor poor bladder T.T

So yeah we went back at around 3-ish, I PEED, went back to the room and chill, and came out for our dinner again. Shall i show you the result of the first day of snorkeling?

It gets worse. On a side note, i LOVE the restaurants here. I can just take out the slippers and dig my toes into the sand during meals while you chat with your friends. Life is just.... chill. The smartest thing they have on the menu is the ice shaved juices OH YUMS. Did not take a picture of it, but it's just normal ice shaved fruit juices that tastes heavenly in the weather, and after a day of having sea water in your mouth. 

Being the alcoholic which we are all NOT, we drank in the room by nightfall. We brought our own bottles because from 'researches' and what my brother told me, there were only cheap rum for sale on the island. But from what i see, there were beer at the bar there too. 

Taken from HL's phone is me terrorizing Kailing with my sunburnt ass with Moh lying down at the side and Shilpa helping me, as usual. Well actually main purpose of this picture is to show you half of the room but i can't exactly crop out us right? So yeah. That's me in a very unglam manner on my blog. 

Oh and did i mention it was Evelyn's birthday the day we arrived there? Yeaaaah she was supposed to be pissed drunk, but we were gonna go snorkel the next day so better not. And due to some miscommunication which i will not reveal here, we took this very weird picture of us. Interpret it however you want alright.

I am hereby ashamed to say that we all slept at 10pm. I kept on saying "OH MAI GOSH i can't believe we're on vacation and sleeping at 10pm". Everyone ignored me. Said again. And was ignored again. Oh my dog life. But everyone was tired from our night ride to reach here in the morning. The seats were comfortable, don't get me wrong. But it's not a BED, y'know? I don't know about the rest, but i'm not the type who can sleep anywhere and everywhere, so i kept waking up and sometimes i just stare at the road. And the reviews were right about rooms being unavailable if you reach late, because we reached earlier than the reception was open at 8am so we got to go first at the reception, and they only had a handful of room left. Being the kiasu Asians, we quickly said yes to this family room when they said they only have one room left (which they only allowed a maximum of 5 people per room, but we had our ways of deceit to fit 7 in one *wink wink*). The people who talked to the reception after us had no more rooms and had to go other places to search for it. 

Day 2

I woke up, followed by Ryan because the A/C stopped working in the morning so we happily used the bathroom while the others sleep. And when the rest of them woke and we got ready. Mannn, now that i think back, we did take a LONG time to get ready. Everyone was arming their body with sunblock (that took almost forever) and then there was the whole dilemma of what to leave in the room (and risk being stolen - worst case scenario + paranoid us, don't worry thieves are not lurking around the island lol) and what to leave in the locker. Yeah, we had a locker service :) And by locker, i meant placing your valuables in a plastic ziploc to be placed at the reception for safeguard, with you writing down the amount of cash you put there and the valuable items, and they give you a receipt after. 

We didn't want to have breakfast at the place we stayed in anymore, because they were expensive and not worthy of eating. And also we want to explore around if there's any nice food around. Found a place further down the beach. We had roti canai because the guy was telling us that's the fastest food since everyone else haven't had their food yet. When we looked around, all the tables haven't had their food yet. So roti canai, we ordered. 

SDJ demanded me to insert this in my post: See where it's written plain roti canai for RM3? In the menu it's written RM6, but actually you get two pieces there. So it's actually one piece of plain roti canai for RM6. Doubts cleared.

And a pointer if you are to come here and order food, you gotta wait for them to FINISH writing the orders, then you place another order or they'll mess it up (multitasking is not their strong point). From most of the eateries we've been, this is the one thing i can tell you. Service is not competent here. 

During breakfast i saw some tents near the coconut trees and can't help to think if this is one of those people who want to save on chalets or couldn't find rooms and slept on the beach, or are these the bedrooms of the vendors. Because i saw people talking about sleeping on the beach, and my brother actually scared me by saying if you can't find rooms then you just have to sleep on the beach. We had all types of scenarios in our mind with plan B - Get a water taxi to Perhentian Besar to spend the night, and plan C - Get a boat to go to Redang :P

After breakfast, off we go to snorkel again! 

Another pointer for those who have never went to snorkeling before, you have to LET IT GO when you leave the boat into the water. Because if you still hold onto the boat while getting down the water, there WILL be (painful) consequences:

So this time we went to another vendor because according to Kailing who went to Perhentian Besar with her family before and had an aunt who apparently comes to Perhentian very often, Rawa Beach is awesome. So we were looking to go to Rawa Beach trip, which should cost us RM60 but then again i asked for a discount and they discussed among themselves and gave us RM50/each! I didn't even quote and they gave a RM10 discount already! Hahaha sorry i get a little ecstatic when i get good deals, thanks to the 'aunty' side of me.

But one thing that pissed me off about these vendors is that they each have a polysterene box with baby turtles swimming in them. One of the guys "pssssst" me and asked me to go over, and he showed me the turtles. One one hand we are trying so hard to protect the turtle eggs and on the other hand these people are keeping the baby turtles in the boxes to show off to their customers or for what reasons, i didn't know. 

The next day when i got friendlier to the vendors, i asked them what are the turtles for, whether are they for sale or what, one of them told me they cook them. I had the shock of my life and asked him to tell the truth, and he said that their flesh is very sweet to eat. I really didn't know what to do. It's not like i can hijack the box and release them into the sea, Kailing said the boats will kill them before anything. So i just told him that this isn't right and not to do it next time. He just smiled at me. My meek and feeble attempt of saving the turtles was mocked wtf. 

Sorry about that short break of my ranting about me being a spineless being, back to snorkeling stories! 

You should definitely go to the Rawa Beach trip! It was so much better than the Long Trip we went yesterday (it's a locally known term, almost everywhere goes to the same points for Long Trips and Short Trips). Well it's called the Rawa Beach trip because one of the places is called Rawa Beach, but actually the nicest place IMO was Serenyeh. A picture of the menu (?) of the vendor i went, just for your reference. 

According to the guy i talked to, we're having a convoy! Love convoys on speedboats man :) So our group of 7 separated 4-3 into two boats to our trip! And Serenyeh was beautifullllll. I loved it, everything looks so surreal, fishes swimming past you. LIVE corals opening and closing right beneath you.

After Serenyeh, we went to this place called Tokong Burung, where there are no temples, just rocks with a lot of birds resting on it. There was nothing much over there, the coral reefs are almost repetitive when you go to different islands of the same area. Here, our boatman said he'll show us a SUPER big fish with a bump on the head. I kept swimming and swimming looking for a super big fish but none in sight! I kept emerging from the water and asking him "Mana ikan besarrrrr" and he'll say "Tungguuuuuu". And it repeats after a few more minutes. What an annoying customer i am, i realised.

See how the fishes gather in the picture above? That's when a piece of bread falls into the ocean and all the fishes swim towards it at full speed. Probably because i was so annoying about the super big fish that the other boatman kept throwing pieces of bread at my face when i was in the water. When i said at my face, it was LITERALLY at my face! The first time, i yelled because all the fishes are swarming towards my face, and probably he thought it was funny and did it again. And again. And again. At last i went up the water and told him i'll slap him in BM. In a joking-ish way, of course (i don't want him to throw me off the boat wtf).

For me, i prefer fishes in moderation, and not when the whole school of fish is right in front of me, like so:

Well, selfies were a bitch in the water. Mostly it was because Ryan didn't want to take the GoPro stick anymore since she dropped the camera in the water the first day and had to ask the boatmen to get it for her. Taking pictures of ourselves with the hand.... Well, results in only a few people being in the picture, at weird angles. Just to show you how failed our photos underwater were;

And asking someone else to take our photo had problem too because we tried to stay in one line formation, but there was the current and life jacket making us float around aimlessly, out of our control. The photos look so funny when i look back, so many failed attempts at a good photo hahaha. And i asked for flippers the 2nd day because i saw the couple from the 1st day going in without life jacket and it seems more free. Also i remembered my last snorkeling trip umpteen years ago when i used flippers, it was SO fun because i get to go places a lot faster than usual. 

At last, we tried asking one of the boatmen to take a picture of us, and he went down to get a photo of us, which turned out quite eerie and BLUR. Fail fail fail wtf we look like corpses floating on the sea. 

He also commented on how dangerous because we didn't have a strap for the GoPro and it might fall down. So i said he would take it for us in the event it really did drop into the ocean. That's what super swimmers boatmen are for right? Save us in time of need :) 

Maybe because the boatmen today were younger than the guy who took us at Day 1, the trip was a little bit more friendly and enjoyable. You see, when the guides are not friendly to you, they don't bring you around to see more awesome things which you normally wouldn't see yourself because you're not familiar with the place. So yeaah. After we had our fun, the idiot boatman who threw bread at my face saved some bread for Rawa Beach, and off we went. 

Rawa Beach was a beach where the coral reef was a LOT closer to the beach than normal beaches would, so it was nice. But the highlight of this point (in fact, the WHOLE trip) was that one of the boatmen brought me and Kailing, to a further point for skin diving while the rest have a photo shooting session on the beach. If you think that it was creepy for the guy to bring only me and Kailing, it was because only the both of us can swim. I'm not much of a good swimmer myself, but it'll suffice for snorkeling. I couldn't do skin diving because my body just automatically floats when i try to immerse myself in the water, and i just couldn't keep my breath in long enough. But the guy kept asking me to try, so i tried. I KEPT FLOATING OKAY WTF. Probably because i was such a failure he was afraid Kailing was the same as me so he only let us dive in at clear areas where there wasn't corals where we could hit our head and die and he will be liable. 

We didn't bring camera, so this awesome experience is left to my own memory to preserve. I got to see sharks, which i failed to see in Day 1 at Shark Point (oh the irony), and also the super big fish with a bump on the head, which actually is called Green Humphead Parrotfish (discovered when i read the first blog link i posted again when i came back from my trip), Christmas Tree worms, and lots of other beautiful sea creatures. 

Picture taken from Google to show you guys the Green Humphead Parrotfish

After Rawa Beach, we went to our last point, the Light House where we only went there to jump off the light house into the sea. Before i jumped, one of the boatmen asked me to tighten my bikini top in case it comes off, so i reinforced the knot. And then he asked me to jump with hands crossed over my body like so: 

Wtf right. Purposely got a picture off Google with naked lady hehee. But i did it anyway and jumped. MY TOP STILL CAME OFF LOR WTF. Even though i AM flat chested and have nothing much to parade anyway, i still do not want my dignity floating around in the sea water for other snorkelers to see okay. So i panicked and swam back to the ladder with one hand holding my bikini top, waiting for Shilpa to jump into the water and help me tie my top. And then i sat down there and never jumped again after until when we need to get back to the boat to go back, i jumped again.

So back we went. This is the view of Long Beach from far away. If you want convenience of everything there and crowd, i would suggest Long Beach because from what i see of other beaches, Long Beach is the longest beach (haha ikr) on Perhentian Kecil with the most accomodation available and vendors. This is based on my observation when we were stopping by all the beaches around Perhentian Kecil on the way back. 

By the time we reached the beach, the boatman told his other buddies that i was manja because i only jumped once wtf. After i tried explaining myself about the bikini top and all then i realised why do i even bother. Right? Fill my stomach. So we had lunch. At the same place again hahaha.

2nd day look. See any difference from the first day? Because my burns were CRAZY painful by night time. I have other photos which show more obvious burns but it's not appropriate to be shown on the internet, so yeah. Hehe. Hmmm. 

Again, the rest wanted to go back to the room to nap, so Kailing, Ryan and me stayed back to chill and enjoy the beach while slowly nomming my ice blended fruit juice (yes, AGAIN). And then Ryan went back. So me and Kailing went around for a stroll along the beach, while i take pictures of other chalets and stuff so that i can post it on my blog. 

It's D'Rock Gardens Resorts alright. There are chalets on the rocks and also on the garden. Funny thing is Panorama chalet gets a panoramic view of the ocean and Matahari chalet gets matahari (well duhh). Names are pretty literal here i guess. Hahaha. 

And then Kailing thought she could find her soul in the water and tried finding it by sitting there alone. 

Jokesss. But yeah i left her there alone and went back to bathe because she wanted to sit in the water and stare at the horizon because there was no more scorching sunlight. Not my cup of tea. On my way out of the beach, i saw me and Kailing's footprints. Guess which is which? 

On my way back, i saw that the people were getting ready for Friday night! With little tables out and shisha stalls ready for business. Yes, you get shisha there but at RM30 a bong, according to my brother. No shishas were necessary since we had our vodkas to keep us company.

Reached the room, bathe, and then went out to our balcony to chill. 

At times when the electricity supply were cut off, you see everyone going out to the balcony to chill. Which was my favourite past time. The room was just too dark and gloomy to my liking. And then Ryan said she wanted to go to the bar to grab a beer and i was like WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT WHEN WE HAVE OUR OWN BOTTLE COME LET'S ALL GO. So Kailing, Ryan and me grabbed our bottle, some beach towels, and the 3 of us started early on the beach. It was such a surreal experience, facing the sea, listening to the waves, just after sunset, and drinking. The rest of the night was history. Let's just say i ticked this off my bucket list. 

Day 3

Kailing and me were planning to go for scuba diving at RM200 before we take the last boat ride back to Kuala Besut at 4pm today, but there were some hiccups and we went for kayaking instead. At the end of the kayak i still remembered Kailing telling me that she was so worried i wouldn't paddle at all and leave it all to her after hearing me say "Whoa the paddle is so heavy man" when i first lifted it up. 

But BOY WAS IT A TIRED JOURNEY WTF. And i didn't even go far! We just paddled about 20m away from the shore, made a round and came back to the same spot. I had to rest like a billion times because i spent half my energy laughing at Kailing's insults for my paddling skills. Mostly laughing at myself actually. I even hit her with the paddle a few times (lightly and gently of course) to get her to stop talking hahaha. Good thing was the sea was quite calm that day, so there wasn't much resistance or extraordinary strength needed or needing to get immersed in the water in the event the kayak overturned. While we got near the shore there were a few times we couldn't control the movement of the boat (thanks to my noobie skills), we almost went titanic on a few boats nearby okay omg. Kailing said i embarrassed her in front of the ang mohs swimming in the water nearby by yelling "OMG OMG OMG WE'RE GONNA HIT THE BOAT WE'RE GONNA HIT THE BOAT OMG KAILING KAILING KAILING WE'RE GONNA HIT THE BOAT". It's only normal okay anyone would have yelled that hmph i rest my case. 

And there were a lot of ang mohs looking at our way. I have no idea why. As if it was their ang moh territory and we Chinese invaded their land. But in the end when one couple asked us where did we rent the kayak, only did we know the true reason they were staring at us. Or it was because of our poor synchronization of paddling or because of Kailing's lack of skills to avoid titanic moments (hence failing to avoid making me hysterical). Cough cough. 

Did i say this was my first experience kayaking? Well it was. And i thought i would have taken a few pictures so i brought my camera in a ziploc bag out. Little did we know, some water entered the bag and totally wrecked my camera. If anyone knows how to fix a Lumix camera with 'system error (focus)', do let me know? I Googled it and i was told to dismantle it wtf. So yeah, no pictures of our 3rd day, which was quite normal actually. 

Everyone woke up, we packed, went on the water taxi from the shore to the boat for RM2/each, then PRESENT YOUR RECEIPT/TICKET TO THE BOATMAN. There were two backpacker white girls who were ransacking their bags to find the ticket they had bought and made the whole boat waited for so long, only to come up with the receipt for the purchase of ticket and the boatman agreed to accept that. And then we stopped at several stops around Perhentian Kecil before actually heading back to Kuala Besut. It was crazeh packed in the boat, it's like the boatman is trying to utilize every single square inch of the boat to the maximum. 

Reached Kuala Besut at 6-ish, and we went to Restoran Lucky to have a sit to wait for the bus. It's kind of the famous place for Perhentian tourists to wait for buses there, as i see many tourists having their meals there with a beer. So out come our unfinished bottle! But in the end i was the only one who was excited to drink while having our meal and ended up drinking #foreveralone. Woe is me T.T

And then we sat, chatted, while Evelyn, Moh and me complained like a bitch about our sunburns while waiting for the bus to come at 8.30pm. Bus ride was the same, except the fact that i had more sleep this time because i was physically exhausted and needed sleep. And i got first row of the top deck in a double decker bus! It was awesome! For me. I like seeing the road we're going to travel on, especially when it's not from a car's view. When i wasn't sleeping i will just stare at the road blankly. 

I'm sure you guys are not interested in how i got to the bus station, waited for Evelyn's brother to come fetch me while my brother was drunk celebrating his birthday somewhere, how i reached home, bathe, unpacked and continued watching Vampire Diaries until the sun came out then have a nap right. So yeah. Stay tuned for my sun burnt skin post next ;) 

Peace out, peeps!