Friday, October 16, 2009

Perhentian Island - 4th to 6th Oct 2009

It was supposed to be our lovey-dovey husband and wife outing cum my birthday celebration in July, as we booked this 3d/2n island getaway package during the February Matta Fair. However, we got our much awaited good news of our new offspring in March, hence the trip was postponed to Sept, and then again to Oct; while we look for interested friends to fill the void.

The price of this package by Bubu Long Beach Resort never interested any of our friends. We got it for RM544 per pax after discount. We were willing to let it go at a much cheaper rate but many still find it expensive. Since we bought it during the Matta Fair, they do not allow us to carry forward the trip to next year. I had opted not to go in the first place. However, May insisted I go with my brother. In the end, May had to see me go for a holiday without her, for the first time since we got together.

Our July return flight ticket was bought for a mere RM120 for both of us, but when I rebooked it this time, it costs me almost RM400.

We (my brother and I) started our journey on an early Sunday. We took a cab to KL Sentral, had our breakfast, and then boarded the Skybus to LCCT. Everything was on schedule. We arrived at Kota Bahru at noon, and took a cab to Kuala Besut Jetty. The taxi ride costs us RM78. An advice to travellers to Kuala Besut, if you are going to Bubu Long Beach, just pay RM60 for their to and fro van service. If you are not in a hurry, take a bus. You get to see more of the countryside.

Our package includes the boat ride from the jetty to Long beach. It took us 30 mins to reach Long beach. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a beautiful young lady and delicious lunch! I thought she is a Malay but after speaking to her, I found out she is Phillipino. There are indeed many Phillipino working at Perhentian Island.

Bubu Long Beach Resort

Office of Bubu Long Beach Resort at Kuala Besut

30 mins boat ride to Long beach

We had salad with salmon for our starter. Then we were served grilled beef as our main course and ice cream for dessert. I never thought the 3d/2n full board package will be like this. I had earlier expected simple local delicacies like fried rice, fried noodles, etc but when we saw our meals coming, I thought to myself....the amount paid was worth while. No wonder my friends say the Bubu package is expensive!

The room condition is much better compared to chalets. If i were to backpack here, I'd also chose to stay in a chalet. After all, you don't spend much time in the room except for sleeping. As I've initially wanted to bring May here, we opted Bubu because we knew we are going to get better food, better room, better services and get to go home with a broad smile in our faces. However, she did not get to come... poor May....hehe.

Our room

View from our room

3d/2n itinerary

After lunch, we got ready for snorkelling. The downside about this is that we have to RM30 per pax for the snorkelling equipments. Bubu really cut our throat! Elsewhere, you only need to pay RM5 or max RM10. Here, it's different. Nevertheless, we paid and went for our first snorkelling trip, 100m from our resort. They call it 'house reef'. We call it 'below the jetty'. There's not much fish there. Maybe it's because I was expecting something better, so I did not bother to swim further.

At the same time, my brother Lim was having a tough time dealing with the snorkel mask, as we thought. It was his first island trip, and his first time snorkelling. We tried to teach him to inhale and exhale with his mouth, but to no avail. In the end, we found out that he's actually afraid of the water! He can't swim. And the waves made him lost his balance. Even with the safety vest, his whole body was so tense as if he had a cramp. He decided to take a rest. Well, if a person is afraid of the water, it is definitely not a good idea to force him to snorkel. We don't want anything bad to happen, so we just let him 'enjoy' the hot sun by the beach.

As usual, the east coast of Malaysia will be hit by strong monsoon winds and thunderstorm at the end of the year. That is the reason why Pulau Perhentian, Redang, Kapas and others off Terengganu are closed to visitors from November to February yearly. The weather there already started to swing like a woman's mood, as bright hot sun could suddenly turn into black clouds in easily 10 minutes. We were lucky to have a bright sky that day, and we went for sunset viewing at Coray Bay. Coray Bay is at the opposite side of Pulau Perhentian Kecil. With a little hiking and jungle trekking, we managed to get to the other side in 20 mins.

Not wanting to hike back to Long Beach in the dark, our tour guide, Ali managed to get a hitchhike boat trip back to Long Beach. It was an interesting powerboat ride, with much splashing and bumping. The excitement and heart thumping is just like getting on the rollercoaster, except that we do not know when to expect another big wave coming. I could imagine if May was here, our baby would have come off naturally!

Our dinner was quite normal, rice with curry chicken and mixed vege. Then, we were served with BBQ squid, sausage, fish and beef. I rarely eat beef, but this time, I finished the beef immediately. It tasted very good.

After dinner was a normal scroll along the beach, looking for a happening place for some beer. Unfortunately, we couldn't find one. Maybe it's due to the low season. My friend told me when he went there in July a few years ago, there were so many people on the beach, topless and sunbathing. At night, the pubs will be full of Angmohs dancing and drinking. I was dissapointed as I did not get to see even one topless Angmoh on this beach. We went back to our room at about 9.30pm. I couldn't sleep because it's too early. Then I went for a walk to the grocery shop to get some water. I found out that Bubu did show live football telecast on a big screen. I immediately called my brother to join in. That night, we saw Arsenal won 6-something....can't remember against who. The next match was a nightmare! Liverpool lost to Chelsea 2-0. Sigh....

Morning started at 7.00 for me. It's natural that I wake up early whenever I go for vacation. I would not want to spend lots of time sleeping and missed out on the beauty of the place that I visit. Mornings at Long Beach seemed very quiet. No doubt the Angmohs who came to Malaysia love our sunny weather. They would sleep till almost noon, then when it's hot enough, they would lie down on the beach with their bikinis or shorts with a book in their hands. They would stay there till the sun goes away, and then party at night till way past midnight.

As for me, the 2nd day is the only full day that I have in Perhentian. We went snorkelling at 3 places, Fish point, Shark point and then Turtle point. Oh yea....I managed to see all of them.

We came back to our resort at about 2pm. We had our lunch and then went for another scroll along the beach to take some photos.

At 4.45 pm, dark clouds suddenly appear. However, there were not much rain or thunderstorm. It only drizzled. We were hoping that the clouds would go away, so that we could continue with our hybrid park adventure. Nop, the sky stayed gloomy the whole evening.

That night, we had the almost same food as the day before. This time, it's rice with beef curry and mixed vege. Later that night, my brother woke up at 5.00 am and vomitted. It continued for a while, then finally he managed to sleep again. In the morning, he had diarhoea and constant vomitting. Luckily the groceries there do sell some medication. I bought some panadol, some 'pou jai yuen' and ENO for the stomach. He took the ENO to get rid of all unwanted stuff in the stomach. Then took the 'pou jai yuen' to stabilise the stomach condition, plus 2 tablets of panadol to avoid pains.

I managed to grab some little bottles with "Pulau Perhentian" writings as souvenir. I have to fill in with some sand before giving to others as souvenir tho'. This is the only thing I managed to buy here, as all the other souvenirs are sold out. Even postcards with the words 'Perhentian Island' are nowhere to be found.

Our hybrid station trail was carried out on the 3rd day morning. Luckily we had clear skies. The walk took us 30 mins. It's a worthy walk, as we get to see the island from the 2nd highest point of the island. The hybrid station is actually a power generation station. It uses wind and solar to generate power for the consumption of the resorts in that island.

Blue Lagoon

After a 15 mins break, we took off and head back to our rooms. We packed and soon, got ready for the 11.00am boat ride back to Kuala Besut. Each day, there are 3 trips to and from Perhentian Island. Boats from K Besut leave at 10am, 1pm and 5pm. Boats from Perhentian leave at 8am, 11am and 4pm.

My brother's condition got better. As planned, we were to take the 11am boat ride, then we would hang out at Kota Bahru the whole afternoon. Since we arrived at K Besut quite early, we decided to take a bus to K Bahru. When we arrived at Kota Bahru town, we feel as if we were back to our hometown Melaka, but somewhere 10 years ago. The bus station, wet market and shopping malls like Parkson are all within walking distance. There's nothing much to do here, except to shop for souvenirs. We couldn't get anything. In fact, we were actually craving for the famous nasi dagang which is purple in colour. We walked into many shops but were given the same answer, "datang besok pagi". I finally understand that they only serve nasi dagang in the morning, just like nasi lemak in KL.

As evening approched, we took a bus and headed off to the airport. We flew back on time, took the skybus to KL Sentral and got a close friend to send us back home. When we got home, it's already 12.30 pm. Phew.... although tiring, it's a good experience for us.

I will definitely return to this island, maybe to Perhentian Besar. I may opt to stay in chalets in my next trip, because a chalet for 2 costs only as low as RM50 per night during the low season. And maybe....just maybe, I shall pamper myself with some diving action! Open water courses starts at RM850. I thought to myself, "Why not!"