Perhentian Paradise

February 27, 2012 - Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia


Ok, Koh Tao might have to take a backseat … this is paradise here!

The waters of the PerhentiansI did wonder if I’d get out here ok because I was told over and over that the islands were ‘closed’ until Feb 26th (it was Feb 19th). Johanna (from Finland) and I both wanted to make a go of it, so we caught the public bus to Kuala Besut, a small fishing town. Quiet beachesHere we enquired about the boats and if going was possible, and yes it was! Score! We had to wait a while for the next boat, then all aboard, off we set on the bumpy wavy journey! Just like a zodiac, but wooden!

We arrived at the pier on Pulau Perhentian Kesir, the smaller of the 2 islands, and we pulled up alongside the dock on Coral Bay. After some friendly advice from a guy running the local dive shop, we found a beach front chalet for 30R a night ($10!). Beach front cabinHad to pay in advance for the 6 nights I am planning on being here (the 6 nights turned into 10!). Johanna only wanted 2 nights, so we split those first 2 nights in rent, so super cheap!

Took a walk over to Long Beach on the east side of the island, and we explored the beach and then sat upon the rocky cliffs. Ate at Ewans café which is just inland of both beaches, but serves great cheap food, is family run, and has free wifi!

The people here (and in Malaysia generally) are incredibly genuine, they really want to know how you are, where you are staying and where you from .., with no ulterior motive. The Thai’s, Vietnamese and Cambodians all wanted answers to these questions to find out if you were lost, they could exploit you, could offer you an expensive taxi, or get commission from a crappy hotel. Dive buddies!One day after an excruciatingly hot walk to the Perhentian Village, I decided to take a water taxi back to Coral Bay. The men folk on the pier informed me when a driver was heading that way on his boat, I would never have known otherwise, as boats were leaving left right and center for other locations around the islands! The young men want to talk to you because you are foreign (and maybe because of the blonde hair!), but they are not pesty and swoony, they just want to talk and ask how you are!

Claire Scuba'ing !I did 9 dives on the island with 2 dive outfits. Both places were great, wonderful friendly staff, and fabulous 45-60 minute dives on amazing reefs in 15-20m visibility. It’s so clear, it’s like tap water! Clownfish !We saw lots of different species of clownfish, angel fish, black tipped reef shark, green turtle, box fish, puffer fish, a seal faced puffer fish (rare!), flounders, triggerfish (complete with a few angry territorial charges, one actually full on attacked my fins!), barracudas, yellow tail fusiliers, many different kinds of nudibranch, lots of coral (obviously!), parrotfish, massive groupers, giant clams and blue spotted rays. There was more to that list, but without consulting my dive log …. that’ll do for now!

On 2 of our dives there were 2 underwater cameras present, and both willing gentlemen offered their footage to be uploaded onto my computer, so I had some great footage of my dives!

Gorgeous sunsetsI spent my days diving, snorkelling, walking the beach, sitting on the beach, enjoying my cabins patio (right on the beach) and watching the sunset religiously every night! Made friends every day, be they Malaysian or Brit or Canadian .. and we all hung out in the evenings where smoothies and fruit plates were consumed. Romantic BeachLove this Muslim ‘no alcohol’ around attitude! You can buy a beer or two, but no one here is out to get drunk or worse. All the Malay guys are drinking out of a coconut, or a mango ice blended drink! It’s perfect here! A very chill place, with laid back tourists and locals alike. We spent evenings at the dive shop, swinging in the hammocks, and listening to the musically talented play their guitars and mandolins!

The busy season here starts in a month or so, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see it before it gets crazy busy ! What a pleasure ... what a great 10 days ... I'm so happy!

I depart from the island on the small open boat, and tears fill my eyes. It's meant so much this place, it's been very special, the people have been very close, and dear ...

How special that I can experience this place, how joyous must be the lives of these great people who can do nothing but smile and ask after you as you pass by ... I am full of gratitude ... how wonderous is the life I lead ..

Now, Kuala Lumpa .... let's dance ....


The waters of the Perhentians
Quiet beaches
Gorgeous sunsets
Beach front cabin

1 Comment

Lois Johnstone:
February 27, 2012
Hi Claire,
Looking good,
love Lois
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