Wednesday, March 16, 2011
know where your stop
Amelia’s: Great restaurant which does above average nightly barbecues and great vegetarian curries and soups. The crisp, buttery rotis are a steal and come with a wonderful spicy sauce. Seriously more-ish! North Coral Beach,Perhentian island Kecil.
Watch the Sunset from Coral Bay
Located on the west side of the island, Coral Bay is the only place in Perhentian Islands from where you can watch the sunset.
Make sure to be there before 7pm and be on time as the sunset does not wait... And as we are close to the Equator, the sunset does not last very long.
The Perhentian Islands are two islands named Pulau Perhentian Kecil (Small Perhentian Island) and Pulau Perhentian Besar (Large Perhentian Island). The Malay name Perhentian is translated as “place to stop” and this is exactly what these two islands were for traders travelling between Malaysia and Bangkok in years gone by. These islands are still a gorgeous place to stop and rest today, albeit for tourists disconnecting from the stress and routine of everyday life and not for weary seafaring traders.
The islands remain relatively untouched and the only permanent inhabitants live in a small fishing village on Perhentian Kecil. Apart from footpaths that cut through the jungle, there are no roads on the islands. The only way to get around is by walking through the jungle or taking a sea taxi. If you tread carefully, you may even encounter some of the islands’ shy wildlife on the way, such as monitor lizards, fruit bats, squirrels or even the elusive mouse deer. Simple chalets and some moderately luxurious resorts line the picturesque beaches along with restaurants, dive centres and boat operators advertising their services with hand-painted signs.
Perhaps it is the stretches of white beach or the crystal clear water and the superior scuba diving. Perhaps it is the untouched forests or the relaxed atmosphere and unspoiled charm. We like to think that is a little bit of all of this that makes the Perhentian Islands the perfect place to stop and take some time out.
There is a RM 5 conservation charge per person for going to the island.
Remember that there are no ATMs or banks in Kuala Besut or on the Perhentian Islands. Visa and Mastercard are only accepted at a few resorts. The closest ATMS are in Jerteh.
Boat Services to the Perhentian Islands
Apart from chartered boat services that depart from nearby islands (Redang, Lang Tengah) all boats to the Perhentian Islands depart from Kuala Besut.
Speedboats cost RM 70 return (RM 40 one way) and depart according to demand, usually four to five times per day, starting at 07:00 in the morning. Boats will drop you off at the resort or beach of your choice and the trip takes 30-45 minutes.
If the sea is rough you can be assured of a bumpy ride and you may even get wet. You may need to disembark in shallow water if there is no jetty at your beach, so dress (and pack) accordingly.
Getting to Kuala Besut
Kuala Besut is 50km south of Kota Bharu and 110km north of Kuala Terengganu on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia in the state of Terengganu.
- The closest airports are in Kota Bharu and in Kuala Terengganu.
- Air Asia flies daily to Kota Bharu from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru and to Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur.
- Malaysia Airlines flies daily to Kota Bharu and to Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur.
- Firefly flies daily to Kota Bharu from Penang and Kuala Lumpur (Subang airport).
By road – public transport
Apart from the Kuala Lumpur service that goes directly to Kuala Besut, most long distance buses to this region are bound for Kota Bharu but will drop you at Jerteh (around 15km from Kuala Besut) if you ask. From Jerteh you can easily get a taxi to Kuala Besut (RM 10-20), even if you arrive in the early hours of the morning as taxi drivers often wait for buses to arrive.
From Kuala Lumpur, Mahligai and Mutiara have coach services twice daily (morning and evening) to Kuala Besut. The trip takes 8-9 hours and costs around RM 50. The bus station is walking distance from the jetty.
From Singapore, Transnasional has an overnight business class service to Kota Bharu. Ask to be dropped off at Jerteh. The trip takes around 9 hours and costs SGD 45. You can board the same bus in Johor Bahru (around RM 50) or opt for the economy service (around RM 40).
From Penang, there are several bus services to Kota Bahru or Jerteh.
From Kuala Terengganu you can take any northbound local bus or coach service and ask to be dropped off at Jerteh..
From Kota Bharu there are direct local bus services or you can take a taxi.
Several travel agents and tour operators offer transfers (usually via air-conditioned minivan) between Kuala Besut and the Cameron Highlands, Taman Negara National Park or Kuala Lumpur. Costs are around RM 60-90 per person each way.
From Kuala Lumpur take the east bound highway (East Coast Expressway) in the direction of Kuantan. From Kuantan, take the coastal road (highway 3) north, in the direction of Kuala Terengganu (follow signs along the way). From Kuala Terengganu, take either highway 3 or highway 14 to Jerteh and Kuala Besut. Travelling time should be 7-8 hours.
Things to see n' do
These islands have been gazetted as a marine park and as such littering, fishing and collecting of any marine life (whether dead or alive) is strictly prohibited. As it is a marine park, this also means that the rich diversity of aquatic life has been preserved and it is beautiful to experience.
Apart from walking, the only way to get around is by sea taxi. Expect to pay around RM 10-25 per person for 5-15 minute transfers.
We provide snorkelling outings around the two islands, ranging anything from one and a half hours to a full day. Trips cost RM 35-50 per person, depending on the duration, stops and whether. It all including equipment.
Some of the popular spots for snorkelling are Shark Point, Teluk Pauh and Tanjung Basi. If you are lucky, a combination of these stops may mean that you see a turtle, some black tip reef sharks and an abundance of colourful coral all in one trip.
The sheer amounts of visitors and careless practices have resulted in damage to the coral and consequently the marine life around the islands. To ensure that you keep yourself safe and do your part to contribute to the conservation of these incredible ecosystems, keep the following in mind:
- Touching or standing on coral damages or even kills them and re-growth takes years
- Control your buoyancy carefully. Use a life jacket and only use fins if you are completely confident that you will not accidentally touch the coral.
- Do not litter. Some animals (like turtles) may mistake plastic bags for food and choke to death.
- Stay within the designated areas so that you do not cross boat paths and get hit
- Do not touch or disturb any marine life in any way. You may hurt them and some of them may hurt you. Keep your distance from Triggerfish as they may be aggressive, especially when guarding a nest
- Keep yourself protected from the sun
For a scuba diving, we have a nextdoor scuba diving shop where it easy to you to get it. there is a good instructor you can have, it was very happy, enjoy n more you can do it. for the cost, open scuba diving cos is between rm800-rm900 per person and rm70-rm100 for a enjoy diving. Scuba diving around the Perhentian Islands is a superb experience and many people visit here time and time again to explore the deep.
Some of the top spots are Tokong Laut (Temple of the Sea, also known as the Pinnacle) and the Sugar Wreck. Tokong Laut is a pointed rock protruding from the seabed, surrounded by all kinds of coral and home to numerous species of reef fish and other marine life. The Sugar Wreck is an eerie-looking sunken freight ship that lies at around 15-22m.
Marine life is in abundance here and apart from the many species of hard and soft coral that form the backbone of these ecosystems you can also expect to encounter turtles, several species of sharks, mackerel, jacks, moray eels, nudibranchs and various other reef fish.
There are numerous dive operators on both islands and there is hardly a beach that does not have at least two options for you to choose from for recreational dives or certification. Ensure that your dive centre is environmentally friendly and takes safety practices seriously.
If you enjoy exploring the underwater world, do your part to protect it. The golden rule, apart from never holding your breath, is to take only photographs and leave only bubbles! Below are some guidelines that every responsible diver must follow.
- Choose a dive operator that respects the environment and actively contributes to conservation efforts in the area.
- Never touch or step on coral. The slightest touch can harm them and some may hurt you.
- Prevent accidental contact with the reef or kicking up sediment by keeping a safe distance and practicing good fin and body control.
- Do not collect any “souvenirs” – living or dead - underwater, but do pick up recent rubbish
- Do not touch, chase, try to ride or otherwise harass any marine life. Feed and handle marine life only under expert guidance.
- Ensure that your dive boat does not anchor on the reef and make sure that all rubbish (especially light plastics) is carefully stowed away.
Tropical forest covers the greater part of the Perhentian Islands and a few trails that twist through the greenery allow you to explore the diversity of plant life. Tread quietly and you may just meet a few of the islands’ animals along the way. Monitor lizards are in abundance, as are numerous species of insects and birds. If you are lucky, you may even spot a group of long-tailed macaques (a type of monkey). The elusive mousedeer is also said to inhabit the island, but these tiny animals are rarely seen.
Remember to bring insect repellent and plenty of drinking water.
The monsoon season peaks between November and March every year. You can expect more rain and rough seas and most resorts are typically closed from end October through end-February. Peak season is between July and August and prices rise accordingly. During off-peak times, rates are negotiable. You may need to book well in advance during peak time and also for public holidays and weekends. Note that most budget resorts do not accept bookings and handle guests on a walk-in basis only.
Equatorial with fairly uniform temperatures year-round, ranging from 21ºC (70ºF) to 32ºC (90ºF). Humidity is high (85-95%). Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm and most rain can be expected between November and February.
Very casual. There are no dress restrictions on the islands and light cotton clothing, t-shirts and shorts would be suitable. In some villages and rural areas, modest clothing is more appropriate. Topless sunbathing for women is not acceptable. Terengganu is an Islamic state and it is best to dress modestly when in doubt.