The Ocean

Pulau Perhentian Travel Blog

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If you have seen an overweight male Caucasian specimen in a Speedo recently, chances are you’ve been to a beach somewhere in South-east Asia recently.

but seriously, i just got back from pulau perhentian, a pair of islands off the coast of Terengganu and the beach was littered with them. Known for its silky white sand and its clear blue waters, pulau perhentian is the number one island destination in Malaysia.

Getting there is simple enough, take a train from kl central to tangah merah and grab a cab to Kuala Besut, which is of course what i did. This trip is exhausting, 14 hours by train, 1 hour by cab. It’s also the pricier option. The train costs RM 37 for a “first class seater” which means riding a bull for a couple of hours and hitting a gay club with a t-shirt that says “enter here” on the back, the only consolation i guess, is that you can smoke on board.

Pulau perhentian is made up of two islands, the small island and the big island. the smaller island is known as a more popular destination for the younger crowds, which means that the beaches are more packed.

I stayed on the big island, at a place called mama's place. If you are planning on heading over to perhentian, you should make it a point to get a map of the area (A more detailed one), because the only maps that are available there are the interpretations of the island by hotels and guesthouses, i think i saw 8 different variations of the islands.

The beaches of the besar island are rocky, very rocky. i threw swimming out of the itinerary as soon as i got there, because the waters are shallow and walking on the rocks simply hurt.

However, snorkeling and diving on the island is amazing.

Forget those touts who suggest you should take a snorkeling trip, as all the snorkeling spots are quite near to the island and easily assessable by canoe.

the first day i got there, i headed to the “fauna beach”, there are 3 beaches on the (big)island, each one named after the biggest hotel on that particular beach. i had to trek about 30 mins to reach there, the trail was actually a road used by bulldozers that turned out to be quite a scenic walk. (people in perhentian use the term “trek” extremely loosely)

I snorkeled out on the east side of the beach for a couple of hours and managed to spot a couple of small sized sharks, it was well worth it, however, the water is extremely shallow, so if you have a beer belly, you might wanna avoid this part of the beach.

A nicer snorkeling destination would be Aur Bay, which is on the small island. you can easily transfer from the big island to the small island by speed boat, which will set you back about RM 10 – RM 20, depending on your negotiation skills. However, getting around by canoe is simply way more fun, although the locals will try to dissuade you from canoeing from one island to another, it’s quite easy and i personally have never canoed in my life, but i managed it, so there you go.

I snorkeled at a life house off the coast of Aur Bay, there wasn’t much in the form of corals, but i did see a small mantle ray. My snorkels were broken, so i could only snorkel for about 30 mins before my goggles filled up with sea water, but i managed pretty fine.

But if you dive, you’re in for a real treat, pulau perhentian is full of shipwrecks, which will make for some of the most amazing dives you’ll ever experience. I took one dive while i was in perhentian, it was at a sugar ship that was sailing out to singapore to be repaired, however, something malfunctioned and the ship sunk, there were no casualties but the ship sunk to the seabed.

While exploring the ship, i came across a number of bamboo sharks, which is another animal i finally can cross off my to-see list.

Perhentian isn’t a cheap destination, getting there alone set me back about RM 150, but the island is simply amazing from the surprisingly tasty chocolate pancakes to the picturesque beaches, it is well worth visiting.
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Pulau Perhentian
photo by: jesa145