Thursday, August 29, 2013

Travel 2013: Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu Malaysia

An impromptu diving trip to Pulau Perhentian was how I spent my end of July. This was so sudden that 1 week immediately after the Diving Fair Malaysia 2013, we just randomly set some dates and headed over.

To begin, I would like to give you some short introduction of Pulau Perhentian.

The island is divided into two different islands, the big one (Besar) and the small one (Kecil). The islands used to be a stopping point for ocean traders between Bangkok and Malaysia. As of now, they mainly thrive on tourism.

Looking at the map below, you could see that most resorts, chalets and what-not are located on the Pulau Perhentian Kecil (the left one). I haven't been to the two islands, but as far as I know, the Kecil one is the most happening one with many night activities and tourists. The Besar is quieter and more peaceful. Rest assured though, if you are going for diving or snorkelling, the person-in-charge will most probably bring you somewhere on the boat.

We stayed in Shari-La Island Resort, situated on Pulau Perhentian Kecil. The resort is supposed to be one of the higher ends along the beach. And it's right beside the jetty and also Quiver Diving Centre, which was why we were here in the first place.


Lobby was really nice and well-kept. There are lotsa seating places and you could enjoy some Free Wi-Fi service in the lobby here.


The lobby. Thank God to the welcome juice, they managed to quench my thirst whenever we came back from a dive or a walk.

The area is huge, with many rooms around. And the places are very well-kept and maintained. The surrounding is green, nice and clean.

This was the lot where we stayed, a simple "Kampung" style chalet.

One queen size and one single bed. Just nice for three occupants.

Most importantly, the washroom was clean!

Aur Beach, Pulau Perhentian Kecil. Every island has many different beaches and our resort is located on Aur Beach. It's a short beach, with more boats than humans. If you want to sun tan and just play with the sea water, this beach is not for you as mostly divers stay around here to get to the boats easier. There are other beaches, don't worry and we'll get to that soon!


The beach with other restaurants and shops situated along it.

Restaurants along the beach.

Many restaurants, different owners but their menus are more or less the same.

The Long Beach! It's at the other side of the island. To get to here from Aur Beach, you will need to walk through some jungle paths to get here. It isn't an easy path by the way. So if you are not a diver and just want to lie on the beach relaxing, you are better off staying at one of the resorts along The Long Beach. They have better accommodations there and pricier too!


One of the more luxurious restaurants at Pulau Perhentian.


On Diving

I had my period on the first day I went *DAMN IT!* so eventually I only managed to dive two times instead of seven as we planned. My dive buddy went for 4 dives before she started falling sick too. It was raining on almost every night when we were there (End of July).

  • Visibility was horrible due to stormy weather

  • Overcrowded dive sites with easily 30 divers under the ocean on site

  • Many corals and fishes, could have been beautiful places to dive apart from the less than 3M visibility

  • Many Triggerfishes to pace up your diving :(

 On Food

  • Ample of restaurants along the beach but all menus are repetitive and limited

  • Very pricey

On Accommodation (Shari-La Resort)

  • A comfortable stay at Shari-La Resort, was satisfied that the room was clean

  • Overheard some other tourists complaining about bed bugs and stolen items *warning*

  • The solar-powered water heater is not reliable, ended up bathing in cold water a few times!

On Island

  • Overly and extremely commercialized, just a bunch of people lucky enough to get permissions to run businesses on the islands to shake money off you.

  • No local and native cultures nor warmth, everyone just treats you as a money tree.

  • Poor sanitization and hygiene

  • The island is not well-maintained, most businesses are small without any proper planning for long term

How To Get There

  • FROM KL : Purchase Mahligai Express @ RM50 per trip to Kuala Besut

  • At the jetty, there are plenty of boat services available @ RM35 per trip


Overall, it was a disappointing trip for me. I am not sure if I would still return here as I haven't explored the Besar yet... Well, who knows?

How about you? Have you been to Pulau Perhentian? Have I missed out anything cool? Share with me!


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