Perhentian Party

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April 8th 2012
Published: July 25th 2012
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Our flight with Airasia was changed so we did not get back to KL on the 8th (the 10th Anniversary of TB) until late evening and we had a flight early on the 9th. This meant we missed the festivities and the chance to meet famous bloggers. I hope everyone who attended had fun!

We had decided on Perhentian Kecil because we wanted a bit of a busier island after the stillness of our previous Destination in Pulau Weh. Getting here was pretty simple – Plane to Kota Bharu, Taxi to Kuala Besut Port, Boat to Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil. We were unfortunate enough to be arriving during a massive downpour. This meant that we got soaked on the boat and once we pulled into the bay at long beach, we had to get picked up by a smaller boat taxi to get taken to shore (an extra 2 RM and an extra soaking). We had not booked anywhere to stay on the island but we had arrived early so we sheltered in a café and waited for the rain to ease.

First Impressions of this place are difficult to summarise. It is not quite what I expected. I know that long beach is the busiest one of the bunch and attracts a lot of partiers but I did not think it would be as many as this. There was loud music banging from some huge speakers half way down the beach that seemed to drown out everything else. There were restaurants spilling out onto the sand all the way along the beach and the place was full of young travellers. I felt like I was back in Thailand a little – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just unexpected. The scenery was nice but it wasn’t as stunning as I had heard. The tide on Long beach was quite strong and the water was nice but not crystal. I am being a bit picky here but I am trying to build a picture in your minds! We came here for a busier atmosphere but it was like this stretch of beach was trying to be something else – for example an English girl offering me and my girlfriend free drinks if I dressed up as a lady at one of the beach “clubs.” It was just a bit weird. I am definitely getting old…

Coral Beach was much more my style. It was a lot more relaxed, the tide is non-existent on this side so the water is flat and crystal clear, there are some nice restaurants and a healthy crowd but no loud music all day and no people hassling you. I think if you want maximum peace then go to Besar, if you want average peace go to Coral Bay, if you want little peace go to Long Beach.

I wondered along long beach in the rain because it wasn’t relenting and I stopped at the first place I came across – Panorama. This is right next to the famous Turtle Divers and is set back from the beach behind their own dive shop and bar. It looked like quite a cool place and so I arranged a room for the night. The room was an individual hut set up a steep hill at the back of the complex. It was basic and there was a hole in the roof but it was quite cheap and the price included a free evening meal. We went for a walk and climbed the “mountain” at the end of the beach to check out the prices of the rooms hanging off the cliffs at the rock gardens. They were more expensive, but they had a view unlike any other (see pictures) and it was very peaceful up on the mountain top. We secured a room here for the remainder of our stay and it was a relief to get away from Panorama to be honest as it was very busy and most of it was under construction.

Soooo what did we do here for 4 days. We dived once and only once because the vis was poor, the current was strong and the DM was a bit of a loof. We mainly enjoyed our balcony overlooking the ocean and chilled at Coral Beach during the day. We were happy with our accommodation and long beach was a good place to be at night but during the day Coral Beach was much nicer to hang out on in my opinion.

On our final day we did a snorkelling trip. There are plenty advertised along Long Beach and a few on Coral Beach but we went with a guy called Mann on Coral Beach who had been recommended to us. We chose the perfect day – clear blue skies and calm blue waters. I have read quite a lot about the snorkelling here and it always gets rave reviews. I can see why. The snorkelling sites were amazing – especially the lighthouse. The coral was really vibrant and the water was full with life. Mann was also very good on his underwater camera and took a lot of photos of the day – some of them really good quality, especially the ones with the Turtle. I would highly recommend doing a snorkelling trip and also highly recommend Mann.

I was quite sad to be leaving the island in the end. I am not sure whether it was because I had fallen in love with the place or because my next destination was back home to England. I think it was a bit of both. I would definitely recommend a trip here and I think it suits a shorter holiday as it is quite easy to get to from the main ports in Asia. I am happy with my 2 week holiday to Asia and it has proved that it can be done! Next time I come here though I hope it will be part of a much longer trip…

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