Malaysia's Best Islands: Perhentian and Pulau Kapas
January 1, 1970
by Bea González
When one thinks of Asia, about its heavenly beaches or about its noisy and crowded cities that have their charm, usually you think about Thailand, Vietnam or Sri Lanka, not many imagine Malaysia because it is not so well known. Malaysia is a country that many travelers decide to ignore, so we (Seba and i) decided to go there. And because is it cheap haha! We went in July of 2017 and we do not regret this decision.
In Malaysia, I recommend you visit this islands:
There are two Islands in this area: Kecil and Besar. I visited the Perhentian Kecil. That is the smaller Island. We choose that one because it has more hostels options and is cheaper. In the Big Island, there are a lot of resorts, so if you want to stay in those kinds of places, you should go there.
How to get there?
You can get to Perhentian Islands from the mainland by ferry from Kuala Besut. You can only go by speedboat and it cost approximately 65 RM, but we bargain and paid less. We got there after 45 minutes.
What to do there?
To go from beach to beach, you usually have to walk, you can also take a speedboat that costs about 10 to 15 RM. But we like to walk. Usually, we walked 15 minutes in the forest to get to the nearest and most beautiful beach in the island, there was another one closer (Coral Beach) but there were a lot of boats there. We also went to a few beaches that were on the other side of the island and it took us 45 minutes to get there, it was to go up and then go down, halfway was normal for an island (dirt roads and plants all around) but the rest was in the forest and the truth was that it was a little bit scary, but good scary! And there were many mosquitoes, that time it wasn’t worth it, but it was a good adventure, we even got lost once!
I liked the fact we had to walk every day to go to a beach, we stayed in shape ?
GO ON A SNORKELING TRIP
We went to do a snorkeling tour, which was incredible!!! This tour was from 9 am to 3 pm, it costs 25 RM per person because we get together with a group so we can bargain. Usually costs like 30 0 35 RM. In the tour we went to a lighthouse where the fish were concentrated, it was very crazy because as you were swimming, there was a lot of fish around you and they followed you! And they bite you! After the lighthouse, we went to the part where small sharks are usually seen. This was a terrifying and very exciting experience at the same time. First one approached us, then another, and then another.They surrounded us and we all got together with fear (we were three girls, Seba and me) I wanted to go back to the boat at the beginning but I was so afraid to go alone! It was an experience that I really would not mind repeating.
SEE LOCAL ANIMALS
Our cabin in Perhentian had certain holes and we were surrounded by trees, bushes, plants, so when we returned from dinner the first night we found the famous gecko inside! I will not describe my reaction because the truth is that I want to keep my dignity hahaha but there were two of them and I had never seen that in my life. They are like lizards but about 4 times bigger. Of course, since we never saw that animal, we called the man who rented us and he came laughing at us, to our rescue. He took them out and told us that they would fit the same way the did if we did not close well the door and windows. After that, we covered all the possible holes with toilet paper and closed the door very well. No other night we had problems, but I definitely didn’t sleep so good that night haha!
There were also some animals like iguanas walking by, and I was afraid that they would come to the little cabin that they were more afraid of us and they never came up. Other animals that came to visit us every morning were the squirrels, at first I was excited. I took pictures and everything, until my cookies were stolen haha and from there we always ate breakfast with great care, we tried not to leave crumbs or anything outside because of the squirrels or the ants!
Maybe I was a little bit scared of these animals but today is a funny anecdote, and I enjoy see them and know about them.
ENJOY THE FOOD
There was a well-known dish that many foreigners like because you can ask them not to be spicy, which is called Nasi. It is noodle with vegetables and chicken, Asian style of course. The one that we ate at this Island also had shrimps. Delicious!
ENJOY THE BEACH
And of course, you must enjoy all the amazing beaches that have this Island! The one I love the most was Romantic Beach. You can only go there by boat. It cost 15 or 20 ringgits, and you get there in 10 minutes. This beach is very small and remote. It has corals that you can enjoy all day long!
Where to stay?
We decided to stay in Coral Beach, where there were a lot of economic options of hostels. We rented a cabin in the Butterflies hostel that was on a hill, therefore they had an incredible view !! The sunsets on our balcony were a must !! The place was economic, it costs 80 ringgits per night, compared to the others, we thought our place was much better for the view that it had. Sure, the cabin was not for anyone, the bathroom was not the best in the world or the cabin itself, but the bed was comfortable. Had a mosquito net (which is VERY important) and had electricity from 7 pm to 8 am (which is much compared to other places that had only 4 or 5 hours of electricity)
PULAU KAPAS ISLAND
How to get there?
You have to go by boat from Marang, a city that is 20 minutes away from Kuala Terengganu. You can go by local bus to Marang, it cost 2,5 RM. Once you arrive at the port, you must take the speedboat that costs 40 RM approximately. After 15 minutes you arrive Kapas Island.
Where to stay?
We stayed at a “Resort” near the main beach, it cost 90 RM per night and had electricity all day long! It wasn’t a Resort like you imagine but it was a nice cabin a few meter from the beach so we like it a lot!
What to do there?
ENJOY THE ATMOSPHERE
In the two islands that we stayed, Perhentian and Kapas, you can breathe a totally relaxing atmosphere. There are no cars, there are not many people, and there is not much internet either. That for me was something not so negative, a lot of people find that annoying. generally, the accommodations do not have internet, except the resorts. For me, the fact of not having internet all the time was very relaxing, that meant that not all the time I had to be pending work. In Kapas, the place where there was internet was one of the beaches, so at dusk, we usually went to sit there to work, and even that was relaxing!
ENJOY THE SEA
When we left the continent and went by boat to Kapas, I could not help but smile from ear to ear. The water began to change color as we approached and it was a turquoise color, very transparent. When we arrived, we could see much little fish because of what transparent it was !!! We were delighted and anxious to get into the water. And when the time came, it was delicious, warm and pleasant! In that island most of the beaches did not have waves, the water was calm and pleasant, which I liked a lot.
TRY LOCAL DISHES
At first, I was a little skeptical because I thought that all the food was spicy, haha but as always, Seba who is more intrepid, encourage me to try things and I started to love the food of Malaysia, especially the Roti Canai! I fell in love with that popular dish. It consists of Arabic bread but thinner and you can choose the sauce. I chose the curry. Wasn’t super spicy. Highly recommended!
SEE THE SUNSET
The sunsets on this Island are beautiful!! We went every day to the beach next to the main beach to use the internet (because was the only place that has open wifi) and then we stayed to see the sunset. It is a must!!!
GO SNORKELING FOR FREE!!
If you take your own snorkel like we did, you can go snorkeling in Kapas every day near the beach, because there are a lot of corals everywhere!!! One day, I was peacefully reading on the beach when Seba comes out of the water and calls me, he yelled! Then I go fast and he gave me the snorkel (we only have one) and points me to a place a few meters away. I go and see what is… there was a turtle !! Alone, there, super near the beach and I can not believe what I see. I never saw one so close and clear, I start to follow and the turtle is not afraid, it just looks at me calmly, because there was only me and two boys who just noticed it, so she is not scared. There weren’t thousands of tourists trying to pull the turtle or take photos, only us, so we swim with her a long time until she goes deeper into the sea. That moment was incredible! It is something that I will never forget and that moment alone, it was worth all the effort that one spends to be able to go on a trip later. The hours of work, the meticulous organization of the trip, the hours of waiting, the flights, the boats … at that moment, all of that was worth it!
So as you can see, I do not regret anything about going to Malaysia.Every place has it “I do not know what” that makes you appreciate it. That makes you love it!
What are you waiting to visit Malaysia?