Paradise in the Perhentians

Trip Start Jan 16, 2012
Trip End Jun 07, 2012

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Flag of Malaysia  , Terengganu,
Monday, April 9, 2012

10th - 20th april - we arrived into Kota Bharu in the early hours of the morning and caught a taxi with two Australian girls, heading to Kuala Besut, before catching the fast boat ( boy was it fast) to Palau perhentian kecil (small island). After a bone jarring and very wet, but incredibly fun 35 minutes of hanging on for dear life, while our maniac driver seemingly tried his hardest to throw us in the sea, we arrived at coral bay. We checked into Maya guesthouse, and immediately began to explore the islands. We began making our way down a somewhat dilapidated jungle path, strewn with dead trees, rubbish and monitor lizards! Only to find many of the resorts abandoned and slowly being reclaimed by the jungle. However, after a somewhat underwhelming introduction to the Perhentians (coral bay was clogged with boats), we found our way to long beach - an idyllic stretch of sand where we spent most of the rest of our time on the island. This was the Perhentians we were expecting - beautiful White silken sand, turquoise blue incredibly clear water, palm trees and very few people...PARADISE!

On our second day, somewhat underwhelmed by Maya guesthouse, we moved into Ewan's place. Ewan himself was incredibly friendly and the food some of the best we've had all trip! We ate at the restaurant almost every day, their Kway Teow (wide flat rice noodles, served with egg, seafood and veg in a dark soy sauce) was delicious! This combined with chocolate banana pancakes and snickers shakes, constituted our diet for the majority of our time there, alongside grilled seafood.

Our days on the perhentian's flew by and consisted of very little, mainly lazing on the beach, eating, snoozing, snorkelling, drinking, snoozing, more eating, and then finally sleeping! This rigorous routine was broken only twice, on one day we decided to kayak around the island, this turned into something of an epic test of endurance, balance and nerve; after 6 hours of almost continual paddling, battling fierce swells and strong currents, we finally completed our circuit of the island, weary but incredible pleaded that we had done it. We saw many incredible corals, hundreds of tropical fish and numerous secluded beaches. Despite almost capsizing on numerous occasions, we somehow survived the experience, stronger and hungrier than ever!

Our other major break in the routine came when we ventured over to Besar (big island). We had intended to divide our time between the two islands, but after a brief foray we discovered the beaches to be more crowded, more touristy and less clean, and the resorts to be much more expensive. Needless to say, we didn't stay long! After Ross had his obligatory rock climbing/scrambling/falling session and we completed a two hour jungle trek (in which we saw HUGE ants, GIANT monitor lizard - over 2m long). After the walk and upon returning to Kecil, Ross suffered a massive allergic reaction (the worst hives I've ever seen)! After an injection and some tablets, the hives (lurgie) disappeared, and we settled back into our blissfully uncomplicated routine!

Finally on the 19th we said a fond farewell to the Perhentians and headed back to the mainland, refreshed, reinvigorated and ready for anything (we thought)...

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