Sep 26, 2013

{Malaysia} 2013 and the Perhentian Islands

Photographs from our trip to Malaysia (and in particular the Perhentian Islands) in August this year.
We flew straight from Incheon airport to Kuala Lumpur on AirAsia (very reasonable return flights if you are flexible on your departure days) and then caught an overnight bus to Kuala Besut where we caught the speed boat to the islands.

On returning from the islands, we booked very cheap flights on AirAsia from the closest town from the jetty (Kuala Bharu) which was a short trip to Kuala Lumpur. We definitely recommend flying instead of the overnight bus. Its easier, much quicker, and only costs a little more than the bus. The only downside is you then need to catch a taxi from Kuala Bharu to Kuala Besut to the jetty. Kuala Bharu has a wonderful market filled with fascinating sights and sounds (see the photographs at the end of the post) where we spent an afternoon.

The Perhentian Islands are made up of two islands, Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. Besar is the bigger island which is more family orientated with bigger hotels/resort type accommodation, and Kecil is known for it's night life and a younger, more backpacker atmosphere. We spent our holiday on Kecil, which looking back now, wasn't the best decision we have ever  made. The island was very noisy at night, filed with party animals looking for a good time. If you're looking for a lively holiday filled with late nights and drinking what expensive alcohol you can get your hands on then head to Kecil. You won't be disappointed. Kecil has two sides, coral bay and turtle bay. Coral Bay is slightly quieter, and that is where the 'nicer' accommodation is. Turtle Bay is where most of the great restaurants and cafes are. You can easily walk (15 minutes) between the two bays through the 'jungle'. You can also easily get from one island to the other by taking a 'water taxi' which go to and fro all day and late into the evening.

We hadn't booked any accommodation before hand (which was a little nerve wracking as we were arriving in peak season). But on Kecil, the majoriy of the hostels are not online so booking is practically impossible. We spent the first two nights in a really crummy room, which was the cheapest we could find, but it was definitely on the dingy. With a back entrance that faced a sewer, it wasn't the most imviting of places, but it suited out purposes (a place to sleep and shower...even if showering meant a dripping pipe in a dark corner of the bathroom).

We decided to treat ourselves for two nights at Shari-La Resort (MYR250 a night per room), which to be honest was extremely over priced and old. Looking back, it was a huge waste of money, and the buffet breakfast which had so enticed us was a real let down. But, the rooms had hot and cold water, and an aircon.

The best place we stayed (when we were able to get there at the right time to grab a room from someone checking out) was Ewans Place & Cafe (click here for their Facebook Page). This was by far the best value for money, it was incredibly clean and comfortable, and Ewans Cafe is where we spent most afternoons using the free WiFi and eating good food. Ewan is a wonderfully friendly chap, who seems to remember each person who visits! At only MYR70 a night, it was by far the best value for money on the island. No aircon but the huge overhead fan was more than sufficient.

It ended up not being a very budget friendly holiday. Make sure to change all your money BEFORE going to islands as there are only one or two places where you can exchange money, and you will get ripped off. There are no ATMS either, so make sure to carry cash. Although you are able to pay with a credit card at most of the bigger hotels and resorts. They do charge a 5 % fee though.

If you have any questions about our trip, feel free to contact us at farmboyandcitygirl{at}gmail{dot}com and we'll be happy to help you.

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