A little piece of heaven.
25.08.2006 32 °C
Our next move was to Pulau Perhentian Besar one of the Prehentian Islands 21 kms off the east coast. It involved a pretty lengthy bus journey across Malaysia but if there is one thing Malaysia does very well its public transport. We were completely spoilt with fully reclining seats, foot rests and karaoke on the TV so the time just flew by.
Obviously you need to take a speed boat for the final stretch to the island and as we pulled onto the beach I realised we were going to be spending the next few days in heaven on earth. The island is nothing short of a white-sand paradise with the clearest turquoise blue water I had ever seen. We had heard beforehand that the islands were becoming increasingly popular with travellers and holiday makers so you can experience difficulty securing accommodation. We eventually found ourselves a room after being unsuccessful at five other places. It's fair to say it was a pretty basic hut with literally four walls, a kind of roof and two beds but who's complaining when you can lie in bed and have an awesome view of the beach.
The whole vibe of the place was total relaxation, the small beach is lined with beach huts, dive centers, small restaurants and the odd shop. The best thing is that it still has that untouched innocence that many of the Thai islands have now lost due to their growing popularity and party culture. There is only one bar serving alcohol on the whole island which is a great place for meeting people as pretty much everyone ends up there (including locals) to sample the local whiskey (Monkey Juice) and have abit of a dance. I have never met such genuinely nice people and with it being such a small place after a few days everyone knows who you are stops for a chat.
We soon discovered that there was better accommodation available on the island and we got abit sick of people taking the piss out of us as apparently our place "Rock Garden" is commonly referred to as "Rock Bottom" with it being the cheapest place to stay. Also we had got abit concerned about the increasing number of wildlife we seemed to be attracting. We had three small lizards living in the rafters which kept on shitting all over our mozzie net, but it when I came back from the bathroom one day to see a Monitor Lizard so bloody big I was convinced it was a crocodile (it was seriously about 5ft long) that we splashed the cash on somewhere slightly less jungle like.
This turned out to be the best decision as we moved to a place run by the coolest and funniest group of Malay lads you could ever hope to meet. From then on we had the best time with them playing cards, volleyball (not naked), Frisbee and this weird Malayan sliding counters game which has to be the most addictive game ever.
Howie, one of the guys ran snorkeling trips so we headed out with him one day and visited five different sites. You wouldn't believe how much sea life we saw just snorkeling on the surface, the visibility was amazing. Our first stop was Shark Point where we saw three Black Tip Sharks at pretty close proximity. They are completely docile so there is no risk of them attacking you but it was pretty thrilling to see them swimming so closely around you. Then we went to Turtle Point and saw two massive sea turtles. We spent about 20 minutes following them just glided along all chilled out, then it would come up to the surface for more air and then carry on swimming again. Other highlights were Stingrays, Triggerfish, Clownfish (Nemo's) and amazing coral. At one point we were all given bread to feed to the fish and you get completely surrounded by all different kinds. It was such a good trip that we didn't even bother diving as we didn't thing it could top it.
We had originally planned to spend four days on the island but ended up staying for eight as we got so settled with such a great group of people. To be honest it was pretty hard to leave but all good things must come to an end.
Our next stop - Kuala Lumpa.