It took us nearly a full day to travel by bus and boat from the Cameron Highlands to Perhentian Kecil, the smaller of the 2 Perhentian Islands on the east coast of Malaysia’s mainland, but oh, was it worth it! This place is absolutely beautiful with it’s crsytal clear emerald waters that you can see through as you stand on the shore or ride a water taxi between isolated beaches. Sheltered from the sun by a palm tree as I lay in the hammock and listen to the waves lapping against the shore I can only think, “Ah, it feels so good to do nothing on the beach.” We have had a great mix of doing just that – nothing – and snorkeling nearly every day, taking jungle walks across the island, sampling the beach bars, watching sunsets over the water and laying in the hammock. The beauty of this island is reminding me so much of Kenawa and I find myself reminiscing about that special month where we enjoyed the unique once in a lifetime opportunity of living on a near private island. Snorkeling out our front door, cooking on the front porch and watching the sunrise from bed. Man, we had it good. And it’s not too shabby now either, I must admit.
We arrived on the island Friday, Malaysia’s Independence Day, and were really fortunate that a place we wanted to stay ad a last minute cancellation because everything else was booked. Our plan was to just show up on the island and go to the backpacker hotels and hope to find a room, but thankfully, with our booking secured the night before, the boat from the ferry on the mainland dropped us right off at the beautiful beachfront of our accommodation. By 5pm we were sitting in the shallow water of the warm sea with a cold beer in our hands and marveling at our surroundings. We chose this hotel specifically because it has great snorkeling directly off the beach. No need to take a boat anywhere. Already we have seen schools of black tipped sharks, half a dozen stingray, the largest parrotfish we have ever laid eyes on and big beautiful clams with iridescent colors. With the bright sun, clear water and lively underwater world here we are very content. Before we leave we will take a boat trip to nearby islands for more snorkeling and I hope we can see a turtle. Some friends of ours, that we met in Ipoh and again here on the island, were able to see a turtle on an excursion they did over the weekend. Fingers crossed!
Our accommodation at D’Lagoon is simple, basic, very quiet (other than the loud group of 16 young, drunk European travelers returning from the party area of Long Beach at 3am one evening) and cheap. Just the way we like it. With our own room with a fan (more than adequate in the evenings) and a shared bathroom we paid the peak season rate of $80RM over the weekend and $70RM every night after. Very affordable at $20 or less a night for a slice of heaven. Most of the accommodations on the smaller of the 2 islands are pretty basic, catering to backpackers and people more interested in partying and laying low. The larger island is known to have more resorts, families and higher prices. The 2 islands are a 5 minutes water taxi ride from one another and very easy to go between. It’s very common to stay on one island and travel to the other or even between different area of the same island by water taxi. We never traveled anywhere where you take a quick $10RM ($2.50 USD) boat ride down the island to have dinner and return later. One evening though, when enjoying dinner and drinks with our UK friends, Dan & Hanna, we lost track of time. Between it being late – past midnight – and some rain we weren’t able to get back to our hotel by taxi and it is an hour walk through the jungle which was not an option at the hour. But, it’s the island, and life is easy. We took a bed in a room above the bar that “helped” us lose track of time and when we woke up at 8:30 the next morning we got on a taxi and were back in our bed by 8:45. These are the worst of problems here – having to stay on another beach because we were having too much fun!
We did get some disappointing news from the captain of the boat we were expecting to sail to Indonesia this month. Due to some maintenance issues he is having with the boat we are not going to be able to sail with him this year. It’s a real bummer because we had been planning this for months and possibly may have even gone home earlier had we not been waiting to sail. Not to say we didn’t have great experiences hiking the Annapurna Circuit and exploring Malaysia along the way. I wouldn’t change a thing because I loved all of those adventures. It all worked out for a reason. And since we bought our airline tickets with frequent flyer miles we have the luxury of changing our return flight home without any fees. We have taken full advantage of this perk multiple times already. As we finish up this blog post we are eating calamari while lounging in our respective hammocks and deciding whether to keep traveling Asia since we are already halfway around the world and have no idea when we will be back…or come back to the States. Even if we come back we will still travel a bit. Definitely not the worst decision we have ever had to make…and we still have 3 more days on this island!