Tuesday, June 24

Perhentian Island Getaway!

Heyo everybody! Didcha miss me? Lol! I was feeling super duper elated while processing the photos and many wonderful memories came gushing through my mind. On 13th of June, I organized a 4 Day 3 Night family cum diving trip to Pulau Perhentian (Perhentian Island) off the seas of Terengganu. 
Cows roam freely in the large fields

My trip was planned in 2013, in conjunction with the Air Asia promo tickets, and booked a return ticket to Kota Bahru, Kelantan. From Kota Bahru Airport, a van was arranged to pick us up to Kuala Besut Jetty. The 1 hour van ride costs about RM120/way (booked via Mama Holidays).  A confusion arose but was settled immediately, Abang Ben our driver assured us he will drive us safely to the jetty. His friendly demeanor ensures us that he was honest and it is safe to travel with him. 

My Papa and I

From Kuala Besut Jetty, we took a 30 minute speed boat ride (via Mama Holidays) to Perhentian Island. The boat ride fee is RM35/way/pax. It's quite expensive in my opinion, but travelling in speedboat gives me some adrenaline rush, minus the seasickness factor. I also love the warm salty air of the sea and the saltiness on my lips throughout the speedboat ride. Well, this officially means, HOLIDAY HAS BEGUN!

My In-Laws, Mommy and Daddy
In my previous blog post (MIDE-click here), I blogged about booking my trip through Turtle Bay Divers. I was being recommended Mama's Chalet. Before my trip, I contacted En Aziz and he was the one who helped me arranged for the van and speedboat to this beautiful island.

Standard Non-Air Con Room in Mama's Chalet
Mama chalet is a lovely place, filled with lovely people. The chalets are very basic, and acceptably clean. The standard fan room costs about RM70/night (without breakfast). It's really a bargain! We took 3 rooms and only 1 of the rooms have smell (which I believe due to the previous occupant). After airing and putting some lime leaves under the pillow and on the bed, the room doesn't smell as bad anymore. Everything is good. Expect to be in a back-to-basics kind of getaway here, and be prepared for red ants, mosquitoes, lizards and squirrels. Aww, come on, this is what makes vacation memorable right?

The beach in front of Mama's Chalet

Mama's Chalet is located in the big island. There's two parts of Perhentian; big island called Perhentian Besar, and small island called Perhentian Kecil. The big island is more quiet and peaceful, whereas the small island has whiter sands, beautiful beach but is filled with night-activities. There's pros and cons of both islands, but altogether, just experience both to experience the differences.

Little girl playing with the sands in Mama's Chalet.
It was a hot season when I went there last two weeks. The beautiful sun, shines through the clear water....ahh what a wonderful sight!

Clear Waters
We arrived at the island at 11am, and got ready to begin our first dive for the day. It was my 1st dive as leisure diver after getting my license in March. I took my diving license in Mabul Island. Oh how much I have miss you, Mabul! (Check out my Mabul Island diving experience here). 

Turtle Bay Divers is located at the end of Mama's Chalet. We were introduced to Joo, a korean divemaster. She understood that we were beginners, and gave us adequate introduction and explanation about the divesites that we were about to explore. Diving with her was a fantastic experience. She's really a strong woman, helpful and very capable. Gosh, I admire her strength so much!

Dive sites around Perhentian Big & Small Island.
We took a package consisting of 8 dive sites.
  1. D'lagoon (small island) - sandy area. A place for us to warm up and refresh our memories about diving. Here we saw stingrays and puffer fish.
  2. Police Wreck - sandy area with 3 small wrecks which were previously used by the Police force, hence named as police wreck. Visibility was pretty much poor during our dive here. The wreck just "appeared suddenly", so you can imagine how bad it is. hehe..Jenkin's Whipray is sighted, and also the blue-spotted stingray can be found.
  3. Pinnacle - beautiful coral reef area. Surrounded by fishes! A must visit site! It's my first time seeing squid here too!
  4. Tg Basi - I love this place also! It's my first time seeing Unicorn fish and Trigger fish. I kinda love "to feel being watched" by the Trigger fish. haha.. OK, watching is just fine, please don't attack me! hehehe..
  5. Shark point - I don't remember anything spectacular about shark point. There's no shark here, it was named because the rocks that marked this dive site looks like a shark's fin. 
  6. Sugar Wreck - This wreck is amazing! It's my first time seeing a huge, real wreck. The rest I've seen are artificial wrecks (purposely being sunk as a fish/coral breeding place). The current was so strong, but the visibility was so good! Divers were seen panicking and flying all around. Lots of Lion Fish, and Indian Ocean Walkman here. Big Puffer Fish and Box Fish is seen too! Oh ya, my husband is lucky enough to see a Blue-banded Sea Krait entering the wreck during our 3minute safety stop!
  7. Terumbu Tiga (T3) - named after the 3 rocks of that area. Visibility was bad when we descend, but eventually got better. There's lots of nudibranches here. We love nudibranches! It's cute, colourful and looks tame at the same time! We love looking at them! T3 is a little challenging because there are crevices where we can pass through. We have to rely deeply on our buoyancy control, otherwise, we may hit the rocks or brush the seabed. It's really fun, and I was scared! 
  8. Batu Layar - The finale of our dives. This is also a beautiful and pleasant to dive place. Stone Fish can be found, and swarms of fishes will circle you. So beautiful! I was giggling underwater in Batu Layar because an extremely friendly Remora Fish keep coming at Joo to clean her! TWICE! Then I went a little further away and I saw the fish came again, i swam away and the Remora went to my husband. I signalled him but I don't know how to describe Remora, then he was jerking like fish out of air because the Remora is sucking his skin HAHAHAHAHA.. What a funny sight! 
Can't wait to dive!
I can't wait to get my Advance License so that I can visit other dive sites =) Some sites are deeper than 18m, and we need extra qualification to go down that deep.

The more happening Long Beach of Perhentian Kecil
I thought that I will be really bad in the sea, so I didn't bring any underwater camera or borrowed a GoPRO. Now I really regretted it, because no words can document our experience under there.

Tanned, and ugly LOL

Diving will be the only one time that I feel happy when people ask me "Where have you been? You are so dark now!". For other times, I just get offended when people say me dark! HAHAHAH...

Jian, Ben, Joo (our divemaster), Me and Alex
I have nothing but praises for Joo. She was so patient with us, and attentive. I feel safe with her. Also, she collects plastic rubbish from the sea bed. She inspires me!

Sunset view

Staying at Mama's Chalet, food was convenient. The Mama's restaurant serves approximately 30-40 different kinds of food. Price was OK as well (RM8-15/plate), considering this island as a tourist spot. 

Well, as we went diving, my parents went snorkeling. I shall do another blog post on their snorkelling trip soon. But for now, it's time to say goodbye and goodnight!

It's so hazy, and smelly, and hot wtf! Can someone conjure me to Perhentian Island please? I don't mind the heat, but I hate the dirty air!!!

Till we meet again!



Happy walker said...

thanks for dropping by yeah!

Ken Wooi said...

I always thought of diving.. but didn't find the time to do so.. I'm sure it's a more amazing experience than snorkeling. :)

shambauer said...

hi..thanks for the sharing..thinking of staying at mama's and diving with turtlebays..seem from your writing everything is good..at least i know what i will expecting there..hehe