As the bus pulled to a stop it was still dark outside. The two of us, along with the three girls we met on the bus were approached by a guy telling us to follow him as he had the first boat leaving that morning – we were a bit unsure if he really had the first boat leaving or not but he had made the effort to be waiting at the bus stop for the first us at 6am so we figured we would give him a chance. He took us to his tour office where we all purchased a return fast boat transfer ticket. It turned out he was being honest and we were on the first boat of the morning and the boat was in rather good nick surprisingly! We had another family on the boat with us who had the cutest 3 year old son who was loving the adventure of the fast boat. As we pulled into the jetty at Perhentian Kecil you realise the beauty of this place – soft white sand, beachfront bungalows and not much more. We decided to go with the other 3 girls and make the 15 minute walk to the other side of the island to Long Beach where we had been told accommodation is cheaper. Too bad most accommodation was closed due to it being low season so we had the option of a very expensive resort or one other place that looked terrible! The girls headed to the terrible one as we wished them luck and we decided to walk back to Coral Bay where we had initially been dropped off and see if the place we had initially wanted to stay had availability. After the further 15 minute hike with our packs on we found that no – there was no availability at Maya Guesthouse so we walked up the beach to Sanja Resort thinking their prices would completely kill our budget. The room they showed us was beachfront and lets say ‘rustic’ but the price was only a little over what we had budgeted and it didn’t seem like we had many other options – we managed to get the price down to RM60 which was what we had budgeted for and even included breakfast so took the room with a smile.
The afternoon e spent lazing on the beach and as it was Duanes Birthday we celebrated by splurging on a fresh BBQ Seafood dinner and a few beers with the most delicious Snickers shake in place of a birthday cake as a night-cap. At RM10 a beer let’s just say we didn’t go overboard! This was no party island that’s for sure as beer was so damn expensive!
The next morning we woke to find a huge hole in the wall … yep we discovered why our beautiful ‘rustic’ bungalow was going so cheap. We had rats! They had chewed right through the damn wall – I mean are you kidding me – through the wall?! We had some muesli bars in our bag that they had gotten into and a fresh coconut in a bag that they had a go at too. We alerted reception who had maintenance patch it up during the day to avoid a repeat occurrence the next night.
We hired some snorkelling gear and spent the day snorkelling coral bay and lying on the beach – it was pure paradise.
The next morning we decided to give the 5 hour snorkelling trip on offer a go – it was RM30 per person which equates to approximately AUD$12 per person. We left at 10:30am and headed to Fish Point where flippers went on and masks down – into the water we went …
No words can express the first 30 seconds of being in the water! Fish surrounded your entire body – they were so close, centremetres from your face. They did not get a fright and scatter either, they just swam along with you in the water – it was absolutely amazing! We had value for money within the first minute of being in the water – it was an experience like none other. Our guide was throwing bread into the water by us so the fish would come and feed – it was amazing. The visibility was fantastic – it really felt like we were swimming in a fish tank.
Next spot Kim thought the guide said ‘South Point’ but he went on to mention that there may be a shark in the area but ‘not dangerous’. Hmmmmm – into the water we went and were swimming away looking at the beautiful coral and fish and Duane swam up and grabbed Kim’s arm and was swimming with her. Kim stopped Duane and asked what was up – he pulled his snorkel out of his mouth and said ‘Back to the boat – now! Shark’ – that’s all I needed to hear I was outta there! We were in the boat so damn quick and told the guide about the sighting … it was then Kim realised she misunderstood – we were at “Shark Point’ not south point! Duane had seen a 1.5meter black tip reef shark swimming within meters of us. Kim and the guide couldn’t help but laugh at how quickly Duane had us both back in the boat! Duane went on to explain to the guide that we do not want to swim with sharks so not to take us anywhere else that sharks ‘hang-out’! haha We did also see many Nemo fish which was awesome!
Next stop was the fishing village for lunch. Damn – we didn’t know about this stop and Duane had his wallet with him but it didn’t hold much cash. We went to the restaurant we were expected to buy lunch at to find without RM6 there was very little we could afford. We decided on a Curry Noodle dish. We were very embarrassed not to be able to offer to buy our guide a meal but with not knowing we would need cash we could hardly afford to feed ourselves! The curry noodle came out and Kim and a couple of mouthfuls and told Duane to eat the rest – this would be a lucky decision for Kim later in the evening and a very unlucky one for Duane – if you get my drift!
Next stop was the Lighthouse where we snorkelled with many Nemo fish! There were some bigger fish here and the viability was fantastic.
Last stop was Romantic Beach – a picturesque white sand deserted beach with fantastic snorkelling just 2 metres from shore. It was here however that the curry first made itself known – an emergency number two in the bushes of Romantic Beach – nice one honey! We snorkelled around for a while longer then decided to call it a day – and what a fantastic day it had been! We headed to the Café for some free Wi-Fi so Kim could Skype her mum and this was when we experienced our first Lassi. The banana Lassi was the best thing since sliced bread and Kim will be enjoying many many more of these icy, yoghurt delights in the coming months!
In the afternoon the resort staff decided it was time to clear the coconuts from the trees so they had a local climb the tallest palm and hook up the rope to lower bunches of coconuts to the ground where the resort staff opened them for us – mmmMMMmmm so fresh. It so happened we had a coconut a day whilst on Perhentian Kecil – free and delicious!
The next morning it was up to inspect the rat damage – this had become a morning routine since we were staying in what we had decided was the ‘Rat Den’. During our 3 nights the Rat ate 2 muesli bars, one coconut, our soap, chewed through our plastic drink bottle and chewed through the wall. This was one ferocious rat! One we would not miss.
The final morning we had a fantastic breakfast of eggs on toast and a fresh fruit platter before checking-out and making our way to the jetty for our return to Kuala Besut to meet the mini-van taking us to our next stop – The Cameron Highlands.
Goodbye Perhentian Kecil – we will miss the walks along the beach, the soft white sand, the Banana Lassi, the Snickers Shakes, the Snorkelling and friendly staff but we will not miss the Rats!
Jungle of Cameron Highlands here we come!