Pulau Kecil, Perhentian Islands

IMG_2440Now, it’s hard (and wrong) to judge a place in low season.  If I was being generous I’d say Pulau Kecil (Small Island) resembled the morning after one of Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Parties, due to the amount of trash on the beach. If I was being honest, I’d say the whole island looked like the aftermath of Asia’s  Tsunami, with so many boarded-up beach shacks and semi constructions sites.

But it’s good to give everywhere at least 24h grace….

On the positive side, I am grateful the island are at least accessible after the 4 month winter closure Oct – Feb. Boats only started running again this week because of the late-falling Chinese New Year holiday.

IMG_2472If you luck-out with the weather there are island hopping day trips for $30RM, including snorkeling gear. Highlights include Shark Point (viability was low but we still spotted a few.) Also, Turtle Point and The Lighthouse  – you can jump from the lower platform if you’re feeling brave! Diving is popular too, at slightly lower prices than neighboring Thailand for PADI courses.

Cheap $15RM BBQ restaurants (literally) line the waterfront of Coral Bay. The tide laps your plastic seats, which is quite fun for your starter at least. Ewan’s cafe is great for the only free wifi on the island and Ombak café for it’s outdoor cinema screen and beanbags. The hints are there at what the island probably becomes in prime peak season, and travelers do rave about it after all…

For my money though, if you’re looking for that chilled out, beach bum/beer/bonfire vibe there are arguably a million places that do the whole thing slightly better (In February at least.) Namely: Langkawi, Koh Samet, Railay, El Nido…. All are a dam sight easier to get to too!

Getting there: Singapore to Wakaf Bharu 16h train ‘Jungle Express’ departs Woodlands 7pm, arrives Wakaf Bharu (nr Kota Bharu) anything between 13 – 16h later. $70RM for 2nd class seat, although sleepers are advisable. (Book at least a month in advance over Chinese New Year!)

Taxi from Wakaf Bharu to Kuala Besult 80 RM, 1h. Return speedboat to Perhentian Kecil, 30 mins, 70RM return. Don’t attempt in bad weather or if you struggle with sea sickness!

Onward travel from Kuala Besut is possible from March (mini-vans to Cameron Highlands/KL etc) In low seasons, transfer is via Kota Bharu or Tanah Merah.

Where to stay: Shari La on Coral Bay have basic rooms with shared bathrooms from $50RM, and nicer VIP chalets for $300. Most beach huts along Coral Bay range from $40 – 180RM.

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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