After spending three full days on overpriced Perhentian Besar (the bigger island), Kecil’s (the smaller island) tiki backpacker vibe was very much welcomed.
Priya and I took the earliest water taxi ride out from Besar (RM10 each) because most of the accommodations on Kecil run on a walk-in basis, and we were afraid of getting stuck with shitty rooms during this peak season. We headed straight for Matahari Chalet on Long Beach because we did some preliminary research, and Priya said they sounded friendly over the phone.
The only room available at that point was a RM150/night air con room with hot shower. It was OK, just a bit bothered by the faint smell of drains that lingered in the room.
The dive was was very relaxing, and as it was a shallow dive, we managed to clock in slightly more than an hour underwater. We only went to about 10m, but saw a blue spotted stingray, a massive Jenkins stingray, box fish, barracuda, angel fish, silver bat fish, a crazy trigger fish that kept darting around, beautiful purple clams, damsel fish, clown fish, parrot fish, and butterfly fish.
Also had their sambal blachan long beans, which I asked them to tone down the spiciness, and it was sedap! The entire meal cost us RM42.5.
With our bellies happy and filled, we went in search for Mira beach, a deserted spot on Kecil that Priya’s colleague stayed at and recommended us to visit.
We asked for directions and was told to head into the jungle trail that starts at Butterfly chalet, which was on the end of Coral Bay.
It was a gorgeous beach with just a handful of people. We originally wanted to stay at Mira Beach Chalet, the only lodging on this beach, but it was all booked out.
The sand was fine and the waters were divinely warm and clear. While wading in the sea, we could see right through to our toes, allowing us to observe — without snorkel masks — the curious fish that were doing figure 8’s around our legs. Absolutely wonderful to float on my back and enjoy the weightlessness and quietness too. We stayed and read for a while, and then headed back reluctantly before it got too dark to navigate the forest.
The food prices in Kecil are slightly cheaper than Besar. About RM5-8 lesser for seafood dishes. We had the sambal sotong dinner set that came with fries, banana cake, a banana, and a drink, and it only cost RM25! Together with a roti cinai, prawns with chili, and a glass of lemongrass, the total bill came up to RM57.
We were hoping for a party after dinner, but it was a Sunday night, and the only signs of a party we saw were advertisements that read “Fire show!”, “Live music”, and “Bonfire”. We were one day too late for the beach party.
We checked out of our cheap accommodation bright and early, and made our way on foot to our most atas stay of the trip: Shari-La Island Resort on Coral Bay.
We wanted to indulge a little for our last night, so we took this standard room for 2 which cost RM250/night. It was just slightly better than the budget accommodation. Not very worth it, I must say.
Went for a 6-stop snorkeling trip (at an incredibly low price of RM30 each) to pass the afternoon. It was, of course, nothing compared to diving, but it was one of the best snorkelling experiences I’ve had.
And we’ve got these lousy underwater shots from a disposable camera to do it injustice.
We also stopped by Turtle Bay (off Perhentian Island Resort’s beach on Besar) and saw a solitary turtle. The wonder and excitement of seeing a turtle in the wild quickly turned into disgust as it was terrifying to see all the tourists hovering over it while it fed on the sea bed. And when it was swimming towards the surface to catch a breath, a few tourists even dove down to touch its shell.
It was a horrible sight, and I felt nothing but anger towards people’s ignorance and sadness for the lonely celebrity turtle. All I want to say is: “LEAVE TURTLE ALONE!!!”
Things were going so nicely on the last day…
Until the expensive hotel room decided to ruin it. Being the cheapskate that I am, I expected nothing less than what I paid for. So you can imagine how furious I was when the water ran out while I was showering.
I was still soapy, so Priya had to get help for me. The room’s phone had no dial tone for her to call the reception, so she went out to inform some of the staff. They took so fucking long that I gave up and resorted to filling a pail with the alternative water source (cold water, but thank god for it) and rinsing off with a plastic water scoop.
I’m not a princess. I don’t mind bathing with cold water from a pail. Just not when I have paid good money for something better. I was so fucking pissed off that I went to the reception to throw a bitch fit. They just looked sorry and apologised, and when I pushed on, they didn’t even offer to compensate.
Damn you Shari-La.
But let’s not end this on a sour note!
5D6N Perhentian trip cost breakdown
Scuba diving: SGD 314 (for 5 dives)
Food and misc: approx SGD 224
Total trip cost: approx SGD800