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18 November, 2016

[TRAVEL] 3D2N Itinerary at Perhentian Island, Terengganu

Before the monsoon season hits the shore of the East Coast islands in Malaysia, the wanderlust in me has brought me to Pulau Perhentian in Terengganu, just a couple of weeks before the island closes down for monsoon.

The initial plan of merely enjoying a beach getaway has turned into a sunseeker’s dream come true, a truly unforgettable experience for me. The picturesque views of sparkling white sands and clear blue waters with shadows of colorful coral reefs living literally beneath our feet, sum up to one word-- AMAZING! 

Let’s unveil the beauty deep in the wonders of this limitless horizon!
Palm trees, ocean breezes,
Salty air, sun kissed hair,
I shall never forget this memorable summer.

Listening to the heartbeat of the sea while waves come splashing over the toes, 
it feels like falling in love for the very first time again.

The Perhentian Islands, located around 25km from Kuala Besut, Terengganu on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, are divided into two main islands:

Pulau Perhentian Kecil:
❤ Popular among young backpacker crowd, honeymooners and foreign tourists.
❤ Nightlife activities here are more happening! (Think of bars, drinks and live performances...)
❤ Accommodation is more geared towards the budget traveller / backpackers.
❤ It has a more lively, upbeat atmosphere with plenty of chalets and chic beach cafes.

Pulau Perhentian Besar:
❤  Quieter, more relaxed and laid-back ambiance.
❤  Accommodation wise, there are comparatively larger resorts and restaurants.
❤  Ideal for families.

Hopping between the two islands costs only around MYR 20 via “water taxi”.

Travelling tips: It is better to sign up for packages that will arrange transportation, accommodation and ground tours for your ease and convenience.

Our 3 days 2 nights tour package with Bubu Long Beach Resort / Bubu Villa includes:
❤ Airport transfer from Kota Bahru airport to Kuala Besut jetty
❤ Boat transfer from Kuala Besut jetty to Pulau Perhentian Kecil
❤ Welcome drink from Bubu Villa
❤ 2 nights twin-bed accommodation at Bubu Long Beach Resort / Bubu Villa
❤ Add on: 1 snorkelling trip to Shark Point, Turtle Point and Fish Point
*Exclude all meals and water activities

What You Can Do in Perhentian Island

Here’s our itinerary for the 3 days 2 nights trip:
DAY 1:
❤ KLIA2 flight to Kota Bharu International Airport
❤ Van ride to Kuala Besut Jetty (Provided by Bubu Long Beach Resort)
❤ Boat ride to Pulau Perhentian Kecil (Provided by Bubu Long Beach Resort)
❤ Check-in to Bubu Long Beach Resort / Bubu Villa
❤ Italian lunch at Bubu Villa
❤ Stroll along Long Beach
❤ Windmill Climb + D Lagoon
❤ Western and local dinner at Bubu Villa
Long Beach night fire performance and chill

DAY 2:
❤ Sunrise watching along Long Beach
❤ Breakfast at Bubu Villa Restaurant
❤ Snorkelling to Turtle Point, Shark Point and Fish Point
❤ Evening swim by the beach
❤ BBQ Dinner at Long Beach
❤ Long Beach night chill

DAY 3:
❤ Sunrise watching along Long Beach
❤ Swimming at Coral Bay
❤ Boat ride from island to Kuala Besut Jetty
❤ Depart to KLIA2 via Kota Bharu International Airport

Now....let's zoom into each day of the trip and discover the paradise!

❤ KLIA2 flight to Kota Bharu International Airport
❤ Van ride to Kuala Besut Jetty, stop by at local stall for Nasi Berlauk
❤ Boat ride to Pulau Perhentian Kecil
❤ Check-in to Bubu Long Beach Resort
❤ Italian lunch at Bubu Villa
❤ Stroll along Long Beach
❤ Windmill Climb + D Lagoon
❤ Western and local dinner at Bubu Villa
❤ Long Beach night fire performance and chill

Our option: [BY AIR] Kuala Lumpur International Airport → Kota Bharu International Airport 
→ Kuala Besut Jetty → Pulau Perhentian

By Road:
❤ 7-8 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut Jetty

By Air:
Most convenient as the closest airports are in Kota Bharu and Kuala Terengganu.
 AirAsia flies daily to Kota Bharu from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru and to Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur.
❤ Airport transfers are included by our accommodation provider, Bubu Long Beach Resort & Villa
     -- Travelling time from Kota Bahru airport to Kuala Besut Jetty takes 45 minutes on the road.
❤ Upon arrival at Kuala Besut Jetty, it takes another 1 hour speedboat ride to arrive at Pulau Perhentian.

Travelling tips: 
Also accessible from neighbouring islands such as Redang, Lang Tengah etc via chartered boat.
Ideal for island hoppers!

Kuala Besut Jetty, the nearest jetty to Perhentian Island

*There is a MYR 5 conservation charge per person for going into the island.

Departing from KLIA2 at 7.55am, the long journey to arrive at this paradise is around 5 hours (Including our chillax time of enjoying local breakfast, Nasi Berlauk, in Kota Bahru town and boat wait time). There are 3 rounds of boat ride to and fro the island and jetty everyday – Punctual and reliable.

Kelantanese's famous Nasi Berlauk and coffee

A sense of familiarity rushes in my blood as I step into the marine parks of the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia. The deep blue calm sea with sparkles reflected by the sunshine on the surface reminds me of my last footprint in Pulau Redang few years ago. Ah, missed those fond memories.

We are almost there!
Welcome to the Long Beach!

So we stay at Pulau Perhentian Kecil. While Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil is just a 10-minute boat ride away, we are glad that we have made the right choice to book our chalet and villa accommodation in Perhentian Kecil. The vibes here are more lively and upbeat, with plenty of chic beach cafes and bars lining the beach. If you enjoy Western vibes and nightlife, you’d love it here in the small island.

But if you appreciate quieter ambience with bigger resorts and restaurants, then Perhentian Besar wouldn’t be a bad choice after all.

Long Beach is the Perhentian Islands’ most famous and popular beach – with long stretch of almost-white sand, shallow, crystal-clear water and picturesque morning sunrise view.

Bubu Villa and Bubu Long Beach Resort (operated by the same owner) are probably one of the most beautiful places to stay along the beachfront. Bubu Resort and Villa has the best location here – facing the shoreline, next to the jetty.

Bubu's Special Citrus Welcome Drinks

On the first night, we stay at Bubu Long Beach Resort, a garden-themed resort tucked away at one end of Long Beach, comprising 38 tastefully designed hotel-style rooms with sea view or garden view. Having said that, the resort is still within walking distance of other attractions along the beach.

Each room comes fully furnished with two double beds (for twin sharing), en suite bathroom with shower, air conditioning, working desk and wardrobe. Rooms on the first floor onwards have their own balcony whereas those staying at the ground floor can enjoy balmy evenings sitting out at its private patio garden.

Bubu Villa's all-day dining restaurant; It literally transports me to Maldives! 

Its in-house restaurant and bar operates all-day long, so it is easy for us to grab and go or to dine with wine. Bubu Resort even operates the one and only Japanese restaurant in the island! In term of food choices, there are aplenty, such as classic Italian cuisine, Western delights, local dishes and special BBQ seafood dinner.

Our Italian lunch: Fresh Basilic Green Italian Pesto

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (Homemade pasta with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese)

Classic Seafood Spaghetti

.....and lastly, Chilled Milkshakes to cool ourselves under the hot beach weather.

After lunch, we have a quick stroll along the beach...

I just love the feeling of strolling along the beautiful beach, with lovely rhythm of waves playing in background! The entire beachfront is lined with chalets, restaurants, bars, dive centres and small stores selling clothes, souvenirs and essentials. Various services are available, including Internet, body massages, snorkeling, sea taxi, canoe rental, and even hiking tour.

How about having body massage after sunbathing?

And join the beach volley game with the hot hunks and chicks! 

Approaching evening, it is the best time to have a short 20-minute hike up the hill behind Bubu Resort, which brings us another satisfying experience of standing by the cliffs as if we have conquered the sea! Guided tour is provided by Bubu Resort, so no worries about the safety! 

Windmill Peak

Nobody would have thought there is such a beautiful spot on top of the hill --
Definitely not an ordinary hybrid power plant equipped with many solar panels and wind turbines.

D Lagoon

While the windmill is on your left, turn around and you'll reach a wooden hut, facing the stunning deep blue sea. From there, we follow the stairway that leads us down to the ocean where we see lots of people swimming. 

Picture source: Twitter

The weather is really gloomy during the day I visit this place (Due to monsoon season),
and due to rain, we do not have a chance to go down the stairway and explore further.

So...I leave it to you to discover D Lagoon yourself and tell me more about its beauty!

It's dinner time and we are back to Bubu Villa!
When it comes to the evening, the same Bubu Villa restaurant exudes a totally different vibe! With breezy winds sweeping the hair and warm lights shining from the high-roof ceiling, the ambiance here is perfect for a romantic wine dinner.

Our Western dinner: Rack of Lamb in Dark Sauce with Roasted Potatoes

Chef's Special Pad Thai (Thai Fried Noodles): Extra sweet, sticky and spicy! 

Shaved Beef Sandwich (Sauteed onion, pepper, mushroom and mozzarella on grilled bread)

Evening activities here are pretty much limited to drinking by the beach, stargazing and perhaps listening to the rhythm of the sea waves. What makes things more interesting here is the fire performance by the professional fire breathers! 

We call it a night after spending hours by the beach, with groups of foreign tourists chatting and drinking while being surrounded by those good vibes. 

❤ Sunrise watching along Long Beach
❤ Breakfast at Bubu Villa Restaurant
❤ Snorkelling to Turtle Point, Shark Point and Fish Point
❤ Evening swim by the beach
❤ BBQ Dinner at Long Beach
❤ Long Beach night chill

Moving on to the following day, we purposely wake up at the crack of dawn, hoping that we'd be able to catch the sunrise. Unfortunately, the cloudy weather and rainy morning just wouldn't help. 

....same goes to the next morning. Thanks to the cloudy sky, I miss my favourite beach sunrise moment again. If I were to have any regret during this trip, it is probably this moment when I look through the whole picture folder and found no sunrise shot. 

Anyway....let the gloominess go away and we shall attack the breakfast buffet bar, located next to the reception!

The spread boasts a hearty selection of classic Western breakfast items such as scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon and fruits, as well as local delight including fried noodles, rice etc. But the best part is the variety of pastries and buns, freshly-baked every morning. Those croissants are so buttery and airy that I can easily go for one after another! 

Breakfast by the beach is one of the most perfect moments in Perhentian Island.

Well, since it is a beach getaway, I bet you just can’t miss these must-do activities:

❤ Snorkeling! Plenty of hot spots available to watch different sea creature –
     Coral reefs, fishes, sharks, turtles, etc
❤ Island-hopping (boat rentals are available)
❤ Diving at Tokong Laut to see bamboo sharks
❤ Banana boat ride / Canoeing
❤ A short trek up to the hill
❤ Sunbathing in the day and star gazing at night
❤ Just enjoy the sun and sea breeze!

For our snorkeling trips, there are plenty of offers along the beach, but we follow the trips included in our package with Bubu. Non-Bubu guests can also purchase the package separately.

While Redang Island seems more popular in the eyes of public, I strongly suggest you guys to visit Perhentian Island first because it is far more beautiful than Redang!

Look at those colorful fishes!!

The underwater world is a heaven on its own—with colourful schools of fishes surrounding you as you watch the turtles going to the water surface to breathe. ❤ The excellent visibility of the sea makes Perhentian a top favourite among divers and snorkelers.

I am falling in love with this place again and again! 

High tides, good vibes! 

While visiting the baby islands, we drop by at this beautiful heaven of pearl white fine sands and crystal clear blue water. I am not sure what is this place called but one thing for sure is, you'd definitely want to explore this lovely spot yourselves!

After a long tiring day out to the ocean, we tuck into a sumptuous BBQ seafood dinner served at Bubu Villa restaurant. Here you can choose your own fresh seafood, have it barbecued ala minute and enjoy your meal on the beach. Don't worry, the staff will grill the food, so you don't have to get your hands dirty.

Our evening ends with some really affordable cocktails at one of the beach bars. Mojito, Long Island and Sex on The Beach are amongst the popular selections that you should try without burning your wallet.

❤ Sunrise watching along Long Beach
❤ Swimming at Coral Bay
❤ Boat ride from island to Kuala Besut Jetty
❤ Depart to KLIA2 via Kota Bharu International Airport

For the second evening / third day in Perhentian Kecil, we have decided to splurge on a more luxurious and exclusive accommodation-- Bubu Villa! Although the Long Beach is just few minutes walk away, Bubu's cluster of beautiful villa is a private oasis of tranquility and relaxation on its own. 

It feels more peaceful here as we have one whole villa to ourselves. Each villa comes with a private walled front garden area where nobody can disturb your private moments. 

Inspired by the Balinese villa design, each room has a transparent shower room where you can see through the garden area. Plus, there is no door separating the washroom and bedroom. Romantic eh? Suitable for couples' honeymoon! 

Love the transparent mirror design where plenty of natural lights can penetrate into the room!

A night in Bubu Villa is a rejuvenating experience, and I am all fueled to continue my adventure of exploring the other side of Perhentian Kecil!

Coral Bay

A 15-minute walk through the jungle takes us to Coral Bay (Teluk Aur), a small quiet bay on Perhentian Kecil where you can catch a glimpse of the setting sun. Since we are here in the morning, a quick swim is a good idea, or you can just sit near the rocks and enjoy the splashes of water.

To be honest, the lighter colored sand dotted with pieces of broken coral may not look as fascinating. Nevertheless, at the corner of the bay lies a really beautiful cluster of rocks, Gotta be really careful of the slippery rocks and strong waves.

If you love collecting seashells, here's the right place to go!

A 3 days 2 nights trip to Perhentian Island ends in a glimpse of eyes. As much as I want to stay, the island is closing due to the year-end monsoon season. Hopefully I can be back again in March next year when the island reopens! 

Feel free to find out more about Pulau Perhentian's accommodation and lodging details here:
Instagram: @bubulongbeach

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