Monday, July 22, 2013

Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

It was time to go back to the islands. I left Georgetown and headed east across northern Malaysia to the island of Pulau Perhentian Kecil. No art, museums or fantastic street hawkers here. All of the sights are on the sandy beach or underwater.
The view of Coral Bay from Ombak Resort
I arrived at the island in the late afternoon, only to check into Ombak Resort and realize there was no water in my bathroom. Not a single drop!  I was nice about it the first evening. They gave me a bucket to use to rinse the toilet and wash up. I am understanding and realize there are small issues on an island from time to time. These things happen. I was promised I would have water before morning. Right behind Ombak Resort is Ewan's Bungalows and Restaurant. I went for dinner and met Ewan. He was horrified when I told him what I was paying for no water at Ombak Resort. Ewan loved that I could laugh through it and encouraged my happy spirit to stay positive. He became a good friend over my 4 day stay.

In the morning, I decided to walk through the jungle to the other side of the island to Long Beach. It was a short hike, maybe 10 minutes. I had my eyes out for snakes and was lucky....not a single one! Yay!
Long Beach

Beautiful water at Long Beach
Long Beach was a beautiful white sand beach with crystal clear water. The water is clear, just like a pool. It was beautiful! I spent the day lounging on the beach with some travelers from Ireland. At the end of the day, I was ready for a nice warm shower. I got back to my room to find no water. Now, I was angry and went to complain. For the cost of the room and no water for a second was ridiculous. I was told the government shut down the water to the island and told them I knew it was a lie. Nobody else on the island was having an issue, I had asked around. I asked for my money back and was told no because it was not the resorts fault. I explained my position but was told there were no options because the island was fully booked. I knew they had me because I had checked on available rooms.  I told them I would be writing a negative review of their resort on all travel sites. They told me they didn't care. I refused to let this ruin my trip to the islands! The only thing they did for me was let me use the shower in the dive shop. At least I would be clean! 

The next morning I was going snorkeling. Another thing I had pre-paid at Ombak Resort. I was excited because they advertised the guide brings an underwater camera and takes photos. I was not surprised after waiting for an hour to find out the guide was "sick". Eight of us had waited and were irritated that it took an hour for Ombak to tell us the trip was cancelled. It did not make sense, why couldn't another guide have taken us? (Another example of poor customer service at Ombak Resort.) Five of us decided to go anyway and the other 3 went back to their hotel. We were taken to the Shari-La Resort to hire a boat and guide. We got a great guide and a fun group. There was a father- daughter from Spain and a brother and sister from Korea with me.

Swimming and snorkeling at Fish Bay.
Our first stop on the trip was to Fish Bay. The fish were beautiful colors. we saw many clown fish, tiger fish and barracuda. 
After I looked at the pictures from Fish Bay, I noticed a surprise....see the reef shark in the photo. Our guide was shocked when Antonio (Spanish father) said he saw one. We had a photo to prove it! Our next stop was Shark Bay where we were looking for the docile, vegetarian black-tip reef sharks. We got really lucky and saw five!  It was fantastic! Our guide was patient and made certain we all had the opportunity to see them. Before lunch we stopped at Turtle Bay. The boat pulled up and look what we could see as we prepared to jump in the water. It was a sea turtle waiting for us! Yay!
Sea Turtle munching on the ocean floor


We went to Fisherman Village for a delicious lunch and a rest before heading on to the Lighthouse. The Perhentian Islands was the best snorkeling I had experienced to date. The visibility was fantastic and our guide got us to places before all of the other boats arrived. We had 2 underwater cameras and  took photos throughout the day. In the evening, we all got together at Ewan's Place for dinner and to share the photos with one another.

The Perhentian Islands are beautiful. I loved the snorkeling and would have liked to do a second day but I needed to get moving towards China. 

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