Monday, May 20, 2013

Soak Up In The Sun: Tioman Island 2013

Sunburn from Perhentian trip is not fully recovered, yet I was spending last two week on another beach trip. This time it was Tioman Island! The trip was organized by one of the staff where I’m working and it was more like a family trip. So the feeling was of course, different from the previous Perhentian trip. I gotta be honest; I dislike this trip as much as I love it.

When I first reach the island, the sea water doesn't impress me - it’s clear but not crystal clear. The place where we stay reminds me of Pangkor Island - too develop. Still no phone coverage here. The chalet is called Island Reef Resort. It was an okay accommodation overall, but there were mountain stairs I need to climb before I reach my room. The stairs is no joke, seriously. I would prefer to stay at somewhere closer to the beach.

Beautiful scenery.

The waves effect. The waves here was kinda wild.

We only had one snorkeling session at two points. I was surprised that we went to the coral reef area by fisherman boat! Maybe because there were too many of us but the boat moves so slow, it takes forever to reach the place. The first point is Tioman Marine Park. I think this area was meant for first timer where they can get used to the snorkeling equipment, though it was still deep, my friend really freak out. Plus, the fishes are friendly - I slapped some because they tried to bite my fingers, haha. But there were no corals there and the fishes were more or less the same, so it was a little boring for me, heh. Oh, and my snorkeling gear is broken; there was a leak in the snorkel. I was so upset because we don’t have time to do the test on the equipment since we only got a hold to these equipment an hour before snorkeling session. Lucky for me, one of my colleague decided that she can’t risk her life for fish-watching and offer me her snorkel. So I was a happy snorkeler once again : DDD

Cruising on fisherman boat. 

Tioman Marine Park.

The second point was at Renggis Island. The first time I see what was underneath, I was really amazed. It was like big wide bushes full with Staghorn coral down there! I thought this is it! This will be my favorite spot to explore. As soon as I look around the second time, I saw something long gliding through an open space about thirty feet from where I was. I thought it was an eel but as I get a good look at it, I realized that it was a sea snake! I swear to God, it was stripy of black and white. I was too bewildered to panic; I just watched it glided away from where my group was and disappeared behind the corals. And that was it. Then I continue to explore the reef as if nothing happens (only to get really traumatized about how dangerous it could be during the dinner!) But really, the area is great for snorkeling. There were a lot of colorful fish – rabbit fish, butterfly fish, parrot fish, ect. I wished that there were enough snorkeling guard to help some of the first timer.

Small island near Renggis Island.

Snorkeling at Renggis Island.

And lastly, we were told to wait for the ferry at 11.30 am but we only managed to get on board at 1.30 pm. It was like whose-lucky-he’ll-get-on-board-first kind of system. I wished there will change the system because waiting for ferry on a small jetty crowded with people while the sun is straight up on your head is almost as scared as nightmare.

Despite all that, I still enjoy this trip. There were sukaneka and karaoke session where we need work in group. It felt like I was in a motivation camp, but in positive way :P And people in this group were all fun and sporting, they were so easy to get along with. It was more relaxing as we get more free time and I spent most time just walk around the village and sitting by the beach at night and counting the stars…….

I know there’s a lot more on the island that I need to see and explore. So it is not fair for me to make a conclusion that Tioman is not as great as Perhentian or Redang, not until I experience the best this island can offer me.  So if I get the chance, I will definitely come back to Tioman. Insya-Allah!

Till the next post, be good people!

p/s: Still suffering a major sunburn!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rocking The Beach: Perhentian Island 2013

Hello friends and strangers! How are you doing? I hope you guys are doing well with life. So this is my first post for this year! Finally!

So, last weekend I was at Perhentian Island with a group of friends.Well, this is my second time to Perhentian, the first time was four years ago. We went there by driving – God, such a long journey. Took us 8 hours because we were kind of lost on our way to find Kuala Besut's jetty.

From Kuala Besut's jetty to Perhentian Besar, it took us around half an hour with speedboat. Funnily, we end up at the same chalet as we did four years back - New Cocohut. As we met up with some familiar faces, I felt comfortable right away. Other than a few new block of chalet, nothing much have change.

Perfect turquoise sea! 

When we reach the chalet, I felt really tired and after a long journey, all I really wanted to do was to take a nap. But as soon as I saw the beach, I got really excited and just couldn't wait to jump into the water. So the first thing we did was tossing our bag into the room and went snorkeling. Yes, right away!

Our package includes two snorkeling time. For the first one, we went to four check points- including the turtle point and shark point. Last time, I only manage to get a glimpse of turtle swimming away from our boat. And since it was my first time going snorkeling, I was already laying down on the boat having seasickness by the time we reached the shark point. But this time I was so lucky! Not only I watched a giant turtle feeding on sea grass, I manage to touch the turtle too! Another memorable moment in my life! And I get to see a few black tip reef sharks swimming around. Coolio! And a way to tackle down seasickness is by avoiding staying on the boat when it stop. Just be the first one to dive in and last one to get back onto the boat!

We thought of going to the Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil to see the sunset, but the Water Taxi is too expensive (err, I was pretty much cash-less). So we decided to stay at chalet and play card game. Lame, I know but at least I save a few bucks. Cheapskate, whatever. Anyway, my sister said Long Beach is most happening beach at night (if you know what I mean) and you can sit and relaxed while enjoy fire show. FIRE SHOW! It sound so cool – I wanna see fire show. Now regret not going T_T

Zurazura's very own rendition of turtle

Water taxi service: One-way price per person.

The next day, we went to snorkeling at Pulau Rawa. The scene here was spectacular because fishes here are bigger and more colorful – different kind from the places we went the day before. Spot a turtle gracefully flying through the open area – it was a magical sight! This would be my favorite snorkeling spot so far. Oh, not to forget, the current here makes it hard to swim. By the time I realized it, I was getting further away from our boat. No matter how hard I flapped my legs, I get nowhere. The beach brother has to pull me to get to the boat – I guess I must have look very pathetic there, heh.

Table corals

Blue spotted stingray

Gigantic turtle! 

Clown fish aka nemo and their anemone

Beautiful green coral

Giant clam or T. gigas is one of the most endangered clam species

Food was amazing here! I'm a hantu for seafood (except fish, I don't eat fish - they smell funny) especially squid. We had mostly seafood on the menu (of course) but they have chicken and beef too. We had Kerapu steam on our first night which, according to my friends, taste amazing! I guess our chalet restaurant must be popular among the guests, so it was always full house during lunch and dinner time. They serve Asian and western meal. Our package includes meals, so all we have to do is sit at the table and the meal will be served. Like a boss!

Man, I love going on beach vacation. It’s a view I can’t get to see in my everyday life - vibrant underwater life, fine white sand beaches, calming sounds of waves, crystal clear sea waters – heaven on earth. I wish I could stay here forever but my wallet doesn't let me. I have to move on. Cash flows like water here, heh.

For those who never went snorkeling, you guys should go and enjoy the breathtaking view of the underwater world. Don’t fret about not knowing how to swim, leave it all to the life jacket! To those who interested to go to Perhentian Island, I highly recommended New Cocohut chalet. Their service is awesome! You can check out the details information on their website here.

Till the next post, annyeong people!

p/s: Thanks Mila and Mia for awesome underwater pics!