Monday, August 29, 2011

Perhentian Islands (Long Beach) 2011

LATEST UPDATE JULY 2014: 

 Just came back from a 5 Days/ 4 Nights trip from Perhentian in July. This time I went with my best friends! Cancelled Bangkok (due to the political unrest) and decided on an island trip. Or more like, an island stay. 

It wasn't easy to get use to in the first place, but eventually we all loved the intimate space and time we get to spend with each other :)  The weather is perfect during the day but there were 2 or 3 nights, from our stay where the evenings poured so heavily that we couldn't get out. At all. Or only towards later that night.

The island life is truly something to warm-up to, but once you've got the hang of it - it IS SO MUCH FUN! 

And none of us were complaining about all the beach bods around us at all. /heh



^ Squirrels!

One thing for sure, there were so many squirrels and geckos! LIKE MIGHTY HUGE ONES! LIKE SUPER WELL FED ONES! Audrey goes crazy at the sight of geckos - so it's kind of funny when she goes berserk whenever she sees one (or even feel there's one around).

We did a bit of snorkeling on our final full day and we managed to explore the fishing village as well. I've done this - so it's refreshing to bring my best friends back at this familiar place :)


Why this boat parades an Italian flag I will never know.


One thing though, I'm very paranoid when it comes to swimming around boats that I keep screaming "boats boats!" even when they're miles away - I mean, shit happens okay?

Also, things around there could get really expensive like RM 15 for a plate of nasi goreng and a set of breakfast for RM 25. We nearly died when we first saw the prices but eventually we manage to tackle and work around our budget! Like we have really big brunches and have just another dinner. 


I don't know how - but these very four different people manage to stick through distance, time and differences and have become the best of friends since we hung out in college back in 2006.  No blood relation, not even similarities I reckon. Fast forward 8 years later, we still want to get into trouble together - and maybe just maybe never grow up (when we're around each other).

I am so glad to have met these people who are not my family but yet loved me like their own, as I love them like mine. I am blessed.

For photos of this beautiful island from my previous post, please check out my photos on Facebook HERE.

LATEST UPDATE JANUARY 2014: 

For some strange reason, the photos no longer appear on this post. I am uncertain what has happened to them, but I reckon it's a Blogger issue. For photos of this beautiful island, please check out my photos on Facebook HERE

***

Two weeks ago, my sister and I decided to jump on an impromptu trip to the Perhentian Islands equipped with nothing but our backpacks. And of course I did a little bit of homework prior to our trip.

Perhentian Islands are situated at east coast of west Malaysia, rightfully belong to Terengganu. The gorgeous islands are divided to two; Perhentian Kecil (Small) and Perhentian Besar (Big). These islands were originally just a fishermen’s village with fishing as main source of living in fact, it still is one of it's biggest economic source. Kecil is famous among solo travellers and tourists from all over the world (guesthouses, backpackers, lodges) mainly because of the nightlife it offers and the nature of other travellers there as well, young and vibrant, while Besar is more family oriented and suited for bigger rooms with more selection of exclusive environment.  

Kecil alone is divided to another two parts of the island, Long Beach (right coast) and Coral Bay (left coast). Like the previous comparison, Long Beach is a much more famous option among the tourists because of it’s array of things to do at night and much suited for younger adults (you could hear the music booming till 5AM and crowds marching home at only about 6AM). While Coral Bay has slightly lesser backpacker lodges and moreso for rest and relax. 

Source: http://www.perhentian.com.my/

I chose Long Beach because it had more guesthouses and lodges. One of the reason this was a factor to my decision was because it was a peak season (June – January) and because of  Kecil’s lovelier crystal clear water and great water activities, most guests tend to extend their stay and this affected most guesthouses in Kecil TO NOT take reservations via online or anywhere else, unless it’s a package deal. Other than that, it was also because we were travelling on a shoestring so it would be best to avoid bigger resorts and opt for cheaper guesthouses paraded by the Long Beach.

Going to Perhentian Kecil (Long Island)

My sister and I took the bus to Kuala Besut jetty. To go to the Putra bus station you can take the ;

LRT : Take to Masjid Jamek and transit to STAR Rapid KL to PWTC
STAR: PWTC Station

From PWTC Station head to The Mall, and check with the security guards or any shop-takers there on where exactly is the Putra Bus Station (because they weren’t any clear indication where it was - in fact should you walk up further towards The Mall, you will only be able to see one mini sign covered by trees "Hentian Bus Putra" and that's if you're standing at least 10 metres away) -________-. If you’re standing in The Mall facing outside, with Legend Hotel on your right then Putra Station is on your left.

We bought the bus ticket to Kuala Besut to depart from the station at 9.30PM and aimed to reach Kuala Besut jetty by 6AM.

Remember what I told you about NOT being able to reserve your accommodation in Kecil? This was also the reason why I chose to take an overnight bus and reach the jetty really early in the morning and head straight to Kecil to look for places to stay right away.   

Kuala Besut jetty

I read up a lot before I travelled to Kecil so I knew the boats that could bring us to the Perhentian Islands were ONLY from the Kuala Besut jetty. So it’s best if you could take a bus that goes directly to Kuala Besut without having to go to Kota Bharu, or Kuala Terengganu etc etc. Unless you plan to take a flight, you can take a cab or mini bus from the Kota Bharu airport to Kuala Besut jetty. Once we reached Kuala Besut, a young man approached us and asked us whether we’re heading to the islands. Proceed to follow him (although things might look suspicious at THAT early in the morning) but don’t be! And you’ll be well directed to the boats that will take you to the islands of your choice.  

Bus – Kuala Besut jetty (Bus Company – Mahligai): RM40
Boat – Perhentian Kecil (Long Beach): RM 70 (return)
Small boat to the shore: RM 2 

Wasn’t quite sure why exactly these small boats needed to operate, but I think it’s because the bigger boats are not safe to go as near to the shore. Possibly because most of the beach patrons swim around the shore and this would probably cause accidents.


Reached Long Beach at 8am. 

Sunrise to Long Beach 
Went up to a few chalets only to be disappointed either by its EXTREMELY DODGY condition (super dirty public bathroom, no fans, no air conditioner, no windows, just two huge bed) or told that it’s fully occupied for that day (Matahari Chalet). Please make sure you do not settle for something without a fan, an air-conditioner or a private bathroom if it’s more than RM 100/ night.  


Mohsin Chalet

I decided to head towards the left coast of Long Beach and was glee to be greeted by the friendliest dude with mohawk there at 8AM! I took the room right away at Mohsin Chalet even though it was slightly steep for me then but after so many closed doors, assurance is SO MUCH BETTER then more trials.

Mohsin Chalet Restaurant
It summed up to RM 160/ night for an air conditioned double room (no sea view). To be shared with two. Dorms here go as low as RM 80 – RM 100. 

Sea view rooms were expensive by RM10 which I didn’t mind at first but it was fully booked as well so I took the room right away, and it was fortunately the best decision ever. The room was basic enough, with an air-conditioner, a balcony but not sea view, with a full on toilet, queen sized bed, and two windows. 

Double room with air-conditioner
Our balcony view 
No free breakfasts, lunch nor dinner. Why I said it was the best decision ever was because of the people and the service. I am quite a sucker when it comes to customer service so, so long as I’m “taken care” of properly I usually glorify the people behind the desk or kitchen so often that these good people masks out the other imperfections. 

The people at Mohsin Chalet is one thing friendly and another, very concern of our well-being. They poke fun at the singles and encourage them to meet new people, they serve the best and most affordable most worth it buffet dinners on the island (RM 20 for all-you-can-eat buffet of 5 main dishes, on chef’s side dishes e.g quesadillas and more, bottomless cordial drinks, coffee or tea and desserts) and they also arrange snorkelling trips which I opted for AND ALSO WAS THE BEST DECISION EVER. They were all good lucky hits!  

The Mohsin restaurant wins over other chalets and restaurants because of it's view. It’s situated right on top of a hill and the view overlooks the sky and ocean with it’s bluest of blue outline in between. I was sold. 

Our breakfasts' and dinners' view :) 

We were even paid a visit by this MASSIVE lizard, almost komodo dragon like, on our way back from the beach. What a sight. And truth be told, there are geckos and other insects everywhere. We were slapping our body away on our first night because of the mosquitoes. Bear in mind that Long Beach is indeed a jungle resort!  


Long Beach's sand and water 


To my pleasant surprise, Long Beach was really, really gorgeous. The water was really as crystal clear as some shared online, (even though some parts of the beach had beer cans and cigarette butts around) but the water as it was my biggest concern was mesmerizing itself. Jessy and I swam on our second day there for hours, enjoying the warm-cool water. It was a lucky chance too that there were fishes swimming very near us and I got really excited that I started chasing them around!  I'm in love! 

White soft small sands
I suggest everyone should take a view of the infinite blue once in a while whenever we can :)

Pristine clear water
Snorkelling

When we opted for Mohsin's snorkeling trip, we were both charged RM 40 each – Snorkelling trip to four points ; the Turtle Point, Fishes Point, Sharks Point, lunch at a nearby fishing village and Coral Garden. I personally think RM 40 for four points was rather cheap! Accounting for the boat's fuel, guide's fee and maybe some sort of commission for those beaches? We were told that we would spend at least 4-5 hours in the water. And my God, the points that Nikko (our “very” funny guide) took were magnificent.

Of course there’s another story of us swapping boats with a bunch of locals as we were stranded for a good 20 minutes prior to the actual snorkeling. The locals that bumped into us came around to help us, swapped with us, because so conveniently our boat decided to malfunction in the middle of nowhere.

Fishing village 

The sea creatures and corals were beautiful, breathtaking and the guide himself was nothing but a great help. I could have not imagined doing what I did because swimming with the sharks and amongst world’s most beautiful corals is a one in a lifetime’s experience I will never trade for another. Nikko helped me to spot all the beautiful sea creatures and played with the sea cucumber with obscene remarks and also made us hold the dead fish as bait to the sharks -_________-  

Nevertheless, he's amazing at creating moments. 

Unfortunately as well, I didn't have any water camera so there weren't any photos of us nor the miracles we saw underwater :( Although a dude DID asked me for my "computer" so that he could me pass me the videos but I was so pre-occupied with my sister and other things, that the next thing I know we sort-of lost the train of conversation and he was already holding up his book right up to his nose : | 

Sorry hot Canadian dude. 


I do however, believed I took plenty of mental pictures of the gorgeous sights and feelings I engulfed myself in, they are safely stored somewhere in my heart and mind ready to be recollected when I need them :) 

Food and drinks


Foods in Long Beach were generally expensive or hiked up. A simple toast, baked beans with eggs can go up to RM 15, or Pringles can go up to RM 8! Drinks however are, okay o.O Not quite sure why, but the second night my sister and I were there, we had drinks by the beach at The Black Tip bar. They served us a small bottle of Jamaican Rum with Coke and Sprite for about RM 30 for all. That was why we decided to hang around Mohsin Chalet more often also, because generally the food there cost slightly cheaper and we have developed a liking towards the people there especially “Uncle Latif” who kept bugging us to eat and was all kinds of merry. We ended the last night learning how to play Carom from him. It was hilarious :D

Fire show 
Buffet dinner at Mohsin Chalet
Jamaican rum by the beach 
People and atmosphere


I predicted the place to be covered with tourists from all over the world, but to my surprise it was almost LITERALLY filled up with tourists all over the world BUT Malaysians! It was so odd. I felt like the minority there. If I could remember correctly, there were probably only 9 Malaysians on the beach as far as the eye can see and that included me and my sister. So it was in fact a hotspot for tourists from all over the world – Italians, Brazilians, Australians, French, even English wasn't widely spoken there. It could also partially be because it was Bulan Ramadan that there were almost no Malaysians spotted


Heading out from Long Beach 

Heading out from Kecil was a little tricky. Remember the return ticket we bought on the first day? Make sure you keep it! It’s the ticket to boats to go back to Kuala Besut jetty. From Kuala Besut jetty, I read that the only way to head to Penang was from Jerteh.

However, boats only operate from Long Beach to Kuala Besut by 8.00AM so it’s impossible to  catch the 8.00AM bus to anywhere. Unknowingly, once we reached Jerteh they told us the next bus to Penang was at 10.30PM which was insane. So one of the guy suggested we take a cab to Tanah Merah and rush for the 10.30AM bus from there instead. 

Thank you friendly good people! :) 

Kuala Besut – Jerteh (15 minutes) = RM 20
Jerteh – Tanah Merah (40 minutes) = RM 50
Tanah Merah – Penang Bus Terminal = RM 37.40


Bus schedule to Penang from Jerteh and Tanah Merah: 

Jerteh – Penang: 8.00AM
Tanah Merah – Penang: 10.30 AM 


So that was it! I heard SO MUCH about the Perhentian Islands, only to be proven right. I couldn't have live 23 years of my life believing that only Sabah has the best beaches in the world :) 

Total spent: RM 498.40/ person for everything for 3 days 2 nights!



Love and peace, 
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To be surprised

Having to travel a little bit (even the nearest) amplifies all my senses. Throw yourself in an 8 hours of a moving bus, then onto a boat where you’re half a tourist half a local (and enjoying the privilege of understanding a little bit of what jokes they crack) move on to finding a chalet in wee hours in the morning (while you’re still half asleep) there’s something about being surprised and proceed to appreciating things around me move or still, with all my senses is just, golden.

It really is not about the place anymore, it’s about the other “props” in these places. That funny looking dude who keeps yapping about his day in the restaurant trying to get everyone in a happy mood. The huge lizard (almost komodo dragon like) you see walking around the beach, like a boss. That concerned dude about where we’re heading to, not only because we’re “tourists” but also because he wants to genuinely help. That hot Canadian who wants to share his sharks pictures with you, just cause. The sharks, the huge turtle, the beautiful fishes, the kind guide that made sure you didn’t miss any moments underwater – that kept making “weehooo, weehooo” sounds when he sees something. And yet he gave you a dead fish to bait the shark, and laughed at your scared face.

No wonder everyone wants to travel so badly at times. These feelings are amazing. Look at the extraordinary things that are happening outside of our cubicle? How much money do we need to keep experiencing these? Barely I’d say. And then there’s play with time. Where it comes to fault so often. 

And to my dismay, some of us still have terrible attitude when it comes to travelling. No matter how little time we spend on it. 

A place cannot help you entirely to create moments, you do; the walk to the beach that we find so uplifting and so amazing in our imagination becomes just normal when we’re actually experiencing it. The idea of talking to new friends from all over the world that we thought is so easy and cool in our head suddenly becomes such a courageous act and nerve-wrecking when we’re experiencing it. The idea of overlooking by a cruising boat becomes just a full stop when we’re experiencing it.  So I’m looking at the sea, now what.

Why do we give ourselves so much expectation some times? Why don’t we ever want to look at the positive light or rather enjoy the idea of being surprised at new things, getting lost at? Why don’t we forget the itinerary sometimes, and walk on what we feel at that time? And feed our curiosity then and only there? 

Ordinary things around us are extra ordinary to some. Let’s just be surprised shall we? :) 

Today’s inspiration is; 


On my 12 O’Clock I see a couple arguing in a foreign language I can’t make up of. Possibly Italian, could be Swiss. Girlfriend was pointing at (what seemed to be) an itinerary and moving the piece of paper like a dollar to a salesman (bugging a promise of something maybe). Boyfriend ignored. About 3 seconds later, he suddenly jolted up and started doing the “calm down” hand gestures.

Adorable.

Tolerance is also the reason why I’m in love with different kinds of people in this world.


Love & peace,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hi, how are you?

I haven't been properly connected to the world wide web since forever. I know.

I was away last week for an impromptu trip to Perhentian (which was all kinds of gorgeous) and Penang and I'm bad with technology so it's almost impossible to catch me online or see me updating anything about everywhere. Near impossible actually.

I'm now in Krabi with mum and sister. Not impromptu. Planned this with mum since a few months back, just to give ourselves a bit of bonding and some lovin' :)

I'm a very, "live during the moment" kind of person. I hardly record any of the things that I see or experience, let alone share it. Been trying to break this bad habit and been trying to make sure I have good moments recorded at times. Been actively doing so since my ex-colleagues got me a camera :)

I am blessed. How about you?



Love & peace,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Everyone has their own "thing"

Everyone has their own "thing".

Some people's thing is their music, some their dogs, some their business, some their friends, some their fashion sense. A thing that is so close to them. Mine, well, my thing is obviously my family. I put them first whenever I can.

Today's my beautiful sister Jessica's birthday! My longest bestfriend, my longest partner in crime. And I'm cooking for her tonight! :)



Love & peace,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Friday, August 05, 2011

There's REALLY MORE to life ; Rick Mereki - Eat, Learn, Move

Today’s inspiration;


"Most important, the feeling. You listen."
It is a snippet from this video called ‘Learn’ which I truly believed is going viral now, though it doesn't need any introduction. 

Suddenly, I feel uplifted. Suddenly, I don’t feel like depending on anyone or anything, suddenly, I feel there is a need to embrace everything around me instead of just one thing, one person, one place.

About time :)




LEARN from Rick Mereki on Vimeo



Love & peace,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Incubus live in Kuala Lumpur 2011

My life flashed by my eyes last two Saturday night. I thought I was going to die.


No seriously.

...that’s how insane the mosh was for Incubus. It was awesome. 

Grew up picking up on big brother’s taste in music, and one of them was Incubus, because he was playing their music everyday from morning till evening. Hated it at first, but it slowly grew on me. Next thing you know, I Kazaa’d them everyday after school. And that was about 10 years ago.  Then they came to KL for the first time ever in 2004, and in Sunburst 2008, and word of mouth said it was all kinds of glory. Their music has always been one that would fit all kinds of emotions, love, sad, lonely, spiritual.

So I HAD to witness them live. I mean, I had their lyrics through my teeth as I was growing up. I am a huge fan. I love their songs, all not attributed to which albums because they were downloaded so I never knew which albums the songs were from until just recently when I decided to catch them live :( I bought the tickets to the concert thinking I’d go alone at first, ‘cause none of my friends bought it, and my colleagues somehow (always) get free passes for everything.

Details:

RM 203
RM 183 (TuneTalk Subscribers)
Stadium Negara, KL
8.00PM onwards
Opening Act : Rosevelt 


Rosevelt - Opening Act for Incubus 
And then Incubus! 
Incubus - Mike terpotong :(
This was their KL's setlist, the exact one from their previous set in California that just so happened I was religiously listening to prior to the concert ;

1. Megalomaniac 
2. Wish you were here 
3. Pardon me 
4. Have you ever 
5. Consequence 
6. Anna Molly 
7. Promises, promises 
8. Circles 
9. Glass 
10. In the company of wolves
11. Thieves 
12. Drive 
13. Pistola 
14. Talk shows on mute 
15. Adolescents 

encore 

16. The Warmth 
17. Nice to know you 

Me and Audz 
My favourite performance was actually Megalomaniac cause #1, I love that song and #2 they killed it when the first opened it. And of course the epic that is In the Company of Wolves, I feel like I'm dancing in the jungle when I'm listening to it, fuck I feel like Pocahontas!! Especially the part when Boyd starts chanting "...it was, it was". Okay other than that, Drive is an all time favourite the whole crowd was singing to it.

Thank you God, for letting me experience such a good live music.


Love & Peace,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.