We then made our way to Penang airport, a nice 0430 start to the day! We boarded the tiny little propellor plane ✈️ …both slightly nervous! But got to Kota Baru in no time. It then took us an hour drive in a Grab taxi to the Kuala besut ferry terminal. This cost 65 MYR. The ferry ticket to the perhentian kecil island is 70 MYR return, there are also some extra costs; island entrance fee: 30 MYR and another little taxi from the speed boat to the beach: 2 MYR. From the boat we trudged along the beach, now in the swealtering sun, and found a little shady area to dump our bags whilst we wondered around looking for accommodation and dive schools. We eventually ended up going to ‘Oh lala’ dive centre and chalet. After a boiling swim in the 30deg water and our classic vegetable fried rice lunch, we passed out for the rest of the day after having only a couple hours sleep the night before. 😴
The next day we started out PADI open water course. We were really lucky as it was only Dani and I in the group, our instructor was a lovely girl called Lucy who was from Buckinghamshire. She was really great and calmed us (me) down a lot….Danielle will probably remember my sobbing the night before about getting a PE or having to go into a decompression chamber. But I’m still here to tell the tale! and have definitely caught the diving bug. We did all our skills tests not far from kecil island and then we got to do a few bigger dives; lots of reef, and an artificial wreck (three sunken police boats).
On our last day we got to explore the island a bit more which we hadnt had time to do yet so busy with the course. We walked across to the other side of the island…after getting lost and passing through what seemed to be the islands dumping ground! One big lesson we have learnt this trip is things are not always how you imagine,, and when your looking at peoples instagram getting jealous the photo will not always represent whats going on.
Anyway we eventually did manage to cross the island and reach the beach and much more expensive resorts and found a lovely little cove to have a swimbo.
The day then came when we had to leave the lovely perhentians, say goodbye to Lucy and everyone at ‘oh lala’, the tasty ‘no name’ we had had everyday for lunch and elly a lady who worked at one of the front restaurants who was always looking after us!
Someone obviously didn’t want us to leave as the heavens suddenly opened, the storm was so rough the boats were about to be cancelled…but in true asian style they thought they’d give it a go. So we all crammed onto one of the speed boats, buckled up a life jacket and clung onto each other making man over board plans, but credit to our driver, who had been on the phone most of the journey he got us there in one piece! That night we stayed in a lovely little guest house run by a malaysian couple who gave us lunch and took us to a local restaurant for dinner. In the morning we got a flight from Kota Baru to Kinabalu, Borneo. Now this part of our trip was a bit if a surprise addition so we hadn’t planned it quite yet!
Next to Borneo…
We took the ferry which took about 3 hours and cost 70MYR each. We then could walk from the pier to Georgetown where all the hostels are. For the first two nights we stayed at art hostel 1921, the third night at love lane in 54 and for the last one an air bnb near the airport. The hostels were both pretty shitty but the cheapest we could find! The reason we changed was because the second one was slightly cheaper but we wish we hadn’t! It was so bad. If you’re ever in Penang don’t go to love lane inn 54 whatever you do, it was so dirty and the owner was an arse.
Georgetown is a really nice relaxed place, there isn’t tonnes to do here but have a good walk around and enjoy all the street art and great local food! If you like Indian you’re in luck.
There are a few day trips you can do from town, one day we went to Penang hill and the botanical gardens. You can either get the furnicular up to the top of the hill or walk. We decided to walk, take water with you and be prepared for a decent hike. It took us about 1 1/2 hours up and an hour down and was pretty much vertical the whole way. There are places to rest along the way, in the Malaysian heat you really need these. It’s worth it to get to the top though and it felt good to have achieved the climb!
After getting down we had a lovely cool down walk around the botanical gardens which are free to get in to. We also saw a few white eyed monkeys outside the gardens which was really cool as we hadn’t seen these anywhere else in Asia!
The other day trip you can do from Georgetown is Taman Negara, unfortunately we didn’t have time for this but heard good things about it from lots of different travellers.
Next stop the Perhentians…
First stop; Langkawi.
For the first two nights we stayed at Melatis VIP female dorm, which was basic but fine. We moved on for the next two nights as we found somewhere a bit cheaper round the corner. It was v basic the guys who ran it were really nice hippies, played their guitars and drank beer with us in the evening (owner in the picture). They also have cheap mopeds to rent here. Tip for Malaysia…unless your arriving late at night and just need somewhere to head straight to, hold off booking anywhere and just head to the backpackers area. You will more often than not find something cheaper than online.
So what did we do for a few days on our first Malay island. We were staying in Pentai Cenang which has a huge beach with loads of water sports. The first evening we arrived we went exploring, unfortunately the nicest bit of the beach is round a corner and privately owned by expensive resorts, but we were allowed to have a walk.
In the morning we went to the Langkawi cable car which takes you right up into the clouds. The weather wasn’t great the whole time in Langkawi with big rainstorms but the views were still amazing, and it was great to get of and walk to the bridge where we were literally waking through cloud. Sadly all our photos from this day were lost on Danielle’s camera 😦 but just google Langkawi cable car and you will see the epic views from the top!
That evening we walked to a local night market, there wasnt really anything good to buy but the food was great and it was here we first had these epic pancakes with sweetcorn and penuts, sounds awful but was so gooD!
In the morning we had a slow day and went to a slightly different beach south of Pentai cenang. This was much nicer and quieter. However we soon got washed out by another tropical storm! It was quite beautiful though sat in our little sun shelter watching, and getting soaked by, the hot rain.
That night we went out to ‘one love’ bar with some people we met in our hostel. Make sure you drink before or take some with you as the alcohol is not great for a travellers budget!
For our last day we explored the north of the island, going to pensat tongkorak beach and tanjung rhu beach. The first one is a tiny little piece of paradise, if you manage to catch it on a quiet day you’ll feel like your in heaven! When we went it wasn’t too busy but there was one couple enjoying themselves a little too much and it was putting everyone right off!! We were very relieved when they disappeared. The next beach is much bigger and half of it is private, but the views of big ocean space and white sand were lovely to end our little trip to langkawi!
Before leaving we also went to see the famous eagle at the port, really beautiful at night 🙂
Next stop… Penang!