The island to scuba dive and see turtles.
When I first heard about the Perhentian islands from other travellers, i imagined an island similar to Langkawi. Beautiful clean tranquil beaches, lots of guest houses and a variety of restaurants to choose from. However Perhentian Kecil (The smaller island. The bigger island being Perhentian Besar) was far from tranquil.
I decided to stay on Long beach and as I arrived to the beach all I could see were boats all along the beach and a variety of scuba diving schools. It became quite clear that the only way to enjoy this island was to partake in water activities such as snorkelling or scuba diving.
Where to stay:
Normally it is better to book a hostel in advance in order to secure a cheaper price on islands, however, that is not the case on Perhentian Kecil and it’s actually better to turn up and ask around.
Just be prepared to be turned away by hostels if you don’t plan to scuba dive with them. I was turned away at 3 different hostels before I was accepted as I didn’t want to commit myself to a dive.
What to see and do:
Walk to Coral Beach (Takes around 10 minutes)
Hire a snorkel and check out the sea life
Book a snorkelling tour to take you to Turtle point and Shark point
Book a scuba dive- Malaysia is one of the cheapest countries to get your PADI open water/ Advanced
Despite being a little disappointed by the island, I was actually pretty sad to leave. There was a moment during my last evening, whilst sitting around a table in the sand with friends from my hostel watching the evening fire show, where I envied the westerners who lived and worked on the island. What made them stay? So many of them were dive instructors, bar staff or hostel staff and despite knowing that I wouldn’t want any of these jobs I still envied their lives. I envied how carefree, happy and relaxed they seemed….
Maybe I felt this way because my trip was reaching it’s end and the realisation that I had to rejoin the rat race again scared me a little. But I had been looking forward to it for so long and the idea of going back to work actually excited me…
So why can I not forget those western faces on that island? Why do I still replay them twirling the fire batons in the air with smiles on their faces?