Monday, March 19, 2007

Perhentian Trip '07 - The One Where It All Started

Went to the Matta travel fair during the weekend with my mum to shop for a holiday package for the family. The last time we had done it was a few years back to Langkawi with my siblings and their families, my aunt and her clan, my mum and the remaining unmarried siblings which of course included myself. It was quite fun to just spend those 4 days 3 nights there just chilling with the family. Of course we don’t get to do it very often since everyone in the family had their own life to attend to.

This time around my mum wanted to get all the siblings to go on the same trip this year since my aunt and her clan can’t make it this time around. She initially wanted to take an overseas trip this year but unfortunately not everyone in the family might be able to afford it and I didn’t want her to be the person to pay for everyone else on the trip. She has better ways to spend her money especially when she won’t really have a reliable source of income once she stops working at 60. It took some convincing but she finally saw my point of getting the more affordable domestic holiday package for everyone.

Once that choice was decided, it was then a matter of choosing a destinations that would appeal to everyone in the family. The final choices both boiled down to either Kota Kinabalu or Perhentian Islands. I’ve been to KK a few years back and enjoyed myself immensely enough to consider a return trip but Perhentian Islands were totally unchartered territory for me. Always wanted to go there and I’ve even had planned to make the trip alone this year if I had to. I was that determined to get myself to those islands.

So with those 2 destination in hand, we went to PWTC to see what kind of offers were available. I had expected that there will be a huge crowd there but I was simply unprepared to face the throngs of people at the travel fair. Say what you will about the economy, people are still spending their disposable income on traveling both local and overseas by the look of the crowd that was there that afternoon. Unfortunately this presented a problem to me as I would totally be frazzled and go into shutdown mode when I’m in amongst huge crowds. It took all that I have not to go crawling to a secluded corner and curl myself into a ball of flesh at the sight of the overflowing crowds.

Even though there was 3 floors of the fair, I managed to talk my mum to just stay at the 1st floor where all the domestic destinations were. We went thorough the multitude of offers which in essential was fairly identical from one booth to the other. The only thing to watch out for was the extras that there were willing to throw in with the package. We went look for the KK packages which was fairly interesting with Manukan Island day trips and multi-night stays at the long house of Pulau Tiga (Survivor Island). I’ve stayed at Manukan before and really enjoyed myself on my first snorkeling experience ever there. I had to skip Pulau Tiga the last time I was there since we couldn’t tear ourselves from Manukan.

I had planned to at least make an attempt up Mt. Kinabalu if I ever returned to KK but all the tour operators that we talked to at the fair told us that we had to book months ahead of time to get a permit to go up. It seems that they wanted to control the number of people who go up Mt. Kinabalu in a year to preserve the environment there and the waiting list could eventually be a year long fairly near in the future. While it was not the determining factor for us to decide on if we were to pick Kota Kinabalu as out holiday destination, it would have been nice to be able to at least go up part way and experience it ourselves. I guess I have to plan for it another time at least until I get myself physically fitter for the challenge.

Since KK looked like a wash, we decided to look for deals for Perhentian Island. Looking around we decided to choose a small Kuala Besut based travel agency to book out holiday with. We had very good experiences using smaller locally based travel agencies in the past as they would have more local flavor and personalized service that make the holiday much more enjoyable. Banking on that, we signed up to spend 3 days 2 nights stay at the Perhentian Big Island in May during the school holidays. Getting chalets for 9 adults with 3 children took some work especially during the peak season but we finally decided to take just 2 chalets for the group since we don’t expect to spend a lot of time indoors (hopefully).

To keep the cost further down, we all decided to get to Kuala Besut by bus instead of taking a flight out from LCCT to Kuala Terengganu. The bus journey would be a overnight trip so it would be that bad (hopefully). Considering that we only have to pay somewhere around RM 60 per person for the return trip from KL to Kuala Besut, it was a slight inconvenience that could be managed. The whole stay at Perhentian Island will cost us RM 270 per person which includes room, 3 daily meals a day, snorkeling and kayaking trips with guide. So all in all, I’m expecting to spend no more than RM 500 per person for the whole trip which is quite cheap in comparison of what I would have to pay had we chosen to go to KK.

So we finally decided to go on this trip from the 27 to 29th May 2007 which is in the middle of the mid year school holidays. Other than making reservations for the bus tickets at the end of the month and paying for the balance of the reservations at the travel agent in Kuala Besut when we arrive at the start of the trip, we have our travel plans set. I’m really looking forward to spend more snorkeling time than I would be on land while I’m there. Sharing the experience with the whole family would really be the icing on the cake.

Of course spending at time at the beach would mean me going shopping for swimwear since I don’t really have one to wear. I still have the one that I wore while I was on that trip to KK but happily for me it is a bit too loose now that I’ve lost the weight I lost last year. So that means that I have an excuse to finally buy the Speedo board short swim gear that I had my eyes on. It has to be a board short design since there is no way in hell I will be caught wearing one of their skimpy swimsuits designs. In addition to buying new swim wear, I definitely need to increase the intensity of my workouts before the trip so I can bulk up a little bit more so I don’t feel too self conscious at the beach.

As you might be able to tell, I’m really looking forward for the trip.

10 comments:

mjiahua :: tyne&wear said...

hej! nick:
wow an island breakaway...hot sunny day, cool breeze, sandy beach...snokelling and kayaking...what a wonderful holiday. so bad that cheap flight from air asia x could not be materialized until 2008...if not i will have a second trip to Redang island...so nick, enjoy the sun tanning...

Nickxandar said...

I surely hope to :-)

ZEYN OF ENVY said...

nickxandar,

abang, you've just killed my imagination instantly when you said you'd settle for broad shorts! you in skimpy Speedos? whooo hoooo! hehe...

i know you are really ecstatic about the trip. insya allah, it will materialize as planned. will text you later once i get my allowance.

have a great day.

Nickxandar said...

No way in heck will I be caught in one of those skimpy items ... simply don't have the build for it. Sad but true.

Anyway .. I've always liked those broad shorts type swimwear better. They look so yummy in those A&F catalogs :-p

ZEYN OF ENVY said...

nickxandar,

abang, ONLY in the catalogs? hhmm...

zals said...

wow... island breakaway!!! I love all the four(perhentian kecil, besar, kapas and Redang) islands but my favourite is always Redang.

Anyway, Perhentian Besar really suits for family, they have longer and wide beaches and less crowded as compared to Redang. Btw, on which beach will you be staying?

Nickxandar said...

Zeyn ...

I noticed that not many people locally are really into the A&F style broad shorts swimwear. Most are still on the bikini types although some people should really avoid them like the plague :-o

Zals ...

We will be on one of the Perhentian Besar resorts. We specifically asked for one that would be suitable for families. Expect to chill out and spend time with the family :-)

ZEYN OF ENVY said...

nickxandar,

abang, no worries. you'll look good in that broad shorts! hehe...

Anonymous said...

it's called board shorts, not broad shorts...

-anon

Nickxandar said...

Anon ...

Yikes ... all this time I never noticed that typo. As I always said in my blog, I could use a good editor to go through my posting.

Half of the time I be making mistakes without even noticing them even after reading the posts a few times.