Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Perhentian Trip '07 - The One With The Journey Back on Day 4

On the last day of my Perhentian trip, I found myself awake at 7am after a somewhat restless night due to the high humidity after last night’s rains. Since our chalets faced West, there wasn’t a good sunrise scene to watch from our verandah. The sky just kind of gradually brighten up as the hour passed from where I sat watching the start of another day. It was a bit of a bittersweet beginning of the day knowing that in a few hours, I would be leaving the island to go back to KL. With that in mind, I started to pack up my belongings after a quick shower and shave while waiting for them to call us for the last meal we would have on the island. Breakfast for us on day 4 was a simple affair of toast, sunny-side up eggs, chicken sausages and coffee. Looking back, the amount and variety of food we had during our stay in the island was quite reasonable given the amount that we paid for the stay.

(Sunrise at Abdul's Chalet Beach)

After breakfast, we still had about 3 hours before the boat from the mainland came to pick us up. My mum, sis and myself decided to walk down the beach and through the jungle track to burn off our breakfast instead of just sitting at the beach. Since we would be away from the others, I decide to take my phone with me for the first time of this walk in case they needed to call us. Phone reception was surprisingly good on the island for my 019 line but they strangely did not have any SMS coverage. I had left my phone in the room during most of the trip and this was the first time I had to use it all trip long.

We started from the Abdul’s Chalet beach and walked up the trail to the next beach. The trail was not took hard as they had installed stone steps to led us over the rocks into the bushes and over to the next beach. I did not catch the name of the next beach but I thought that it was not as nice as the one that we stayed at. The beach was made of much coarser type of sand then they had at our beach and there were a lot more little stones in the water. The chalets on that beach did look a little worse for wear but they did have a proper boat jetty where larger boats could dock and let passengers come on or off. Unlike Abdul’s Chalet, this part of the beach had more locals staying there and my mum even met one of her friends also holidaying with her family there.

(Steps up the trail and the view from the top of the trail)

After walking around the area for a bit, we went back up the bush trail up to the next beach. I was again surprised by the different features of the beach area between the beaches that basically was next to each other just separated by a wall of rock. The area that we were in was called “Teluk KK” where they had a lot of very tall trees instead of the coconut trees that we had on our beach. Instead of having chalets, they had an open camping ground where people could pitch their tents and stay in them. While almost everyone were staying in tents, the location was not without it’s amenities. They had a café, bathrooms, rain shelters and electricity for people who paid for their plot of camping ground. Judging from the crowd, this location seemed to be popular with the local younger crowd since I don’t see a lot of family types and foreigners.

(Teluk KK Beach and Camp site)

Just a short walk away from Teluk KK, we came across a secluded rocky area of the beach where we soon found out acted as a nursery for young fish. The waters was crystal clear and full of miniature versions of the fishes we saw during our snorkeling trip yesterday. I’m guessing that the rocks provided ample natural protection from bigger predators in the sea beyond the rocks so most of the baby fishes came there to find shelter. I was so excited at the find that I didn’t thing twice about wading into the water to get some photographs of them. I already had my broad shorts on so I didn’t have to change into them before walking in. It was when the water hit my thigh that I remembered that I had put my phone in the side pocket of my shorts. Of course by that time it was too late for my phone as it had died off immediately when it came in contact with the salt water. I was distraught at the possibility of losing another phone so soon after losing my previous one in Manila. I took apart the phone the best that I could and set it in the sun hoping that it would dry it off enough for me to switch it on again.

(The scene where I accidently sent my phone to it's untimely death. Can you blame me for being distracted at a place like this? )

After a dip in the water to wash away my disappointment at ruining another phone, we started on our way back to our beach. My phone was still dead at that point and I was totally worried that I would lose all of my numbers from the phone. When we reach our chalet and told them what had happened, they all told me that next time I would have to bring a cheap phone on my vacations and leave the more expensive ones behind. I have been on two trips this year and in the process, lost or ruined 2 different phones on both occasion. I’m just sore at my own recklessness as I’m usually very careful about my phones.

(My view of the beach from my front door on the last day of the trip. Simply magical!)

The boat from the mainland came to pick us up at around 12pm. Unlike the boat that we came in with, the boat back to Kuala Besut was over booked this time around. There mush have been about 20 of us crammed in one a boat that seemed to should have only 15 people at most at one time. Good thing that the trip back to the mainland was uneventful since the seas were calm and the day was clear. I took a look back at Perhentian Island as the boat pulled away from the beach with a promise to myself that I would one day return to the same spot and spend more time on the island one day.

(Looking back at Pulau Perhentian as our boat pulled away from the island paradise)

We reached Kuala Besut about ½ hour later and started loading up our cars for the trip home. Instead of going back the way we came, we decided to take the interior route through Gua Musang in Kelantan and passing the Taman Negara area in Pahang before reaching home in Selayang, Selangor. After finishing the last of the paper work that we had at the tour operator’s office, we departed from Kuala Besut at around 2pm heading northwards towards Gua Musang. We stopped for lunch at a nasi kandar shop near Jerteh taxi stand which was quite quaint as they did mamak food in the style of Kelantanese cooking which I never imagined would be possible.

The weather was still good when we crossed into the Kelantan border after lunch. Along the way, we were able to witness for ourselves the amount of forest clearing that they were doing in the area. We saw whole areas cleared of big trees that must have been hundred of years old and was quite sparse with only the smaller trees that were replanted to replace the ones they cut down. We also passed muddy rivers that my father would tell us was crystal clear just 20 years ago when he was still in the Army and was based there. It was a shame to see the tree trunks on back of the ever present lorries that we pass by during our trip.

Just as we passed Gua Musang town, the weather that was quite pleasant suddenly turned worse and started to dump buckets of water on us. The combination of heavy rains, poor visibility, heavy vehicles on the road and my father’s driving made me more than nervous with the way the journey was going. At that point I was wishing that we had taken the coastal road instead as the Gua Musang road was quite narrow and was full of huge lorries carrying enormous tree trunks. Those who have traveled with me in a car know full well my habit of pressing on the imaginary breaks on the passenger’s side whenever the car I’m in comes too close to the next car for my comfort. Suffice to say that by the time we reached the rest area somewhere in the interior of Pahang, I had developed a nasty leg cramp from stepping on my imaginary breaks the whole way through.

It was still raining all the way until we hit Karak Highway when we stopped at the Genting Sempah rest stop for some dinner. Since no one was quite in the mood to eat anything heavy, we all decided to go to McDonalds again for the meal much to the delight of my nephew and nieces. I was however regretting my decision to wear just a cut-off t-shirt with my thigh length cargo pants because I was freezing my butt off from the air condition there that they must had set on Artic setting. The experience will make me think twice before I choose form over function again. Getting back into the car after dinner didn’t help me get warm either because it was still raining when we made our way after dinner to the short journey from Karak to Selayang. We finally reached home safely at about 11pm that night after spending close to 7 hours on the road.

Looking back, my Perhentian trip was a dream come through. I had always wanted to see those islands that I have heard about all this time for myself and I finally did get to do it with my family. The package tour was better than I expected considering the low price that we had to pay per person. Our accommodation was more than I expected and I highly recommend Abdul’s Chalets to anyone who is planning to stay at Perhentians. Beautiful beaches, convenient café and shops and fairly soon a new boat jetty on the premises makes it the perfect spot to rest and relax. I’m already looking forward to going back there when I get the chance and probably plan to spend more days on the island than I did on this trip.

(Free promo for Abdul's Chalet for anyone going to Perhentians. I highly recommend them)

Preferably with someone that I can share all the new discoveries and the special moments with.

No comments: