snorkelling

Tuna Bay Resort, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia 3/3 – tropical fish

There is some coral just a few feet from the shore on some parts of the beach. If you snorkel here you can see fish. But also one or more fish peck your legs – you are invading their territory perhaps. One girl had actual bites on her leg. Trigger fish.  It must be their nesting season. Later on a different beach I was attacked, too, on a leg.

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Other fish peck at you occasionally – maybe they think you are food. But I found that if you keep on moving, even if slowly, the fish leave you alone.

dangerous fish

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I have never found a place where it is so easy to snorkel and see fish. If you walk around the island – as in my previous blog too, you see coral here and there, so it is really easy to find places to snorkel.

Tuna Bay Resort, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia 2/3 – a short jungle trek

You can walk around the island, or part of the way.

You can see the dotted walking tracks on the big island

You can see the dotted walking tracks on the big island

It’s better to wear shoes, but you can wear flip flops, and even after a night of heavy rain it wasn’t slippery, and there were no insects, snakes, or other animals around. Whether you are going clockwise or anti-clockwise, you start by walking along the beach. So I suggest a backpack, where you haul out your shoes for the jungle sections, and otherwise walk bare foot or in flip flops on the sand. Take money, towel, camera, hat, etc. It’s nice to walk past, or into, the other resorts along the beaches. Some have big – “No Alcohol” signs, so I shunned them and found places that sold beer when I needed refreshment. RM10 for a can of Tiger. RM8 for Chinese Tsing Tao beer.

In this walk I go clockwise around the island to the Perhentian Island Resort.

from Tuna Bay you walk clockwise around the coast to the next beach

from Tuna Bay you walk clockwise around the coast to the next beach

at this beach you pass Cocohut and ascend the stairs

at this beach you pass Cocohut and ascend the stairs

at the top of the steps you turn left

at the top of the steps you turn left

and pass these buildings, then follow the path right between the buildings

and pass these buildings, then follow the path right between the buildings

on the left is a sign

on the left is a sign

turn left and proceed up the path

turn left (after the red fire extinguisher) and proceed up the path

the path appears to end

the path appears to end at the end of the buildings

and veer up to the right. You can see a track

but just keep going – and veer up to the right after the building. You can see a track

just follow the track and veer left

just follow the track

into the jungle

and veer left into the jungle

the track is more pronounced now

the track is more pronounced now

you cross a water pipe. You cross it several times during the treck.

you cross a water pipe. You cross it several times during the trek.

partway along the track

partway along the track

after about 10 minutes you can glimpse the sea again

after about 10 minutes you can glimpse the sea again

and this is the view as you descend from the jungle

and this is the view as you descend from the jungle

Between here and the PIR below are a few resorts. Everything is very relaxed and you can just wander through.

Perhentian Island Resort's beach.  This is about 15 minute's walk from where you come out of the jungle.

Perhentian Island Resort’s beach. This is about 15 minute’s easy walk from where you come out of the jungle.

 

 

Tuna Bay Resort, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia 1/3

Tuna Bay Resort arranged all transfers from Kota Baru Airport to the resort, and everything went smoothly, as detailed in a previous blog.

arriving in paradise

arriving in paradise

There are only a few resorts on this part of the beach. Tuna Bay, Cocohut, Abduls…

a tiny jetty, but we stay dry

a tiny jetty, but we stay dry

There are water taxis to get you to other parts of the island, tours you can do – by boat, and diving and snorkelling trips, or you can learn to dive.

the launch - very comfortable and smooth

the launch – very comfortable and smooth

We arrived at about 11.30AM, and check in is at 1PM. We took a couple of deck chairs, swam, and relaxed on the beach until then.

Reception at the back on right

Reception at the back on right

There are books to borrow near reception if you wish– as have many of the resorts.  There are books in many languages.

the bar - on left - too early for customers

the bar – on left – too early for customers

restaurant area

restaurant area

the bar

the bar

another view of restaurant

another view of restaurant

Internet always on - but quite slow - only really available in restaurant area

Internet always on – but quite slow – only really available in restaurant area

Wi-fi works in the restaurant – they don’t hassle you to order anything while there. If you are in Room 18 you may also get wi-fi. It works on and off. Either way, it is slow.

our room

our room

our room

our room

our room

our room

our room

our room

The rooms have a safe, but it is very small – only a small laptop will fit in, wallets etc.

our room

our room

our room

our room

our room

our room

view from our verandah

view from our verandah

view from our verandah

view from our verandah

other rooms

other rooms

beach front rooms

beach front rooms

the beach

the beach

the beach

the beach

There is some coral just a few feet from the shore on some parts of the beach. If you snorkel here you can see fish.

floating platform

floating platform

the beach

the beach

the beach

the beach

sunset

sunset

breakfast

breakfast

Breakfast is included. It is OK. Get there early as not everything is replaced when taken. The best is the salad bar – tomato, lettuce, melon, watermelon, pineapple, red lettuce, carrot … Otherwise basic bread, chicken sausage, mee (noodles) etc. And there is an egg station – omelettes, sunny side up etc. The coffee is pretty stewed. So my choice was to load up on salad and fruit, get some baked beans and an omelette – or two.

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

breakfast

Generally the menu was not interesting for me. Nachos and fish and chips, or the grill were about all I wanted to eat. So my best bet was to load up on fruit and vegetables at breakfast, and treat that as my main meal. There is no refrigerator in the room, but you can buy a cup of ice if you want to make your own drinks.

Tuna Bay seems the nicest of the resorts I saw on this island – Perhentian Besar. More relaxed, friendlier, and although the beach is not as nice as the one at the Perhentian Island Resort, it has a nice mix of coral, where you can view fish, and swimming areas. The beach area is lively without being crowded. The staff are friendly and helpful, and everything seems well organised.  Our air-con suddenly started leaking, and after I told Reception, the maintenance guys were there in two minutes to fix it.

Tuna Bay also has electricity 24 hours a day – so you can always use the air-con – and seems to have plenty of fresh water for showers etc.

So, we had a great holiday there.

May 2014.

 

24 hours on Pangkor Island in 2014

Coral Bay beach

Coral Bay beach, Pangkor Island

For me – 24 hours was enough. Going to Pangkor Island or to Langkawi by car seems about the same amount of effort from Penang, so if you want to stay somewhere longer, Langkawi has much more to do, a bigger variety of accommodation and food, and is duty free. Nevertheless, I wanted to go to Pangkor to see it. We went mid-February 2014, which is not a tourist season, not school holidays, and not during a weekend, public holiday or festival, so it wasn’t crowded.  We have seen photos of it crowded, and I wouldn’t like it.

DETAILS:

  • Around a two hour 40 minute drive from Penang to Lumut, depending on your route.
  • Around RM11 in road tolls on the E1 motorway going south.
  • Parking in Lumut cost RM10 per day near the ferry terminal.  That’s not for 24 hours, but for each day, so Tuesday and Wednesday would be RM20.
  • They refused to give a receipt for the payment, which they want when you park – but it wasn’t a problem.
  • Lumut is quite nice, and has a lot of eating places.
  • There is a friendly tourist office near the jetty, and they can give you maps etc.
  • Next to and attached to the tourist office is a nice toilet. It costs 50 sen to enter, and there are also showers included in the price. It is clean and airy, and even has an aviary. It is not at all like typical public toilets in Malaysia.
  • There is a ferry every half hour or 45 minutes, depending on the time of day.
  • The ferry takes about half an hour.
  • A ferry ticket costs RM10 return.
  • Some people take motorbikes onto the ferry, but generally it’s a passenger ferry.
  • The first stop on the ferry on Pangkor  is Sungai Penang. For the busiest part of town and cheap accommodation you can alight here. Otherwise you should alight at the second stop, the main terminal.
  • You can rent cars, motorbikes or bicycles from touts at the main Pangkor Island terminal.
  • There is little traffic, so a motorbike wouldn’t be particularly dangerous, unless you are.  A bicycle would be hot.  Of course, there are taxis, too.
  • We paid RM70 for a manual Proton – possibly the worst maintained car in the world.
  • There was no paperwork for the car – he asks for a contact number and gives you a piece of paper with his number on it and asks you to ring him when you return the car.  He doesn’t ask your name, or for a licence etc.
  • He refused to give a receipt for the payment, which he wants immediately – but again it wasn’t a problem
  • The guy we used was Mr. Ching: 010-5636954 or 016-5554794
  • The tank is empty and so he says to put RM20 in the tank immediately from a petrol station which is very close.
  • Trip Advisor posts condemn pretty much all the hotels, so do your own research.  But there are also hostels, possibly in China town.
  • There is not much to see.  The mini-Great Wall of China was fun. We also saw the Dutch Fort.
  • It takes around 40 minutes to drive around the island.
  • The best beaches are on the other side of the island to the port – that is, the north-west.
  • The beaches on the east of the island are not nice.
  • The north of the island has the Pangkor Island Beach Resort, with its private beach.  Even if you are staying there you can’t drive in, but you can park just outside.  You can walk in.  There is a RM50 charge for non-guests to use the beach, but I hear they usually don’t charge it. However the staff will come around and ask for your drink orders.
  • We could swim – I didn’t see any jellyfish
  • I saw some wild hornbills in the evening and in the morning – I love hornbills.
  • From the jetty to the best beach – Coral Bay – and our hotel was 15 minutes drive
  • Monkeys rampaged around stealing things, so one had to keep the balcony doors closed and locked at the hotel.  My favourite story from the boss at the hotel is that he noticed his mobile had been stolen.  He rang his number to see if he could locate it,and heard the phone ringingup in a tree. This so startled the monkey that had stolen the phone that he dropped it, and it fell onto the grass undamaged.
  • Monkeys will also steal your things from the beach, so don’t leave anything you care about unattended.
  • Food prices in the little restaurants are very reasonable and cheaper than Langkawi.  A similar price to Penang.
  • Some places and some mini-markets sell beer, and some don’t. It’s around RM6 per can of Tiger.

HOTEL

  • We stayed at the Anjungan Beach Resort and Spa, which according to Mrs. Tropical Expat is the best mid-range hotel in Pangkor, where most Trip Advisor reviews for almost all hotels are dreadful.  We stayed in the larger delux room for RM180 per night, and booked it on the Internet.
  • It’s about 15 minutes drive from the jetty
  • It is across the road from a beach – Nipah Bay, and a nicer beach – Coral Bay – is a few minutes walk down the road.
  • From Nipah Bay you can get a RM20 snorkelling trip – they take you on a boat across to Giam island – a five minute ride.  You can stay as long as you like, and when you wish to return you call the guy to pick you up – or ask another boat that is returning to ask him to pick you up.
  • There is no car parking in the hotel – you can park on the scrub next to the side road, though. They have bike parking.
  • The hotel is quite new and clean.
  • But there are a few flies and mosquitoes in the room. They leave a can of insect spray, so spray the room and go out for a while.
  • There is only one towel each, and poor amenities, so take your own soap, shampoo,  etc. if you wish.
  • I mentioned the monkey problem above – keep the balcony doors closed and locked at the hotel.
  • Everything worked, including importantly the air-con.
  • At reception there are notices of charges for various things.
  • There is no safety box in room.
  • There is no lift in the hotel.
  • The hotel has a pleasant pool, which was popular with guests.  The water was quite warm in the afternoon.
  • The hotel was on a tourist stretch, with most shops shut during the day.  A couple of mini markets and one restaurant was open.  And it was very hot.
  • Hotel food was expensive, and the coffee awful.
  • Swimming at the beach at Coral Bay was the best thing.  The water in the morning is refreshing, but by the afternoon like a warm bath.
  • The hotel had Internet in the lobby at a speed so glacial that even a global warmist would renounce his religion.  My Yes 4G modem wouldn’t deliver Internet either.  But my Maxis phone would provide Internet through tethering. The Maxis speed was good.
  • Reception staff seemed to have little idea of what they were doing.
  • If you intend to spend a lot of time in the room during the day don’t accept a room on the south side of the hotel as it will get sun all day and be hot, despite the air-con – at least according to some tourists who were complaining.

IN PHOTOS

The bus station at Lumut - very close to the jetty

The bus station at Lumut – very close to the jetty

jetty at Lumut

jetty at Lumut

a ferry ticket

a ferry ticket

one of the ferries

one of the ferries

on the deck of the ferry

on the deck of the ferry

arrival at Pangkor Island main ferry terminal

arrival at Pangkor Island main ferry terminal

rental Proton

rental Proton

main street at the beach

main street at the beach

the hotel

the hotel

hotel rules

hotel rules

a delux room

a delux room

the pool

the pool

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monkeys hanging around

a nice cat at the hotel

a nice cat at the hotel

driving clockwise around the island

driving clockwise around the island

Chinese temple which has the Great Wall

Chinese temple which has the Great Wall

the Great Wall of China

the Great Wall of China

at the temple

at the temple

the Dutch Fort

the Dutch Fort

view of Giam Island seen from Nipah  Beach - where you can catch a boat to to snorkel

view of Giam Island seen from Nipah Beach – where you can catch a boat to to snorkel

Giam Island

Giam Island zoomed up

Coral Bay beach

Coral Bay beach

fresh fish

fresh fish – ocean caught so reasonable price for the quality

they have nice sunsets

they have nice sunsets

hornbill

wild hornbill

hornbill flying

hornbill flying

our rental

our rental parked in the side street

back at the jetty

back at the jetty

a motorbike being loaded

a motorbike being loaded onto the ferry