Dave in Thailand
Perhentian Islands, Malaysia, March 25-28 2009

[[I don't like this 'optimized for xx browser' stuff, but I do see that, at least on my computer, Opera shows these pics smaller than they should be - this stuff, for whatever reason, on my computer, looks best on Firefox or IE ...]]
I went to another TESOL meeting in Phnom Penh this year (the story of the first one is here), and afterwards we spent a few days in Siem Reap and Angkor Wat (if I ever get around to sorting through the hundreds of pics and doing an Angkor page, I'll let you know ...). Returning from Siem Reap to Hat Yai via Kuala Lumpur and Penang, more or less along the dotted line on the map here ...
southeast asia siam reap to kuala lumpur

... I spotted, from my Air Asia window seat, at ~30,000 ft, these two very interesting looking islands somewhere, as near as I could figure, off the northeast coast of Malaysia (there were a few more islands to the south as well as the small ones a ways off the northwest, but I can't find a useful satellite pic of the whole area for nothing... doesn't matter, these two were the important ones.. ). After we got back, it didn't take a lot of hunting around the net to identify them as a place called the Perhentian Islands, which I had never heard of before.

map of Malaysia, showing Perhentians
- and a bit more perspective on where they are in relation to where I am - Hat Yai is about where the 'a' is in Perlia up in the top left there, not too far from the Perhentians, about a three hour minivan drive to the border, a 90-minute taxi to the small town where the boat leaves from, and a 30-minute boat ride ... (the map, obviously, has been created by the TunaBay Resort, which is more or less beside Abdul's, where we will eventually get to..)

A bit of reading around convinced me the place had some good possibilities, so being as it was time for my yearly birthday trip to some new snorkelling place, and I had no plans yet, I decided to give the Perhentians a try this year.

Getting There ....
in front of minivan at Hat Yai bus station Leaving from the Hat Yai bus station around 7 AM - filling customs form at Malaysia border

- filling out the customs forms at the Malaysia
border office a few hours later ....
- Ann on the bridge that crosses the Sungai Kolok River that separates Thailand and Malaysia here - Ann on the bridge across the Sungai Kolok River to Malaysia getting into the taxi to head for the Perhentians - and the taxi that would take us from the border to the small town the Perhentian ferries left from called Kuala Besut ....
The taxi dropped us off right at the dock where the ferry leaves from, and just inside we found this travel agent at a travel shop called MD Traveler, who arranged the boat tickets, and also a beachfront bungalow for the first night.
talking to the tour shop operator at Kuala Besut MD Travel brochure bit with address etc
MP Traveler's office
- looking at a map of the Perhentians in the MP traveler office ..... as below - our destination for the night is the place called Mama's
map of Perhentians, showing bungalow locations
After getting our ticket for the Marine Park, then walking out to the end of the pier where the boats left from and seeing all these boats tethered together -
pic of marine park ticket small ferry boats in Besut harbour
- I thought I should have a small talk to the owner a few minutes later, making sure we were going to get on the boat, as they were constantly coming and going at the pier, all more or less the same, and which was, we were told, the last one of the day (the trip from Hat Yai took a bit longer than I expected, and I also forgot to consider that Malaysia is an hour ahead of Thailand timewise, so by now it was getting on to four o'clock, and I really didn't want to miss our boat and also a night by the sea ...) talking to the travel shop owner about the boat
- well, we did get on the boat ok, quite a small one, really, considering we were planning on going across 15 miles or so of ocean .... Ann getting on the Perhentian ferryDave on the boat

Ann on the boat Dave and Ann on the boat
- but we made it ok, obviously, although it was a bit bumpy - a couple of very large motors pushing a lightly loaded boat over choppy water - and about a half hour later, coming from the left side of the maps above, passing the southern part of the 'small' island, we were looking at Mama's Holiday Resort first view of Mama's
- and here I am a few minutes later checking in - the kid was fascinated with me for some reason, just staring with big eyes as I walked up the beach - I expect it was the beard, which seems to attract a lot of attention from many kids -
checking in at Mama's
- and this was the bungalow - the beach bungalow at Mama's
- it looks pretty idealistic, and the island overall certainly was (and is), but this was (and is) not the best of the beaches to be on - as you can get an idea of in the pics below, although the 'beach' part of the beach is nice sand, there is no real 'swimming' part of the beach, or even snorkelling, as all along here the water is only a few inches above a very large area of mostly dead coral, and that is stuff you do not want to be walking on or trying to swim around. (all the boats along the beach there are part of the 'water taxi' fleet, that is used to get around here, between the two islands and various places thereon)

the beach in front of Mama's etc
the beach in front of Mama's etc
After we checked in I took a little snorkel around out front, as the tide was a bit higher than in the above pictures, but found only that, as the pics above show, it was too shallow and the only 'coral' here was old and dead, so we walked through to the other beach where the other half of the Coral Bay Resort, and the 'class resort' of the Islands (Perhentian Island Resort) are, and went for a swim / snorkel, which was alright, although a bit rough around the shore before getting out into the deeper water (actually, both the swimming and snorkelling are alright along this beach, in different places, but this was the only experience we had during this first visit here). I got no pics, as we never thought of taking the camera or getting pics, and we moved the next day - and then we were both quite hungry and had this quite excellent BBQ fish at the restaurant of the place beside Mama's, the Paradise Resort.
cooking the fish excellent bbq fish

- and that was about the end of a long day, and we walked back along the beach to the bungalow, looking forward to the next day and some exploring around this new discovery.

Day 2, Abdul's and Day 3 - snorkelling and exploring a bit, and Day 4 - around the small island

Other Dave in Thailand stuff:

Wien Tien
PSU AG Fair 2004
Loy Gratong at PSU 2004
Kuching 2004
Luang Prabang page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4
Phnom Penh, Day 1 Arrival, Day 2, the CamTESOL conference,
Day 3, the Killing Fields and S-21, and Days 4-6, touring around a bit
Koh Lipe (day 1), Day 2, around Koh Lipe, and Day 3, the main thing - snorkelling

this site is mostly sort of a photo album for some friends and family, but if you have stumbled across it somehow on the net and want to contact me, siamdave at yahoo dot ca should get to me ....