30.07.2011 – 05.08.2011 Sunny 33 °C
An Indian guy (who strangely went to Uni in County Durham many years ago) told us about these two islands on the west coast of Malaysia – The Perhentians. He said you have to go. We did a bit of research and he was right, they did look good, and by a stroke of luck Banana organised trips in a mini van. This made our minds up.
210RM (£42) each, return was a done deal for us. Leaving at 5am, a 6 hour van drive and a half hour speedboat cross and we arrived, although we were lucky to arrive at all with the crazy van driving Malaysian behind the wheel. Having experienced some of the most dangerous driving conditions on earth in the Philippines I thought you’d have to go some way to match that but this guy would have done the Filipino bus drivers proud. Overtaking, undertaking, tail gating, cutting people up, tight bends at stupid speeds, running mopeds and bikes off the road – in both directions. You name it, he did it.
The Perhentian islands were a postcard. White beach and translucent blue water that was as warm as a bath. We got a beach hut for 50RM a night (£10) with a fan and decent shower but with cold water – it certainly wakes you up in the morning.
On the day of arrival, the Friday, we didn’t do much as we were exhausted from getting up at 4am and the journey. It’s a crime to stay inside with the fan on when you have this on your doorstep but needs must, and we needed sleep.
The next day, we got on the beach about 11:30 and stayed there till 4:30 with B doing a fantastic imitation of a lobster by close of play whereas I went red but then brown a few days later. I saw the hate in her eyes every time she looked at me. Saturday night was good, ended up getting hammered. A bottle of Vodka was a fiver so we thought we’d check one out to see what it was like but didn’t really get the taste so thought we’d have another. God, I was off my head, don’t remember walking home. Probably the best bit was the look of horror on B’s face when she asked me where the toilets were. I’d just asked the bloke at the bar and the his reply was ‘in the jungle or in the sea’. Smashing. She walked back to our hut twice for a wee. I chose the jungle and the sea.
One sour note was me getting bitten to death. They love my A- blood. B’s an old commoner although they attacked her too. I hate mosquito’s. What do they do except spread disease?! I was scratching like a dog with fleas.
A quick note on the grub, you have to go out to eat before you start getting hungry because by the time you actually eat, you will be. It’s the slowest service I have experienced, I’ve never seen anything like it, the Malaysians there are like a bunch of Zombies. Twenty – thirty minutes until you get your drinks and over an hour until your food comes, even then it’s only half of it. On one occasion I waited 45 mins for lunch, but still finished mine before B’s turned up. Yesterday I was watching a group of girls (be rude not to right?), they had their first plate come up, then another 15 mins later and another and so on. It’s usually cold too. Take a pack of cards with you. Having said that I had some nice fish there, and B had some Shark but that was a bit of a let down – really nice but you’d never know it was Shark unless someone told you.
Malaysia Verdict: The Perhentians is a nice place to waste three days – a week, depending on your budget, the more wonga you have the better the place you can stay in and avoid getting bitten. Penang was cool, I’d like to return one day and KL is hot and hectic but worth the effort.