In Malaysia, the Perhentian Islands are one of the main stops on the touristic road. As we hadn’t really prepared our itinerary, we realized that there were other islands further south, such as Pulau Kapas and Pulau Redang. Being limited by time, we didn’t know which one to choose any more …
According to our research:
– The Perhentian Islands are the most touristy. There are two islands: the quietest Besar, a family and honeymooners atmosphere , with more luxurious hotels and Kecil, rather “backpacker” atmosphere, the accommodations are a bit cheaper and the party is on the beach.
– Pulau Redang, the farthest to reach by boat and the wildest of the three.
– Pulau Kapas, the most southerly and the smallest but we had less information about it.
We didn’t find any way to travel between them by boat. Indeed, there are quite far away from one another.
In the bus from the Cameron Highlands to Kuala Besut (departure point for the Perhentians), we were trying to organize the following days…
Which island(s) are we going to visit?
The Perhentians have quite a reputation but they seemed a tiny bit too festive and frequented compared to what we were feeling like. Redang seemed too complicated and far away to reach. And Pulau Kapas extended quite a bit our journey.
Let’s see the driver’s advice…
He told us that if we decided to go to Pulau Kapas, we would have to get off the bus early to catch another one. While we’ve just resigned ourselves to continue our way to the Perhentian – easy way – the driver stopped and shouted « Pulau Kapas ! »
That’s how he made the decision for us 🙂
And here we were on the side of the road, we didn’t even know where, waiting for a bus, at least that’s what we were hoping for… as the information from the local people were quite contradictory…
Finally, the bus came, eco-friendly air conditioning. We were pretty much the only ones on board. Direction Kuala Terengganu. While arriving at the bus station, we’ve just missed the last bus to Marang. Of course, it was getting late. We then negociated a taxi to Marang (about 30 minutes drive). The following morning, we paid a visit to the market and we finally took the boat to Pulau Kapas.
Cameron Highlands -> Kuala Besut -> Kuala Terengganu -> Marang -> PULAU KAPAS !
24h, 2 buses, 1 taxi Y 1 boat later…
…Welcome to Pulau Kapas!
All of the sudden, we were struck by the serenity here. The KCB restaurant (Kapas Coral Beach) welcomed us with a cocktail!
The KCB also has some rooms to rent, which are a very good value, so we decided to stay. The owner is Dutch, he has such a beautiful restaurant all wooden and fully open on the beach, like all accommodations here, which is not to displease us.
You should know that there is no road on Pulau Kapas and the only motorized vehicle you might use is the boat.
Things to do:
We snorkelled everyday on a different beach. For the first time, we had the chance to see clown fishes, but there also are blacktips shark, blue spotted ray, turtles, parrot fishes…
If you wish, you can dive with Aqua Sport Dive Centre, right next to KCB.
We also rented a kayak to go around and see the bats cave, not to mention the jungle walk (beware of the mosquitoes) which leads you to the other side of the island.
Of course, don’t forget you Ebook reader, you might catch up on your reading!
Definitely our favorite!
Pulau Kapas has the perfect balance:
- Not too small, not too big
- What it needs in accommodation and businesses
- Just enough tourism
- Just enough activities
It’s a small paradise on a human scale where we get the impression that life is touchable.
This escapade helped us disconnect from the world effervescence and to “recharge”. We had planned to stay for 2 nights and ended up staying 6 like most travelers coming to Pulau Kapas. Which is also nice because it gives the opportunity to meet and get to know each other.
LONG STORY SHORT:
HOW TO GET THERE?
By bus from Kuala Terrenganu to Marang then
By boat from Marang Jetty : duration 30 min, price: 40 MYR return (let them know where you intend to stay so that they can drop you at the nearest to your destination).
WHERE TO SLEEP?
We loved staying at Kapas Coral Beach (KCB):
Price was about 70 MYR for a double room, probably the best value on the island.
Other choice, even though more basic, would be Kapas Beach Chalet (KBC) right next to KCB.
WHERE TO EAT?
At Kokos, a small local restaurant, cooking fresh food “at home” style. Try to get there early or take your card game while waiting for your dish 😉 And it’s such a great pleasure to meet with Koko.
Of course, the KCB Restaurant, in addition to being good, is somewhat the HQ where all travelers come at least once a day, even though they stay at a different accommodation. The KCB offers international choices, which can be very much appreciated if after a few months travelling around Asia, you feel like having a dish without rice 😉
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
There aren’t any road on the island, your feet in the sand will your best choice to get around.
There aren’t any bank either, bring enough cash (especially if you are thinking of diving)
Beware, the island is not accessible during the monsoon.
Well don’t and go for it! Let us know in the comments below 😉
To enjoy it in moderation so that little paradise can remain so.