The footprints in the sand leading to the resort entrance urge you to follow them and walk up the steps leading to the reception area, where the warm wooden architecture provides a welcome shade. You walk in, sip on your welcome drink, turn around and then realize the breathtaking view of the South China Sea from the resort. You smile to yourself. Euphoria then starts to set in as the clear blue water shimmers under the sun light, the sound of gentle waves that wash corals and sea shells onto the soft bed of sand where deckchairs and umbrellas call out to you, inviting you to get a glass of Orange Juice, lay back and just chill out.
And then it hits you… that you have just set foot in paradise.
The cemented walkways leading to the chalets are intertwined, lined with sand and plants, with coconut trees that shade you as you slowly look for the chalet entrance with a room number to match the one on the wooden piece attached to the key you’re holding.
The key opens a sliding glass door, shaded by thick curtains on the inside which although do maintain privacy, really do not provide much sense of security. Fortunately, it isn’t something that plays on your mind too much.
Fortunately, island getaways involve you spending more time on the beach than in the room, and that’s what exactly you should be doing.
There’s also a host of island hopping, jungle trekking, snorkeling and diving trips that can be comprehensively arranged at the in-house recreation centre.
These snorkeling trips bring you to some really good spots around the 2 islands, whiles the diving sites in Pulau Perhentian are among the best in the world. There are also some other dive centres flanking the resort which provide such services.
* Always be cautious when catching a public water taxi or accepting boat trips run by the locals, always ask the resorts’ advice when taking up such offers.
As mentioned earlier, the package we took up included 4 meals a day, and these 4 meals were absolutely fantastic!
Tuna Bay’s aura of Paradise is even more evident at night.
Dining tables are lit with candle lights and the Tuna café area is lit up with a warm orange glow. The South China Sea is now dark and sits under a blanket of stars, making it a very, very nice place to be. And if you think that there’s nothing like a good cocktail by the beach, head on over to the Tuna Club.
With its wide range of beverages and cocktails mixed exceptionally and consistently well by an experienced barman, the Tuna Club is the perfect place to relax and socialize with fellow guests. There’s even Satellite TV available so you can catch your favourite sporting action, whiles sipping on a Pina Colada, by the beach!
Not something you get to do everyday!
If you want to take a night walk on the beach, there’s a jetty within walking distance which is accessible even at night and is apparently a good place to spot different varieties of marine life, even squids!
We managed to spot some interesting looking fish and crabs, but had no luck looking for squids.
As nice as it may sound, we have to admit that reality does take a few bites and there are certain aspects which might prove to be annoying to some:
1) The official check-in time at 2pm doesn’t work too well with the boat transfer schedules from the mainland jetty to the island. Depending on your luck (and resort occupancy), you might have to do quite a bit of waiting before you actually get the keys to your room.
2) The bus services to the jetty on the mainland are absolutely out of sync with the boat schedules and involve a lot of waiting.
3) The deckchairs on the beach are sometimes insufficient during peak occupancy periods.
4) Some rooms are located near the generator towards the rear of the resort which does make a notable amount of noise.
5) Electricity is turned off and on again in the afternoon for power saving purposes. So if you’ve left your air-cond turned on during lunch, you’ll probably return to find it turned off. However it is one of the few resorts which provides 24 hours of electricity.
Currently, Pulau Perhenetian still remains relatively free from the clutches of commercialization and retains its more “natural” charm as compared to some of the more developed islands in Malaysia. Tuna Bay also seems to have successfully adhered to that persona, offering a very simple yet relaxing experience at very attractive prices, as opposed to 5-Star luxury beach hotels which to a certain extent, defeat the purpose of an island getaway. But of course there are even better resorts with even nicer beaches… However, considering the price range, very few come close to what Tuna Bay has to offer.
As with everything, it all comes down to individual preferences. And if you want a memorable, intimate island holiday without having to come back and face the reality of a significantly empty bank account, then Tuna Bay fits the bill perfectly.
Their website provides a fantastic feel of what to expect on your potential holiday there.
Head on to www.tunabay.com.my to see what we mean and to find everything you’ll need to know if our review has convinced you to start planning a trip there!