Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our journey to BUBU Long Beach, Perhentian Island

I think that every time I visit the islands around the east of Peninsular Malaysia, I died a little and went to heaven.

To date, I have visited almost all of Terengganu's Islands ; Perhentian Kecil & Besar, Gem, Redang & Lang Tengah and I have to say that my favourite, in terms of the best accommodation, service, snorkelling, food, atmosphere and the end story has to be Gem Island. However, I am here to blog about my recent island escapade to Perhentian Kecil, Kuala Terengganu and where I stayed for 4days and 3nights.

We pushed off from Kuala Lumpur at 330am, estimating a 6hour drive towards north Malaysia to make it in time for our first boat which will be ferrying us from Kuala Besut Jetty to Perhentian Kecil at 11am. We would have made it, that is if our ride didn't come across a porthole along Simpang Pulai, cutting through Cameron Highlands.

The drive across Cameron Highlands was breathtaking. It was 6 in the morning, I've just woken up and we didn't have time to stop for sight seeing. It was a shame that I didn't bother to grab a few shots as I believed that at one point we were actually driving on the peak of a mountain, overlooking the most beautiful sun rise we've ever came across and the hills were covered in mist. If you've just pictured heaven, you were pretty close.

As we reached Gua Musang, one of our rims cracked. That was why we couldn't make it for our first boat. You can say that we were sort of unlucky, but you can also say that we were VERY lucky. Unlucky that the rim cracked, which caused the tyre to deflate. Very lucky that we were actually in a town. After driving for god knows how many hours through nothing but trees and valleys, the rim actually decided to give way in a town. We soon located a tyre shop short from where we were and one of the workers pointed out the problem. The guy was really nice and he spoke Cantonese, so it was easy for us to communicate but he couldn't fix the rim. Our option was to either get a pair of new ones, or head over to another mechanic to get the rim sealed. So we went to another shop which repairs cracked rims and here we thought that all Gua Musang people are nice and friendly, instead we experienced the worst customer service ever.


The position that we were in, put the meaning of beggars really can't be choosers to the dot. This guy, who works at the mechanic shop was a total ass (still is). He knew that we weren't local so he decided to toy with our time. We were actually the first customer because we waited at their front door even before they started opening for the day. He made us wait 2 whole frigging hours, whilst wasting time, smiling, laughing, chit chatting with his regulars. He even gave us very reluctant one word answers, never bothered acknowledging our thanks and was really ignorant. Once the rim was sealed, we had to rush in order to make it for the next boat at 1pm because they don't have another until 5pm.

The journey from Gua Musang to Kuala Besut usually takes 2 1/2 hour but we made it in two. Through tight winding roads and occasional traffic backlogged, we really had no idea how we did it but we reached right before the boat was leaving and managed to hop on board on the 1pm ride. It was probably due to the fact that I was chanting "we can make it, we can make it" for the whole 2hours that got us through.

Alas, we reached the island where we begin our worry-free holiday. Bubu Long Beach Resort was our sanctuary for a total of 3nights. It was July when we placed our booking for their September Room Package. We opted for their 4d3n Free & Easy Package at RM500/person. This package was inclusive of a two way boat transfer, deluxe Room, breakfast for two, sunset discovery and a jungle tracking trail.

I thought that it was pretty reasonably priced, seeing that most of the island resorts that we have visited had a similar rate, except that we usually go for a full board package with meals but this gave us room to explore other food places on the island. Besides, we've heard of a few positive reviews from our friends during their stay at Bubu, so that mostly sealed the deal.


Upon checking in, we were shown to our room. Nothing much to shout about, really. One queen bed that's lopsided ; mattress and pillows were very comfy though. Dressing table and a wardrobe. Balcony overlooking the sea. Tiny toilet with hot water available for showering but lack of nice toiletries.


The most ridiculous thing that I found the room lacking of was a water boiler and the fact that they do not provide you with coffee or tea packets. The one time that I actually brought my own 3in1 coffee packet (because I usually dislike Nescafe 3in1 that hotels provide) that I found myself without a water boiler. I believe that if a resort claimed itself to be "the ONLY deluxe resort hotel on the island" they should have a water boiler, at the very least.

I also found the resort to be very calculative. Guests are not allowed to fill their water bottles.. They expect you to buy water from them. At RM3/small bottle. I found this to be really foolish of them to be treating their guests like that.

Apart from not being able to obtain normal drinking water from the resort, guests have to pay RM5/day for beach towel rental. Here you are, thinking that you are going to have a great time on an island, at a beach resort and then everything stops when the least expected thing hits you, you find yourself having to pay RM5/towel just to laze by the beach. Lucky I brought my own spare towel. Seriously.

Snorkeling equipment rental price at RM30/set! All those island vacations that I've had, never ever have I come across such a rate! At most it was RM15 but not RM30! In the end, we did not even snorkel because we figured, we've seen the best of corals and sea creatures when we were on Gem Island. Coral Reef was just located behind the island and the snorkeling equipments were complimentary to guests of the resort. So, we gave this one a miss.

If guests are able to really relax and have a great time without being put through ridiculous calculative measures from the resort, being one, I really do not mind paying RM500 for my stay but small matters such as water and towels that you can't even bother to provide for your guest, the amount spent staying at your resort is not even worth it.

Overall, Bubu Long Beach Resort is still the best place to stay on Perhentian Kecil if you are looking for somewhere comfortable. However, I still favor Tuna Bay Resort at Perhentian Besar, if given the choice again.

Anyway, putting the cons aside, our entire journey to Terengganu took a toll on us right when we checked in. So we slept until sun down and woke right up for dinner. You can say that we wasted the entire day sleeping but it was a much needed rest. Besides, it is supposed to be a relaxing vacation.


Dinner was not too bad. We decided to check out the island and came across a row of mamak stalls on the beach. What looked like mamaks were actually small shops serving fusion food. Took a seat at this place called Family Cafe and had a simple dinner.


I ordered a family breakfast meal. I know what you are thinking. Can't stay away from an American breakfast even when I'm on an island. But I just wanted a good meal after such a tiring first half journey. So yea, my meal came and it wasn't as impressive as how it looked on the menu but nothing much can be expected from a mamak cafe.


The hubs ordered battered chicken chop which came with cheap black pepper sauce (those that taste really nasty). Chicken wasn't that bad, tasty but slightly overcooked.Still enjoyable though.


And two glasses of juice to replenish our lack of Vitamin C for the day.

Soon after dinner, we went back to our room and crashed. So, I shall end Day 1 here and continue the next in another post. :)

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