The Pulau Perhentian islands off the coast of Terengganu are a good place if you want the simple pleasures of sunshine and beaches of fine, soft-as-cotton, white sand. or if you are looking for some good diving experiences and an adventurous getaway from the bustling city.
|A rich mix of fish as well as hard and soft corals greeted the writer at the Light House dive site.|
|The kids from the fishing village of Pulau Perhentian love to be photograph. |
There are actually two islands – Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil – and they are surrounded by seas which form a marine park.
The name Perhentian means “stopping point” in Malay and in the old days, it was a resting spot for fishermen out at sea before they returned to the mainland.
Our bus from Kuala Lumpur stopped at the small fishing town and port of Kuala Besut, in northern Terengganu.
You can also take a flight to Kota Bharu, and then a one hour taxi ride to Kuala Besut.
We then took a boat through strong currents for about 45 minutes to reach our destination – a paradise of clear waters.
|Top: These cute clown fish reminded the writer of the movie Finding Nemo. A blue-spotted stingray.|
Soon, we headed out to find the Quiver Dive Team. Tourists can choose scuba-diving or snorkelling packages. There are dozens of dive sites around the island, ranging in depths, from 10m to 30m, to suit all levels of diving expertise. Each boat dive cost us RM80.
We did our first dive at a site called the Light House. As we moved to deeper waters, I saw plenty of marine life and a mixture of hard and soft corals, giving us many opportunities to indulge in macro photography.
Then, we went to check out a site known as Temple of the Sea. It is one of the best dive sites around the island. Visibility was good at between 5m-10m, plus there was plenty of marine life, a healthy mixture of hard and soft corals, Scopionfish and schools of yellow snappers as well as boxfish, puffer fish and nudibranches. Of course, let’s not forget forget the cute clown fish, as dramatised in the movie Finding Nemo. We spent about an hour there, and did lots of underwater photography.
At another popular site, known as the Vietnamese Shipwreck, divers can easily swim through the sunken boat (at a depth of 22m) and observe the marine life within. There are always strong currents here, and the site should be tackled only by experienced divers.
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