“This is crazy!” I said aloud as I look in amazement at the dense school of fish gathering by the jetty on this side of Long Beach. Never have I seen something like it on land. A large school of fish gathering a few hundred meters as if ready to invade the extensive white sand of Long Beach Perhentian Kecil.
Perhentian Islands is composed of several islands found approximately 10 nautical miles off the Northeastern Malaysia cost. The word “Perhentian” means “stopping point” as the islands became a popular stopping point for traders plying the Malaysia Bangkok route. The biggest island is Perhentian Besar also known as the “Big Island”, it’s where most of the mid-range to high end accommodations can be found. The smaller island is Perhentian Kecil also known as the “Small Island”, where most of the budget and some mid-range accommodation can be found. There are also some small, uninhabited islands off Kecil like Rawa, Susu Dara and Seringgi which are all protected marine parks.
Perhentian Kecil Main Beaches
My friend and I chose Coral Bay Beach, west of Perhentian Kecil since it has beautiful sunsets amidst good value accommodations. It also has a quieter, chill out atmosphere away from Long Beach known for its Backpacker party scene. But that’s not to say we were not interested with Long Beach. On our second day on the Island, we woke up before the sunrise to walk across Kecil to reach Long Beach.
Cross-Island Jungle Paths
Both Perhentian Kecil and Besar still has a large portion of forest cover in the island. It is still very rich in flora and fauna that hiking along the several jungle trails, one can have a good chance of encountering some monitor lizards, fruit bats, monkeys and some spiders. Kecil have several Jungle Trails, there’s the main jungle trail connecting the two main beaches, the Coral Bay and Long Beach. There are also other Jungle Paths leading to other smaller beaches on the island like the Fishing Village and Mira Beach down south or the Turtle Beach or D’Lagoon resort up north.
Fringed with Developments
We took the small alley leading to the Jungle Path to Long Beach. We noticed a lot of developments being worked on the area. It seems that accommodation options are being built inland. Cheaper options to stay can also be found on some cottages here. We reached the inner trail with a cemented pathway along a dense growth of trees. In the middle we also found an accommodation tucked along the forest trees, maybe for people who yearn for a jungle experience. We reached Long Beach as the morning light started to slip in.
The Long Beach
Everything was quiet as the place is still in slumber but our eyes were wide open at the impressive stretch of beautiful white sand, powdery beach. The sand quality was as good as Coral Bay Beach but more expansive. The larger Perhentian Besar can be clearly seen across.
We walked towards the jetty where there’s an open view of the sunrise between islands. The sunrise, like yesterday’s sunset was also weak, obscured by the clouds on the horizon. But we did notice how also crystal clear the waters on this part is. Even if we are already a few hundred meters from the shoreline, we could see deep tot he floor bed and noticed, hundreds and maybe thousands of fishes gathering in the area, like a huge army assembling. With marine life so richly seen from above water, I wonder how it is like to go under the water. Soon we’ll find out.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.