It was so irresistible to plan a trip like this. To make this trip perfectly stand out its efficiency, I formed a group of 4 peoples as a perfect group. It just took me a short term to plan and confirmed the final preparation. By given a name of An Ultimate East Coast Vacation, it can be just a simple trip. How can it be?

2 Sept 2010 | East Coast Vacation 2010 (Kapas Island)

It’s a budget vacation but yet it’s called Ultimate Vacation. In fact, our mind and soul had compassed a great force of vacation joyful. 4 days and 3 nights vacation was sound environmentally from places such as island, beach, hill, waterfall and town has turned into beach, beach, beach and beach.

We have surpassed 4 beaches in 4 days vacation. Thanks to the low peak season, we have not encountered any issue hopping from beach to beaches. That was sound crazy but we made it possible with Free N Easy way.

Malaysia East Coast is quite popular with white sandy beaches along the Terengganu coast. Most of the places are turned into beach resort accommodation for local and foreigner. Our main destination was Kapas Island, follow by sub destination such as Rantau Abang, Cherating and Teluk Chempedak. The sub destination was only decided as we went along the route from Kapas Island. That’s reality and joy of it.

Having to drive along 450km per way to East Coast in 5 hours time is considered as a big challenge. Never had it been crossed in my mind to make it alone, without any accompany from friends and the cost is simply too burden if no sharing among us.

We started our journey at 5.00am from KL via Karak Highway up to Marang jetty. We skipped our early breakfast because it was too early for any food stall to serve food. End up we bought some from 24 hours petrol kiosk station. The road leading to Terengganu was very smooth where hardly any traffic on Thursday morning.

Sun rise along the highwayin my 5 years old car

Mist slowly overtaken by sun heatexpecting a memorable holiday ahead

We passed by the Kerteh town and observed a lot of huge oil depot for first time. Terengganu is an oil producer state anyway.

Huge oil depotfrom a place named Kerteh

At 10.38am, another 52 minutes to gowe still have 43 km to Marang Jetty

In fact, we tried to catch up with 11.30am ferry departure time, therefore, we permitted ourselves to reach by 11.15am. Anyway, as the road condition was very good, we just put our worry behind.

Voila at 11.15am sharp at Marang Jetty

Joyous moment was awaiting us ahead. I couldn’t believe when I saw the car park of the jetty was so empty. If I park there, my car will look lone ranger. The operator told to park anywhere we want, but I insisted that the sun is too hot to handle when I park in the middle empty car park. Instead, I parked behind the operator shop, on side road.

The car park fee is RM7 per day. I have to pay RM14 for two nights. Before we told the operator, they thought we came here for day trip. But I told them 3 days 2 nights.

Return boat transfer is RM40 per person. But the distance is only 6km from the mainland. How near is that right? Charge us RM20 one way.

Rushing for 11.30am boat departurerush until no time for photos

Leaving the jettytowards our anticipating vacation

Loud engines movement created long wavesstrong air pushed on us

Met with foreign touristrarely meet local in conjunction with fasting month

Believe it or not, the boat only took us 10 minutes to reach the island, yet enough to satisfy our sailing enjoyment.

Enjoyment painted on our faceno doubt

Chromatic blue seapurely mixed with prevailing white glowing sand

We stopped visualizing the sea and beach because our dream has came true at here.

Here we are, Kapas Island beach view.

Dropped at main jetty of island at noon timeobserved pool of fishes dancing in the water

Serenity brings emotion and stress freetogether peacefulness prevail

Let’s do a simple intro here.

Kapas Island is just a small island that can be seen from mainland and being underrated as tourist destination because of the lack of marketing effort. Indeed, it’s offering an attractive holiday location for those who want state of tranquility and beauty of nature. The fresh air surrounded by palm trees and Rhus plants are place for relax.

For my opinion, this place is serenely beautiful and the feeling of seek for a return is there for future.

Relaxation is the foremost sought after all. We went to check-in at the receptionist counter. Without much talking, the receptionist handed us the room key because we were the only guest on that day. What a good day, we thought of it.

Towards the reception centercombined with restaurant/cafe

Main reception deskcollecting our key

Walk towards our chaletcuriosity at peak

Even though sound great, however, the reverse effect of this was a rather poor service from them. We can just forgave their service in return of their kindness to upgrade us from Standard Room to Deluxe Room (with air-conditioned) without any extra charges.

This was come in the right time when the weather was so hot and Deluxe Room is much nearer to the beach. Not a bad after all. Some more it’s easy to keep track the room if all check-in guest stay in one area (during non-peak).

Single chalet (Deluxe Room)unique and traditional design

Our neighbor chaletone after another in straight

Our Deluxe Room Chalet given a named of Susu Daraa quiet and comfort stay

Average quality of cleanliness but neatwith attached bathroom and spoilt TV

For comparison with others, this room condition is fall below average. Our expectation was drop when we came to surprise to find out few things actually broken and no maintenance done such as white stain on kettle rod, rocking sound of bed, weak signal of TV station and smelly wardrobe.

To solve this, we cleaned up the kettle rod ourselves, sleep comfortably on certain corner, no switch on the TV and put outside our clothes and towel. How ridiculous?

For your information, this resort contains the most room available to any traveler even though in peak holiday compare to other chalets with lesser than 10 units of room.

Most of the resort and chalet there was so quiet (due to fasting month).

We have not opted for meal included with room package because we wanted to try on other foods all the way down to next door resort and chalet. I would not rather to stick with one resort meal package for entire holiday.

Food hunting along the beach, look for opportunity to visit other chalet and resort and taking our sweet time rounding the island by ourselves. Sound exciting right?

We have difficulties in finding a place for lunch. We were so hungry when we tried to look for it, luckily at last, we found a place called Kapas Coral Beach (KCB) which was willing to serve us lunch ala-carte. We settled down immediately. Their menu was a typical Malaysian dishes which suitable for us anyway. Our total bill was RM32, means RM8 per pax (lunch).

Enjoying the view while having luncha tranquility under the shed from hot sun

The kitchen cooks our meal from a very raw material. They just started to chop vegetable and cooking the rice. How ridiculous. About half an hour, our meal was ready.

It was doesn’t matter good or not, we only know our appetite that time was very demanding.

Cooked meal with white rice typical Malaysian dishes

Under a striking hot sun at 2.00pm, we walked towards the next resort called Mak Cik Gemuk Resort. This resort wasn’t opened due to fasting month period and will re-open again after the period. We take a quick pause around before we headed to other resorts for visits.

Welcome but not operating during this period

Quiet resortpathetic operator went for holiday for whole month

Bridge connecting to next coastlinefound a few hidden resort opposite

After crossed the bridge, I saw another side of few hidden resort. That’s sound good right? A totally private and secure beach stay is just at the corner. Gosh, that’s the reason sound too good, it was full when I tried my booking.

Qimi Chalet, the most sought after from tourist who preferred full privacy vacation with family and loves.

Qimi Chalet secluded at far end from main jettya unique view seen from bridge

Majority were foreignersmaybe hooked up with an oversea agency?

I personally like the concept of their accommodation where one can oversee the sea view from unit built on top of the hill. How fascinating right?

Too bad, we were only able to visit from outside and non-guest are not allowed to enter their vicinity. Even outsider wasn’t able to dine-in their chalet because they only served their guest. How pathetic…sigh!

Spectacular viewonly from Qimi Chalet beach

Beauty sand lineformed naturally and looks untouched

Dead thorny fish spotteda rare species in deep sea

Beyond Qimi Chalet beachprivate beach

A short moment to enjoy sunset where we recharged our energy in the late afternoon before light rain drop in the evening.

At 6.00pm, we went for water leisure activity and also few photo-shoots on sunset. Walked under grand sunlight, with our best companionship along the coast line with a rough emotion of waves swept our feet.

Beautiful sunsetwonderful feeling

Sunset deems to be most expected when we walked out from our lodging. Again, we took the delight from the shallow water to enjoy snorkeling on our own. However, kind of dangerous for us to do so, as many sea urchin and sharp coral appear too close to us.

As the night befalling, we went off for our first breaking dinner at our own resort @ Kapas Island Resort. We agreed to try on as we were too lazy to walk over in the dim of light.

Overall, the food was below average, but it’s fulfilling, thanks to our non-choosy appetite. It cost us RM34 for 4 pax (plain rice was free!).

To build upon our wonderful night, I unexpectedly brought forward a dream of all of us, too good to be true to comes true in such circumstances. Our best companion of red wine was waiting for us to try on. Never got to wait too long, because the truth was calling upon us. An unopened bottle of red wine was in front of us. We managed to cut the way far from our resort to try it.

Under unplanned state of affairs, we indeed have a good time tasting the red wine under the sky of shining starts. How romantics it was.

Night bewildering us @ 11.00pm. Good night.

3 Sept 2010 | Snorkeling, Island hopping and Jungle trekking

Our next day plan was very anticipating. We came to have our breakfast as early as 8.15am. We have ample of time getting around for photo shoot while waiting our food to be served.

Well, the food was slightly better and within our expectation although the quality has been dropped a bit. Who cares our welfare? We were the only guest staying there, the quality will sure compromise. Sigh!

Set A, B. C to be chosenbetween toast, rice and mee

As we planned for a snorkeling package with Kapas Coral Beach Resort at 10.00am, we still have enough time on our own. The charge for snorkeling was RM25 per pax. It was an acceptable price tag that we could accept with inclusive of life jacket and goggle. They even offered an add-on tour to Gem Island (a small luxury built island resort opposite Kapas Island) at RM15 per pax. Together it cost us RM40 per pax. We agreed to hop on together.

Snorkeling in such a beautiful area of inhabitants such as puffer-fish, eels, giant clams, rays, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and clown fish indeed a really indulging. We transferred by boat to snorkel destination. The place was surrounded by rocky outcrops just to the southern end of the long stretch beach.

The water level was quite shallow at some places, merely 2 feet. That’s mean we may end up trapped in the shallow ends and stand up on the coral bed. The sea bed usually covered with extremely sharp corals and cause a deep wounds if not be careful.

The other danger to look out is sharp coral and some unidentified object on the coral, which normally where the sea urchins hike in and out around the corals.

YES, I stepped on a sea urchin and was so painful when the thorns stuck inside under my foot. Our snorkel boat master (an uncle known as leader of the island) told me it’s going to be fine and the thorns will get out by itself after few days. Without thinking too much, I trusted him and continue to snorkel. We fed the fishes, spot the unusual life undersea and so on.

It was a fun experience with a friendly guide. Thumbs up!

After an hour snorkeled, we hop on our boat and move towards the Gemia Island. Gem Island Resort & Spa is known as luxury resort build on the Gemia Island.

There was a turtle sanctuary where the turtle breeding was done by the resort itself before release it to the sea. I doubt there will be high chance to survive by themselves. Most probably get eaten by sea predators. LOL.

Not allow holding themwe simply too ignorant to abide it

Beach view from chalet at Gem Islandmuch nicer than Kapas Island

Luxury unitI’ll find my way here next time

At noon, we walked along the Gem Island beach and towards the backside of the island where another fascinating view can be seen.

It was a great snorkeling spot, according to our leader guide. We were then told to snorkel on our own, but not too far.

Having our own sweet timeenjoy the nature very much

We were left on our own until we called off to return to Kapas Island.

A hot bare-footed walkalong the white sandy beach

We returned to KCB Resort and marked our end of snorkeling session. Our lunch was at same venue, same table, but a bit different on its menu. We had chosen this place because we were satisfied customers.

Lunch at Kapas Coral Beach againa satisfied return customer

Our next activity went to halt because my couple friend was decided to rest after the meal while I preferred to continue with other activity such as jungle trekking.

Hiking is my favorite activity. I asked the reception of our resort to arrange for a trekking guide but they insisted not in operating during this fasting month. Then I asked whether it’s possible to trek on our own. They said it might be a bit tough because there were few dead ends due to fallen tree and route can be nowhere to be seen.

However, I’ve a strong desire not to be disappointed with their answer but instead looking forward to trek on my own. I decided to put my hiking experiences into this moment that I’ll be able to explore this jungle trekking without any guide.

720m for the hiking journeyis it too distance for you?

This rough track runs through the middle of the island and towards the eastern side. It took about 45 minutes through the jungle to the uninhabited side of the island.

The starting point is located behind the resort where the standard room located.

Standard rooma bit far but nicely built

When I started walk into the jungle, the situation wasn’t as bad as been told. There were sign-board and markers all along the way. We brought our paper marker for emergency route. Some paths need to be diverted due to fallen tree, but the situation wasn’t too bad. Most of the time, we got bite by mosquito and we can feel the bite. How fierce they are!

Nice trekking pathvery obvious and not easy to get lost

Wide trekking routehow possible to get lost?

Blocking path?no worry as long as direction is correct

We just followed the sign direction until we reached the destination at last. It was a secluded shored and beaches (nope, I don’t think it’s a beach) on the northern tip of the island.

500m just completed a bit only

300m onlydone half way

100m very soon, got the feel of new discovery of unknown place soon

Almost touch the endwhen jungle met the beach

We’re here! Finallyback side of the island

Left viewwhere got beach?

Right viewno sand so where got beach?

Signboard of destinationcalled Berakit

Shallow water with many fishesrocky surface

It’s hard to describe the adventures feeling when we discovered the place on our own. A very first time perhaps, without guidance.

We stayed about half an hour before the rain started to drop. And we get back to resort to clean up for next round leisure activity.

At 6.00pm, as per planned, we were at the beach for sunset view. It was an amazing moment where I was just focus on photo-taking only.

Striking sunsetimagine only both of you here

Friendship shootto be preserve it forever

Couple shootsromantically taken

Roughly about an hour, the sky turned dark. We still were having a good time walking along the beach until late dawn.

Our dinner still at the same place as we were too lazy to walk in the dim of light with hungry stomach. This round, our meal was rather disappointing. The person who gets our meal order told us he wasn’t good in cooking. End up we ate the low quality of food served. Tasteless some more. Very disappointed.

Quiet restaurantthe lighting is impressive colorful

After our dinner, we sit on the bench facing the beach and sight-seeing for an hour. Our last night was a cold night because it was a heavy rain at late night until morning.

4 Sept 2010 | Saying Goodbye to Kapas Island

Finally, the day has finally come. Our third day, also our last day in Kapas Island. We woke up very fresh and had our early breakfast at same place we had our dinner yesterday. Again, disappointment came again. The person in charge told us that their kitchen was lack of food and not enough for our meal set, so decided to reduce the portion given.

Crappy breakfastself-cooked some more

Even worse, we have to volunteer ourselves to help up in the kitchen because the cooker was so slow preparing our breakfast.

Imagine it yourself, getting your customer to DIY their own breakfast. How poor was their service and lack of readiness for the demand. It was a truly bad management practice of hospitality. My very first time encountered this for my any vacation. Hmmphh!

With a very discontented feeling, I went around to see what other things that will worth to upset me further. Then, I took few pictures out of it.

Quiet dining areamixed feeling here

Glass left unclean behind the kitchenuntil ants come to stay inside

Rubbish bag was tear off and left on the floorlooks true ugly and eye sore

Algae occupation inside the poolmakes the pool look green (it was closed for maintenance)

I went around the resort for leisure and also kill some early time before we catching up with boat transfer to mainland. This place is going to be NO MORE, NO MORE from me.

We checked out early at 11.20am and transferred by boat to mainland in just 10 minutes. Yo! It marked the end of our island vacation yet memorable.

We waved goodbye to Kapas Island. Our next destination is Rantau Abang, Cherating and Teluk Chempedak.