Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / visit malaysia

Earlier this month I went to yet another island in the East Coast of Malaysia for a little bit of R&R as well as put a bit of time breathing compressed air underwater. For this trip, everything was arranged by my colleague, Rich, I sort of just tag along. A vacation where you don’t have to plan for anything? Sign me up!

Our destination – Pulau Kapas.

Kapas Turtle Valley resort, Pulau Kapas, Terengganu
Kapas Turtle Valley resort, Pulau Kapas, Terengganu

Pulau Kapas is one of the lesser known islands of Terengganu. Located just 6 km or so from Marang Jetty, it is only some 10 minutes on the ferry (every 2 hours), which makes it really accessible even for those who may be prone to sea sickness. Furthermore, with East Coast Expressway in operation, getting there is easier than ever, around 400km on dual lane expressway with another 20 or so KM trunk road.

snorkeling, sand castle, and playing with hermit crab
snorkeling, sand castle, and playing with hermit crab

Kapas Turtle Valley is run by a Dutch couple who called Malaysia home. It is a fairly small resort with capacity of less than 20-30 guests at any one time. It is also located at semi-private sort of beach with other resorts accessible via a short walk across the small hill in 10 minutes, perfect for those who loves a bit of privacy and quiet time.

You’ll be expected to spend close to RM 100 per night per person to stay at KTV, with breakfast inclusive. The bungalows are comfortable, bathrooms are big and quite luxurious for island standard, and you do have electricity around the clock.

food at Kapas Turtle Valley was excellent
food at Kapas Turtle Valley was excellent

What I love most though, is the food prepared by Sylvia. Breakfast usually consists of very good pastry, dutch cheese, egg, and juice, while lunch & dinner is as per order (usually from 3 choices) and priced reasonably. Her dishes are at least on par with some of the better restaurants in town, and that is certainly quite a luxury on an island, with a budget.

kayaking looks a lot easier in photos
kayaking looks a lot easier in photos

Holiday on island is about rest and relax, reading a book, listening to the waves and such, but if you’re restless, or you’re between 3-6, there are still quite a bit to do.

Making sand castle, catching hermit crab, snorkeling at the house reef, kayaking, throwing freebies, or even sailing on a catamaran is an option.

Aqua Sport Divers, the only dive center at Pulau Kapas
Aqua Sport Divers, the only dive center at Pulau Kapas

We spent 5 days and 4 nights at Turtle Kapas Valley, and only decided to put in some diving on 3rd and 4th day.

Aqua Sport Divers is the only dive center on the island, and some 25 minutes walk from where we stay. Fortunately, they are more than happy to ferry us on a small speed boat to & fro from KTV to dive center.

nemo with anemone, always one of my favorite shooting subjects
nemo with anemone, always one of my favorite shooting subjects

As for the dives, underwater visibility at Kapas isn’t exactly stellar, mostly due to the fact that the island is a mere 6 kilometers away from peninsular Malaysia, but they were more than decent.

Over the 3 dives, we spotted moray eel, barracuda, humphead wrasse, clown fish, jelly fish, big puffer, blue spotted stingray, and more. There were even a story about a group getting a glimpse of a whale shark a couple weeks prior.

UW pics taken with Olympus TG-5
UW pics taken with Olympus TG-5

I loaned a couple cameras from Olympus that are fit for underwater purposes. The Olympus TG-Tracker for video, and Olympus TG-5 mainly for stills. They were very convenient, pop the SD cards in and you’re good to go, no meticulous checking of seals or carrying my huge set up of my (now dated) Olympus E-PL3 with underwater housing. The picture quality isn’t as good as a micro 4/3 format for sure, but there were more than acceptable, and of course, carrying a small pouch with 2 cameras is much easier than a whole luggage full of gear for just one.

Overall it was an awesome trip, thanks to Rich & San San for organizing, will look forward to more R&R trips such as this one.

Less than 2 weeks ago, Suan organized a day trip for us, and specifically for the hot chick to the Chiling Falls. This waterfall that is sitauted less than an hour’s drive away from PJ is listed as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Selangor. Together with ST, Kim, and FA, we had a great time two Thursdays ago.

More pictures at my flickr set

Chinese Temple, guardian lion
the guardian lion, temple at Rawang

We engaged a guide for this tour, which turned out to be an excellent decision as our guide, Yen, turned out to be very good at what he is doing. After meeting at PJ, we drove to Rawang and first stopped by a Buddhist temple for some prayers and photography opportunity.

Buddhist Temple at Rawang, Selangor
Buddhist Temple

After that we stopped by the small town of Kuala Kubu Bharu for a heavier breakfast before proceeding with the journey. The small town reminded me of the Penang of yesteryears, very peaceful and simple. We had some really good wantan mee there.

Just before heading to the waterfalls, we also stopped by the Selangor Dam.

Kuala Kubu Bharu
stopped by Kuala Kubu Bharu for breakfast

The Chiling Falls is actually located quite deep inside the jungle. To reach there, we had to track the jungle for over an hour through pretty thick growth in the jungle.

walking the jungle track
jungle tracking for over an hour

The trail was pretty challenging, we had to cross the river on 5 occasions and the water could be up to chest high. Luckily our guide is very experienced and came prepared with safety ropes. I had to pack the camera in waterproof plastic bag, and hence denied the opportunity to captured some of the more interesting moments whilst crossing the river. It was quite an experience.

crossing the river
hot chick crossing the river

The river falls under government protection and absolutely no fishing is allowed. The river is actually packed with a lot of native fresh water fish that are absolutely fearless to human. We fed them with some bread Yen brought with him.

The guide was a lot more prepared than I thought, he actually had a stove set and made some hot drinks for us from boiling the water from Chiling river. I made a joke that it would be perfect if he had a hammock as well, and to my utter disbelieve, he ACTUALLY have a hammock with him (sans the ropes to tie it around the trees)!

fish feeding at chiling falls
feeding the fish with FA

After hanging out at the main waterfall for over an hour, it was time to make the return journey. On the way back FA actually lost her shoes in the rapids and had to walk over half an hour barefoot. The guide also picked up some trash (such as broken shoes) that were left from the other irresponsible tourists. We then had a very late lunch at Ulu Yam before returning home dead tired.

Chiling Falls, Selangor
The magnificent chiling falls

It was quite an adventurous trip and certainly a very enjoyable one. Perfect for a weekend getaway that does not involve going to the shopping malls. Yen can be contacted at happyyen at gmail.com or 017369 7831. He charges RM180 for a group of 2 to 8 person and will supply more guide if you have a bigger group.