|Time to hit up the beach! We headed over to the east coast and hopped onto the speed boat over to the Perhentian islands. We were surprised to be handed life jackets on what seemed the safest boat so far......then the journey began! Imagine yourself sitting comfortably on a semi padded seat chatting to some fellow travellers, when BAM the boat hits every wave throwing the passengers around the boat. Spines mostly intact we were dropped off at the islands and went in search of some accommodation. There are dorm rooms, some expensive looking chalets on the beach, some full places on the beach annnnnnnd our lovely wooden shack! Simple for sure but it was a roof for the night before we moved into cushier dorms linked with Anna's dive school. Anna did her advanced open water and did some awesome deep water, drift, slightly confuzzled navigation dives and her favourite a wreck dive. Wreck diving is the way to go!! Saw lots of cool fishies, sharks, tons of amazingly coloured nudibranchs and a massive barracuda. Whilst Anna was apparently not breathing much air under water Alison hit up the snorkelling around the islands. Turtles, sharks and baby sharks and some brightly coloured coral made for some excellent snorkelling days. Island food didn't let us down with an awesome special price BBQ with some fun locals. We even got to go back the next day for our cake as they had run out the night before.
Relaxed from the islands we headed out to Khota bharu and wandered following the map of lies to the cultural centre. Not quite what we were expecting, but still awesome. We got to watch some batik painting, they even let us have a go on the beautiful piece he was working on - feel sorry for who ever buys that one, we did try and stay within the lines. Saw some people making kites, listened to and Anna tried some coconut husk percussion, and sat down with sone Malaysians and played some games of congkak. Neither of us knew what we were doing but we did move a lot of marbled from one pot to the next.
Tried lots of different foods at the bight Market, occasionally causing confusing with our lack of Malay, who knew rice could be blue! We even tried some stinky durian fruit, thanks for sharing Crystal, pretty glad we didn't have a whole portion to ourselves but tastes better than it smells.
Spent the next day wandering around pretty much all of the town looking at mosques, temples, funny looking clock towers, and a funny little royal museum where we learnt about some royal traditions. Following the map of lies we took a rather long sweaty walk to try and find the kits making place. Failed but did find a awesome little village were some ladies doing more batik painting and a temple full of dragons. To escape from the heat we collapsed under a little shelter in the park and lay their hoping we wouldn't melt away. Recovering some energy we escaped into the malls (we love air con) and found a excellent little cafe where we cooled down with some tasty drinks, Alison found the ice coffee of her dreams and Anna drank from a jar.
More walking following the map of lies we found the most unimpressive mosque, and relaxed in a park before heading back to the night Market for food and the night bus to Butterworth.