A journey to the Perhentian Islands – Malaysia

Went to book our bus ticket to Jerteh (the town near the jetty where you can get a boat to the Perhentian Islands). Went to the bus terminal near the Titiwangsa train stop but all of the buses heading to Jerteh that evening were booked out. Panicking a little (as we realised we may have left it a bit late) we headed to the bus terminal at the PWTC stop (one stop away) where there was a larger number of interstate buses.

We got stopped by a ticket guy who said that all of evening buses to Jerteh were booked out but that he had special ‘express’ tickets that would cost us more. We dismissed him and headed to all of the counters only to realise he was right; they were all booked out!

At this point we were getting a bit desperate as we had no need to stay and pay for another night in KL and we hadn’t arranged any accommodation. We went back to the young ticket guy and questioned him a bit more – how much extra (5 RM more each), what time (9pm for a 9.30 departure) and whether this bus actually existed (we grilled him a couple of times – are you actually going to be here tonight?)

So we handed over 45 RM each, got some hand written tickets and then went on our way, with the intention to come back a few hours later.

We spent the rest of the day checking out the Batu Caves (pretty impressive, free to enter and best of all, no crowds as it was raining), shopping at Uniqlo (I ran in to buy a singlet I had been eyeing since Singapore) and eating some dinner at the Pavilion Mall.

Heading back to the bus terminal (with only minutes to spare) and it was packed! As it was a Friday night there were a lot of locals heading interstate for the weekend. In a mad rush and confusion, we were given the bus number plate and told to ‘go find it’ among the hundreds of other buses parked. We ran around in the dark trying to find the bus (feeling like we were on an episode of The Amazing Race!) and then a guy stopped us and asked where we were going. After telling him we were going to Jerteh, he told us to get onto his bus. But the number plates didn’t match up! So we fretted a bit, wondering whether it was the right bus or not (knowing there wasn’t much time until the bus was due to leave) when finally I got on and asked a lady sitting in the front if it was going to Jerteh. It was! Success! We had made it! And best of all, the bus existed!!

It was a long and freezing cold journey however. The air conditioning was turned up high and blowing into our faces as we tried to sleep. After a few pee break stops, and 10 hours later, we finally made it to Jerteh, and then Jetty Besut to board a speedboat to Perhentian Kecil!

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