From Cherating we took a taxi, then a bus and then a boat to Pulau Kapas. One of the “paradise islands” off the east coast of Malaysia. We had heard many good things about Pulau Kapas. It’s a very small island and much quieter than it’s neighbours The Perentian Islands. The boat ride from Marang to the island is only about 10 to 15 minutes.
Arriving in Paradise
When we arrived and jumped off the boat onto the soft sand I was immensely excited. This was the first time I was on a paradise island! The sun was shining bright and made all the colours pop. The sea was a brilliant turquoise and I couldn’t wait to jump in! We walked the few metres across the beach to the reception of the place we had booked and checked in. Soon enough my excitement started to fade. Bungalows were scattered around a dirty and unkept area. When we opened the door of our chalet the excitement plummeted below 0. A musty smell crawled up our noses and the dark and dingy interior had obviously not been cleaned. We turned around straight away and went back to reception where we got an apology and a key to another chalet.
This chalet was not much better but at least there were sheets on the beds. We opened the window and door to let some air in, got changed into swimmers and quickly got out again. My idea of this paradise island had changed significantly within the first 15 minutes.
Exploring Pulau Kapas
After some lunch at the restaurant of the “resort” next door we explored the island. Pulau Kapas is mostly jungle and only one side of the island has beaches. Because there is not much on the island, only a few resorts if you can call them that, it’s pretty quiet and you have plenty of space to yourself. We walked along the old stone walkway that connects the different beaches and it was beautiful. The walk leads through bits of jungle and over rocks and it’s lovely to go for a leisurely stroll. Along the way we went for dips and enjoyed just drifting in the warm water.
At night we slept with the door wide open to not smell the black mould that was everywhere and I was more than happy that I had brought the mosquito net that my mum had given me. With the jungle right there, there we lots of big mosquitos and the chalet did not come with a net and sleeping with the window and door closed was not an option.
We spent the following day snorkelling and lazing on the beach. It was easy to see lots of coral and different fish just a few metres from the shore. Though there are better places to snorkel in the world it’s still a pleasure to see the underwater world at Pulau Kapas and it’s nice and easy to walk along to different beaches and relax in the sun in between swims.
Goodbye Paradise island
When we got ready to leave Pulau Kapas after a second night in our mould chalet we were relieved to go back to the mainland. We had missed eating cheap local food and having choice of where to go and what to eat. On the island there was lots of western food that didn’t appeal to us at all and all the food is double the price and a bit more than it is on the main land. We also didn’t like the attitude from some of the people on the island. It’s like they don’t care if things are dirty because the tourists will come anyway. But despite these disappointments we were still happy that we had made the decision to see Pulau Kapas. With it’s quiet beaches and old walkway, lush green jungle and corals, it is a little piece of paradise. After all, you have to take the good with the bad and not let a few disappointments ruin your experience. That’s travelling.
The video we shot on Pulau Kapas
Everything considered, Pulau Kapas is a fantastic place to visit. One day is actually enough to explore and go snorkelling. So if you don’t want to stay on the island, it’s easy to make a day trip from Marang. The down side of a day trip is that you don’t get to enjoy the sunset and the quiet nighttime on the island. If you do decide to stay on the island, make sure you bring snacks and water with you from the mainland. Everything is so overpriced on the island and there is not much choice seeing there are no real shops. Accommodation wise we can not give tips on where to stay, but do not stay at Ombak Kapas Island Beach Resort if you can help it. We have heard from others that the quality of accommodation is quite low everywhere on the island. There is also an option to camp which would be cheaper and probably more fun than staying at any of the “resorts” if you have the right gear.