So we got married at Pullman Phuket Arcadia a few years back, so coming back here was an amazing walk down memory lane (pun intended) along the protected Naithon beach.
Firstly, we were welcome back with much love: a platter of fruits ornately arranged in a cubic shape, alongside with an actual cubic.
We love the surrounding beaches too, from the Sirinat national park where we did some light snorkeling and Banana beach for some serious waves, and just lazy time in the pool.
The breakfast spread in Pullman is amazing, from Bloody Mary stations, proper waffles, Thai noodle soup, ham, and many more.
For cheaper food option, right along the beach are at least 10 Restaurants if not more. One of our favorite recurring ones are great for grill seafood and everything Thai : green and yellow curry, Tom yam, sticky rice, banana fritters, and more. Couldn’t go wrong even if you point randomly on the menu but they do serve some Russian food which we did not try. Nope, not in Thailand (at least for me).
All and all, the perfect weekend getaway.
TravelTips: Taxi is cheap to Pullman but metered taxi
My in-laws were in town for about 2 weeks. This time around, Stef and I would liked to show them the beauty of Malaysia. We have decided to do a trip to Kota Kinabalu for the islands, Sandakan for the wildlife, and Kuantan – my home sweet home for a quick stroll. #visitmalaysia
First stop: Singapore – Kota Kinabalu
It was easy to get around Kota Kinabalu, taxi was cheap – and getting to the islands are super convenient. We walk to the Jetty from our hotel ; and chose Sapi Island for day 1.
Sapi Island was beautiful. The boat ride was slightly disappointing looking at the amount of rubbish and plastic bottles along the way , but the island itself was beautiful with pristine water.
There wasn’t too many shades, and the bigger part of the island was closed off. However, the snorkeling experience was breath-taking.
Day 2 : We chose Manukan island, and the cost and time took to the island was similar ( #Traveltips : there are no set pricing for the boat rides, so prepare to negotiate slightly below ticket price if you wish )
Manukan island is slightly more touristy as there are resorts on the island with better facilities in general. The beaches are nice, and I personally preferred the private beach as it is more beautiful to snorkel in. (#Traveltips : Beware of sea urchins, they are big and everywhere)
It was easy and relaxing if you are en route to something else like climbing the mount KK or wildlife spotting.
Boat ride : RM 25 per person
Snorkel set : RM 20 per set
Conservation fee : RM 30 (you can go multiple islands with it )
#TravelTips : Haggle! Costing of boat ride dependent on your negotiation skills, but it’s not too much anyway.
For our annual company trip, #hootcamp, and this year it was at the wonderful Rawa Island, 30 minutes boat ride off Messing. I have been to plenty of islands in Malaysia, and this is definitely one of my favorite.
Let’s not talk about the journey to get there, as whatever that might be, pleasant or not ; it’s totally worth it once you’re there!
The island itself is small, with only two resorts ; one family friendly, the other party-animal friendly. We stayed at the family friendly one of course ( it looks much nicer and the food was amazing – check below for a variety )
The water was pristine, slides are super fun, and you can get amazing thai massages there ( it’s a must do!). There are peacocks everywhere and a resident beagle that is super adorable and friendly at parties. Plenty of hammocks and beach chairs by the beach as well.
You can hike around the island in less than 30 minutes, but be prepared to go up hill quite a bit to see the full view of some island in the vicinity.
The favorite part of my trip was simply the snorkeling experiences. I can literally sit down on the ground, wear my goggles, and see fishes swimming around me. That’s how clear and how healthy the corals are. I did about 2 hours of snorkeling sessions too and spotted tons of amazing clams, sea cucumbers, corals, and fishes. My only regret was that I did not bring an underwater camera to show what I mean.
The theme of the party was #pinktropics ; so the photos are amazing (all without any filter).Sunset was beautiful from the deck tucked along the hiking trail too. It was a great place to bond, simple and not overly luxurious – which makes it suitable for a quick getaway.
All and all, it was only a short trip from Singapore, and definitely a place I would revisit!
Quick itinerary view : 3 days 2 nights out of Perth Perth – Fremantle – Margaret River – Mandurah – Penguin Island – Airport
I personally am a beach bum, so our day trips to wrap up our vacation was without a doubt the easiest to plan. We drove from Perth towards Margaret River, passing through Fremantle market, and back to Mandurah the day after for ease of going back to the airport. We took our own pace, enjoying one beach after another, strolling through vineyards, and do practically nothing at all (the best kind of vacation).
On the way from Perth, we drove through Fremantle to the famous Fremantle market. Parking was easy to find around the Fremantle prison, and the market was very accessible. There are quite a number of eateries within the market, and we tried a number of them – good’ol Australian breakfast, Spanish, Korean, German, Turkish, and more.
On the shopping side, it was not as interesting as I’d imagine it to be (most of the items can be found anywhere around South East Asia at a cheaper price). Other than that, we enjoyed the food and fruits, strolling around and soaking in the busy market atmosphere, and head on to Margaret River.
The drive towards our hotel was great. It was scenic, and we could easily stop and look at the amazing coastline, and was extremely happy to arrive at our villa for the night. The beach is right outside our villa, and so secluded there’s almost no one at all except for some surfers in a distance.
We wander around and found a gem! An amazing Thai restaurant called Chang Thai, fully ran by Thai staff, homey and delicious !
Next day, we drove to some caves and a beach, and immerse ourselves in some fun before spending a night in Mandurah at Hamelin Bay. Apparently you are able to see Stingrays coming close to the beach, but can’t attest to that.
#TravelTips : Caution, drive slowly or cautiously!! We saw a kangaroo crossed the road and wow it was HUGE!
For our final day, we drove over to Penguin Island to visit the wonderful penguins and sea lion. The boat trip was really pleasant, superbly calm that you can opt to walk across to the island ( yes, I meant WALK! ) if you want to.
After seeing the penguins on the island, we got on the glass-bottomed boat to see the sea lions. Getting in touch with nature in close proximity was nice, it was superbly hot, and we manage to get through the whole boat tour in time for lunch and to the airport.
Perth, I’ll be back someday! =)
Check it out : http://penguinisland.com.au/
Cost of boat tour : $38.50 / adult ; $29.50 / child