The plan was simple – fly direct from Vientiane to Kuala Lumpur and then get a connecting flight to Kuala Terrengganu, overnight there and then off to Kapas island for 5 nights. But we didn’t factor in the Andrew-effect. Ten minutes before we were due to board the connecting flight he suddenly realised he had left his iPad on the airplane – the one we had disembarked from more than 2 hours earlier. So we backtracked through the airport and filed a lost property claim, but no one had reported anything found on our flight and that plane had already headed off to Hong Kong.
Having missed our flight, we then spent 45 minutes working out what to do next and decided to overnight in KL and continue the journey in the morning. So into KL central and I chose an aptly named hotel …Chaos Hotel and we can highly recommend it if you want somewhere near to the commuter train, reasonable price, clean and well-laid out. In the morning there was an email saying the iPad had been found and it would head to Kuala Terengganu on the same flight as us, but as lost luggage. Andrew and his iPad were reunited at the airport and we were back on track again.
The drive from KT airport was nearly 45 minutes and Kapas Island is a 15 minute boat ride off the coast. We chose it because it wasn’t known for being over-run with tour groups, there was a little infrastructure – there is power 24 hours a day and the snorkelling was supposed to be really good. And it turned out to be exactly like that. It is peak time along the east coast of Malaysia due to the monsoon weather patterns affecting most other areas of SE Asia, but not not there. The weather was hot, but not uncomfortable and there were some heavy rainfalls over night, but generally blue-sky days every day. Even in this peak time, it felt like the island was not over-run. There were no cars and we saw no dogs. Instead there were cats playing on the beach, good looking, healthy cats.
The 2 pictures below are standard beach shots – but look how many people you can see – paradise!
We stayed at Turtle Valley, which was wonderful. Simple accommodation, on the beach and food to be savored, Every morning we had to choose from 3 options what we wanted to order for dinner and not once did it disappoint. Delicious and home-cooked by our hostess Sylvia. Turtle Valley is at one end of the island. To get to the rest of the island we had to climb up and over a quite steep hill (concrete steps), but it meant less people wandered over to our beach.
The snorkeling directly off our beach wasn’t the best on the island, but it was convenient. We walked to the other side of the island – a trek of 20 or 30 minutes – and the snorkeling there was 100% stunning. Swimming through schools of fish, looking at jewel coloured sea creatures, spikey sea anemone, colourful coral and lots of vibrant blue sea cucumbers…. Andrew saw the biggest fish he has ever seen, it was apparently 2/3 of a meter, swimming not far from the shore. It was a bit disconcerting as the fish would occasionally nibble you or brush over your limbs.
We have recently acquired swim shirts, having experienced some sun-burn stupidity while in the Philippines and they were fantastic to put on and off and totally reduced our need for sun-sunscreen.
There were a few jelly-fish, usually in the mornings. but they were without stingers. The sea-lice that accompany the jellies were a bit annoying one day. We swam around the point and there were lots of jellyfish and the biting of the sea lice was so bad we go out of the water and trekked back over the hill rather than swimming any longer. The bites were like little pin-pricks – not sore per se, just annoying
One of us is a magnet for biting insects. It got a bit tedious listening to him each day counting the number of bites he had on various parts of the body. But on the plus side, if he was providing the food base for the island population of biting insects, I wasn’t being targeted by them!
Each day we would climb over the hill and walk 10 minutes down the beach to a local café for lunch. There, we worked our way through their menu. The café was located near the main jetty and as you looked off the jetty there were thick schools of tiny fish. Coloured fish and swordfish swam amongst these fish. The water was totally crystal clear everywhere we went.
It was a superb break and it is HIGHLY recommended as a destination.