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Diving on the Perhentian Islands

Diving stuff... I'm now a "qualified novice PADI Scuba diver" whatever that means - I just know that it was brilliant!

I did this on the Perhentian Islands with a dive shop called "Watercolours".

The Perhentians are just off the East coast of Malaysia, the nearest mainland town is Kota Bahru - but you actually get a ferry from a place called Kuala Besut, which is a 45min taxi journey from Kota Bahru.

There are two islands - Kecil (small) and Bezar (Big). We stayed on Bezar, which is a bit quieter than Kecil - although, alcohol is VERY expensive on either island (RM7.50 for a small can of tiger - about GBP1.50) where it's available at all - very Muslim area.

Mike, my other half is already PADI do-daa'd, and he did a load of diving with "Turtle Bay Divers" - they are located on both Kecil and Bezar. They were great, as were Watercolours. Mike did so many dives (about eight in five days) that he qualified for a discount rate of RM50 per dive (about a tenner - including hire of all equipment and boat rides and divemaster guide...)

The diving was fantastic for me as a beginner - the water was VERY clear and in most places there was little current. I saw turtles, small sharks, stingrays as well as lots of different types of fish - although in fairness, I also saw quite a lot whilst just snorkelling. I'm not sure how much it would appeal to 'experienced divers' though - I know there are some deeper dives, and a small shipwreck. One guy has been back to the island tens of times, and has dived in one area, he reckons, 50 times at least - but he was american - so probably a little mad.

We stayed in chalets which cost GBP12 per night - there are cheaper on Kecil Island (but would tend to not have fans) and there are more expensive with aircon - I don't think you need aircon there (this coming from the person who deliberately hangs around in shops to stay in the cool...)

There's a website - Perhentian Ferry which I'm sure has lots of good info - but I don't have the patience for it...

There endeth my tourism boost for Malaysia... Koh Tao in Thailand is also meant to be good - as is Phi Phi (Thailand) but I'm not sure of the seasons to be sure of clear water...