My next destination after paradisiac Perhentian Islands is Cameron Highlands and I don’t actually find much information on the web on how to go from Perhentian Islands to Cameron Highlands.
There isn’t much about this matter on the internet, maybe because the Perhentian Islands aren’t such a famous destination between backpackers that are always traveling the cheapest way, and that was what I was looking for, but apparently there are no buses from Kuata Besut, the city where the pier to the islands is, to Cameron Highlands.
I was reading about a van that goes from Perhentian Islands to Cameron Highlands but wasn’t seeing a way to buy a ticket online and the comments on the web were saying that it is an expensive trip and not a good one. Also, I didn’t want to risk not having a place for me in that van the same day because there is nothing to do in Kuala Besut. Without any sure about anything, I decided that I need to buy in advance my ticket from Perhentian Islands to Cameron Islands so I did it online. As there isn’t a bus to Cameron Highlands, I found a way around and decided that I would go to Ipoh and stay there 1 night adding this destination to my route. There are buses from Perhentian Islands to Ipoh and then from Ipoh to Cameron Highlands and that’s what I planned to do, so I bought my ticket online.
The only problem is that when I bought my ticket online, I didn’t notice that I was buying a ticket overnight. There were two options only: 8 AM and 9 PM. As I see 8 am I Immediately assume that the other was at 9 am too. I couldn’t be more wrong…
So, after trying to avoid spending one day at Kuala Besut, that was actually what happened. I departed on the last boat that leaves the Perhentian Islands, about 4 pm, thinking that I would spend one night in Kuata Besut and move on the next morning at 9 am. When I realized that my ticket was for 9 pm I couldn’t be more pissed off!!! I just wasted one day of my trip in Malaysia that is not so long, and worst of all is that this place has nothing to see, nor even an interesting spot to sit comfortably to work on the computer!!! I was blaming myself for my mistake for a long time…
There isn’t much accommodation in Kuala Besut, and I stayed in the cheapest one and even though it wasn’t that cheap it managed to be the worst place where I slept. The room looked like a prison full of written messages on the wall. The bedsheets were old and full of holes, but I managed to sleep very well, and besides some comments on the web, the lady didn’t shut the bathroom during the night.
I decided to go for lunch in a place just in front. A very empty place but with friendly people, and that’s where I spent the whole day eating and working on my laptop. The waitress was very nice and even had a conversation with me for a while and I explained to her why I’m there the whole day and where I am going next. She even told me that if I wanna go somewhere I can leave my big backpack there. And I did it. I was tired of sitting and the bench wasn’t that comfy, so I went for a little walk next to the ocean. There is a small park where children were playing and many people were sitting while looking at the water. There is also some street art on the walls.
After spending some time there, I go back to the restaurant where I have my dinner and got an offer for a ride to the bus station that was about 15 minutes walk. The people at the restaurant were really very nice, and after all this day wasn’t so bad. I accept the ride and appreciate very much her gesture while saying thankful words.
The bus terminal is small and it’s here that I see a paper stating that there is actually a Minivan going from Perhentian islands to Cameron Highlands and the price wasn’t so bad as I could see on the internet. I got even more pissed at myself when I discovered this fact, but anyway, the day wasn’t so bad. The van from Perhentian Islands to Cameron Highlands (Tanah Rata) departs at 10 AM and costs 60 RM. I saw this information at Ekpres Perdana counter.
So, I ended up going to Ipoh at 9 pm and arriving there at about 4 am. Luckily the Ipoh bus terminal is a big and nice complex where I was feeling safe at that time of the night. I confess that I was anxious about the bus terminal to be just an open-air bus station with no one else there, but luckily for me, that wasn’t the case.
There were many ticket counters and I bought my bus ticket to Cameron Highlands for the first bus available. Until then, I slept at the bus station while waiting for it. I waited for about 4 hours… Not so bad as I could sleep on the metal benches inside the station and I wasn’t the only one there, but the only foreigner.
The journey to Cameron Highlands is slow and the bus is very empty, but the view is great. I can see some limestone cliffs and as the bus gets higher, the view of the surrounding mountains is wonderful, with clouds embracing them and the most luxurious vegetation molding it. At least the road from Ipoh to Cameron Highlands was worthy!