Between Perhentian and Kapas, we stopped at Kuala Terengganu, a small city on the east coast of the Malaysian Peninsular. It has a pretty and interesting Chinatown district mixing alongside newly built/ultra modern skyscrapers. I would say it’s worth a night or two in between the islands and jungles. We stayed at a good little hostel called ‘Space Inn‘, which offered clean, comfortable and great value rooms. It’s an extremely hot city so we found the cinema and watched the new Bruce Willis film (it cost £1!), bargain! We then found ourselves shivering to death as the air con took on a whole new meaning in there! I also tried my utmost to get a ticket for the local football match. It was Terengganu F.C. vs Johor Bahru F.C. in the Malaysian Super League, a tasty first vs second affair. After using all of my match day experience and chatting with the locals, I failed to get a ticket as it was a complete sell out. I had to settle for Manchester United vs Liverpool in a local restaurant. Malaysian people are football crazy.
From Kuala Terengganu, we headed by public bus onto Marang Jetty to catch a fisherman’s boat for the twenty minute ride over the choppy waters to Pulau Kapas. As the boat rolled towards the jetty, the lush rainforest and white, powdery sand came into view…we instantly switched into chill mode.
This is a bold statement, but I would say, Kapas is the perfect island. It is only twenty minutes from the mainland, but you wouldn’t know that, its perfectly formed white, sandy coves and warm turquoise waters which are perfect for swimming, it really is the perfect setting for a relaxing, beach getaway. The island is tiny and you can walk from one end to the other in twenty-five minutes, a white walkway links each of the coves so you can choose whichever piece of paradise takes your fancy each day.
Kapas has limited accommodation options due to its size and a law regarding building regulations. If you are looking for an adventure, a couple of campsites are available, a tent is included and the price is RM15 (£3) per person per night. Beach huts and dorm rooms are available at a handful of resorts. Miz and I chose KBC Chalet and Restaurant which was owned by a great Dutch guy, Hans, who travelled to the island fifteen years ago, fell in love with the place and purchased a piece of land and built a truly magical beachfront property. His place made our stay on Kapas truly special. We stayed in a simple, beautifully designed wooden room with an extra comfy bed, mosquito net and fan for RM80 (£15) per night. KBC is more than just rooms, every member of staff went out of their way to make this a truly memorable week. The quirky touches, landscaping of the grounds, selection of books and games gave it a real, homely feel and the food at the restaurant was excellent. The other great thing about KBC was the social aspect as a whole host of travellers from all over the world chatted together, ate and played cards during the evenings. Everyone coming together just seemed to happen there. We met some great people there, who we will hopefully see again one day.
We spent our days lazing about in the sun, reading, snorkelling, swimming, eating (of course!) and generally enjoying the surrounding nature, peace and quiet that Kapas offers in abundance. I would highly recommend a few days or months on this totally tropical, paradise island. It is a real hidden gem so sssshhhh, don’t tell too many friends!
Handy Tips to get the most out of your visit to Pulau Kapas Island
- Stay at KBC. The boat from the mainland pulls up right in front of this perfect, beachside getaway. Chances are a member of staff will meet you at the boat, follow him to book a room and I promise you won’t regret it. The food here is also, in our opinion, the best on the island and great value too. They also have a dorm room for RM35 (£7) per night.
- Grab some snacks, beers, sun cream, cash etc. from the mainland. All of these items are pretty expensive on the island and also bear in mind there are NO cash machines on the island.
- The island has little or no WiFi, so be prepared to read, talk, swim and play lots of games, (heaven for Miz!).
- Try visiting in the shoulder season and avoid school holidays…the island is never really busy but by doing this you can experience that true castaway feeling.
Kapas is truly spectacular.
- If you ever find yourself in Malaysia, this island should be on the top of your list! Back to civilisation!