An amazing island vacation with Bubbles Dive Resort.
Surrounded by wild nature, turtles and a beach just for ourselves.
We spent the full month of July traveling around Peninsula Malaysia and East Malaysia.
We visited beautiful places like Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Bako... But the place that surprised us the most was the Perhentian Islands, more specifically Bubbles Dive Resort.
It is one of those places when someone tells us they are going to Malaysia, we won't rest until we convince them to go to Bubbles.
Bubbles Dive Resort
A secluded resort that is also a turtle sanctuary!
The Perhentian Islands are a group of islands in the Besut district, Terengganu, in Malaysia.
There are two main Islands, the Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. Bubbles Dive Resort is situated in one of the southern tips of Perhentian Besar, on a cove.
I also have to mention that the weather was perfect! 30ºC outside and 32ºC inside water!!!
How we got there.
After a 17 hour flight, we landed in Kuala Lumpur where we took a smaller flight to Kota Bharu. There, a van from Bubbles was already waiting to pick us up.
The nice man drove us, for about 1 hour, to a small fisherman town called Kuala Besut. We rapidly realized that this was "the spot" where all the tourists take the boat to reach the Perhentian islands.
Our driver led us to one of the boats. If you are imagining one of those nice island ferries, well.. think more like a medium open tour/diving boat with just a plastic roof.
The boat quickly became crowded with us, maybe 8 more people plus all of our luggage.
It took a while until we could see the islands in the distance. We made a few stops in different resorts for drop-off and drop-in. It felt like our stop would never come until the boat suddenly stopped in the middle of the ocean and the boat driver said "Bubbles here!" and pointed to a very small blue fisherman's boat that was coming towards us. We then had to change boats literally in the middle of the ocean. I felt like I was stepping into a canoe, all bouncy with a small wood plank to sit on.
I was panicking a bit but at the same time I felt so special, being picked up like that, in our own little blue boat, and I could see the expression on the other tourists faces thinking "where the f*&$# are they going?!".
It was then explained to us that the Resort was private. Not even local people were allowed to enter the property, which included the beach, the jungle, and part of the ocean. That is why the normal tourist boat couldn't go further. Cool right? But even cooler is the reason why: Bubbles is also a turtle sanctuary!
When we reached the beach pier, two gentlemen were waiting to welcome us. They kindly took our bags and proceed to give us a quick tour of the Resort and of our jungle hut.
The place where we saw more animals!
Bubbles is an eco-friendly resort. They work hard to create a low impact on the environment doing things like having no beachfront rooms to preserve the shore, using biodegradable cleaning products, teaching about conservation, among other things.
As I said before, Bubbles is also a turtle sanctuary. Together with a team of volunteers, they have a Turtle and Reef Conservation Project. They make sure the turtles return every year to lay eggs, they collect the eggs and protect them on a hatchery.
And since turtle eggs are very valuable in Malaysia, they also have a night beach patrol to make sure no outsider steals the eggs. Because of this, after a certain hour of the night, it is not allowed to use lights on the resort, everything must be dark so the turtles can lay eggs in peace, and the baby turtles can see the moon and find their way to the ocean.
As a guest, you have the opportunity to be part of all this!
When we arrived at our jungle hut we noticed a colorful turtle-shaped sign with a big YES written on. They explained that most nights there are either turtles laying eggs or turtles being born and, if we wanted to be wakened to go watch it happen, we would need to let the sign with the yes side up at our door.
Of course, we had the sign saying yes every night during our stay, and I remember falling asleep wishing they would knock on our door.
During our stay, we saw one gigantic turtle digging and digging to lay the eggs and in another night we also saw dozens of baby turtles being born and crawling to the ocean at moonlight. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!
Besides all of this, we also had the opportunity to swim with turtles as one of the resort tours, but I will talk more about those later on.
So many animals.
Turtles are definitely not the only inhabitants of Bubbles. I swear that during our travel, it was here where we saw more animals. And not just the animals you would be expecting to find like monkeys (cute, black, fluffy ones, with very long tails), all sorts of fish, crabs, lizards, very big scary spiders... but also more unusual animals like blacktip sharks or these huge lizards that resemble Komodo Dragons, but are not (they were everywhere just relaxing and are not poisonous or dangerous, although they look like it).
We also saw very cool snakes, a dotty fluorescent ray, some very weird looking insects and for our surprise, squirrels.
Activities and food
Delicious local food and so much to do!
At Bubbles there are no rooms with sea view or beachfront huts. All huts are built behind the trees. When you look at it from the ocean you would never say there is a resort there, it just looks like a beautiful deserted beach with a massive jungle behind it.
The huts are simple but comfortable and quite big. My favorite part was our bathroom because the shower had no ceiling! I loved to shower looking up at the trees and listening to the jungle sounds.
There is a restaurant in the resort that serves western and Asian food. Me being a sucker for Asian food, I basically spent the whole stay trying all the local Malaysian dishes on the menu.
But the favorite of everyone was definitely the grill day. A day where they light up a huge BBQ grill and cook the most amazing food you can imagine.
Bubbles is one of the very few resorts at Perhentian which has a house reef at their doorstep. You don't need to go far to see the most beautiful, colorful corals and fish.
The resort has snorkeling equipment that you can use for free, but if you want something a bit more adventurous you can also take one of their boat tours and go swimming with turtles or scuba diving. We did both and it was so worth it!
Another great thing to do while staying there is a hike. There is a trail that goes through the jungle around the resort. It's an easy hike. It takes about one hour, with amazing views and tumbling monkeys up in the trees.
All in all, we were here for 5 days and we regretted not staying longer.
We are constantly saying we need to go back. I'm sure one day we will!
Bubbles Dive Resort:
Watch the video of this trip here: