First Day – traveling
It was Wednesday, 30 April 2008. Seng Chor and I left the house at around 5:30 pm. Patrick and Florence (Patrick’s wife) came to pick us up. Che Leong, the Dive Instructor was already in the MPV. So, there were altogether 5 of us for this trip. Their main mission was to complete the Rescue Diver certification course and be certified as a Rescue Diver. My mission – to watch Hong Kong Drama Series, swim, snorkel, dive (if possible). Of course, the most important thing is to relax and have fun.
Patrick drove for about 1 and half hours. Because he was not feeling well, Seng Chor took over after that. We reached Cherating about 8 pm. We stopped over at Seri Ombak Restaurant for dinner. I ordered Soya Sauce Beef with rice and Horlicks with milk. It was quite tasty though the beef was a bit tough. Seng Chor ordered Paprick Rice. He was actually thinking of Pattaya Rice when he ordered it. So, he was a bit surprised when the dish was served. Overall, it was a satisfactory dinner for everyone except Patrick. He ordered porridge but didn’t have the appetite to finish it. Later, he even vomited.
We arrived Seri Malaysia Hotel, Kuala Terengganu at around midnight. Seng Chor has already booked 2 rooms – one double bed room which I shared with Florence, and a family room for the 3 guys. I was the only one who showered that night. The rest just washed face, brushed teeth and slept. My nose was giving me problems throughout the journey. I was a bit worried that I would disturb Florence during the night. But when I asked her the next morning, she said that I was really quiet – no sound from me at all. Praise the Lord!
Redang Bay Resort
We had buffet breakfast at around 7:30 am, and left for the Merang Jetty at about 8 am, and reached there before 9 am. The ferry was due to leave at 9:30 am. The ferry was really packed. We wanted to sit in the open area but it was fully occupied. So, we all sat at the lower deck.
I slept throughout the ferry ride. It took only about 1 hour to reach Redang Bay Resort. We arrived at around 10:30 am. For all my previous island trips, I stayed only in Berjaya Resorts. It was a huge difference indeed. I was surprised that they even provided free flow of welcome drink – orange cordial. No porter service. The seats in the Reception Area were arranged in multiple rows and 2 columns – like a bus station. The transportation of the luggage from the ferry to the resort was rather interesting. So, I snapped a few photos of it. After everyone has checked in, the lady made some announcements on the house rules. No microphone but she spoke loudly. All I could remember was the meal times. Hahaha! Very important indeed.
Breakfast: 7 – 9 am
Lunch: 12:30 – 1:30 pm
Tea: 4 – 5 pm
Dinner: 7 – 8 pm
Upon arrival, the four of them went to the dive centre to keep their diving stuff. I waited for them at the Reception Area until everything was settled. Then, we went to our respective chalets. The couples stayed in the chalets – next to each other, while the Dive Instructor stayed in the dorm.
First impression on the room – “Bare Necessities” – double bed, dressing table with mirror and a cupboard – that’s all. No chair. No tv. No kettle. Perhaps the only thing that is attractive in the room is the painting. Somehow, I have a sense of contentment. At first I thought that no kettle means I couldn’t boil water for drinking. Later, Seng Chor told me that water is free flow at the dining area. Woohoo! No need to boil water at all. I don’t need to wait for the water to cool down before drinking. Just refill anytime from the container. I really love this!
The other thing I like about the room is that there are a lot of hooks for you to hang clothes/towel – one row behind the room door, 2 rows on the side wall, and 2 more in the bathroom. I would say that the resort is catered mainly for snorkels and divers. Yup, they need a lot of hooks to hang all the wet clothes. You can also hang the washing on the line outside the room to dry. It’s really convenient indeed.
It was about 11 am. The four of them went out for their first dive trip at the Southern Tip. I slept in the room. At around 12:30, I went to the dive centre to wait for them. They returned almost 1 pm. Lunch was cold already but still tasted fine. The resort operators have allocated the food portion for each group. Each meal consists of soup, fish, chicken, taufu or wan tan and vegetables – 5 dishes altogether. For the first meal, the dessert was apple. I ate quite a lot.
The swimming pool
The pool is just outside our chalets. I only go to the pool after the afternoon tea when there was no one around. On the first day, Seng Chor accompanied me. He asked me to swim the whole length of the pool. I was not really confident. I didn’t realize that the other end is quite deep. I stopped when I saw the depth difference. Then, Seng Chor allowed me to swim along the width of the pool. To practice my legs and hands coordination, Seng Chor suggested that I use the snorkeling gear, so that I don’t have to worry about the breathing part. It was a good suggestion. I managed to improve. Firstly, I tried without moving hands. Then, next he asked me to move my hands. Amazingly, I could swing my hands quite well. I swam a few rounds – to and fro. Next, Seng Chor asked me to tilt my head to the side to breathe as I swing the hand. As he was giving me the instructions, he suddenly lost balance, and fell into the pool with his T-shirt on. It was so funny! So, he had to go back to the chalet to change. While he was away, I didn’t try the breathing part, just continued to swim with the snorkeling gear. When he returned, we adjourned to the dining area for tea. I had banana cake, fried banana fritters and green bean soup.
After tea, they had to gear up for the next dive trip. I snorkeled. It was the first time I snorkeled on my own in the open sea. Che Leong managed to get a life jacket for me, and I used Seng Chor’s snorkeling gear. So, I didn’t have to pay the resort for the equipment. I enjoyed it very much. The fishes were so close to me. I tried to touch them but obviously I couldn’t. It’s just so beautiful. Even though there were only 2 types of fish at the shore, I still enjoyed it. It was wonderful to swim with the fish.
After the diving trips, the divers continued with their Rescue Diver course which was very near to my snorkeling area. I observed them as they ‘rescued’ each other. When it was Florence’s turn, I switched with her husband half way, and became her victim. When it was time for her to drag her husband to the beach, I pretended to be her victim. I was quite tensed at the beginning and it was difficult for her to support me. Eventually, I relaxed and she piggy-backed me to the beach. Then, she pretended to perform the CPR on me. It was fun!
We had the same type of food – soup, fish, chicken, vegetables and wantan. Oranges were served as dessert. After dinner, Seng Chor and I walked along the beach. We walked until the Mo Mo Tea souvenir shop – about 10 minutes. The building was actually the location for the movie “Summer Holiday” acted by Sammi Cheng and Richie Ren in 1999. I bought a fridge magnet as a souvenir. Along the beach, there were a few disco parties taking place – mostly Cantonese songs. There was a live English band as well at the Laguna Beach Resort. There are 4 resorts along that side of the beach, and 4 more on the left side of Redang Bay Resort.
That was the first day and first night at Redang Bay Resort.