Our Story – Retreat to Pulau Kapas, Malaysia

The small somewhat unheard of Island of Kapas lies 6km off the coast from a small fishing village called Marang (not to be confused with Merang a lot further north) and is a beauty in every way!

Another recommendation we heard of through the ever informative backpacker grapevine was among the best we have had so far. Every traveller we have met, and that there maybe has ever been, is always in search of the little idyllic island where no-one goes, is unspoilt and where you can have the beaches to yourself. Well rest assured these things are all true in Kapas…

The short bus hop from Kuala Terrenganu (30 mins on the SP Bumi, 2.50MYR, heading for Dungung) to Marang is simple and you get dropped off just down the road from a small jetty with one stall selling tickets to the island. Easy peasy. 40 ringgit per return later and you are on a small taxi boat for a 20 minute serene ride to Kapas itself…unless the sea is unkind and then you are almost thrown overboard with your dignity and backpack with it…

However, no matter how rough the boat ride over, the island itself is well worth it. We were dropped off to the left of the jetty on one of the main beaches and made our way to what we thought was the hostel we were recommended, KBC (Kapas Beach Chalets). In classic ‘us’ style we actually walked into the wrong reception/hut on the sand and ended up staying next door but it didn’t matter one iota. We were greeted by the Dutch owner, told to sit down and chill out while he handed us free ice cold drinks before showing us to a beautiful dark wood room (60MYR) with a big double bed and a huge draping mosquito net (the stuff of childhood dreams for Charlotte!). So once it dawned on us three days later that we were actually staying next door to KBC in Kapas Homestay (they used to be merged but are now run separately) we quickly got over the fact we were in the ‘wrong’ place and continued to revel in its home like atmosphere.

Kapas Homestay, KBC and a few more resorts and a dive centre are all sat right on the beach and whilst it boasts fluffy white sand and clear waters which are beautiful by most peoples standards (and the most popular with the day trippers) if you turn right and walk around the headland, that’s where the magic really is. Just two bays over is probably one of the best beaches either of us have ever been to – and we are quickly becoming beach snobs! – and for four days we largely had it all to ourselves. The whole beach is pristine white sand, turquoise calm water and a plush green forest that stretches out onto the beach. Immediate similarities between this and Cape Tribulation in Northern Australia sprang to mind but when we both went to CT it was raining and dark so by mutual agreement this was better…fact.

Our mind quickly turned to mush as we lay on the beach forgetting what the time was or which day it was so lets say we spent 3 days enjoying all that Kapas had to offer and leave it at that. The owner of Kapas Homestay has been on the island for 13 years and you can see how time quickly becomes irrelevant in a place like this but keen not to become beach recluses…just yet, we sat down over a cold beer, the sunset and decided where and when we would go next!

Tough as that sounds we decided on Tioman…Onwards!

C & J

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