We’d not heard about Pulau Sembilan (九岛屿） until our friend recommended the place to us. This is a small island just South of Pangkor, which is popular among scuba divers and anglers, and only recently the island started getting overnight visitors. Overnight trips are organised by a couple of operators, and for the trip we made, we went with 9 Island Agency （环岛旅游业).
The overnight tour was RM280/adult and RM200/kid, accommodation is in a tent, and all meals included, i.e. 2 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 tea, 1 steamboat dinner and 1 bbq supper. We’d never been on a camping trip as a family before, hence we thought this would be a good opportunity for us to try out camping.
The meeting point for the tour was Bagan Sungai Burung, Bagan Datoh (巴眼拿督双武隆渔村) at 7:30am. The day before, we were already spending the night in Teluk Intan, at 6am, we started our drive to Bagan Sungai Buring, which still took us about 1hr (if from KL, it’ll be around 3hr +).
We were given a simple breakfast, and then got ready to leave for the island, which was a 30min ride away on a speedboat.
The side of the island we arrived at had a long strip of beach. A couple of tour operators have set up facilities here and ours was the biggest set up, which could accommodate around 200+ people. The facilities included a main shaded communal area where meals are served, and then next to it, clusters of tents were closely laid out in rows sheltered by zinc roof, and then between the clusters of tents, the toilet cubicles.
As we were the first boat to arrive the island for the day, we got to choose our tents first. We took 2 x 2 person tents on the 1st row closest to the sea, and not too far from the toilets. It’s no glamping, as the tents are basic, and we were given a straw mat and 2 pillows for each tent. ‘House keeping’ was done by a couple of people tilting the tents to shake off any sand (actually that barely got rid of the sand), and hastily wiping the mats with rags (which were not washed or changed the whole time we watched them ‘clean’ the tents).
I had to pick out the sand, wipe and air the mats before I allowed anyone in the tent; the pillows were so disgusting, we didn’t want to use them. We were told to bring along sleeping bags, and so that was where we slept on.
This is where we slept for the night (see how close the tents were packed).
And this is our view, check out how close we were to the sea.
Despite the basic facilities, we were taken good care and well fed by the operator. The island itself is also very beautiful, with clean sandy beach, and clear blue sea. Girls immediately changed and got busy swimming and exploring the beach.
And for me, I just took it easy.
A simple buffet lunch (seafood mixed rice) was served early. After a short rest, we were then brought out to sea to snorkel (part of the package). Unfortunately, the water around the common snorkeling spot was murky on that day, so we got back to the main island.
Then tea was served, eat as much as you can – red bean soup, prawn pancakes and some teochew cake. Red bean soup and prawn pancakes were so so so so good.
We walked further down to the island, passing 2 more tour operators (accommodate is all tents), where we were told the rocky coast is a good spot for snorkeling too.
Those who went ahead of us, somehow managed to find a squid (and caught it) and also a sea cucumber, and was showing off to us.
This side of the island is more picturesque.
(the show off)
The girls and I swam around, and did find school of fishes among the rocks.
There were lots of barnacles and sea creatures clinging on the rocks and we spotted crabs too.
Don’t know what they are, but we thought they looked like some aliens from sci-fi movies.
Before an early dinner, there were long queues at the toilets, everybody wanted to shower after a whole day of fun. Toilets are basic here, each cubicle has a toilet bowl and next to it a big container of water with a dipper. Water supply comes from the mainland, brought in by the operator in boats. It can get quite disgusting after many people have used it, as some uncivilised folks left sanitary pads, used toilet paper, plastic containers and bags behind after them, even though there were dustbins right outside the toilet cubicles.
We had steamboat for dinner (eat as much as you can) before sunset.
After dinner, we took a stroll and saw many tiny fishes washed ashore.
They were still alive, but when we brought them back to the sea, they got washed up to the shore again, as if they were not able to swim against the current.
After it turned dark, at around 8pm, we started combing the shore, in search of Bioluminescent Phyto Plankton (蓝眼泪), the highlight of the trip. The girls spotted the first one, tiny blue luminous dot, then another, and another. Everyone got excited seeing the shore sprinkled with more and more blue luminance dust, although they were not bright enough to be photographed. (Click here to see how a beach looks like with bioluminescent phyto plankton.)
A BBQ seafood supper and karaoke came after this. We decided to go back to our tents to sleep instead. With the tents so closely packed, it wasn’t easy to sleep as we could hear our neighbours talking, laughing, whistling. Moreover, it was a hot night with no breeze. Some people actually decided to lay their mats on the beach and slept there.
At around 4am it started pouring, some rain actually splattered into our tents and made it more difficult to sleep, and people around us were waking up too for the same reason. By 5am, most people were up and about, waiting for the rain to stop, good thing was it did, before breakfast.
Boatloads of new tourists started arriving, and some people started leaving. We decided to take our time.
Found this on the beach, and wonder if the little spots were the bioluminescent phyto plankton.
Before noon, we left the island, and back to Bagan Sungai Burung, Bagan Datoh (巴眼拿督双武隆渔村), and got fed again, our last meal which is part of the deal, a seafood lunch at Hai Yong Seafood Restaurant 洋海鲜餐馆 ; extremely good. In fact, we have no complaints about the food served, every meal was pretty good and the serving generous.
A short tour around Bagan Sungai Burung, Bagan Datoh (巴眼拿督双武隆渔村) later, it was time for us to head on home.