Gemia Island has only one resort and a neighbour in the form of Kapas Island. It is privately owned and thus, sees only a handful of visitors at one time, which is excellent if you’re interested in looking for an island that will offer you a good yet quiet time away from the mob. If you’re on a tight budget, forget about Gemia Island – your wallet will suffer a huge setback from just the food alone. Also, if you’re looking for a more active nightlife like a karaoke session or a bar that’s crowded with people, forget about the island too. You’re better off at Perhentian where bars are filled with people…and more noise too. Come here only if you’re rich, like the quiet and like being lazy (or a beach bum).
There are no rooms here; your most basic of accommodations are in the form of Water Villas – they look like rooms in a longhouse but facing the open sea and naturally, Kapas Island’s beaches. Contrary to what you would expect of a longhouse styled building, the Water Villas are private and oh-so-wonderfully exquisite. Sounds of ocean waves lashing against the rocky shore greet you day and night, not to mention tiny schools of hungry fish hoping to catch a bite during either breakfast or lunch or dinner. I usually feed them during breakfast though.
All rooms come with a TV, mini-fridge, ensuite shower & toilet, a safe, two nice big mirrors, a side lounge sofa, a double bed complete with wonderful fluffy pillows and a mozzie net, plus a balcony complete with a rattan chair and a loveseat. Don’t worry about the heat though – you have the option of air-con AND fan if you can’t make up your mind. Excellent combo, if you ask me, for sleeping the nights away after getting sunburnt. By the way, the view from the rooms are wonderful…at least they were better than a view of other chalets or worse, a wall. -.- Housekeeping was a gem too even though it would have been better to leave me my towels in order to save water; I liked the fact that they come every morning to sweep the sandy floor (after a trip to the beach, what do you expect?) and fluff the bed to get rid of more sand.
So what do you do there after chomping down on your meals? There is the usual snorkelling, which is a good option considering that you don’t have to go very far to see some marine life (just a few feet from shore will do). You could do like what I did and sneak out some bread to feed the fish later. No one will bat an eyelash. Then there is the sun tanning session on the beach. Don’t forget to slap on some tanning lotion or sunblock every few hours. The sun here can be very brutal.
There is also a spa on the island that offers some form of pampering and relaxation but note one thing though: it’s not just for the ladies. A good many male guests have entertained themselves in its spa rooms and I don’t mean the notty kind of entertainment. Pure heavily bliss induced by a masseur’s expert and deft touch. I took two spa packages; both included a one-hour to one and half hour massage followed by a half hour soak in the outdoor tub. Esther was my spa therapist and boy oh boy, was she good! Those 25 years of experience really made the difference. The surroundings were very tasteful and relaxing – you could hear the ocean from where you were and feel the breeze too, not to mention smell the aromas of oils, herbs and what-nots. The view from the outdoor jacuzzi is not too bad as well and there is just something about feeling as if you were the only one on this island.
Two-hour spa packages start from RM250 onwards (they usually include an hour of massage, half hour of scrub/compress and a final half hour of soaking in a tub) and there are special daily promotions going for RM100. If you like something for your feet, those start from RM55 onwards and therapies range from a simple manicure and pedicure to an all-round pampering session for your hands and feet. I’d recommend their aftersun spa package designed for those beach bums who suffered a burn or two. Their aftersun gel is excellent stuff!
I can now boast to having seen a dugong – something my parents can’t even jokingly brag about. It is a very rare sight as these gentle creatures are one of the endangered species of marine life in Malaysia. One of the guys who uses Gemia Island as a turtle sanctuary (he came out recently in the newspapers) rescued this poor creature that first strayed from his pod; second, got injured after being cut by propeller blades of boats nearby; and lastly, refused to eat out of fear and stress. Being an opportunist when it comes to taking pics, I took a video of one of the feeding sessions, of course, from the sidelines.
Anyway, the Fishery Dept – after talking to them – will move the pup to a better facility (s/he is now residing in the Gemia Wellness Spa & Island Resort swimming pool) within this month since the monsoon will be hitting the island then. They will then decide what to do and hopefully it’ll be good news for the little creature. Just some info, dugongs feed primarily on sea grass and you can see more of them around Johor – there are very little patches of sea grass around Kapas and Gemia island. Cuts around the body do not hurt since dugongs have a thick layer of blubber under the skin. The area around the nose and mouth are sensitive though.
Btw, I’m referring to Puteri Kapas – she made the papers on Sunday. Now lets hope she’ll be alright.
Overall, it was a nice place – I really enjoy the quiet atmosphere – and certainly worth another trip. Hopefully by then, the food won’t be that expensive anymore. 😉
Overall damage for two people?
Room & board for 4D/3N: approx RM1600 (includes transfer from hotel to jetty)
Misc charges: RM650 for two spa packages, two drinks and three dishes (for lunch on the last day)
Bus tickets: approx RM50 per person (KUL-KTG-KUL)
More pics here.