Tuesday, May 21, 2024
32 C
Brunei Town

Under the sea

ANN/THE STAR – The idea of swimming in large bodies of water can scare some people, for example those suffering from thalassophobia.

They may fear the absolute mystery of not knowing what lies below the surface, or, conversely, they may fear the myriad of underwater creatures that could potentially harm them.

For me, it was mostly because I didn’t know how to swim.

The first time I tried to snorkel was in Pangkor Island, Perak. I was with a group of other snorkellers who assured me it would be okay, but I still felt scared.

The water was cold, and I felt uncomfortable as soon as I went in, wearing a life jacket, of course.

The others were enjoying themselves and laughing, but I was so nervous that all I could hear was the sound of my heavy breathing.

While the rest of the group went together to search for corals and sea creatures, I stayed near the shore, cowardly clinging on to a boulder. The waves came crashing, and tried to “drag” me away and into the sea.

I cast a fleeting glance at a woman nearby who also seemed to be struggling to navigate around the water.

My friend then came by and offered to guide me, but I hesitated to join him as I was afraid of being an inconvenience to the group. But after some persuading, I built up the courage to move forward into the water and start snorkelling. It was actually quite easy!

While on the way to another snorkelling site, our guide told us not to touch the corals, fish and other marine life that we may see in the water. I found out that this was because we could end up injuring, damaging or even killing them.

And in some cases, we may end up getting injured ourselves!

We spent about an hour snorkelling around the island, enjoying the colourful fish and corals, before heading back to our boat.

The snorkelling was part of our island-hopping tour in Pangkor; the entire tour was about two hours. Visitors can book similar tours from any booking platform, or via their hotel or homestay.

There are also other activities to do on the island, many of which are budget-friendly and cater to all kinds of travellers or tourists like families and large groups.

Among the activities are snorkelling, kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing and diving.

If you’re not into water sports then check out the ATV ride. The ATV experience in Pangkor takes riders on a series of bumpy rides, as they brave through the challenging trails in the wilderness.

You can also go hiking and trekking here, though we encourage you to hire a local guide to take you on the trails.

The street at the coastal town comes alive at night with many food stalls lining both sides of the road. This is great for folks who are looking for an assortment of things to snack on, rather than a sit-down meal.

Did you know that Pangkor is a duty-free island? Get your fill of imported chocolates and other items at the handful of shops before you head home.

Getting around the small town is also easy, as there are many pink vans – which offer taxi and shuttle services to passengers – around the place. – Gisele Soo

ABOVE & BELOW: A person snorkelling; and a group rides ATVs on the beach. PHOTO: THE STAR