Why visit the Perhentian Islands?
Said by some to be the most beautiful islands in Malaysia, it doesn't matter if you're traveling with family, friends, as a couple, or solo, because the two Perhentian islands cater for all! They are a must see if in the area for a true taste of Paradise.
The name of the islands actually means "the stopping point" in Malay, and British colonials were calling them "The Station islands" for the same reason. However, these days the locals are used to foreigners and tourism has replaced fishing as the primary source of income. Despite this, infrastructure is still modest, and there are no cars, roads or ATMs. Remember to bring extra cash from the mainland when you visit!
The island is rich in wildlife, with a variety of tropical fish and sea animals in the waters and in the coral reefs, such as sea turtles, clownfish, cuttlefish, parrotfish and blue-spotted rays. Black-tipped sharks swim freely among them...
There are two inhabited paradise islands, Perhentian Besar (Greater Perhentian) and the Perhentian Kecil (Lesser Perhentian). Both islands have incredible white coral sand beaches and turquoise blue sea, beautiful to behold and just what you would wish for on a dream vacation.
On most beaches, the water is safe and shallow, and perfect for snorkeling. However, there are also excellent locations for scuba diving, and there are many schools where you can gain a PADI certification in diving to add to the amazing experience!
There are a range of accommodation possibilities, from budget to upmarket resorts. Towards the center of the island is mostly rain forest, rich in animal life. There are limited trails that connect different resorts and beaches, but generally it is more comfortable to make use of the water taxi.
Where to disembark in Perhentian Besar
- The Perhentian Island resort has a jetty that is also convenient for everyone who wishes to go to Coral View Resort or The Barat Perhentian.
- Tuna Bay Island resort also has a jetty which is useful for people going to Cozy Chalet, Abdul Chalet, or Suhaila Palace.
- Arwana Eco Beach has a jetty right in front of the Arwana Perhentian resort. This jetty is also the option for travellers that want to reach Flora Bay Resort or Bayu Dive Lodge.
Where to disembark in Perhentian Kecil
- Kampung Nelayan — also known as Fisherman Village — is on the southeast of Kecil island facing Perhentian Besar. There are many B&Bs and budget hotels like Sea Life Inn or Mentari Save Park Inn.
- Long Beach is in the central-east part of Kecil Island. The most well-known resort in the area is the BuBu Long beach resort where the main jetty is located, but there are many other places to stay, like Matahari Chalet or Moonlight Chalet on the beach.
- Coral Bay is on the opposite side of Long Beach, in the western central part of the Kecil Island. Resorts there include Shari-la Island resort, Senja Bay resort, and Ombak resort.
- There are many other resorts located along the coast, and the skipper will stop for you. Make sure to mention your accommodation when booking your transfer to Perhentian Island to be dropped off at the best location!
How to get to the Perhentian Islands
Speed boats leave almost every hour from the Kuala Besut Jetty on the mainland, and take approximately 45 minutes. Given the popularity, it is best to reserve a seat for your chosen departure time by buying a ticket online.
Kuala Besut can be easily reached from either Kota Bahru airport, an hour to the north, or Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Terngganu, 90 minutes to the south. Any local taxi will take you to the jetty.