Are you looking for a complete travel guide and honest opinion on Perhentian Islands, Malaysia? Great, read our travel blog post, including the best things to do in the Perhentian Islands, tips on where to stay, top beaches, how to get there, and safety advice.
The Perhentians Islands is a archipelago with beautiful white-sand beaches, coconut palms trees, and turquoise waters, situated on the East coast of the country. The islands have been a perfect tropical holiday destination for many years now, and even today attract backpackers, tourists, families and beach lovers from all over the world.
Perhentians are one of the most popular beach destinations in both Malaysia and South East Asia, and many travelers include this place unmistakably in their perfect Malaysia itinerary.
Who would not want to see the real paradise with own eyes, right? When traveling, we always think there is never enough of relaxing on the beach, and Perhentians was simply the place we could not miss out.
Perhentians are one of those places where the time moves slowly, and you can just chill out on the beach, snorkel, scuba dive, have a drink, or sleep in the hammock. It's a perfect getaway from the busy city of Kuala-Lumpur, beach enthusiasts, adventure seekers, nature lovers, and those who love water sports and underwater life will definitely find what they are looking for.
My wife and I are now living in Kuala-Lumpur and the Perhentians have become our getaway destination for the past 3 years now. In this travel guide, we will break down what to expect from the Perhentian Islands, top things to do, how to get there, best hotels in Perhentians, what to pack, when to visit, where to snorkeling or dive and much more.
Let's gets started…
The best time to visit the Perhentian Islands is during the dry season from March to October and July is peak season so if you plan to come around that time make sure to book accommodation in advance.
From November to the end of February the islands are closed due the raining season and boats will not operate either.
Estimated Trip Duration : 7 hrs 45 min
Estimated Cost of your trip: RM49 each way ($11,50)
Advice: If you are on budget, we recommend you to take the overnight bus, it will allowed you to safe one night at the hotel
Please note that the bus drop-off point is at Kuala Besut Bus Terminal, which is just a few minutes walking distance away from the jetty to Perhentian Island.
If you live in Kuala-Lumpur and decide to take some time off away from the big city with your family, driving to Kuala Besut could be a great option for you. We all know that it may be difficult for young children to stay still in the bus for long hours especially if you often need to stop to go to toilet.
Estimated trip duration: 6 hrs to 7.5 hrs
Estimated Cost of your trip:
Gas: RM60 one way ($14)
Toll: RM40 one way ($9.4)
Parking at Kuala-Besut: RM10-15 per day ($3,5) (Ask someone to help you when you arrive at the jetty- No official parking)
Believe it or not but sometimes flying is often cheaper or as good as taking the bus. Air Asia offer crazy good deal and it will be a shame to miss it.
From Kuala-Lumpur KILIA 2 to Kota Bharu Airport (Departure airport may change depending of the company you are flying with)
Estimated trip duration: 1 h 05 mn
Estimated cost of your trip: From RM150 one way ($35,15)
Taxi from Kota Bharu to Kuala besut: RM70 one way ($16,4)
Estimated cost: RM39 one way ($9)
Marine conservation fees:
Foreigners: RM30 – ($7)
Locals: RM5 – ($1.17)
We recommend to book your boat ticket in advance to avoid queuing at the jetty, boat getting full very quickly and it is always better to have it ready before to get there.
Perhentian Besar or Perhentian Kecil?
Also called “the big island”, Perhentian Besar appeals more to families, couples, and a slightly higher-budget crowd. The island is far quieter and more relaxed than Perhentian Kecil. Luxury bungalow operations resembling small resorts have set up on Perhentian Besar and, unlike their counterparts on the small island, include private bathrooms and air conditioning.
There are three main beach areas on Perhentian Besar, with Teluk Dalam claiming the most secluded stretch of clean, white sand. A rocky stretch of sand known as “Love Beach” is pretty much the gathering place for people looking to socialize.
The Barat Perhentian Resort enjoys a commanding position in the beaches, family fun, romance hub of Perhentian Island. The hotel features 57 beautifully appointed guest rooms, many of which include television LCD/plasma screen, clothes rack, free welcome drink, linens, mirror. The hotel offers an excellent variety of recreational facilities, including snorkeling, private beach, diving, fishing, garden. Enjoy unparalleled services and a truly prestigious address at the The Barat Perhentian Resort.
Flora Bay 1 is located on Perhentian Island, known for its beautiful sandy beaches and dove spots. Sitting on Teluk Dalam Beach, it has an on-site diving center, snorkeling equipment for rent, as well as a souvenir shop. Cozy and fitted with wooden flooring, all rooms come with either a fan or air conditioning. From the private balcony, rooms enjoy views of the hill, garden or sea. Private bathroom has a shower.
The rowdier and smallest of the two islands, Perhentian Kecil is split into two sides: Long Beach on the east side and Coral Bay on the west side.
A 15-minute, partly bricked jungle trail connects the two sides of the island. Most people head directly to Long Beach on the eastern side of the island for the better beaches. The soft-sand ocean bottom is easier on the feet for swimming. Long Beach has more eating, sleeping, and nightlife options than Coral Bay. It's certainly more “lively” and developed.
Coral Bay on the western side of the island is the place to go for spectacular sunsets, slightly cheaper prices, and better snorkeling. Small, private coves along the beach offer nooks and places for setting up a base to enjoy snorkeling. When facing the sea, walk to the right and scramble over the rocks past the last resort to find a series of small private beaches.
Although the snorkeling is better on Coral Bay, the narrow beach is strewn with dead coral and shallow water that make swimming less pleasant. The anchor ropes from parked boats stretch across the beach.
The Internet functions in all zones of accommodation. You can take the water sports facilities at the front desk. You can use the shuttle service from/to the airport. There is a restaurant functioning where you can order delicious dishes and beverages. The residents can use the service of food and drinks delivery in their rooms. Fishing is one of the pastime options offered to the guests. There are non-smoking rooms provided. You can snuggle down and read a book in the library. Laundry is an indisputable amenity for the guests. Travelers can pay using these types of bank cards: Visa, Mastercard, JCB.
Staff is fluent in Malay, English.
Located on a quiet, intimate stretch of Petani Beach, Alunan Resort sits on a rocky slope that gently sweeps down to merge with the sparkling azure ocean at its doorstep, enveloped by a stunning backdrop of lush, verdant tropical rainforest. A contemporary boutique resort experience can now be enjoyed in this private hideaway. Inspired by gentle ocean waves, the property is dotted with sparkling boxes framed with black steel, white washed walls, and a broad expanse of glass, creating a magnificent view of terraces cascading down the slope of the hill like a stream of rolling waves. Blessed with all the trappings of a tropical idyll, this contemporary boutique resort is home to 18 intimate, double-story private suites furnished with modern architecture that is exclusive only to Alunan Resort. Covered in floor-to-ceiling glass panels designed to capture majestic views of the ocean and sprawling rainforest, each suite opens up to a private rooftop sun deck on the top floor where a hammock, sun loungers, and a shaded patio awaits. Unique to Alunan Resort, an open-plan lobby and multi-level beachfront sun deck is the perfect setting to view the vastness of the shimmering South China Sea.
Bayu Restaurant barbecues today's catch at the Alunan Resort along Petani Beach. Both families and couples rate this among the best restaurants in The Perhentian Islands for their high-quality food and views. While the prices might be higher than the rest of Perhentian Kecil, it does offer a classier dining experience.
Blue Paradise Located next to Belinda Café on Perhentian Besar, Blue Paradise offers a selection of food at more budget-friendly prices. The menu includes Asian, Malaysian and Thai dishes as well as the delicious mango sticky rice. Western-style breakfasts and pancakes are available in the morning. This is one of the best restaurants in The Perhentian Islands for families with young children for its friendly environment and variety of food.
It takes 15km to the South is a part of Vietnam culture by a countryside to visit some local house and learn more the handicraft still working. From Conical Hat (the symbol of Vietnam women) to making Noodles (as famous by local name "Pho"), see and try how to make rice papers or try to weaving a Mat.
Spend an evening enamoured by classical Thailand dance. Sit down to a meal of traditional Thai cuisine and watch as bejewelled dancers perform mystical routines to the percussive classicism of Thai music. Traditional costumes and delicious cuisine combine for a memorable evening.