Table of contents
  • #1Introduction
  • #21. How to Get to Perhentian Islands
  • #32. Where to Stay: Accommodation Options on Perhentian Islands
  • #43. Top Activities and Attractions to Experience in Perhentian Islands
  • #54. The Best Time to Visit Perhentian Islands for a Perfect Getaway
  • #65. Essential Tips for a Smooth and Enjoyable Vacation
  • #76. Embracing the Local Culture and Etiquette of Perhentian Islands
  • #87. Sustainable Travel Tips for Responsible Tourists in Perhentian Islands
  • #98. Staying Safe in Paradise: Important Safety Precautions for Visitors
  • #109. Exploring Perhentian Islands: Hidden Gems and Unique Experiences
  • #1110. Plan Your Trip to Perhentian Islands Now and Create Unforgettable Memories!
  • #12Conclusion
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10 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Perhentian Island

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Perhentian Islands, located off Malaysia's northeastern coast, are a tropical paradise known for their stunning beaches and vibrant marine life, consisting of two main islands: Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. Travellers can reach these islands via an overnight bus from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut, followed by a boat transfer. Accommodation ranges from luxury villas on Perhentian Besar to budget-friendly resorts on Perhentian Kecil. Visitors can enjoy activities such as snorkelling, diving, hiking, and wildlife spotting. The best time to visit is during the dry season (March to November), with essential tips including carrying sufficient cash and respecting local culture and marine life. Sustainable travel practices are encouraged to preserve the islands' natural beauty.

10 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Perhentian Island


Perhentian Islands are a hidden treasure located off the northeastern coast of Malaysia, famous for their stunning beaches and diverse marine life. Made up of two main islands, Perhentian Besar (Big) and Perhentian Kecil (Small), this tropical paradise offers a perfect escape from the busy city life.

Picture yourself walking on soft, white sand while clear blue waves gently touch the shore. These islands are not only beautiful but also offer a wide range of activities such as snorkeling among colourful coral reefs or exploring dense forests through hiking trails.

Wonderful view of Perhentian Kecil.Wonderful view of Perhentian Kecil.

Before you start your journey to this magical place, here are the top 10 things you should know about Perhentian Islands. Whether you're an experienced traveller or planning your first island trip, these tips will make sure you have an unforgettable experience.

1. How to Get to Perhentian Islands

Perhentian Islands are a slice of paradise waiting to be explored, but getting there requires a bit of planning. The journey typically begins in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's bustling capital.

Transportation Details

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to reach these stunning islands:

Overnight Bus from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut

  • Departure Point: Most travellers catch an overnight bus from the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur.
  • Duration: The journey takes around 8-9 hours, ensuring you arrive at Kuala Besut early in the morning.
  • Bus Operators: Several operators run this route, providing comfortable seats and occasionally, Wi-Fi. Transnasional and Perdana Express are popular choices.

Pro Tip: Book your bus tickets in advance during peak season (July-August) to secure your seat.

Boat Transfer from Kuala Besut to Perhentian Islands

  • Boat Ride: From Kuala Besut Jetty, speedboats whisk you off on a 30-45 minute ride across the crystal-clear waters to Perhentian Islands.
  • Frequency: Boats run frequently throughout the day, starting as early as 8 AM until late afternoon.
  • Cost: Expect to pay around RM70-RM80 (15$-17$) for a return trip.

Important Note: There are no ATMs on the islands, so ensure you carry sufficient cash.

2. Where to Stay: Accommodation Options on Perhentian Islands

Perhentian Islands have a wide range of places to stay, catering to all types of travellers and their budgets. Whether you want a luxurious getaway or a budget-friendly option, you'll find something suitable.

Luxury Villas for a Tropical Getaway Experience

If you're looking for an extravagant escape, check out the luxury villas on Perhentian Besar. These top-notch accommodations offer stylish rooms, private pools, breathtaking ocean views, and direct beach access. Here are some noteworthy choices:

On top of that, these villas often provide extra perks like in-house dining, spa treatments, and personalised tours to make your stay even more special.

Budget-Friendly Resorts and Hostels for Backpackers' Choice

Travellers with a limited budget will be pleased to discover plenty of affordable options on Perhentian Kecil. This island is famous for its laid-back atmosphere and has budget resorts and hostels that still deliver the tropical experience. Here are some popular ones:

While these places may offer basic amenities, they are comfortable enough for backpackers who want to enjoy thrilling adventures without spending too much.

3. Top Activities and Attractions to Experience in Perhentian Islands

3.1 Snorkeling and Diving: Exploring the Vibrant Coral Reefs and Diverse Marine Life

One of the most captivating aspects of Perhentian Islands is its vibrant underwater world. The islands boast some of the clearest turquoise waters, making them a haven for snorkelers and divers.

The Mesmerizing Underwater World of Perhentian Islands

Imagine diving into clear waters where colourful fish swim past you, and beautiful coral formations create an underwater maze. The coral reefs around the islands are full of marine life, from playful clownfish to graceful sea turtles. Shark Point and Turtle Bay are particularly famous spots where you can see small reef sharks and green sea turtles in their natural habitat.

The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul. - Wyland

Grey shark surrounded by fish on the island Perhentian Besar. Grey shark surrounded by fish on the island Perhentian Besar.

Tips for Unforgettable Snorkeling Adventures

To make sure you have a great time while snorkeling, consider these tips:

  • Bring Your Own Gear: While you can rent equipment, having your own mask, snorkel, and fins will be more comfortable.
  • Choose the Right Time: Early mornings or late afternoons are best for seeing marine life when they're most active.
  • Respect Marine Life: Avoid touching corals or chasing fish, as this can harm the delicate ecosystem.
  • Join a Guided Tour: Local guides know the best spots and can share valuable information about the underwater world.

Discovering the Depths Through Diving: Courses and Guidelines

For those interested in exploring more of Perhentian's underwater wonders, there are diving schools on both Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil that offer courses for all levels.

Beginner Divers

If you're new to diving, consider these options:

  • Discover Scuba Diving course
  • Open Water Diver certification

These introductory courses usually include basic theory, confined water sessions, and guided open water dives.

Experienced Divers

For those who are already certified, here are some options to enhance your diving experience:

  • Advanced Open Water Diver course
  • Speciality dives like wreck diving at the Sugar Wreck site

Remember these guidelines for a safe dive:

  1. Always dive with a buddy.
  2. Follow your instructor's instructions carefully.
  3. Make sure you have insurance that covers diving activities.

Both snorkelling trips and diving courses provide unforgettable experiences that allow you to explore Perhentian Island’s marine biodiversity up close. Whether you're floating above a coral reef or descending into deeper waters, the vibrant underwater scenery promises a visual feast that will stay with you long after you've left this tropical paradise.

3.2 Hiking Paths and Serene Beaches: Embracing the Island's Natural Beauty

Perhentian Islands are not just a haven for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts but also a paradise for nature lovers and beach seekers. The islands offer a myriad of hiking paths that wind through lush jungles, providing peaceful trails leading to stunning viewpoints.

Imagine this: As you hike along these peaceful paths, you can hear the gentle sound of leaves rustling and the far-off cry of tropical birds. One of the most popular trails is the one that leads to Windmill Point on Perhentian Kecil. This trek rewards hikers with wide views of the surrounding blue waters and green plants.

Windmill Point.Windmill Point.

For those who prefer to relax by the sea, Perhentian Islands have several hidden gems for beach lovers. Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil is famous for its soft white sand and lively nightlife, while Coral Bay offers a quieter atmosphere with beautiful sunsets perfect for unwinding after a day of adventure.

Aerial view of Long Beach.Aerial view of Long Beach.

Don't miss out: Turtle Beach on Perhentian Besar is another private spot where you might even see nesting turtles if you're lucky. Each beach has its own special quality, making sure there's something for everyone whether you're looking for energetic vibes or peaceful alone time.

In essence, whether you're hiking through lush trails or lounging on pristine beaches, Perhentian Islands offer a complete experience with nature's best offerings.

3.3 Thriving Wildlife: Spotting Sea Turtles and Other Native Species

One of the highlights of Perhentian Islands is the opportunity to see its thriving wildlife. The islands are home to a wide variety of marine animals, making it a paradise for snorkelling and diving lovers. Picture yourself swimming alongside graceful sea turtles or catching a glimpse of elusive reef sharks among the colourful coral reefs.

Encounters with Fascinating Marine Creatures:

  • Sea Turtles: These large and gentle creatures are often spotted around Turtle Bay and other popular snorkelling areas. Watching them glide effortlessly through the water is an experience you won't forget.
  • Reef Sharks: Despite their intimidating reputation, these small sharks are harmless and can add excitement to your underwater explorations.
  • Colourful Fish and Corals: The reefs surrounding the islands are filled with a wide variety of fish species and beautiful coral formations, making every dive or snorkel trip a visual delight.

Preserving Biodiversity Through Responsible Tourism:

It is important for us to practice sustainable travel habits in order to protect the natural beauty of the islands. By following guidelines such as not touching or disturbing marine life, using sunscreen that is safe for reefs, and participating in beach clean-ups, we can contribute to preserving this fragile ecosystem.

Take only pictures, leave only bubbles. – A reminder that we should not harm the environment we love with our actions.

Exploring the wildlife of Perhentian Islands offers more than just amazing encounters. It also helps us develop a deeper understanding and respect for the wonders of nature while highlighting the significance of conservation efforts.

3.4 Additional Adventures: Kayaking, Boat Trips, and More!

Exploring the coastline by kayak offers a unique perspective of Perhentian Islands' stunning natural scenery. Paddle through clear waters, discover hidden coves and secluded beaches that you can't reach on foot. Kayaking is peaceful and lets you see marine life up close.

Island-hopping trips let you see both Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil's beauty. These guided boat trips usually stop at great snorkeling spots where you can see colourful coral reefs and lots of fish. Each island has its own charm: Perhentian Besar has nicer places to stay and quiet beaches, while Perhentian Kecil is famous for its backpacker scene and lively beach bars.

If you're looking for more excitement, try snorkeling or diving. Snorkeling trips take you to the best spots around the islands to see different types of marine life like clownfish, parrotfish, and even turtles. Diving enthusiasts can take beginner courses or advanced training to explore deeper areas with more colourful marine life.

These activities make your trip more enjoyable and help you understand why Perhentian Islands are so special.

4. The Best Time to Visit Perhentian Islands for a Perfect Getaway

Timing your visit to Perhentian Islands can make or break your tropical adventure. This idyllic paradise has a specific time when the weather is great and the sea is incredibly clear.

Ideal Travel Periods

  • March to Early November: This is the best time for a getaway, with sunny skies and calm seas perfect for water activities.
  • Peak Season (July and August): Expect lots of people as travellers from around the world come to the islands. Places to stay get full quickly, so it's important to book in advance.

Weather Overview

  • Dry Season: From March to November, there's very little rain and lots of sunshine. It's the perfect time for relaxing on the beach, snorkelling, and diving.
  • Monsoon Season (November to February): This period is characterized by heavy rain and strong winds, which means many tourist services are not available. It's best to avoid visiting during these months.

Crowd Management

For those looking for peace and quiet:

  • Shoulder Months (March, April, September): These months have fewer people but still have great weather. It's a good balance between solitude and availability of services.

Keeping these tips in mind ensures you'll have a memorable stay with lots of sunshine, clear waters, and amazing marine life just below the surface.

5. Essential Tips for a Smooth and Enjoyable Vacation

Important Local Facilities and Services

When planning your visit to Perhentian Islands, being aware of the local facilities can greatly enhance your experience:

  • Cash Only: One critical aspect to prepare for is the absence of ATMs on both Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. Make sure to carry enough cash to cover all your expenses, including accommodation, meals, and activities. The nearest ATM is located in Kuala Besut, so stock up before catching your boat.
  • Electricity: Power outages are not uncommon on the islands. While most resorts have generators, it's wise to be prepared for occasional interruptions. Bringing a portable power bank can be a lifesaver for keeping your essential devices charged.
  • Limited Medical Facilities: The islands do not have hospitals, only basic medical clinics that might not be equipped for serious emergencies. The nearest hospital is located in Kuala Besut on the mainland. It's prudent to bring a well-stocked first-aid kit and any necessary medications. For peace of mind, consider travel insurance that covers medical emergencies.

A bit of foresight regarding these aspects ensures a smoother and more enjoyable stay on these beautiful islands.

6. Embracing the Local Culture and Etiquette of Perhentian Islands

Perhentian Islands, with their serene beaches and vibrant marine life, are also a treasure trove of cultural practices and traditions that reflect the rich heritage of Malaysia. To make your visit more enriching and respectful, here are some tips on engaging with the local community:

Respectful Behaviour

  • Dress Modestly: While beachwear is acceptable on the shores, dressing modestly when visiting local villages or interacting with residents shows respect for their cultural norms.
  • Greetings: A friendly “Selamat pagi” (Good morning) or “Terima kasih” (Thank you) can go a long way in building rapport. Malaysians appreciate when visitors make an effort to speak their language.

Cultural Practices

  • Local Customs: Understanding and respecting local customs is crucial. For instance, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or certain shops.
  • Dining Etiquette: When dining, it’s polite to wait until everyone is served before starting your meal. Using your right hand for eating is also a common practice.

Community Engagement

  • Support Local Businesses: Buy souvenirs from local artisans, dine at family-owned restaurants, and consider guided tours led by locals to support the island's economy.
  • Environmental Responsibility: Participate in beach clean-ups or conservation activities organised by local groups to show respect for the natural beauty that the community cherishes.

Respecting local culture not only enriches your travel experience but also fosters meaningful connections with the community.

By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure your presence contributes positively to the island’s vibrant culture and warm hospitality.

7. Sustainable Travel Tips for Responsible Tourists in Perhentian Islands

Engaging in ecotourism initiatives can significantly enhance your experience while helping preserve the pristine beauty of Perhentian Islands. Here are some practical tips to reduce your environmental impact and support local conservation efforts:

1. Participate in Local Conservation Projects

  • Join beach clean-up events organised by local communities.
  • Volunteer with marine conservation groups focused on protecting coral reefs and sea turtles.

2. Minimise Plastic Usage

  • Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it at designated stations.
  • Bring your own shopping bags, utensils, and containers to reduce single-use plastics.

3. Support Eco-friendly Accommodation

  • Opt for hotels and resorts that follow sustainable practices, such as waste recycling, energy-efficient lighting, and water conservation measures.

4. Respect Marine Life

  • Avoid touching or stepping on corals while snorkelling or diving.
  • Maintain a safe distance from sea turtles and other wildlife to prevent stress and injury.

5. Practice Responsible Diving and Snorkelling

  • Choose dive operators who adhere to eco-friendly guidelines.
  • Use reef-safe sunscreen to prevent harmful chemicals from damaging marine ecosystems.

6. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

  • Explore the islands on foot or by bicycle instead of motorised vehicles.
  • Plan longer stays rather than frequent short trips to minimise carbon emissions from travel.

Supporting local conservation efforts not only protects the environment but also ensures that future generations can enjoy the natural wonders of Perhentian Islands. By making small, conscious choices, every traveller can contribute to preserving this paradise.

8. Staying Safe in Paradise: Important Safety Precautions for Visitors

Ensuring your safety while enjoying the beauty of Perhentian Islands is crucial. This paradise offers endless adventures but being prepared can make all the difference.

Essential Contact Numbers and Resources

In case of emergencies, having quick access to vital contact numbers can be a lifesaver:

  • Local Police: +60 9-6977 333
  • Marine Park Office: +60 9-6911 211
  • Nearest Hospital (Hospital Besut): +60 9-6978 999

Keep these numbers handy and stored in multiple places, both digitally and on paper.

Ocean Safety: Swimming and Diving

Beautiful turquoise waters, the marvel of the Perhentian Islands.Beautiful turquoise waters, the marvel of the Perhentian Islands.

The inviting turquoise waters call out to you, but they also need to be treated with caution:

  • Stay Vigilant: Always be aware of your surroundings and potential hazards like strong currents or sharp coral.
  • Buddy System: Never swim or dive alone. Having a companion ensures immediate help if needed.
  • Heed Local Advice: Lifeguards and locals know the waters best. Pay attention to their warnings and guidelines.
  • Proper Gear: Whether you’re snorkeling or diving, ensure all equipment is in good condition and fits well.

Remember, the ocean’s beauty comes with risks. Being mindful of these precautions helps you enjoy Perhentian Islands safely.

9. Exploring Perhentian Islands: Hidden Gems and Unique Experiences

Perhentian Islands are not just about beautiful beaches and clear waters. They also hide unique experiences waiting to be discovered. Dive deeper into the local culture and uncover lesser-known attractions that make these islands truly special.

Discovering Local Flavours

  1. Traditional Malay Cuisine: Savour the authentic taste of local dishes such as Nasi Kerabu, Ikan Bakar, and Keropok Lekor. Visit family-run eateries to experience home-cooked meals infused with rich, traditional flavours.
  2. Night Markets: Explore bustling night markets where you can sample a variety of street food, pick up handmade crafts, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere filled with music and laughter.

Cultural Interactions

Village in the Perhentian Islands.Village in the Perhentian Islands.
  1. Village Tours: Take a guided tour through local villages to understand the daily lives of island residents. Engage in conversations with locals, learn about their customs, and perhaps even participate in traditional activities.
  2. Cultural Festivals: If you visit during specific times of the year, you may have the chance to witness or partake in cultural festivals celebrating local heritage through dance, music, and rituals.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

  1. Hidden Beaches: Venture beyond popular tourist spots to discover secluded beaches where you can enjoy tranquillity away from the crowds. These hidden gems offer stunning vistas and serene environments perfect for relaxation or a quiet picnic.
  2. Mangrove Exploration: Embark on a kayak or boat tour through mangrove forests. These tours provide an intimate look at the unique ecosystems thriving within these dense, coastal woodlands.

Engaging with Nature

  1. Bird Watching: The islands are home to a variety of bird species. Spend a morning or afternoon bird watching with a guide who can help you spot some of the more elusive avian inhabitants.
  2. Turtle Hatchery Visits: Visit turtle hatcheries where you can learn about conservation efforts aimed at protecting sea turtles. Some hatcheries offer opportunities to witness turtle releases, which is both an educational and moving experience.

By venturing off the beaten path and embracing these unique experiences, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for everything Perhentian Islands have to offer beyond their renowned beaches and diving spots.

10. Plan Your Trip to Perhentian Islands Now and Create Unforgettable Memories!

Imagine waking up to the sound of gentle waves lapping against the shore, the scent of salty sea air filling your lungs, and the sight of a golden sunrise painting the sky. This is just a glimpse of what awaits you on the Perhentian Islands.

Whether you're an adventurer at heart or someone seeking serene relaxation, the islands offer something magical for everyone:

  • For Nature Enthusiasts: Picture yourself snorkelling amidst kaleidoscopic coral reefs, swimming alongside graceful sea turtles, or hiking through lush jungle trails leading to panoramic viewpoints.
  • For Beach Lovers: Envision lounging on powdery white sands, basking in the tropical sun while sipping fresh coconut water, with nothing but endless blue horizons before you.
  • For Cultural Explorers: Imagine engaging with friendly locals in quaint fishing villages, sampling mouth-watering seafood delicacies prepared with authentic flavours, and immersing yourself in the rich heritage of island life.

The Perhentian Islands promise not just a holiday but an experience that will stay etched in your memories. The blend of natural beauty and cultural richness ensures every moment is cherished.

“Travel leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta


The Perhentian Islands are a magnet for travellers worldwide, thanks to their stunning beaches and clear waters. This paradise has something to offer for everyone, with plenty of activities and peaceful spots to explore. Armed with these essential travel tips, you're all set for an incredible journey that guarantees both relaxation and unforgettable experiences.

  • Plan ahead: Whether it's booking the perfect accommodation or organizing your transport, preparation is key.
  • Dive into experiences: Snorkelling, diving, hiking – Perhentian Islands have it all.
  • Respect the local culture: Embrace and honour the rich heritage of these islands.
  • Travel sustainably: Make choices that help preserve this beautiful destination for future generations.

If you're daydreaming about your next beach escape, make sure to put the Perhentian Islands at the top of your list. The memories you make here will last long after your trip is over. So pack your bags, bring enough cash, and get ready for an adventure in one of Malaysia's most breathtaking beach destinations.

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