Perhentian Island is one of Malaysia’s hidden gems. The word ‘Perhentian’ is a Malay word that means ‘a stopping point’. The island has two parts – Perhentian Besar (the long island) and Perhentian Kecil (the small island mostly for backpackers) and they are not far from one another.
The Perhentian Islands is the very first solo travel experience I had ever done and it will always remain as my special travel of all time. And this was long before I started blogging though (so, I’m sorry guys, there isn’t any vlog on it and the pic clarity might be a little dull).
Perhentian Island is magical.
Turquoise blue waters. A haven for divers and snorkelers – both beginners and advanced. And now that I have been here, I am totally in love with this place. Everything is on island time – Just grab a book and chill by the beach.
It is truly a paradise.
Where to stay – Perhentian Besar or Kecil?
I am all in for comfort when I travel so I stayed in Perhentian Besar. It is a less crowded, more family type of environment and it perfectly suits my atmosphere.
This means most of my breakfast, lunch, and dinner was in the resort, and it is not as easy to move around unless you book a boat taxi. In general, the resorts on Perhentian Besar I later understood is a bit pricier, and many will offer all-inclusive deals.
My Overall Experience
It comes down to the type of traveller you are.
If you are on your honeymoon or set out for a romantic gateway then Perhentian Besar is for you!
If you are on a travel budget or a back-packer then I would suggest you for Perhentian Kecil cause that’s where the party is! When the night kicks in, the day gets started on the island. The locals were always keen to keep the tourist entertained with fire shows, daredevil stunts, music, dances, singing out from their lungs and….. delicious delicacy that caters to your taste buds.
I stayed in Coral View Island Resort. They had the peaceful atmosphere that I was seeking. I was literally staying in the middle of mother nature’s beauty and woke up every morning to sea waves and breeze. What can I say? I am just blessed.
What is there to do in the Island?
Sunsets, relaxing, snorkelling, kayaking or rather just watching the sunset. This place is all about white sand beaches, beautiful clear waters and chilling.
I tried snorkelling for a fun. This was much cheaper than scuba diving – around MYR 10/person for masks, fins and slippers. There was a number of excellent snorkelling spots like the Shark Point and Teluk Pauh but anywhere across the Perhentian islands, snorkelling is going to be awesome. I was so lucky I got to see one turtle swimming past me freely. **felt lucky**
When is the best time to visit?
The best time of the year to visit is between April to September as you’ll avoid the crowds and accommodation should be more affordable. During July and August is high season, so you’ll find that accommodation can get quite pricey.
Best is to visit October onwards, it starts raining, with November onwards bringing the monsoon season. The island shuts down at this time until mid to end of March when it reopens for business.
Getting To The Perhentian Islands From Kuala Lumpur
At first, I was literally confused. I had to take too many means of transportation just to get to this Island. That too, alone! It might seem a bit complicated but, you know we always learn something new when we explore newness.
First a flight, then a car, then a boat, and then another boat again. But fear not! I speak based on experience and getting to Perhentian Island from Kuala Lumpur is actually a lot simpler than expected.
- From Kuala Lumpur, I took a straight flight to Kuala Terengganu airport – Sultan Mahmud Airport (TGG). There are flights from both Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (Subang Jaya), so make sure to book carefully and not mix up the airports.
- From Kuala Terengganu airport, you need to take a taxi to the Kuala Besut Jetty where you will then hop on a boat to the Perhentian Islands.
- You can easily purchase your taxi and return ferry ticket to the Kuala Besut Jetty while you book your stay. Truly, there is no point purchasing your ferry ticket at the jetty because the price is the same. And so I recommend purchasing your ferry ticket to save your time and hassle.
It takes approximately 1 hour to get from the airport to the Kuala Besut Jetty. Then once you arrive at the jetty, simply head down to the departure point.
Before you can get through the departure gate though you do have to purchase a “Marine Conservation Fee” ticket. The booth to purchase this ticket is right at the departure spot.
So here it is folks!
I promise it’s a whole different atmosphere being on this island and it’s one of my country’s pride and joy throughout South East Asia. So if you want a relaxed gateway then Perhentian Island is your place. Happy travels!