Why you need to visit the Perhentian Islands
A short but rough boat ride from Kuala Besut and you approach 2 Perhentian islands that look so dense in greenery, you think you’re entering Jurassic Park. Perhentian Kecil (Small) and Perhentian Besar (Big). We stayed on the latter.
The boat stops off at 2 stops on Perhentian Kecil and then heads over to Perhentian Besar. You’re dropped off on a wobbly walkway where you sway your way to shore. All the hotels are literally on the beach so you don’t have far to go with your bags.
We had our accommodation organised before we arrived but I know many people don’t always book in advance for the Perhentian Islands because
- There’s zero existence of budget accommodation on sites such as Booking.com
- Some budget lodgings only allow walk-ins (particularly on Perhentian Kecil which is more suited to backpackers apparently)
So the options are expensive lodging, take a risk and just turn up or find a contact number and call ahead.
We recommend The Reef Chalets on Perhentian Besar.
Beautiful. White sand and turquoise water. We couldn’t believe how clear the water was from the first moment we peered over the side of the boat. Most of our lives we’ve had holidays in either Europe or USA so this kind of tropical water was completely new to us.
One of Perhentian’s gorgeous beaches will more than likely be on the doorstep of your accommodation but there are water taxis always available during the day so you can beach hop. They’ll drop you off and arrange a time for them to pick you up.
Every place on the island offers some kind of snorkelling tour, the most common being these 4 places:
Kekeh Bay, Shark Point, Turtle Beach, Perhentian Island Resort Bay
Price: Roughly RM 40 with equipment
Due to Hayley experiencing sea sickness after our first snorkelling trip (and then land sickness – who even knew that was a thing?), we actually missed out on the above tour.
But here’s the snorkelling tour we did in the morning – The Rawa Island Trip
Rawa Island, Tokong Buring Kecil, The Lighthouse, Sereneggeh Island, Perhentian Island Resort Bay
Price: Roughly RM 50 with equipment
Our snorkelling trip was absolutely incredible. Rawa Island looked exactly like Nemo’s hometown. This was our first time on a snorkelling trip and we were not disappointed in the slightest. The boat bouncing on the waves however… U+1F637
The colours of the coral are so vibrant and the diversity of fish is brilliant. Just to see them getting on, not even phased by our intrusion was fascinating. It’s so peaceful and beautiful underwater and it made us appreciate how saddening it is that so many coral reefs have been destroyed and that so many are under threat.
Ok so all in all what did we see?
Lots and lots of small, colourful fish including the infamous Clownfish
Humphead Parrotfish and Rainbow Parrotfish
Blacktip Reef sharks
Water Monitor lizard
Dusky leaf monkeys
The Ultimate Relaxation
No roads. Painfully weak WiFi. It forces you to soak in the island – relax, be in the water, enjoy a drink by the sea. We bought a cheap rum at a little shack and cokes in the restaurant (they didn’t mind the cheeky behaviour) and had ourselves a tipsy night listening to music, watching the sunset and then the stars without having our eyes glued to our phones or laptop.
So visit the Perhentian Islands for THE ultimate tropical island vibes.