Island Holiday in Malaysia, Pulau Perhentian

Rich marine life at Perhentian
Rich marine life at Perhentian

This is the second hub on islands around Peninsular Malaysia. The first hub is on Pulau Langkawi. I have also completed

Now, this time we will be visiting – Pulau Perhentian. “Pulau” means island in the Malay language.

Pulau Perhentian

“Pulau Perhentian” means stopping point island. In olden days, Pulau Perhentian served as a stopping point for traders between Bangkok and Malaysia. During the British colonial period in Malaysia, Pulau Perhentian can be found on many maps of the nineteenth and twentieth century as “The Station Islands”. Local version of the name’s origin is that for ages fishermen from mainland states of Kelantan and Terengganu relied on Pulau Perhentian as stopping point to rest and for shelter during storm. Located on the north eastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Pulau Perhentian has two main islands, namely Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. “Besar” means big and “Kecil” means small. There are few other smaller uninhabited islands off Perhentian Kecil. This group of islands is under the care of PulauRedangNationalMarinePark, meaning that fishing, collecting coral and littering are strictly prohibited. Pulau Perhentian is located in the South China Sea, 21 kilometer from the coast of Kuala Besut, Terengganu and 64 kilometer south of Thailand’s border.

Coral Bay, Perhentian Kecil
Coral Bay, Perhentian Kecil
Wow.. look at the crystal clear water below the boat
Wow.. look at the crystal clear water below the boat

Attractions in Pulau Perhentian

Covered by virgin jungle, windswept palms, powdery white beaches and surrounded by sapphire blue waters and reef, Pulau Perhentian’s beauty is mesmerizing. Rated as some of the most beautiful islands in the world, this is a perfect spot for snorkeling and diving. Those who just want to relax, you can enjoy sunbathing with postcard view in front of you. Arrangements can also be made for island cruises, and boats can be hired to go exploring for private bays and secluded coves. Water sports available are windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, sea kayaking and deep sea fishing (permit required for this).

Visitors arriving at Perhentian jetty
Visitors arriving at Perhentian jetty

To be frank upfront, these islands offer no luxury. There is no 5 star hotel here and most accommodation here are basic and cheap (backpackers style). Some tourists prefer camping and just pay for the use of bathroom. I have known backpackers that stayed in Perhentian for months (maybe entire summer holidays). It’s back to nature here, I guess. And I dare say - what Perhentian lacks in luxury, it pays in beauty.

Divers call it paradise at Perhentian
Divers call it paradise at Perhentian

Top 3 Activities in Pulau Perhentian

Scuba Diving

The group of small rocky islets to the northwest of Pulau Perhentian Kecil is a great spot for diving. The tiny islets have irregular patches of stunted soft tree corals in many colours. Deeper down, you can explore the wonders of king-size barrel sponges with Alabaster Sea Cucumbers. Harp and black corals are common in this area.

Arguably the best dive site in Perhentian is “Tokong Laut” (means Temple of the Sea). Tokong Laut lies out in the sea in the northwest of Perhentian Kecil. It is a rocky pinnacle covered with soft and hard vivid corals. Bamboo and Nurse Sharks can be seen here. Schools of mackerels and jackfish are common here.

Another popular dive site is Terumbu Tiga (means Three Brothers). Terumbu Tiga lies on the east of PerhentianBesarIsland. It’s a jumble of large rocks with many swim through. It boasts some large coral formations, barrel sponges, soft whip corals and gorgonian fans. Schools of mackerels and herrings can be seen here.

Bat fish sighted during dive at Perhentian
Bat fish sighted during dive at Perhentian

For more Perhentian dive sites, click here.

Don’t know how to dive? No problems. There are many PADI professional courses in dive centers around Pulau Perhentian. They offer from IntroDive to DiveMaster courses.

Check out dive courses:

Tunabay Dive

Turtle Bay Divers

Amazed by the density of fishes at Perhentian
Amazed by the density of fishes at Perhentian

Snorkeling

The islands are designated as a marine park area and snorkeling is safe for both young and old. The best spot for family snorkeling would be the south west of the island. The water is shallow and there is no chalet around this area, so the corals are more abundant and colorful. The best beach on the islands is Teluk Pauh, a beautiful half moon bay with white powdery sand and water as clear as crystal. There are good coral around the points on both sides. Here you can snorkel with some turtles, black tip reef sharks and hundreds of reef fish. There are many snorkeling sites around these islands. Different snorkeling locations offer different sights and experience. Try them all.

Virgin jungle at Perhentian
Virgin jungle at Perhentian

Jungle Trekking

Both islands (Besar and Kecil) have a good network of jungle trails over the hill, where one can experience hundreds of species of fauna and flora. In these rocky virgin jungles you may chance upon monitor lizards, deers, monkeys, geckos, flying squirrels, butterflies and many more. There are no roads on these islands, just treks. So, these islands are mainly peaceful and untouched. Not to worry though as all the treks are clearly marked.

All in a day's work.. water taxis during sunset.
All in a day's work.. water taxis during sunset.

Getting Around

Back to basics… walking. There is no road on these islands. Wheels are of no use here. Your two feet is a priced commodity here. To hop from one beach to another you will need water taxis. There are many walking tracks that connect the beaches as an alternative to water taxis but some of them are quite challenging. If you have children with you, it’s best to pay and use the service of a water taxi.

Click here for Map of Perhentian.

Getting There

By Sea – the only way to Perhentian is by boat from Kuala Besut, a mainland town in Terengganu.

By Air conditioned ferry service – take about 45 minutes; comfort.

By Speed boat – takes about 40 minutes; ride usually bumpy, wet and exciting.

By Slow boat – takes about 90 minutes; cheaper.

Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil
Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil
Learn about turtle conservation at Perhentian
Learn about turtle conservation at Perhentian

Uniquely Perhentian

Turtle Sanctuary

Pulau Perhentian is home to a turtle nesting population. The island is home to hundreds of nesting Green and Hawksbill turtles. Hence, the best activity after dinner / supper is turtle watching. The nesting season is usually from June to late August. The turtles will normally land to nest between midnight and dawn. Make arrangement with the reception to give you a wake up call if the turtles are spotted on the beach. This rare opportunity is not to be missed.

Turtle volunteering work on Perhentian Island, Malaysia – click here.

Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, volunteer work or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you!

A secluded beach at Perhentian Besar
A secluded beach at Perhentian Besar

Things to note before coming

Make sure you have enough local currency cash (RM as in Ringgit Malaysia). There is no bank on Pulau Perhentian. Although some of the resorts and chalets accept credit card, you will be charged the additional 3% to 6% to cover their bank charges. You can also change your money with some of the resort or dive shop, but with poor rates.

Avoid the eastern monsoon season (November to end February). You can expect rain and rough seas and most resorts are typically closed during this period. It is not advisable to visit during this period. Peak season is between July and August and prices rise accordingly.

For more information on Pulau Perhentian travel, click here.

Postcard view of sandy white beach at Perhentian Besar
Postcard view of sandy white beach at Perhentian Besar
Enjoy swimming in the turquoise-blue sea at Perhentian
Enjoy swimming in the turquoise-blue sea at Perhentian

Visitors that have been here call it… Perhentian Paradise. Click here to read more.

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Comments 25 comments

suny51 profile image

suny51 6 years ago

i liked it,thanx for sharing.


telltale profile image

telltale 6 years ago

Wow, another island resort, hope they won't be charging US$500 per night, like what they plan for Pulau Redang, especially when I have not visited it yet.. ok, Langkawi first. Thanks for the detailed info. :)


samboiam profile image

samboiam 6 years ago from Texas

So many great places to visit, so little time. Thanks for another excellent hub. I enjoyed this greatly.


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

suny51, glad that you liked this hub. I have one or two more hubs like this still in progress. Cheers.


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

telltale, Perhentian is relatively cheaper than Langkawi.. but also depends on the resort you select. Langkawi is more commercialized and has a wider range of resorts, from budget to 5 star to boutique hotels.


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

samboiam, allow me to extend a warm welcome to you. Hope you can visit Perhentian and enjoy her natural beauty. Selamat Datang.


Roezer 6 years ago

Look like a Beautiful Place I really like those Zebra Fish


Leandraluv profile image

Leandraluv 6 years ago from Macae, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This is a fantastic hub. I love the pictures. Very beautiful and great writeup on this destination - looks like paradise!


Michael 6 years ago

Thanks Jason for your providing this blog and a good info for me to digest it as I am not yet to The island although have had been living as an expatriate in Malaysia since Dec. 2006 till now.

Thanks for passing up your message to my YST page.

Me,

Michael


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee

How beautiful. Reminds me of Guam. Was stationed there during Viet Nam conflict. Loved the islands.


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Roezer, thanks for stopping by and yes! Perhentian is a beautiful place.


Christelle 6 years ago

Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful pictures again!! The colours are amazing!


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Leandraluv, thank you for your lovely comment. Some of my friends call this island Perhentian Paradise... meaning stop over at paradise.


cepz 6 years ago

haii...


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Hi Michael, it's great to have you stopping by. You should take some time off and visit Perhentian since you are already living in Malaysia. Anyway, good to see a YST friend visiting my hub.


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

samsons1, yes we all love the sun, sea and sand. Reminds me of a care free lifestyle, just relaxing and lazing around. But I doubt you have that feeling during your station at Guam. You can enjoy the islands now.


Richard DelaCruz 6 years ago

Loved it great info on Palua never been there but would love to travel and experience the island.

Think you can help me out also and Vote for me on FAXO 4 Best BLOG http://tweeter.faxo.com/Best_Forum_Message_Board_o... CLICK moneymogel.org to VOTE

Thanks you,

Richard DelaCruz


James James 6 years ago

I want to go there, I want to go there, I want to go there...can I have a ticket please...my wife and I would stay forever..as long as they have an internet connection Absolutely gorgeous

James James

www.magicnews.tv


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Christelle, I am happy to see you coming back.


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Hi Richard, thanks for stopping by. Pulau Perhentian offers great diving experience. The white sandy beaches overlooking the sapphire blue South China Sea is breathtaking. Do make a "stop over" at Perhentian.


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

James, thanks for taking time to comment. Good news for you.. yes there is internet connection in Perhentian Island. Welcome, welcome.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Beautiful Jasonycc!! Thank you very much! I wish this was really close!


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Micky, do visit us one day. If you are into competitive cycling, maybe during Le Tour de Langkawi. Thanks for reading.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago

your hub is very informative. I added your hub as a link from my hub.


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thank you Ingenira. Appreciate it.

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