The main attraction when traveling to exotic islands such as the Perhentian Islands are the many activities available to let you connect with nature.
And, luckily, the things to do at Perhentian Islands are many and adorned with one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen.
Among the activities you can enjoy there, we have:
#1 Scuba Diving in Perhentian Islands
The Perhentian Islands are a great attraction for diving enthusiasts thanks to their crystal waters, and the best part is that they know that.
As such, they’ve modeled most of their attractions around water activities such as diving.
The islands offer many diving schools and each has experienced instructors with accessible prices.
#2 Snorkeling in Perhentian Islands
If scuba diving isn’t really your thing, but you still love seeing the underwater life, then snorkeling is just what you need.
Diving schools also offer this activity, and the prices are very low. I remember paying 10 Euros for my snorkeling day around the Perhentian Islands.
#3 Kayaking in Perhentian Islands
For those who’d rather a fast-paced experience there’s also kayaking.
As with snorkeling, this activity is also offered at the same diving schools and you may rent a kayak for hours.
The best thing about kayaking at the Perhentian Islands is that the waters are completely crystalline and quiet (if you go on a good season, that is), and doing so can let you reach places you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.
#4 Trekking in Perhentian Islands
The islands are practically virgin, and moving around them is almost impossible due to the vegetation that covers it.
There are specific trekking routes such as the one that couple both shores in Kecil Island, or the one from Coral Beach to Perhentian Village. The latter is around 6 miles long.
Once at the village, you may walk back to the beach, but I’d recommend you ask someone to give you a lift on a boat. Be careful of being out there at nighttime.
#5 Enjoying the Beaches in Perhentian Islands
After a few days full of activities and fun, it was nice to just take my time and have a day just to rest and admire the beaches at Perhentian Islands.
In fact, there were a lot of people who came strictly just to lie down in the sand and enjoy the sun. But, beware, the sun here is fairly tough, so bring enough protection.
However, you always have the option to just go in the afternoon and enjoy the amazing sunsets offered by the islands.
My top 3 beaches at Perhentian Islands are:
1. K.K. Beach, Perhentian
2. Long Beach, Perhentian
3. Turtle Beach, Perhentian
#5 Visiting the Village
The fishing village is where most locals live.
It has a pier, a police department, a small hospital, and a school, along some restaurants and local stores.
It doesn’t really offer much to see, but you can enjoy some of the local food and see how people live.
#6 Night Parties
Especially at Long Beach and Coral Beach, the night life isn’t really quiet.
Restaurants and bars around there start setting their tables adorned with torches and candles for people to enjoy a meal or a drink.
There are many travelers and it’s not difficult to find someone to talk to.
There are many attractions such as live music or even fireworks to ensure you never run out of things to do at Perhentian Islands.
What you should be aware of is that the locals can become quite rude if there’s too much alcohol around.
How To Get To Perhentian Islands?
The thing with traveling to these islands is that it can be a bit tiresome to get there.
Flights to Perhentian Islands:
Before getting to the islands themselves, you need to get to Kota Bharu via airplane from Kuala Lumpur.
Among the flights that can help you getting to Perhentian Islands you can find Air Asia and Malindo Air, which offer very cheap tickets.
Personally, Air Asia brings a better experience for the price, but that’s a personal choice.
Ferry to Perhentian Islands:
While Kota Bharu is the closest airport, you can only get to the islands through boat.
Once you’ve reached your airport, you must get to Kuala Besut, where every boat leaves for the final destination.
It’s worth noting that you have 2 options when it comes to getting to Kuala Besut from the airport. You can take a taxi, which would take around an hour, or you could wait for a bus; the latter is much cheaper, but can take you longer since you must wait until it passes.
Choosing Between Kecil And Besar
Both islands are very different, and each suits a different type of traveler.
In general, you should go to Kecil if:
- You like a more fast-paced experience.
- You enjoy night parties.
- You like meeting new people and travelers from around the world.
But, you should check out Besar if:
- You prefer a more peaceful and quiet ambient.
- You enjoy nature. This island is wilder, with more wildlife and vegetation.
- You prefer being relatively isolated and have time alone.
Tips To Have A Great Time At The Perhentian Islands
- Don’t go crazy spending, there are no ATMs at the islands. What you bring is what you have.
- There are many mosquitoes, so bring repellant.
- Don’t bring too much value with you.
- Respect the locals; a lot of them are very religious.
- You needn’t go to a school for snorkeling if you’re experienced.
Where To Stay At Perhentian Islands
When it comes to staying at Perhentian Islands, which island you chose plays a great part in where you spend the night.
There isn’t really a lot to choose from. However, some resorts stood out from the rest:
- Shari-la Isly Resort, which is quiet and close to a nice beach.
- Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort & Beach Chalet, which is also close to another beach, and its pool looked great.
- Abdul’s Chalet, which was the nicest resort at Besar and has a restaurant with nice prices.
If you deem your resort as an important part of your travel, then you might prefer Kecil, since it offers much more variety when it comes to where you can spend the night. However, that doesn’t mean Besar doesn’t have nice hotels.