Perhentian Islands Malaysia

January 22, 2020

The Perhentian islands off the coast of Terengganu in Malaysia with their white sandy beaches, clear turquoise water and abundant coral life will leave you feeling like you’ve had the best beach vacation this year. These islands might be a bit of a travel to get to, but they are worth it. Simple islands with no vehicles, they are the perfect getaway to decompress and disconnect from the world for a few days. Think of beautiful waters, snorkeling, tasty food, lying on the beach all day and not spending a bomb on your vacation. If this is your idea of the perfect getaway, then the Perhentian islands are for you.

boats parked at jetty at kuala besut jetty terengganu malaysia travel to perhentian island
Boats parked at Kuala Besut Jetty
Getting to Perhentian islands is a little bit of a travel but there are a few options. You could catch an express bus available daily from TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) in Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut Jetty which would take approximately seven hours. Bus bookings can be done at busonlineticket. The buses leave at night around 8pm to 10pm. They arrive at Kuala Besut Jetty early in the morning at around 5 am. The boats don’t start until around 7am or 8 am. You’ll find yourself sitting in the main square area until the shops open in the morning at around 6 to 7am. There a few tour operators in the area who will set you up for your boats to the islands. There’s one main shop in the main square that’s open at 5am in the morning and you’ll have no issues finding your boat through them.

Alternatively, you could fly in from Kuala Lumpur or anywhere else in Malaysia to Kota Bharu Airport in Kelantan or Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Terengganu. Kota Bharu airport is closer, approximately one hour by vehicle as compared to Sultan Mahmud Airport which is about one hour forty-five minutes away. Depending on the resort you are staying at, they might offer land transfer services together with ferry services to your resort. If you don’t have that option, you’ll easily find land transfer offers when you land at the airport itself.

people by the sea perhentian island pulau perhentian besar in terengganu malaysia
View from Tuna Bay Resort
After our last trip, we find ourselves wanting to make another trip back to Perhentian Islands as we loved it so much. I still remember the day, on the ferry, travelling into the distance and finally seeing the island pop up into view and falling in love with what I saw. We stayed at Tuna Bay Island Resort in Pulau Perhentian Besar. If it’s your first trip and you want to have a hassle free experience, this is the place you need to be at. They handle everything from land transfers from the airport to the ferry to the accommodation on the island. The rooms on the resort are basic but clean and comfortable. There’s no TV in the room and no Wi-Fi as well. But really, would you need it? You will need to head to the restaurant to get Wi-Fi connection. To be honest, we did not miss the TV or Wi-Fi. We spent the entire day between the beach and snorkeling. The resort also offers very reasonable rates for snorkeling trips to other islands and areas. There is a village, also known as a kampong, across the water. If you’re interested in heading there to see what village life is like, there are water taxis available at very reasonable rates to take you across. The resort also offers amazing food at a reasonable rate. We found ourselves not wanting to head anywhere else to eat. We literally had three wonderful days of swimming, snorkeling and eating. I’d highly recommend staying at Tuna Bay Resort if you’re headed to Perhentian islands for the first time. Between the well laid out transfers and the amazing beach, we had a great stay. The staff at this resort are real gems. We had great conversations and were well taken care of by them through out our stay.

dinner being prepared at restaurant at tuna bay resort at pulau perhentian besar island terengganu malaysia
Restaurant at Tuna Bay Resort
If you’re looking into heading out at night for some fun, drinks and a bit of a party atmosphere, then Pulau Perhentian Kecil is your best bet. It’s the smaller island that has a lot of cheaper accommodation on offer and more activities at night. You could also get a water taxi to take you between the big island to the small island if you want to head out at night.

Malaysia is a beautiful country that has a lot to offer. From a dynamic city like Kuala Lumpur to simple laid back islands like Perhentian and Tioman, it embodies what a trip to Asia really is like. Malaysia is beyond just Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi. The islands off Malaysia offer beautiful crystal clear water and sandy beaches you can just lie at the whole day. Every island experience is different. Trying to fit an island visit while you’re visiting Malaysia is highly recommended.

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