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A Complete Guide to the Perhentian Islands with Mayflower

18 Apr 2022

Sunset in Pulau Perhentian Besar. Image by  Sehran Anba@Unsplash


Perhentian is a Malay word meaning ‘A Stop’, alluding to its past as a short stopover for ships sailing from Thailand to Singapore. 

In a modern sense, the Perhentian Islands are also a stopover from one’s busy and hectic urban life. Perhentian is actually made up of two islands, Pulau Perhentian Kecil and Pulau Perhentian Besar, literally Small and Big Perhentian Island. 

Of the two, Pulau Perhentian Kecil is the one that sees a tad more activity, whilst Pulau Perhentian Besar is filled with luxury resorts and is slightly quieter. 

All in all, the Perhentian Islands offer nature lovers front seats to an eco-friendly paradise that’s teeming with water sports and conservation activities. 


How to Get to the Perhentian Islands

Image by perhentiankita from Instagram


In order to get to Perhentian, visitors would first have to make their way to the Kuala Besut jetty. Kuala Besut is a small town that’s located on the border between Terengganu and Kelantan. 

There are buses to Kuala Besut from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, and other major cities in Malaysia. In KL, the most commonplace to get a bus ticket to Kuala Besut is at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan or TBS bus station. 

Once you get to the Kuala Besut jetty, there are hourly speed boats to the island which costs about RM70 for a return trip. A trip to Perhentian takes only 45 minutes one way. However, it’s advisable that you arrive in the morning or evening as there might not be boats available after dark. 

While you are at the Perhentian Islands, you can move around the various beaches easily as there will be water taxis available for between RM5 -RM50. 


When is the Best Time to Go to Perhentian?

Image by anniezanasir from Instagram


Just like all islands on the East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia, the best time to go is between March and November each year. 

Unfortunately, these areas suffer from a monsoon season that lasts from November to February each year. Monsoon seasons here mean more rain, less sunny days and unpredictably rough seas. The monsoon season also means disruptions to the regular boat services, and also unavailability of the many diving and water sports due to strong waves. 

Peak seasons are around May to August/September, as there are many local public holidays during this time and many Malaysians come over for long weekends. 


Where to Stay in Perhentian?

Choosing where to stay in Perhentian depends largely on the vibes you’re looking for. In general, lodgings on the Perhentian Islands are confined to the beaches. This means that you’ll be staying merely meters away from white sand and crystal clear waters. 

As mentioned before, there are two main islands in Perhentian, namely Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. 


Perhentian Kecil

Bubu Long Beach Resort offers accommodation with a touch of luxury on Perhentian Kecil. Source: Bubu Long Beach Resort website


Perhentian Kecil island caters for the younger, international backpacker crowds, with lots of budget accommodations, affordable restaurants and bars. 

There are two main beaches in Perhentian Kecil, namely Long Beach and Coral Bay. There are many affordable and simpler types of accommodations like Senja Bay Resort on Coral Bay.

However, if you’re interested in complete comfort and a touch of luxury, try Bubu Long Beach Resort. This classy resort offers spacious rooms that are fully air-conditioned, as well as free WiFi. 

They also offer plenty of experiences like a spa, snorkelling, sunset cruises, and hiking. 


Click here to know more about our Bubu Long Beach resort full board package with all meals & activities inclusive!

Perhentian Besar 


Tuna Bay Island Resort on Perhentian Besar is a tranquil, laidback holiday spot. Source: Tuna Bay Island Resort website.


Perhentian Besar is known as the more family-friendly island without much nightlife. It does have more beaches that you can explore by hiring any of the water taxis offered by local operators. The accommodation here is generally more luxurious than its sister island. 

One of the places you can consider on Perhentian Besar is Tuna Bay Island Resort, where you’ll be housed in one of its comfortable chalets, complete with a walkout balcony, air conditioning and complimentary breakfast. 


Find out more about Tuna Bay island Resort with our 3D2N Snorkeling package here!


What’s There to Do in the Perhentian Islands?

A majority of the activities here revolve around the sea and beaches. Services and equipment for these activities, including guides and coaches can be found from independent providers as well as from the resorts here. 

Some of the main things you can enjoy on Perhentian include:


Source: Tuna Bay Island Resort


  1. Scuba diving. Diving services on the island include lessons by experienced divemasters, diving certification, diving equipment, boats and more for a safe yet enriching experience. 
  2. Snorkelling. Enjoy the views in the shallows with great clarity in Perhentian’s crystal clear blue waters. 
  3. Beach hopping. You’ll be able to rent a boat for a day or half a day to visit several of Perhentian’s beaches, each of them with their own unique charm. 
  4. Island hopping. Visit the smaller islands around Perhentian like Lang Tengah and even Redang. 
  5. Jungle trekking. Explore Perhentian’s rich ecosystem with a jungle trek into the interiors of the island. Perhentian Besar has many trails that are clearly marked out for your comfort. 
  6. Sunset cruise. Rent a boat, and pack a picnic as you cruise to the spots on the island with the best romantic view of the sunset. 
  7. Volunteer at the Perhentian Turtle Project. This conservation project relies on volunteers to collect data via kayaks and conduct night patrols. You can contact them to arrange a stint between April and September annually. 

Beach cleaning with the Perhentian Turtle Project. Source: PTP Facebook


Book your Perhentian travel with Mayflower, as we have several packages that will fulfil all your needs. You will indirectly also help with the island’s sustainability for generations to come, spurring conservation of the island’s natural features for all to enjoy.

Click here for more Malaysia island or beach resort packages.