Peninsular Malaysia’s “Stopping Point”
Perhentian Island is located within the protected Terengganu Marine Park that runs along the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is rated as one of Malaysia’s top tourist attractions, offering beautiful stretches of sand with lush rolling jungles.
Perhentian consists of two main islands, Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil which translates to Big Perhentian and Small Perhentian, respectively.
Perhentian Besar is regarded as a more affluent island comprising upmarket accommodations and resorts attracting honeymooners and families, while Perhentian Kecil caters for pocket-conscious visitors and has become a popular backpacker destination, which has result in a lively night scene along with restaurants, bars and cafes.
Depending on your mood, the nightlife is livelier at Perhentian Kecil’s “Long Beach” where most of the island bars are located. Perhentian Besar’s nightlife is more relaxed catering to the casual drinkers.
Beneath the surface
For those focused on getting their dive on, Perhentian Island boasts over 20 dive sites and is a popular location for those looking to get certified. Diving experiences range from a relaxed dive at a sandy lagoon filled with colourful hard corals (D’Lagoon), to ‘swim-through’ beautiful canyons and large coral formations (T3), to drift diving with schools of barracudas, trevallies (Tanjung Besi), to exploring the wrecks (Sugar Wreck and Vietnamese Wreck – a US twin-screw landing craft which sank in 1976), to diving the magnificent Tokong Laut which is home to all walks of marine life. Sea turtles are common, and if Lady Luck is on your side… whale sharks can be spotted!
How to get there
Kuala Besut Jetty is the closest jetty and driving there (from Kuala Lumpur) takes around 6 hours. Alternatively, one could take a flight into Kota Bharu Airport (IATA: KBR) and it’s a 1.5hour car ride to the airport (taxi fares run about RM80 per trip).
Here’s a fun fact: “Perhentian” actually means “stopping point” in the Malay language – a definite pit stop in your itinerary for the underwater explorer if you are ever around Peninsular Malaysia.
For more information on Perhentian Island, click here.