Your guide to the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

The Perhentian Islands are located in northeastern Malaysia, not far from the country's border with Thailand. They have built a reputation as being paradise for budget travellers, and are quickly establishing their place on the essential "Banana Pancake" trail of South East Asia. Here we look at getting there, accommodation options and activities.

The Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands lie about 10 miles off the coast of Terengganu in northern Malaysia. There is a group of islands, but only two are habited: Perhentian Besar ("Big Perhentian") and Perhentian Kecil Island ("Small Perhentian").

All travellers to the islands must pay a marine park conservation charge of RM5.

Perhentian Besar

Perhentian Besar is a little more expensive and caters to families and couples who want to avoid the party scene.

Perhentian Kecil

Perhentian Kecil is the more popular of the two islands. The most popular backpacker destination is Long Beach (Pasir Panjang) on the island's eastern coast.

How to get to the Perhentian Islands

Boats leave the mainland from Kuala Besut (which can be reached by taxi or coach from Kota Bharu, Jerteh or Kuala Terengganu). Speed boats take around 30 minutes while slow boats, which are cheaper, take around one hour. Tell the driver your destination and they will drop you off at the beach.

Where to stay

There are dozens of guest houses and beach huts on both islands, and a scattering of hotels on Besar. Perhentian Island Resort on Besar is the most luxurious, while Mohsin Chalet are a good budget option (with million dollar views over Long Beach) on Kecil.

What to do on the Perhentian Islands

Enjoy the peace and quiet! Travellers will appreciate the lack of hawkers - you can spend all day on the beach without anyone trying to sell you anything. If you're feeling a bit more active, there are some great diving and snorkelling on the islands. Many hotels and cafes rent out snorkelling equipment.

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