Perhentian Islands In Malaysia: A Complete Travel Guide

Author: Shrabona Borthakur on Apr 15,2023
woman at beach of perhentian island malaysia-Leisure

Perhentian Islands are a pair of islands located off the northeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, in the state of Terengganu. The islands are composed of Perhentian Besar (Big Perhentian) and Perhentian Kecil (Small Perhentian) and are famous for their white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant marine life, making them a popular destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The islands are also a great spot for those looking for a relaxing beach vacation, with plenty of beachfront resorts and guesthouses to choose from. The islands are home to a variety of wildlife, including sea turtles, reef sharks, and tropical fish, and the surrounding coral reefs are some of the most diverse and beautiful in the world. With no roads or cars on the islands, visitors can enjoy a laid-back atmosphere and a slower pace of life, making the Perhentian Islands an ideal destination for those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

The Best Time to Visit Malaysia

The best time to visit Malaysia is generally between the months of December to February when the weather is cooler and less humid. However, this is also peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and crowds. The months of March to October offer warm and sunny weather, but occasional rainfall may occur. It's important to note that Malaysia's climate varies depending on location, so it's best to research the specific area you plan to visit. Additionally, certain festivals, such as the Chinese New Year and Ramadan, may impact your travel plans, so it's important to consider these when planning your trip.

Perhentian Island Map

The Perhentian Islands are a pair of small islands located off the northeast coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and a map of the islands would show their locations and the layout of the beaches and accommodations available. The islands are small, with no cars or roads, so a map may not be necessary to navigate them. However, it may be useful for planning your trip and finding your way to specific destinations, such as popular snorkeling and diving spots or the various accommodations options available on the islands. Maps of the islands can be easily found online or at information centers.

The Location and Geography of Perhentian Islands

The state of Terengganu

Terengganu is a state on the northeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, known for its long stretches of pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and traditional Malay culture. The state has a rich history and is home to several historical sites and landmarks, including the Islamic Civilization Park and the Terengganu State Museum. Terengganu is also famous for its traditional handicrafts and delicious local cuisine and is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, beachgoers, and cultural tourists alike.

The two main islands - Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil


beach in perhentian besar island malaysia-Leisure


Perhentian Islands consist of two main islands - Perhentian Besar (Big Perhentian) and Perhentian Kecil (Small Perhentian). Perhentian Besar is the larger of the two and has more upscale resorts and a quieter atmosphere. Perhentian Kecil is smaller and more budget-friendly, with a backpacker-friendly vibe and a livelier nightlife. Both islands offer beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities, making them popular destinations for tourists seeking a tropical getaway in Malaysia.

The landscape and climate of the islands

The landscape of the Perhentian Islands consists of tropical rainforests, white sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters. The islands are surrounded by coral reefs that provide a natural barrier and make for excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. The climate of the Perhentian Islands is tropical, with temperatures ranging from 25-30C throughout the year. The islands experience two distinct seasons, the monsoon season from November to February and the dry season from March to October. The dry season offers the best weather conditions for water activities and beach vacations.

The Attractions of Perhentian Islands


crystal clear water beach in perhentian islands malaysia-Leisure


The beaches and crystal clear waters

The Perhentian Islands are famous for their stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters. Visitors can choose from a variety of beaches, each with its own unique charm and character. Long Beach, located on Perhentian Kecil, is the most popular and busiest beach, with a long stretch of white sand and a wide range of accommodations and dining options. Coral Bay, also on Perhentian Kecil, is quieter and more secluded, with a more laid-back atmosphere. On Perhentian Besar, Teluk Pauh is a secluded and picturesque beach, ideal for those seeking peace and quiet. The clear waters surrounding the islands are perfect for snorkeling and diving, with an abundance of colorful marine life and coral reefs. Visitors can also enjoy a range of water activities, such as kayaking and paddleboarding, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun.

The diverse marine life and coral reefs

The Perhentian Islands are renowned for their rich marine life and colorful coral reefs. The islands are home to over 600 species of fish, including barracudas, angelfish, clownfish, and more. Divers and snorkelers can explore a variety of dive sites around the islands, including the popular Temple of the Sea and the Sugar Wreck, which is a sunken ship that has become a haven for marine life. The coral reefs around the Perhentian Islands are also incredibly diverse, with over 70 species of hard corals and 30 species of soft corals. The islands have strict conservation measures in place to protect the reefs and marine life, making them a sustainable and responsible destination for eco-tourists. Visitors can also participate in reef clean-up programs and other conservation initiatives to contribute to the preservation of the island's ecosystem.

The jungle trekking and island hopping opportunities

Perhentian Islands offer a range of activities for visitors to enjoy, including jungle trekking and island hopping. The islands are surrounded by tropical rainforests that are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. There are several jungle trekking routes available on the islands, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes. Visitors can explore the rainforests and discover hidden waterfalls and panoramic views of the islands.

Island hopping is also a popular activity on the Perhentian Islands. Visitors can take a boat to explore the neighboring islands and discover their unique features. The nearby islands offer a variety of activities, such as snorkeling, diving, and beach lounging. Visitors can also experience the local culture and traditions of the nearby fishing villages.

Accommodation and Dining Options in Perhentian Islands

Types of accommodation available on the islands

The Perhentian Islands offer a range of accommodation options to suit the needs and budgets of different travelers. The most popular types of accommodations on the islands are:

Budget Guesthouses:

These accommodations are ideal for budget-conscious travelers and backpackers. They offer basic amenities such as a fan, shared bathrooms, and simple furnishings. Budget guesthouses are usually located near the main beaches and have easy access to restaurants and bars. Some popular budget guesthouses on the islands include Maya Guesthouse, Bubu Long Beach Resort, and Cozy Resort.

Mid-Range Hotels:

These accommodations are ideal for travelers looking for a bit more comfort and amenities than budget guesthouses. Mid-range hotels on the islands offer air-conditioned rooms, private bathrooms, and a range of facilities such as restaurants, bars, and swimming pools. They are usually located near the beaches and have beautiful views of the ocean. Some popular mid-range hotels on the islands include Perhentian Island Resort, Shari-La Island Resort, and Tuna Bay Island Resort.


The Perhentian Islands offer a range of luxurious resorts that cater to travelers looking for an upscale and relaxing experience. These resorts are usually located on the main beaches and offer beachfront views, private pools, and a range of amenities such as spas, restaurants, and bars. Some popular resorts on the islands include Bubu Resort, The Barat Perhentian, and Alunan Resort.


Homestays offer a unique experience to visitors by allowing them to stay with a local family and experience their lifestyle and culture. Homestays on the islands are usually located in the local villages and offer simple accommodations with shared bathrooms. This is an excellent option for travelers looking to immerse themselves in the local culture and experience the island's authentic lifestyle.

The dining options and local cuisine


nasi lemak malaysian cuisine-Leisure


  • Local Cuisine: Malaysian cuisine is a mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences, and the Perhentian Islands offer a range of traditional dishes. Some of the must-try local delicacies include Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Satay, and Laksa. These dishes are typically spicy, flavorful, and made with fresh ingredients.
  • Seafood: As the islands are surrounded by waters rich in marine life, fresh seafood is readily available. Visitors can enjoy grilled fish, seafood curries, and seafood platters. The catch of the day is displayed at many restaurants, and visitors can choose the seafood they want to be cooked to their liking.
  • International Cuisine: For those looking for a break from local cuisine, the islands also offer international options such as Italian, Mediterranean, and Western dishes. Many restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options as well.
  • Night Markets: The Perhentian Islands have a vibrant night market scene, offering a range of street food options. Visitors can sample local snacks, fresh fruit juices, and other delicacies at affordable prices.
  • Bars and Cafes: The islands have a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, and visitors can unwind and enjoy drinks at beachside bars and cafes.

Traveling to Perhentian Islands

How to get to the islands

The Perhentian Islands can be reached by taking a flight to Kuala Lumpur or Kota Bharu and then taking a taxi or bus to Kuala Besut, the gateway to the islands. From Kuala Besut, visitors can take a speedboat or ferry to Perhentian Islands. The journey takes approximately 30-45 minutes, depending on sea conditions. It's important to note that boat transfers may not be available during the monsoon season (November-February). Visitors should also be aware of the limited luggage space on the boats and pack accordingly.

Travel tips and advice

  • Pack appropriately - bring light and comfortable clothing, swimwear, sunblock, and insect repellent.
  • Be mindful of the environment - take care not to litter and dispose of waste responsibly. Do not touch or damage the coral reefs and marine life.
  • Stay hydrated - bring enough water and drinks as the islands have limited access to fresh water.
  • Plan ahead - book your accommodation and boat transfers in advance, especially during peak season.
  • Respect the local culture and customs - dress modestly when visiting mosques or other religious sites.
  • Stay safe - wear a life jacket when participating in water activities and follow the instructions of your tour guides.
  • Be prepared for occasional power outages and limited internet connectivity.
  • Cash is king - bring enough cash as ATMs are limited and not always reliable.
  • Check the weather forecast before embarking on any water activities.
  • Take the time to relax and enjoy the island's laid-back atmosphere and natural beauty.


Perhentian Islands in Malaysia is a hidden gem that offers a unique and unforgettable experience to travelers seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With its crystal-clear waters, stunning coral reefs, and diverse marine life, Perhentian Islands are an ideal destination for snorkeling, diving, and other water activities. The islands are also blessed with beautiful beaches, lush greenery, and a peaceful atmosphere that provides the perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. Apart from its natural beauty, Perhentian Islands also offer a range of accommodation options, from luxurious resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses, ensuring that travelers of all budgets can enjoy the islands' splendor. The local cuisine is also a must-try, with an abundance of fresh seafood and traditional Malaysian dishes.



Is Perhentian Islands worth it?

Yes, Perhentian Islands are worth it, offering stunning beaches, clear waters, diverse marine life, and a relaxed island lifestyle.

What is the best month to go to Perhentian Islands?

The best month to visit Perhentian Islands is between March and October when the weather is warm and sunny, with occasional rainfall.

What is the best time of year in the Perhentian Islands?

The best time to visit Perhentian Islands is between March to October when the weather is warm and sunny with occasional rainfall.

How to get to the Perhentian islands from Singapore?

The most convenient way to get to Perhentian Islands from Singapore is to take a flight to Kuala Lumpur or Kota Bharu and then continue by land and sea transport.

Tour Price

Our private tours typically range from $500 - $1000 per person/per night depending on chosen hotels and room categories, vehicles used, types of tours, flight cost, time of year and other factors. Make an inquiry for a customized trip quote.

Start Planning your trip

Learn more about leisure plans

Signup for Exclusive Deals

Exclusive access to private sales, customized specials & more

Book Now