The Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands are, simply put, paradise on earth. Located off the northeast coast of Malaysia in the Palau Radang National Marine Park, the Perhentians are slowly gaining recognition as one of the most beautiful places in all of Southeast Asia. Turquoise waters, a laid-back vibe, and plenty of sun, surf, and sand, the Perhentians also boast some of the very best scuba diving in all of Southeast Asia. As a budget traveler, you’ll most likely be staying on Perhentian Kecil- the smaller of the two islands- as the larger island is geared towards more expensive resorts. Regardless of where you stay, life on the Perhentians is a total contrast to the wild and non-stop party scene in Thailand, offering a much-needed break from the chaos. Take a dive course, take nap on the beach, take a minute to soak up the incredible beauty- despite the slow pace of life, your time on the Perhentians will be over all too soon, no matter how long you stay... Savor every moment.

Getting There

Ferries run to the islands from the small towns of Kuala Besut and Tok Bali, although Kuala Besut is a safer bet. Once you have crossed the border from Thailand, you can hire a taxi to take you to the ferry port for a reasonable fee.

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The BEAUTIFUL Perhentian Islands

Things to do on the Perhentian Islands

  • NOTHING- really, it is a great place to No temples to see, no museums to peruse, no ruins to explore, no sand football tournament to dominate. Life on the Perhentians is SIMPLE- keep it that way.

Scuba Zen in the Perhentians....


  • HIKE- the islands are SMALL, and ideal for a good morning or late afternoon hike. Ask around for local trail information.
  • CHILL- beachside bonfires, quite sunset dinners, a make-shift movie theater- Perhentian Kecil is designed for relaxing. Take some time to enjoy the tranquil paradise before speeding off to your next destination...


Insider Tips

  • Unless you’re going on a sterling recommendation, wait to book your accommodation until you arrive on the island. It’s a small place, with most guesthouses and budget hotels all clustered together. Take a few minutes upon arrival to tour a few, comparing and negotiating prices, and you’ll be able to save some money.

The beach of Perhentian Kecil

  • Shop around for dive courses. True, due to the shops’ proximity to one another, finding a better deal is tough to do, but still, you will get to know some of the instructors a bit, have a feel for how each shop operates, and then you can pick the one that suits you.
  • Watch out for giant lizards- monitor lizards patrol the islands, and can be dangerous if approached. Keep your distance.
  • Theres a nightly volleyball match at the end of the beach, with the locals taking on the tourists. Good fun, and a good way to meet some fellow travelers.

Living the island life in the Perhentians...