The Perhentian Islands, derived from the Malay word ‘perhentian’ which means “stopping point”, live up to their name as they have long been a respite for traders and travelers navigating the South China Sea. Today, these islands are a sought-after destination for tourists.
The Perhentian Islands are situated off the northeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, specifically in the state of Terengganu. The main islands are Perhentian Besar (Big Perhentian) and Perhentian Kecil (Small Perhentian). Both islands boast stunning white sandy beaches, clear blue waters, and lush tropical jungles.
The Perhentian Islands, with their strategic location, have historically served as a resting point for traders traveling between Malaysia and Bangkok. Over time, as the natural beauty of these islands became known, they transformed from a traders’ rest stop to a haven for backpackers and subsequently a popular tourist destination. Efforts have been made to preserve the natural beauty and delicate ecosystem of these islands.
Highlights of Things to Do
- Diving and Snorkeling: Renowned for their rich marine life and vibrant coral reefs, the islands are a diver’s paradise. Popular diving spots include the Temple of the Sea and Sugar Wreck.
- Beach Relaxation: The islands are home to several beautiful beaches such as Long Beach and Coral Bay. They offer the perfect setting to relax, sunbathe, and watch stunning sunsets.
- Trekking: Explore the islands’ interior by trekking through the jungles, providing an opportunity to witness the diverse flora and fauna.
- Water Taxis: Hop from one beach or island to another using the local water taxis, an adventurous way to explore different parts of the Perhentian Islands.
- Sea Kayaking: Glide over the crystal-clear waters on a kayak, allowing you to reach secluded bays and snorkeling spots.
How to Get In and Out
- By Boat: The only way to reach the Perhentian Islands is by sea. Regular speedboat services run from Kuala Besut jetty in Terengganu to both Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil.
- By Air: The nearest airport is the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. From there, travelers can take a taxi to Kuala Besut jetty, followed by a speedboat ride to the islands.
- By Road: Kuala Besut, the main gateway to the Perhentian Islands, can be accessed by bus or car from various parts of Malaysia. Upon reaching Kuala Besut, travelers can embark on a boat journey to the islands.
The Perhentian Islands offer a mix of tranquility and adventure, making them a must-visit destination for beach lovers, divers, and those wishing to immerse themselves in nature’s splendor.