Travel Tips: The Perhentian Islands

perhentian islands

Are you planning for holidays at The Perhentian Islands? If yes, you are doing the right plan.

The Perhentian Islands, located in Besut, Terengganu are absolutely beautiful but there are some tricks and tips to staying happy and thriving in paradise.

The two most popular Perhentian islands, Besar (big) and Kecil (small), are as different as night and day. Both are hugely popular with snorkelers and divers, as the reefs and crystalline waters surrounding them are host to a wide variety of coral, sea turtles, sharks, and reef-fish. Mostly, people come to these beautiful and rustic islands to relax, enjoy the beach, and slow down. The islands are more expensive than the rest of Malaysia so be sure to budget extra when you come to this paradise.

Choose wisely or plan enough time to enjoy both.

perhentian islands jetty

When to Go

The annual monsoon that hits the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia peaks between November and February and most resorts close roughly across this period. Some though, especially the larger places on Perhentian Kecil such as Shari-la, Sanja and d’Rock, now remain open year round. Food options at this time will be rather limited and the boat service irregular, sometimes not running for days. Large seas make diving unworkable and snorkelling not all that pleasant, so the dive shops are closed across this period. If all you want to do is lay on the beach though, you will get the occasional day of great sunshine through wet season.

The best time to visit the Perhentian Islands is during the dry season from March to November. The islands are practically empty and many businesses are closed during the rainy months. July is peak season; book accommodation in advance.

Most resorts open from late February through April until well into October — perhaps even early November, depending on the weather. The peak tourist season is July and August, not only because of weather but also holiday schedules — especially European summer holidays.

What Is The Fastest/cheapest way to get from Kuala Lumpur to The Perhentians?

There are overnight buses from KL to the jetty so u can get the first ferry over. Takes about 8 hrs.

AirAsia has several flights to Kota Bahru which would give you plenty of time for a bus to Kuala Besut (around 1 hour) and then a ferry.


  • There are NO ATMS on the Perhentians. Bring enough cash with you. Many, though not all resorts, do accept credit cards, but the cheapest guesthouses and certainly the barbecue corn vendor on Long Beach, do not. If you need more cash, the closest ATM is in Jertih about a 20-minute taxi ride from Kuala Besut.
  • Internet and WiFi is available at some guesthouses, hotels, dive shops and restaurants. Standards of the service vary considerably. We had a patchy EDGE connection via DiGi, others reported better coverage with Celcom.
  • There is no active regular policing on either island. The closest real police station is Kuala Besut, with regional stations in both Kota Bharu and Kuala Terengganu. We were advised that serious complaints, especially regarding assaults, should also be passed to your diplomatic mission in Kuala Lumpur.
  • The closest hospital is in Jertih on the mainland.

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