The Malay word Perhentian is roughly translated as “stopping point”, which is appropriate considering that most travelers come here and end up staying awhile. The Perhentian Islands in Malaysia are composed of two islands, Perhentian Kecil (small) and Perhentian Besar (big). 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.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in the Perhentian Islands
1. Go jungle trekking
2. Get in your beach time
3. Go scuba diving
4. Watch turtles
5. Eat out in Kecil
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Go snorkeling
All resorts rent out snorkeling gear and arrange snorkeling tours around the islands. You can get some cheaper equipment from some local restaurants. Popular snorkeling spots on Besar include Teluk Pauh (to the left of the beach in front of the PI Resort), Shark Point, and Tanjung Basi. For turtles, the best place is the middle of the beach in front of Perhentian Island Resort, where the sandy bottom is covered with algae. A snorkeling trip from Kecil will cost 25-35 MYR per person.
2. Catch a sunset
Coral Bay is a great spot to catch the sun setting. There are also a couple of small and private beaches next to D’Lagoon that you can go to if you’d prefer to take in the sight away from the (relatively small) crowds.
3. Join a fire party
Head to Bubu Long Beach resort at night for an evening of hula and fire dancing on the beach. There are no clubs in the Perhentians; everyone just sits on the beach, drinking, hanging out, and watching the locals perform.
Why watch the turtles all week when you can help conserve their home for years to come? The nesting areas are frequently in danger due to oil spills and unfavorable conditions. There are a few sites and organizations that will help you get involved.
5. Go sea-kayaking
The waters around the islands provide some excellent opportunities for sea kayaking. Many of the resorts rent out equipment or you can sign up for a tour. It gives you a good chance to get to some of the places on the island where you can’t easily walk to. Expect to pay 30-70 MYR for a rental.
6. Lounge on the beach
The most popular beach on the islands is Long Beach, which is highly regarded as the center of activities during the day and is dotted with hammocks and umbrellas.