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.
Hostel prices – There aren’t any hostels on the islands, just upscale beach houses. Rooms start around 30 MYR, but 75 MYR is more average. Check out renting from a local as well for a good budget option — you won’t mind many options online in advance.
Budget hotel prices – There are a few hotels on the islands with prices between 150-285 MYR per night for a double room. For a budget hotel with WiFi and breakfast included, expect to pay on the higher end of that scale. For a hotel with a pool (not that you need one with the beach so close), prices begin around 300 MYR per night. Airbnb is available BUT extremely limited. A private room (of which there are few) will cost around 85 MYR per night.
Average cost of food – Eating is extremely affordable here. Meals are typically around 8 MYR, but can go up to 30 MYR in the more expensive tourist restaurants. Stick to the local food for the cheapest prices, and shop at the local markets if you plan on buying groceries. Western food items (think wine, cheese) will be much more expensive so avoid buying them if you are on a budget! If you need a place with fast WiFi, check out Ewan’s cafe — it has some of the best WiFi in the area.
Transportation costs – There are no roads on the islands, but there are many walking routes so be prepared to walk everywhere. For slightly longer distances, water taxis are the main form of transport, costing around 15 MYR for most journeys. To get to the islands, a bus and ferry from KL will cost around 100 MYR per person. There are also speed boats available from the mainland for around 70 MYR per person, but keep an eye out for those trying to undercut this price.
Suggested daily budget – 160-250 MYR / 33-55 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out at the local cheap restaurants, and using local transportation. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)