Perhentian Island, Malaysia

I am stuck in Malaysia for the next 18 months for an MBA program in Asia School of Business and I decided to challenge myself to continue traveling whatever happens.

Knowing myself, I can’t be away from the sea for too long so when they said we have a four day long weekend me and my classmates went to Perhentian Islands last September.

My verdict: I come from the Philippines and I do believe we have one of the best islands in the world, with fine white sands and diverse coral reef system. When I saw Perhentian I truly felt close to home so if you are in Malaysia and looking for a good beach vacation, I recommend going to Perhentian.

A glimpse of our short vacation:


About Perhentian and what island should you go to:

Perenthian Island 2 Malaysia Travelanyway
Pulau Perhentian Island (Big Island)

Perhentian Islands, a group of small islands in the coast of northeastern Malaysia in the state of Terengganu, boast of beautiful coral reef system and fine white sand. It is close to the Thailand border and its name means “stopping point” in Malay because traders used it as a stopover from Bangkok to Malaysia and vice-versa.

You can choose to stay in Pulau Perhentian Besar (Big Island) if you want a more luxurious experience. Most couples and families would want to stay here while most backpackers and locals would opt to go to Pulau Perhentian Kecil (Small Island) for more affordable options. We stayed in the small island where all the fun stuff happens!

When to go: 

The islands close during the eastern monsoon which starts from October to the end of March. In reality, you can still go to the island but the journey going there might not be the safest since the sea will be choppy and rough and most of the stores and restaurants will be closed.

How to go:

  1. From Kuala Lumpur, you will need to do a 5-6 hour drive to Kuala Besut port and pay a marine fee of 30MYR and a roundtrip boat fare of 70MYR. Prices are for foreigners, locals pay less. There’s also an option to take a bus and train. You can find more information here.
  2.  From Kuala Besut you take a speedboat to either the small or big Perhentian island. The ride is going to be around 30 minutes.


Things to do:

  • Lounge at the beach!
Perenthian Island Long Beach Malaysia Travelanyway
Spend the day at the beach
The Crew Perenthian Island Malaysia Travelanyway
The Crew in Perhentian Island
Perenthian Island 4 Malaysia Travelanyway
Sun is out
  • Eat in local stores. I recommend Yad Warung for local and clean food.
Yad Warung Perenthian Island Malaysia Travelanyway
Perenthian Island Malaysia Travelanyway
local stores
  • Island Hopping – you can take a long or short trip depending on what you want to see. I do recommend the fish garden, shark point and turtle island. We took the half day trip for 40MYR each. You can also use use water taxis if you want to do the island hopping on your own. More images of the underwater scene in the video above.
Shark Island Perenthian Island Malaysia Travelanyway
After trying to find some baby sharks in Shark island
  • Visit the Beach Bar and watch the fireshow which happens every 9:30pm. Then spend the whole night dancing!
Beach Bar Fireshow Perenthian Island Malaysia Travelanyway
Beach Bar Fireshow
Fire Dance Show Perenthian Island Malaysia Travelanyway
Fireshow everyday
  • You can also freedive and scuba dive if you plan to stay longer. Some offers free accommodation if you do the dive course with them.

It was a short but sweet vacation! It’s a place I don’t mind visiting over and over again. That’s it for now! I have to go back to studying. Ciao!


You can find me in instagram @travelanyway for some random trips and daily musings.

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