Mean perhentian islands?
List of countries
Travel in Europe
Travel in Africa
Travel in Asia
Travel in Europe :
Travel in France
Travel in Belgium
Travel in Finland
Travel in Germany
Travel in Asia :
Travel in America :
Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in perhentian islands
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in perhentian islands, Bed and Breakfast!
Asia : Southeast Asia : Malaysia : Peninsular Malaysia : East Coast : Terengganu : Perhentian Islands
The two main islands are Perhentian Besar ("Big Perhentian") and Perhentian Kecil ("Small Perhentian"). Kecil, the more popular of the two, has cheap accommodation and a bit of a backpacker party scene, while Besar is slightly more expensive and caters more to families. The relative difficulty of access and the higher prices compared to Thailand mean that both are still relatively unexplored.
The small, uninhabited islands of Susu Dara, Seringgi and Rawa lie off Kecil. All the islands belong to a protected marine park, which means that fishing, collecting coral and littering are strictly prohibited.
When to go
Due to the eastern monsoon, the season in the Perhentians is effectively limited to the period between April and October. Outside this the seas can be very rough and most accommodations are closed.
Most people travel to the islands via the provincial capitals Kota Bharu or Kuala Terengganu; see the respective pages for more information. The nearest railway station is Tanah Merah, although most travellers opt for Kota Bharu's better-serviced Wakaf Bahru station instead. All travellers to the islands have to pay a marine park conservation charge of RM5 per person, valid for the length of your stay.
Since the islands have no roads and no airport, getting to the islands themselves will require a ferry, really just a speedboat rigged with two large outboard motors. Expect to get yourself (and your belongings) soaked in seawater, although the exact degree depends considerably on wind conditions and how crazy your captain is. Note that all ferries will take you directly to your destination, wherever it may be on the islands; you may have to pay an extra RM2 or so for the last leg on a taxi boat if the beach has no jetty though. There are two jetties of importance:
via Kuala Besut
The main ferry terminal is at Kuala Besut. From here you have two options: speedboats, which cover the distance in 30 minutes for RM30 one way and depart according to demand (4-5 times a day), and slow boats, which take several hours for the same trip, leave infrequently and irregularly (usually in the early morning), and still charge RM20 or so. However, in the off season slow boats may be your only option.
via Tok Bali
The second, private jetty operated by the private Symphony Tours company is at Tok Bali, several kilometers north of Kuala Besut. While somewhat closer to Kota Bharu, the boat trip itself is longer at 45 minutes and there are only 3 ferries daily; arranging onward transport from here can also be difficult, as there are no public transport options and you're stuck with the taxi mafia who charge a flat RM50 to anywhere. On the positive side, while some guidebooks still note Tok Bali as a "pirate jetty", Symphony is now a licensed operator and the Ministry of the Environment has set up a booth to collect the marine park charge.
Warning: The Symphony folks are in cahoots with the taxis at Kota Bharu airport and will happily sell you tickets via Tok Bali even if you ask for Kuala Besut.
Other than walking, the only means of transport is water taxis. Prices are negotiable but figure on RM5 per head for most hops from one beach to another, a little more from crossing from one island to another.
"Map of the Perhentian Islands">
Many places on the island are referred to with both their Malay and English names. To make life a little more confusing, the words "beach" (pantai) and "bay" (teluk) are often used near-interchangeably as well, and a few English place names are not literal translations.
See and do
Activities on the Perhentians are basically limited to scuba diving, snorkeling and sunbathing. Those with excess energy may attempt the jungle trails crisscrossing both islands.
The Perhentians offer excellent diving and draw divers from far and wide. In addition to coral and fish, the Perhentians are home to sea turtles and many species of shark -- none of them dangerous unless provoked though. Visibility is often in the 20 meter range (although it will temporarily go down after storms) and no wet suit is required, although you may wish to use a dive skin for protection from coral and the occasional jellyfish. Popular dive sites include the Pinnacle (aka Tokong Laut, "Temple of the Sea"), a pinnacle jutting out from the sea bed, and the Sugar Wreck, an easily accessible 3500-ton sugar hauler.
Competition for divers is fierce and consequently diving is quite cheap, averaging out to RM60-80 per dive depending on how many dives you do and whether you bring your own gear. All dive shops also arrange introductory dives (no training required) and PADI training.
All resorts rent out snorkeling gear (typically RM10-15 a day for mask, snorkel and fins) and arrange snorkeling tours around the islands. You can get some cheaper equipment from some local restaurant. 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. The best place to see sharks (black tip) is in front of an extremely small "beach", only accessible by boat, between Shark Point and the Teluk Dalam large beach. They are usually seen cruising the bottom of the reef. For turtles, best place is the middle of the beach in front of Perhentian Island Resort, where the sandy bottom is covered with algae.
The islands are crisscrossed by small paths connecting one beach to another, but be prepared to sweat and swat off bugs if you tackle any of these.
Many of the smaller resorts only offer meals as part of an all-inclusive package. These are usually buffet-style with a variety of Western and Malaysian dishes. Larger beaches, such as Pasir Panjang, offer a larger variety of eating options. Since everything (except seafood) has to be imported, expect to pay at least 2-3x more than on the mainland.
Pasir Panjang on Kecil is the only place in the islands with any semblance of a nightlife, although Besar's first bar has recently opened up. Alcohol is expensive at RM8 and up for a can of beer, and Muslim-owned restaurants can't sell you any. There is some under-the-counter booze floating around though, and bringing your own is also permitted in most otherwise dry restaurants.
There are no luxury accommodations on the islands, with the top of the line being air-conditioned chalets (RM100-200) and the bottom being a bunk in a longhouse (RM10 and up). Discounts are usually negotiable in the off season, for weekdays, for longer stays, if you show up late and they have room... but the better places can get snapped up fast, especially on weekends and holidays, so book in advance (easily arranged in Kuala Besut) or arrive early.
The most popular backpacker destination is Pasir Panjang (Long Beach) on the eastern coast of Kecil, where a bed in a longhouse can go for as little as RM20. More private "chalets" with fan, electricity and bathroom start at RM50.
Due to its popularity Kecil can get a little noisy at times, so to get away from it all, head for Besar. Starting from the northern Teluk Pauh:
A 5-minute walk away is Besar's nameless main beach, featuring the following:
Crossing over to the next beach is a more challenging 15-minute hike up and down through the jungle, but it will bring you to the southwest beach and:
The final smattering of chalets can be found on the southern Flora Bay (Teluk Dalam), an even steeper hike from the rest of the island (two tracks lead to Tuna Bay and the PI Resort).
Internet cafes can be found on both Kecil and Besar, but connections are slow.
GSM mobile phone coverage for Celcom and Maxis is spotty but generally adequate, especially on Besar.
For all their beauty, the Perhentians remain a bit of an up-and-coming attraction and there are some missing bits in the infrastructure to be aware of:
There are concerns that the coral reef will be gone in as little as ten years because of the intensive tourism industry. But as long as you take care and do not pick the living coral you will not be contributing to that directly.