Fringed by coral reefs, the Perhentian Islands are a small group of idyllic islands in the far north-east of Malaysia. The Malay name translates as “stopping point”, with the islands once a popular resting place for traders travelling between Bangkok and Malaysia. Today, it’s snorkelers and scuba divers who frequent this paradise to discover the underwater wonders of the Perhentian Islands Marine Park.
Things to do in Pulau Perhentian
Join one of the local dive operators on a day trip to the surrounding reefs, which are home to tropical fish, friendly sharks and sea turtles. Must-visit dive sites include the Pinnacle and the 3,500-ton hauler of the Sugar Wreck, as well as Redang Island, renowned for its outstanding visibility. Snorkelling tours are also offered around the islands, while some reefs are accessible directly from the beach.
A network of jungle paths crisscross the Perhentian Islands, with the chance to spot huge monitor lizards and wild monkeys along the way. Kayaking is another popular way of exploring the coast, where you can discover isolated beaches and coves to swim and snorkel.
Want to support sea turtle survival? The Perhentian Islands were once home to a large nesting population of green and hawksbill turtles, although numbers have dwindled in recent years. Volunteer programs on the islands help to protect nesting beaches and deter poachers from harvesting eggs, as well as promoting conservation awareness at local schools.
Getting around Pulau Perhentian
Regular ferries depart from Kuala Besut on the Malay Peninsula to the Perhentian Islands. Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Terengganu and Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Kota Bhura both have regular flights to Kuala Lumpur, with taxis connecting them with the port in Kuala Besut. Water taxis are the main means of getting around the islands, although some destinations can be accessed on foot.