Pulau Perhentian

Located about 20 kilometres off the northeast coast of Terengganu, Pulau Perhentian, comprises Perhentian Besar (big) and Perhentian Kecil (small). Before its discovery by tourists who wanted something else besides Tioman and Redang, the islands were nothing more than shelters for fishermen during storms.

Easily accessible from the jetty at Kuala Besut, the fastest way to reach the islands is by speedboat. The exhilarating, half-hour boat ride is an exciting prelude to what Pulau Perhentian has in store for you.

The islands are very much in their pristine state with gorgeous white sandy beaches and very inviting nook and crannies waiting for you to discover. The fishing village on Perhentian Kecil with its colourfully painted boats add to the beauty of the area. In the evenings, just before the sun sets local folks would congregate on the beachfront to chat or mingle with the more adventurous tourists who prefer to go local than being cooped up at the resorts.

Of course, the islands’ biggest attractions are the beautiful beaches washed by really crystal clear waters. Check out the Pasir Panjang (Long Beach) beach with its cluster of cafes, restaurants and dive shops right on the beach.

This place is great for swimming or to watch the sunrise. It is also the most popular jump-off point for island hopping and diving trips. Previously just a basic backpacker beach, today’s Pasir Panjang has become more upmarket offering an increasing range of accommodations to suit all budgets.

The coral reefs around the islands are great for snorkelling; while scuba divers will be challenged by a great variety of dive sites ranging from colourful formations of coral gardens to massive walls with drops hundreds of metres deep.

Novice divers can join guided dive excursions chaperoned by experienced dive masters, while beginners can register for dive courses that will qualify them for internationally recognised certifications.

Coral Bay on Perhentian Kecil is the best place for sunsets. In the evening the beach is dotted with people eager to witness the magnificent play of colours as the sun bids goodbye to the islands. Jungle trekking across the thick tropical rainforest of both islands is another popular activity.

Pulau Perhentian is closed during the monsoon months of November to February.