Travel Guide: Perhentian Island – Kecil


The Perhentian Islands is one of my personal favorites. Why? Because it is the perfect destination for a “backpacking holiday.” (Read about my experience here).

About the Perhentian Islands:

There are two main islands in the Perhentian: Perhentian Besar (big island) and Perhentian Kecil (small island).

Perhentian Besar offers a bit more expensive accommodation and is more family-friendly. Perhentian Kecil, on the other hand, has cheaper accommodation and a night-life that attracts more travelers/backpackers.

How to go there:

1. To get to the islands, you need to take a boat from the jetty terminal in Kuala Besut. There are regular boat connections between the Perhentian Islands and Kuala Besut (10 am, 12 nn, and 4pm).

*The boat captain will ask you which island you’re heading to and which resort. Then, they will drop you there. If you haven’t arrange anything prior to your arrival, you can go to the long beach or coral bay (where a variety of accommodations are located).

2. The boat fare is 70 MYR. This is a two-way ticket (meaning, with return ticket that is open-dated). It’s the same price for 1-way ticket, so just make sure not to lose it.

*In my experience, you can arrange your departure from the island by asking your hotel what time is the schedule for your intended day. They will tell you to just be at the port 30 minutes before the schedule (e.g. 9:30am for the 10am boat to Kuala Besut).

3. There is a 30 MYR “Marine Park Conservation Charge” fee that you need to pay upon buying your boat ticket.

Where to stay:

Budget accommodations and hostels are mostly located at the Perhentian Kecil, along long beach and coral bay. As of writing, these cheaper accommodation options are still not listed on booking websites. It’s best to contact them in advance, otherwise, inquire on the spot.

Price range:

Dorm beds- 30 to 40 MYR
Rooms – 60 MYR & up
Mid-range – 120 MYR
Above mid-range – 250 MYR
Luxury – 500 MYR

Here’s a list of accommodations to choose from.

How to go around the island:

1. Walk / Trek – In Perhentian Kecil, you can reach Coral Bay and Long Beach are accessible by a 10-15 minute walk across the island’s “jungle”.
Other secluded beaches around Perhentian Kecil can be accessed by trekking from Coral Bay or Long Beach.
2. Taxi boat – ranges from 12 MYR/person if you are not fond of trekking to/from a secluded beach.

Things to do in and around the island:

1. Swimming, beach bumming, and tanning
2. Snorkeling – you can take a snorkeling day tour (50 MYR)
There’s a nice reef for snorkeling just on the rightmost part of Coral Bay (free).
3. Trekking around the island – this is the best way to explore the Perhentian. It can be done between 2 to 4 hours. There is a path that you could follow along the jungle, passing by local villages and lot of secluded beaches around the island.
4. Kayaking – the water is a bit calm and the secluded beaches are easily reachable by sea kayaking too!
5. Diving – there are a few nice dive spots around the Perhentian (the best so far is the Temple of the Sea and T3). But other than that, the diving community at the Perhentian is pretty tight. Everybody’s cool and the “graduation rites” of the Dive Masters is a parteyyy! đŸ˜‰
It’s best to “shop around” the different dive shops. Price differences are not very significant, so it’s best to choose whichever makes you feel safe, secured, and comfortable.
6. Partying/Dancing (at Perhentian Kecil) – by night, the long beach stays awake where some places offer dancing while some displays a fire show, which is best viewed while chilling with a couple of drinks by the beach.
7. Catch a fire-dancing show at long beach (at Perhentian Kecil)
8. Free movie night at Ombak Restaurant (at Perhentian Kecil)
9. See the sunrise at long beach – totally worth it!
10. Catch the sunset at Coral Bay and Romantic Beach – highly recommended!

Practical Tips:

1. Money
– there are no ATMs around the island. Bring enough cash.
– credit and debit cards are accepted in some hotels, dive shops and restaurants with a 3 to 5% fee.
– some hotels, restaurants, and dive shops do cashback with 5% charge.

2. Sunblock, Insect Repellent, and other essentials
– bring your own from the mainland.
Note: Everything is MORE EXPENSIVE in the islands because everything is transported from the mainland. 

3. Alcohol
– alcohol is more expensive at the island, so it’s better to bring your own alcohol from the mainland. Most places allow you to drink your own alcohol or make your own mixers.
Note: Everything is MORE EXPENSIVE in the islands because everything is transported from the mainland. 

4. Booking your return trip from Perhentian to Kuala Besut
– be sure to inform your hostel/hotel/guesthouse at least a day in advance, so that they can help you arrange your boat schedule.


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