View Map

Overview

If you’re looking for an idyllic beach escape the Perhentian Islands deliver in spades. Made up of two islands – Pulau Perhentian Besar (meaning "large island") and Pulau Perhentian Kecil ("small island") – the Perhentians lie 12 miles off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and are accessed by speedboats from the small port of Kuala Besut. Sunbathing on soft sand beaches, snorkeling and diving in crystal clear waters is what the Perhentians are all about. For something more energetic there are short jungle trails on both islands or you could just amble from beach to beach. Because of Muslim mores about alcohol (which is available) this is ...

If you’re looking for an idyllic beach escape the Perhentian Islands deliver in spades. Made up of two islands – Pulau Perhentian Besar (meaning "large island") and Pulau Perhentian Kecil ("small island") – the Perhentians lie 12 miles off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and are accessed by speedboats from the small port of Kuala Besut. Sunbathing on soft sand beaches, snorkeling and diving in crystal clear waters is what the Perhentians are all about. For something more energetic there are short jungle trails on both islands or you could just amble from beach to beach. Because of Muslim mores about alcohol (which is available) this is not a party destination, nor is it a place women should sunbathe topless – if that’s what you’d rather do, then there are plenty of Thai islands that you’d feel more comfortable on. If, however, you’re interested in learning more about the local culture, then it’s recommended that you combine a trip to these islands with a stay in the devoutly Muslim city of Kota Bharu. Here there are good museums, including the Istana Jahar, which focuses on Kelantan crafts and rituals, the Gelanggang Seni, where you can view traditional Malay performing arts, and one of Malaysia's best night markets, a foodie's heaven.

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

view full overview

Simon Richmond for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: 19 km offshore the coast of northeastern Malaysia
  • Language: Malay
  • Currency: Malaysian Ringgit
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    There's a spectacular Kite Festival in Kota Bharu in June. The islands practically shut down over the monsoon (November to February) with some places not opening until late April/May.