Located approximately 10 nautical miles (19 km) off the coast of northeastern Malaysia in the state of Terengganu, approximately 40 miles (64 km) south of the Thailand border. The name Perhentian means "stopping point" in Malay. This is because the islands became a staging point used by traders traveling from Malaysia to Bangkok.
When to go
Due to the eastern monsoon, the season in the Perhentians (and all other east coast islands) is effectively limited to the period between the beginnings of March until late October. Outside this period the seas can be very rough and choppy, skies overcast, and with currents that make swimming dangerous and most (though not all) accommodation options are closed. However, many of them located on Coral Beach start on beginning of Feb, while on the Long Beach usually a month later. Do not believe the travel-agents when they claim the accommodations are open. Even if they will provide a room, restaurants and all shops (i.e. no place to get water, food, sunscreen etc.) are closed in off-season. If the restaurant is open, food choices will be very limited and over-priced. However, in the village cheap meals and shops are available year-round.
When going during off-season be aware that there will be no one there aside from you and maybe a handful of locals.
How to get there
It is a little bit illegal(only them)but you will find out there is no problem at all, for the record, all of them are really nice and honest persons, (they just want to make a living). They will take you to Kuala Besut in less than 45 minutes. There are no ferries to neighboring islands, but reasonably priced direct transfers to Redang are possible if a day-trip or dive boat has free seats - enquire with travel and dive shops. Ferries had previously run from a jetty at Tok Bali, and for a short time direct from Kota Bharu, but both have now been discontinued.From the main ferry terminal at Kuala Besut there is effectively one option:Speed boats - usually small fiberglass boats with two or three outboards which take 30-45 minutes, charge RM70/person (Beware of unreliable & unlicensed boat operators do the under cut price. They tend not to pick you up during your return trip.) If you arrive at the kota bharu airport AVOID getting your boat tickets at the airport counter as they are expensive and You can get cheaper fares by reserving your return boat ticket in advance from piboat transfer service telephone no +60974796638 or Kuala Besut travel n tour telephone no + 6097479663. They deliver your tickets to your hotels or kota bharu airport on your arrival.PI boat transfer n services do have a special offer for the travellers arriving through the Kota Bharu airport the special package boat transfer n van transfer
Be aware that speed boats operators are not following safety rules and Malaysian law and overloading boats is common. Only advise can be insist on not boarding more passengers than maximum capacity of speedboat (usually max. 12 pax) and call police number 999 and don't forget to make documentation (photos, video). Also avoid travel agencies/operators known for overloading speed boats.
There are no monuments, museums, viewpoints or other above-ground sights whatsoever on the islands; however, the beaches are a sight in themselves. White sandy beaches with clear water and flanked by rolling jungle covered hills make the views from the beach spectacular. Coral Bay on the small island is the only beach that provides a sunset, but construction of a new jetty has spoiled most of the view. On Besar, the best and cleanest beaches are on the west side of the island. Here the sea and the beach are beautiful and clear. The south beach on Besar is less inviting and had lots of broken coral, treacherous to bare feet and lots of litter and discarded rubbish (as of May 2012)!
There are several trails that you can take around Kecil island that offer spectacular viewpoints such as the Lighthouse Towers, which you can also climb up and jump off of into the sea.
With luck you might be able spot some of the islands' wildlife, including huge harmless monitor lizards (almost guaranteed - they are not afraid of humans) and monkeys, not to mention nesting turtles at certain times of year. Arguably the Perhentians' best sights of all are underwater, where you're likely to see reef sharks and sea turtles amongst the corals and tropical fish. Kecil island also has a huge population of cats, most of which are kittens that a lot of the locals and expats take care of.
Also for a quick guide, Pulau Perhentian is divided into two main islands which is Perhentian Kecil and Perhentian Besar. Perhentian Kecil offer chalet which is lower in cost compared to Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil is favourite for a backpackers.
Visited on Jan 2018