Perhentian Islands: Travel tips and our honest experience report

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So that’s how it should look like, paradise. We had read about fantastic beaches. About lonely bays, the perfect snorkeling trips and idyllic sunsets. And putting some things aside, the Perhentian Islands didn’t disappoint. Actually.

Because the Perhentian Islands are admittedly – in and of themselves – a beautiful piece of earth. The water is crystal clear, the sand light and fine. And the underwater world? Spectacular! We snorkel face to face with sharks, turtles and colorful fish. In the evening, everyone comes together to the beach. They drink a beer together, have fun and watch the spectacular fire shows. It’s like time slows down here in paradise.

But. And in this case, unfortunately, that’s a very big “but”: Paradise has downsides. It was created much too quickly out of the ground. “A few years ago it was completely different”, says a lady in Kuala Besut wistfully. From here several boats depart daily for the Perhentian Islands. We would like to know what was so different back then. Well, pretty soon we realize what she meant.

1. Perhentian Islands: This is going wrong in the supposed island paradise We can say that “Everything was better in the past ‘-Whine usually hard to take. But after our first tour of the island on the Perhentians, we remember the words of the lady at the boat dock.

The excavators were probably not there yet. They also didn’t drive along the beach for hours every day to build new guesthouses as quickly as possible.

Our accommodation probably didn’t exist back then either. It probably didn’t even exist a year ago, because the construction rubble in front of our terrace is still there. It doesn’t matter, the rooms can still be rented out. Even if they haven’t really been finished yet and are already falling into disrepair.

The large garbage pit that you see on the way to Crossing the beach probably didn’t exist either. The umbrella, the hundreds of plastic bottles and the rubble – every time we walk past it, we get a little bit angrier.

What we mean by that: We are aware that new shelters are emerging must. We know that many people want to visit the two beautiful islands. But a natural paradise like the Perhentian Islands once were simply cannot withstand such rapid development. This is going too fast. This is a pity. What a pity.

2. We would do that differently on our next trip to the Perhentian Islands We would avoid Long Beach as well as Pulau Perhentian Kecil We have one made a big mistake: we stayed at Long Beach. Long Beach tends to attract backpackers and is now completely built up and paved with cheap plastic chairs, loungers and umbrellas. The garbage problem is (as you can see from our photos) dramatic – it is apparently much worse here than on other beaches. Our tip: Avoid Long Beach if possible and stay overnight on the other island, Pulau Perhentian Besar.

Recommended Beaches on Pulau Perhentian Besar Tuna Bay and the adjacent beach section at Abdul’s Chalet Teluk Pauh (the stretch of beach at Perhentian Island Resort) Turtle Beach (there is no accommodation here)

We would take care of accommodation in advance You just can’t sugarcoat it: The range of accommodation on the Perhentian Islands could be improved. The choice is very limited, but what’s even worse is that the value for money is really bad. Rarely have we seen a place where you have to shell out so much money for such a low standard.

Of course we are aware that there is an island surcharge, but we already have I have traveled to many islands (also very small and secluded ones) and have never experienced a situation like the Perhentian Islands.

Therefore our tip: It is best to book suitable accommodation in advance. And please be prepared to make compromises on the Perhentians. There are (almost) no hotels with really good ratings on the Perhentian Islands. These two hotels are still recommended:

Alunan Resort (Perhentian Kecil) Probably one of the nicest (if not the nicest) hotel on the Perhentian Islands. The rooms in this boutique hotel are really nice and comfortable. The location in the bay is also very idyllic. Unfortunately, the hotel beach is not very suitable for swimming.

You can book the hotel here: Alunan Resort

Tuna Bay Island Resort (Perhentian Besar) A nice hotel on the nicer of the two islands (Perhentian Besar). The beach here is beautiful and the location of the hotel is great. However, one could get more out of the hotel itself. The complex would not hurt a renovation. Still one of the best options on the island.

You can book the hotel here: Tuna Bay Island Resort

We would lower our expectations The Perhentian Islands and us – that was a typical case of “wrong place at the wrong time”. We have read of many other travel blogs that have had a really good time in the Perhentian Islands. Tanja from Reisefotos has even found her personal beach paradise with the Perhentian Islands.

Others such as Sarah from Rapunzel wants to get out or Stefan from Faszination Southeast Asia have had experiences similar to ours. Ultimately, we cannot and do not want to advise or advise against a trip. Best of all, you make your own picture of the Perhentian Islands. And when you were there, please tell us how you liked it.

3. Practical Tips: Getting to the Perhentian Islands & Co How to get there: How do I get to the Perhentian Islands? The Perhentian Islands are located in the northeast the Malay Peninsula (West Malaysia). You are about 45-minute boat ride from port Kuala Besut. Speedboats leave several times a day – it’s best to ask your accommodation or one of the travel agencies about the current times. In the rainy season, for example, there are fewer boats. If the weather is bad, we wouldn’t recommend a trip to the Perhentians anyway. (We will give you more tips on the best travel time in this article: Malaysia travel tips.)

The price for the crossing is 35 RM. You can buy a combination ticket for a return trip (70 RM), because you can leave the appointment open. In addition, a national park fee of 30 RM due.

To get to Kuala Besut, you have several options. Either you book a (tourist) minibus trip in one of the travel agencies. Minibuses drive to Kuala Besut from many places in Malaysia (among others from the Cameron Highlands or from George Town). These minibuses have the advantage that they take you directly to the port and are usually timed to coincide with the departure of the boats. Alternatively, larger long-distance coaches start from many places. From the bus terminal you then have to walk a short distance to the port.

One of the most comfortable options is the Arrival by plane to Kota Bharu. From there you take a taxi to the port, which is about 80 RM costs. It is best to share the taxi with other travellers.

Money: Found on the Perhentians ATMs? No, on the Perhentian Islands there are currently (as of April ) no banks and no ATMs (cash machines). You must therefore take enough cash with you to the islands. However, many (though not all) accommodations accept credit cards. But we definitely wouldn’t rely on that.

Travel guide: Our tip If you are still looking for the right travel guide, then we have a tip for you: the Stefan Loose Travel Guide Malaysia. Stefan Loose travel guides are always our first choice for Asia. They are well researched and just right in terms of scope. They are also primarily aimed at individual travelers.

You can buy the travel guide here: Stefan Loose Travel Guide Malaysia

Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever been to the Perhentian Islands? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments how you liked it – we look forward to your travel report!