We experienced it on the Perhentian Islands – the most beautiful snorkeling trip of our lives. Admittedly, Karimunjawa in Indonesia was also a thing for us, but when we then floated in the water together with the shark on the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia, we knew: The underwater world here surpasses what we have seen so far by a shade.
The Perhentians themselves were quite disappointing. You can read the whole story about the garbage problem on the island in our detailed blog article: Field report Perhentian Islands.
To give a final summary, we wanted to wait and see before the snorkeling trip. Lo and behold: this day changed our minds. There turtles and sharks cross our path, there we swim together with colorful schools of fish and meet for little nemos. We like it better here under water than on land.
Info & Tips for Snorkeling on the Perhentian Islands Where can I snorkel on the Perhentians? You have two options: either you grab your gear and snorkel right off the beach. (You can rent snorkeling equipment for a small fee at many beaches.) Or you can book a snorkeling trip that will take you to the best spots. The latter would be our recommendation – we will give you more information about the snorkeling trip in a moment.
You can snorkel well at the following beaches:
Teluk Pauh (Perhentian Besar): This is where the so-called Turtle Point is located. This means that with a bit of luck you can see sea turtles here. Reef sharks are also said to get lost in this bay from time to time. Tuna Bay (Perhentian Besar): Especially on the beach section at Abdul’s Chalet you can snorkel well and you can look forward to a really beautiful underwater world. How does a snorkeling trip work? Although you can snorkel really well from the beach on the Perhentian Islands, we definitely recommend that you book a snorkeling trip as well. There are various tours, each heading for different destinations and also lasting for different lengths.
We have decided on a fairly extensive excursion with a total of 5 stops. There was also a visit to a small village where you could have lunch. We started at about 9 a.m., we were back around 15/ Watch. We were really lucky and had a boat all to ourselves. Our snorkeling trip (incl. equipment, excl. food) cost about 50 RM per person – so pretty cheap. There is also a shorter excursion that lasts about three hours.
Very important tip: The sun is merciless despite the clouds, so we recommend you to wear a t-shirt (long-sleeved is best) while snorkeling. Unfortunately, we were too late to find out and had to deal with a bad sunburn for weeks (!) afterwards.
Snorkeling responsibly We think it’s a pity that many tourists don’t take nature into account when snorkeling on the Perhentian Islands. In front of our eyes, a turtle was actually attacked several times. That’s just not possible! No wonder the turtle said goodbye pretty quickly. Sometimes words really fail you.
Many people step directly on the corals with their flippers. Again and again – you might not think it possible! If you are wearing flippers, please make sure that you keep enough distance to the corals.
Please avoid conventional sunscreen as much as possible, because this does not provide sufficient protection against sunburn, and secondly contributes to the sad death of corals.
Unfortunately, many locals do not even pay attention to what is sometimes being done here. Our (naïve) wish would be that the people here would become a little more aware of what a natural paradise the Perhentian Islands are.
Have you ever snorkeled in the Perhentian Islands? Tell us about your experiences and tips in the comments – we look forward to it!