World Reviewer rating

Worth a visit
Rating 0.9 (142 votes)

The Perhentian Islands

Listed under Islands in Malaysia.

  • Powdery White Sand – Image by Flashpacker Family
  • Photo of The Perhentian Islands
Powdery White Sand – Image by Flashpacker Family
Powdery White Sand – Image by Flashpacker Family
Pin It

The Perhentians have long been a popular beach destination in Malaysia, but were originally a break in the long journey between Bangkok and Malaysia ("perhentian" in Bahasa Malaysia means "stopping point"). Though the islands were supported by fishing income early in their history, they are now part of Pulau Redang National Marine Park and fishing is strictly prohibited. Consequently, tourism is the primary source of income, and the staggering beauty of the fine sand beaches, crystal-clear water and thriving marine life has resulted in a booming tourist trade.

Split into two separate islands, Besar ("Big") and Kecil ("Small"), each Perhentian offers a specific brand of relaxation. Besar is the more isolated of the two and as its name would suggest, is bigger in size. Beaches dot the circumference of the island but the centre is a tangled maze of forest and jagged rock. The resorts on Besar are more expensive and cater mostly to couples or newlyweds. In contrast, Kecil's two main beaches are perfect for the backpacker set, with the quieter Coral Bay a sunset-watching haven and Long Beach renowned for its partying and unfortunately for petty theft.

I came to the Perhentians with Allen, who was kind enough to join me on my painful birthday climb of Gunung Agung. Since it was high season and we had heard sufficient horror stories of how the islands were full and last-minute beach camping was the only accommodation, we called ahead and found rooms at Senja Bay. Senja turned out to be a perfect choice: it had free WiFi, great food and hot water - and some of the better sunset views on the beach. Since Kecil is fairly tiny, we were also able to traipse over to Long Beach via a 15-minute easy hike through the forest.

Written by  Jodi Ettenberg.

Other expert and press reviews

“Wherever you stay, plan your accommodation in advance”

It’s not easy to walk from beach to beach searching for the best bungalow. The season for the Perhentians is short so, by April, many places are booked solidly for stays in June, July and August. If you’ve got your heart set on a particular p… Read more...

Written by  David Lee. Read more on GoBackpacking

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

There are no posts. Why not be the first to have your say?

Post a comment, review or question

I want to
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?

Who's been here

No travelers have told us they have been here. Have you?

Similar Experiences

  • Galapagos Islands

    The Galapagos Islands are deservedly famous for close encounters with wildlife. Some of the animals here are unique to these is…

  • Tierra del Fuego

    Tierra del Fuego or Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, is the largest island in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. Half of the is…

  • Bali

    Everyone should visit Bali at least once in their lifetime. Words and pictures alone cannot describe this beautiful little isla…

Nearby Experiences

  • Terengganu

    Terengganu is home to lush forests and secret beaches. This eastern-Malaysian paradise has coral reefs and clear waters perfect…

  • Kota Bharu Central Market

    Kota Bharu is an optimal place to sample Malay culture – most importantly, the cuisine. In the central market in Kelantan you …

  • Taman Negara National Park

    In Malay this name translates to National Park National Park – when it was created in 1938 it was called the George V National …

Related links

Contribute to this page