Lying 21km off the northeast coast of Terengganu are the pristine Perhentian Islands. Famed as Malaysia’s version of the Maldives, the Perhentians white sand palm fringed beaches offer the ultimate in laid back lifestyle and some of the most incredible snorkelling and diving in the country. The islands are made up of Pulau Perhentian Besar (The Big Island) and Pulau Perhentian Kecil (The Small Island) – each with very different personalities. Kecil attracts more travellers as it has cheaper accommodation and livelier nightlife, while Besar is a little more expensive and caters more to families. If you aren’t sure which one to choose then don’t worry – boat taxis can whizz you between the sandy shores day and night.
With a lack of international hotels, accommodation on the islands is small and quirky, making it the perfect place for those wanting to escape expensive hotels and big city chains. The shores are peppered with local cafes and food stalls selling fresh seafood and Malaysian specialities, giving you plenty of choice no matter where you stay.
The crystal clear turquoise seas are home to an abundance of marine life – swim amongst turtles, sharks, rays and beautiful coral reef teeming with tropical fish. More than 20 dive sites can be found around the islands with dive shops available at both islands. The rocky virgin jungle interior provides adventures for trekkers – search out the flying foxes, long tailed macaques and resident monitor lizards.
The Perhentian Islands are just one of the many hidden gems in Malaysia’s treasure box – we guarantee you won’t want to leave!