Sharing's caring! Share this awesome article with your friends, you know u wanna...
Share on Facebook
0Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Pin on Pinterest

The Perhentian Islands, Malaysia’s best kept secret?

After me singing the praises of Langkawi last week I thought I should let you in on another of Malaysia’s backpacking secrets, the Perhentian Islands. The Perhentian Islands consist of 2 main islands – Pulau Perhentian Besar (The Large Perhentian Islands, more resort based) and the Pulau Perhentian Kecil (The Small perhentian Island – much better backpacker scene). If this doesn’t get you excited for your holidays, I don’t know what will!

perhentian islands

When you dream of traveling through Asia and visiting beautiful, untouched islands let me tell you – a full-moon party on Koh Pang An or a 4 star hotel in Koh Samui is not going to offer you that, the Perhentian Islands will. This is real traveling…

Where are the Perhentian Islands?

There are in the North West of the Malaysian peninsula. Just over the border from Thailand (near Hat Yai).

Where are the Perhentian Islands

How do I get to the Perhentian Islands?

From Kuala Lumpur, take an 8 hour bus ($15) to Kuala Besut, from there you take a ferry ($15, one hour) to one of the 2 islands. Backpackers choose the friendlier, cheaper smaller Island – Pulai Kecil.

If you’re coming from Thailand: Take the train/bus to Hat Yai in southern Thailand, cross the border to Butterworth in Malaysia. There’s no direct bus I’m afraid, so from Butterworth take the bus to Jerteh (7 hours, $15) which is 20km from the boat. Taxi, hitchhike or walk to the boat!

Perhentian Islands ferry terminal

What is there to see or do on the Perhentian Islands?

Not a lot! This place is all about white sand beaches, beautiful clear waters and chilling. Other than sipping beers at sunset, here’s 3 things you could get up to:

– Scuba diving. This is an absolute must, visibily is unreal. Similar prices to Thailand so it’s about $30 for a ‘fun dive’ with equipment included in that price.

– Snorkeling. This is much cheaper than scuba diving – around RM10/person for masks, fins and slippers.. There are a number of excellent snorkeling spots like the Shark Point and Teluk Pauh on ther Pulau Besar Islands, but anywhere across the Perhentian islands, snorkelling is going to be awesome.

Trekking through the jungle. There are a few trails through the islands, taking up to a couple of hours each. Plenty of monkeys, bats, lizards and potetnially massive spiders (I mean ‘size-of-your-hand’ massive eeeeek).

Perhentian islands spider

When is the Best Time to Visit the Perhentian Islands? 

Good question! The monsoon season hits these guys hard, so the islands effectively close between September to February. Best times to visit there are anytime between early March to late October, preferably in the middle of this time. Outside that window you might find accommodation but restaurants, bars etc are all closed.

Sunset at Perhentian islands
Sunset at Perhentian islands

That’s your lot folks, if untouched beaches is what you’re looking for, this is your spot. Most backpackers don’t make it here so it promises a whole different atmoshphere to any other islands you may have visited throughout South East Asia. Happy travels!


Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!

I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.

Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!

Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.

Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $300 - email to get started.

Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.

I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!


So if you’re ready to…..

1) Change your life
2) Travel the world
3) Get paid to travel
4) Create a positive influence on others
5) Be free of offices and ‘real world’ rubbish

Then Sign Up Below and Let’s Get Started!


Got a question? Wanna comment? I'd love to hear from you

16 thoughts on “The Perhentian Islands, Malaysia’s best kept secret?

  1. It¡¦s in reality a nice and helpful piece of info. I¡¦m happy that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. whoah this blog is excellent i like studying your articles.
    Stay up the good work! You recognize, a lot of individuals are searching around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  3. whoah this blog is excellent i like studying your articles.
    Stay up the good work! You recognize, a lot of individuals are searching around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  4. whoah this blog is excellent i like studying your articles.
    Stay up the good work! You recognize, a lot of individuals are searching around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  5. Have you heard of Pangkor Laut? In my opinion its another place to rival the Perhentian islands as Malaysia’s best kept secret islands? I was lucky enough to go last month and they are amazing and only 3 hours drive from KL, so bit more convenient to get to then Perhentian. Although I still want to visit Perhentian islands after reading your post! I’ve written a post with info on how to get to Pangkor Laut incase its useful to your readers:

    1. if you like to come here, i will guide you and give a good service. FREE OF CHARGE. mY HOME IS NEAREST THE ISLANDS. WELCOME AND CONTACT ME.

  6. Love reading your first hand reports Johnny! Going to Malaysia/Thailand end June but will only be in Malaysia for about 10 days. Trying to decide where to go during those days also taking weather into account… Focus on Langkawi or Perhentian??? If you have any advice will be appreciated!

    1. hey shey – this place rocks! It’s pretty cool because you could come south through thailand, from samui, phangan, krabi, phuket and experience the beautiful craziness and then finally reach the Perhentian islands and imagine what Thailand must have been like 40 years ago 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Follow me on Instagram @onestep4ward