Discover the sky above and sand below within in the tranquil Perhentian Islands. Nature is abundant and the sea stretches on forever here on this peaceful island. Relax with these top 10 attractions in the Perhentian Islands that will leave you feeling refreshed!

The tranquil Perhentian Islands has always been a popular beach destination in Malaysia. Abundant with nature, the seas stretches along the coast endlessly and evenings by the beach are rewarded with calming sunsets. Perhentian, in Bahasa Malaysia means “stopping point”, and if any, we think it will be a great resting stop for you amidst the current situation.

Relax with these top 10 attractions in the Perhentian Islands that will leave you feeling refreshed!

How To Get There

Boats on the shoreline of beach
Image credit: Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi | Flickr

Located about 21km off the coast of Terengganu, the Perhentian Islands consists of 2 isles – Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil. It’s a secluded sanctuary for marine animals, fishermen and avid water sports enthusiasts alike and is easily accessible by road from Kuala Terengganu. From there, hop on a taxi or local bus to the Kuala Besut fishing port located about an hour from town. From the jetty, board a boat at the Fisheries Complex that heads to the Perhentian Islands.

An interesting fact about the Perhentian Islands which was supported by fishing in its early days, the Islands are now part of the Pulau Redang National Marine Park in the Terangganu region. Hence, fishing is strictly prohibited, and the Islands are now known as an eco-friendly destination.

1. Beautiful Beaches

Let the waves hit your feet and the sand be your seat at the many beaches in the Perhentian Islands. By far the most popular beach in Long Beach located at Pulau Perhentian Kecil. Surrounded by windswept palms, the pristine beach is renowned for its clear waters and coral reefs. Serene and peaceful, it is ideal for families looking for some quiet time by the sea. Go sunbathing and sea-shell hunting with the kids. Then, enjoy discovering sea creatures by the rock pools and building sandcastles on the beach. Sunrise and sunset strolls by the beach make great holiday memories.

Another beach worth exploring is Coral Bay beach on Pulau Perhentian Kecil. Undoubtedly, the best beach adventures here are underwater ones where a variety of marine life thrive among the corals. Be ready to spot tropical fish, sea turtles, starfish, crabs, squids and even reef sharks, if you’re lucky!

2. Teluk Keke

Bikini lady seated on rock by the beach
Image credit: G E M | Flickr

You don’t need magic to disappear when all you need is Teluk Keke (Keke Bay). Located on Pulau Perhentian Besar, this secluded bay shares an island shoreline. Surrounded by a lush tropical forest and crystal-clear waters, Keke Bay is perfect for travellers who want to reconnect with nature.

3. Snorkelling & Scuba Diving

Lady underwater diving with striped fish all around her
Image credit: BernieCB | Flickr

The best way to get up close and personal with the call of the sea is to go snorkelling. Better yet, Pulau Perhentian is located just off the edge of Pulau Redang Marine Park, promising plenty of ocean wonders to discover. Snorkel along the coral-fringed waters and meet the abundant marine life within the ocean!

The most popular places to snorkel on Pulau Perhentian Besar are at Teluk Pauh and Tanjung Basi.  Love turtles? The ideal spot to scout for them is at Turtle Bay. Turtles have been spotted to nest along its sandy beaches by night.

4. Perhentian Turtle Project

Baby turtles on beach heading to sea
Image credit: Perhentian Turtle Project | Facebook

Turtle conservation is one of the most passion-driven projects on the Perhentian Islands. In fact, the project aims to better understand and protect the sea turtle population around the island through conservation efforts in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries. Also, interested guests are welcome to visit their Turtle House Conservatory in the kampung on Perhentian Kecil. It’s a project that’s well worth a visit when you’re at Perhentian Islands.

5. Aqua-tastic Water Sports

Heed the call of the sea and ‘seas’ the day with adventures of the ocean kind. On the island are a wide variety of water sports facilities for rent. Be it windsurfing, wakeboarding, banana boat riding, sailing or canoeing, there is something for everyone.

Popular among beach-goers is kayaking as both islands can be easily explored in one day. According to island guides, the smaller island is about 8,5 miles in circumference and takes about 3 hours of constant paddling. The bigger island is about 10 miles in circumference and takes a little over 4 hours to cover by kayak. Do stay safe and follow the safety guidelines posted if you decide to kayak!

6. Nature Trails & Jungle Trekking

Jungle trees framing a shot of the sea and beach
Image credit: Maxime Guilbot | Flickr

Strap on your sandals and hit the trail to the great island outdoors. See various animals and insects from monkeys to big fruit bats while trekking on the various nature trails and forest paths that crisscross the island. Some of the trails even connect the beaches! Discovering this natural wonderland is bound to work up a sweat, so do carry lots of drinking water and insect repellent to keep pesky bugs away.

7. Island Eats & Drinks

Fish on platter with lemon slices and rice dishes on table
Image credit:

From nightly BBQ seafood sessions to buffet dining, there’s plenty of food by the beach to choose from. Just as tasty are simple set meals to hawker food galore that the many cafes and eateries on Perhentian offer. Explore the food selections all across the island. In fact, there’s a good choice of local cuisine, international flavours and even vegetarian meals.

Island seafood seems a popular choice as guests get to sample the catch of the day from the local fishermen. For a boat race of a different kind, there are pubs in Pulau Perhentian Kecil. Head on over to enjoy chilled beer and cocktails to wet your whistle. However, do expect the prices to vary from the mainland.

8. Perhentian Islands Mosque

Perhentian Island Mosque surrounded by sea and island landscapes at back
Image credit: Amazing Terengganu | Facebook

Unlike any other mosque in Malaysia, Masjid A R Rahman is the most impressive landmark on Perhentian Islands. The iconic building greets visitors as they arrive on the island’s main village. Constructed over water, the white-domed mosque with sky-high pinnacle is where the local Muslim community gather for prayers and festive occasions.

For a guided tour of the mosque upon request, visitors are expected to be respectfully dressed for the duration of the tour.

Island Dreams Come True

Starfish on beach
Image credit:

If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway on a tropical shore, the Perhentian islands are the perfect place for you! With plenty of exciting activities, lush jungle and coastal delights, you’ll forget about all your worries within a day.

Since travelling internationally is not feasible now, it can be a great opportunity to travel within Malaysia. Do remember to observe safe social distancing rules, and always have your mask on at all times. Travel safely and share with us your travel experience in the comments down below!

This post was first published on 27 November 2019, and last updated on 15 August 2020.