As part of a whirlwind trip to Australia we just planned, we're stopping in Malaysia on the way back to Norway. We finally deemed it safe to visit now that Hien is hanging out in the UK
We're landing in Kuala Lumpur on the 11th of May and flying out from there again on the 20th, which leaves us a good week to explore some other part of Malaysia besides the capital. We've been looking at visiting the Perhentians in this period, specifically Perhentian Besar as we're travelling with our 3 year old daughter. But after reading up on it, I'm wondering if this would be the kind of place we can just hang and relax for a week like this? Specifically I am starting to think that perhaps Redang island might be more what we are after? The ferry transport to the island seems to be a bit more robust than in the Perhentians?
Basically we are looking for a place to really relax and at least somewhat 'nice'. It's our only real planned holiday abroad this year so we don't mind splurging a bit (and rates are still cheap compared to anything in Norway), especially if it makes travelling with a 3 y.o. easier.
Anyone have experience travelling to either Perhentian Besar or Redang or both? Would love to hear your feedback and also suggestions of nice places/resorts to stay!
The Perhentians are just BEAUTIFUL. I travelled all over Malaysia and (apart from Sipidan and Mabul in Borneo) the Perhentians were the best. We stayed on Kecil where the accommodation was fairly run down but a few friends of mine have been on honeymoon in Besar and they said it was perfect.
The other Island I would recommend is Tioman. Easy to access from KL and has beautiful beaches. Seemed to be quite family friendly too and the boat over was a doddle. We even got invited to a locals house for a traditional dinner in Juara which was awesome!
No doubt that Perhentian is a good and nice island to visit. But frankly speaking, i dun quite agreed with eefs, as i've being to all the island that you mentioned, i found Sipadan still the best island in the sense of scuba diving and snorkeling and is well known all over the world. The local government are keeping hard to maintain its beauty.
Yes, Tioman is another island which i love to visit too... other than that, i also go Redang often too... have u guys heard about Desaru which is located at Kota Tinggi Johor. Is a nice place to visit too... beside the beautiful beach, the activity that were provided by the resort such as jungle trekking, mountain biking, all terrain vehicle and etc....
Pulau Perhentian Kechil (small) and Pulau Perhentian Besar(large) plus Pulau Lang Tengah are quieter than Redang as they're less commercialised. The beauty and activities are equally appealing.
Typical of most tropical islands, the two main islands are heavily forested and ringed with white sandy beaches. Being far away from the mainland, Pulau Perhentian, which literally means 'Stopover Island', is rich in coral and marine life which includes stingrays, nudibranchs, black corals, moray eels and colourful fishes. Turtles come up to lay eggs between April and September.
The main village is situated on the southeast coast of Pulau Perhentian Kecil and the locals are a friendly and hospitable lot. Accommodation is mainly aimed at budget travellers and is available on both the main islands as well as some of the smaller islands. New resorts with better facilities are currently being constructed.
The popular one is Arwana Perhentian Resort.
Perhentian is one of the best diving spots in Malaysia, and is also excellent for snorkelling and jungle trekking. Its laid-back atmosphere makes it the perfect getaway.
The departure point for all ferry rides to the islands is Kuala Besut, a tiny fishing village about 1 - 2 hour's drive from Kuala Terengganu or 30 minutes from Kota Bharu in Kelantan. If you're from Kuala Lumpur, it's best that you take a flight to Kota Bharu and take a bus or charter a taxi to Kuala Besut. Alternatively, you may take a bus from Kuala Lumpur (the journey takes about 9 hours) to Kuala Besut and ask the driver to drop you at the jetty.
There are a few companies providing ferry services to the islands. You may choose to take the fast boat (30 minutes) or the slow boat (45 minutes - 1 hour), and let the boatman know which island you intend to stop at. Generally, the fast boat makes three journeys to/from Kuala Besut per day and the slow boat, two.
Tel: 609-6178831 Fax: 609-6178832
Redang Island on the other hand has plenty of resorts to cater for different categories of tourists. Berjaya Redang Beach Resort has packages inclusive of flights and its one of the more popular resort.
Another new resort is Laguna Redang...you might want to check this out as well.
If you're bringing your young child, it's best to fly from Kuala Lumpur as the journey by road and by ferry to the island may be quite daunting for your daughter.
Besides, I have just heard from friends that the Merang Jetty has silted and you have to get to Kuala Besut to catch the ferry to Redang.
You can also check out the blog/website below for more information. Check out Terengganu...as the islands come under this state.
No doubt that Perhentian is a good and nice island to visit. But frankly speaking, i dun quite agreed with eefs, as i've being to all the island that you mentioned, i found Sipadan still the best island in the sense of scuba diving and snorkeling and is well known all over the world.
Well, there's nothing to disagree about. She did say that "apart from Sipidan and Mabul in Borneo, the Perhentians were the best."
I'm just doing research on the east coast of Malaysia and Perhentians seem like a good choice - Besar seems like there is more 'upmarket' accommodation which might be better because you have the little one. Flying to Kota Bharu could work out really cheap...I think last time I looked at Air Asia the flights (there were no special offers on either) worked out at about RM115 per person return, it would save the time on the bus. With a special offer on te flights it could be as little as RM20 per person!
I haven't heard much on Redang...your other option could be Tioman (another place we are planned on hitting), heard it has nice beaches, snorkelling and good value places to stay with air con. Oh and it's a duty free island so super-cheap booze!!
Thanks for the feedback everyone! Sorry for not replying sooner; bit stressed getting things in order before flying to Australia and the last few days have been a bit work/family focussed. Now we need to get into planning mode though; can't believe we're heading to Malaysia in a week already!! Sipidan sounds like the kind of place I'd visit if I was travelling alone or without kids Excellent, but not for this trip.
Tioman is one of the other ones I've been considering as it seems easier to get to from KL. I'll have to quiz Peter on that today when I see him as I know he was there a few years ago.
Although Perhentians sounds amazing, at the moment I'm actually leaning towards Redang. I know this is not very 'backpackery' and I'm not 100% sure exactly why I'm leaning that way either. One thing I did notice is that a lot of the packages are for 2/3 nights; would it be frightfully boring to stay longer?
To those that have already travelled there before; do you recommend booking in advance, or would I be able to do all this in KL just as easily? I do like the idea of having it sorted in advance, but it looks like a lot of the bookings are done the old fashioned way, ie over phone or via travel agents. I guess I should at least sort out flights today or tomorrow!
All these spots sound so great for diving, so I hope I can convince Margit to watch Malia for a few hours and sneak in a dive! Really looking forward to the trip!
Side note; recommendations for a place to stay in KL?
Okay, just a follow up to let you all know what we ended up deciding on. LotusLyn33's tip on Redang island proved to be the winner We got a great deal including a flight right onto the island (deal with flight was cheaper than just booking the accommodation; go figure!), so that should save some time as well. I'll post back here once we get back to Norway and also get started on the currently non existent Redang travel guide here on TP
[ Edit: Fixed inactive link ]