Perhentian Islands

Travel Guide Asia Malaysia Terengganu Perhentian Islands

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Introduction

Pulau Perhentian means "Stopover Island" and it is said that the islands got their names from fishermen who would find cover and stop at the islands in times of thunderstorm and bad weather.

Consisting of two islands, Pulau Perhentian Besar (literally Big Perhentian Island) and Pulau Perhentian Kecil (Small Perhentian Island) situated off the coast of Terengganu, the Perhentians have captured the hearts of backpackers from around the world with its unspoilt and undeveloped natural beauty.

There being no airports and roads, the Perhentians can only be reached by boat from the mainland jetty, Kuala Besut jetty or Tok Bali jetty, both 40 minutes away from the heavenly white powdery sand and crystal clear azure waters of the Perhentians.

Perhentian Kecil caters mostly for backpackers with simple wooden chalets and longhouses with a young and lively atmosphere whereas Perhentian Besar caters for travellers who have the extra cash to splurge on some luxury, namely resort style living with air-conditioning and 24-hour supply of electricity and is the place to go for some private time and quiet relaxation.

The Perhentians have a very distinct atmosphere compared to the islands in Thailand as although teeming with young and lively backpacking community, there are hardly any 24-hour beach parties to get drunk at. Alcohol is not freely available on the island and topless sunbathing is now something of the past as travellers are now more sensitive to the Malaysian culture and social customs.

Perhentian Islands_Sunrise_1

Perhentian Islands_Sunrise_1

© JennyLutao

The Perhentians are also a good spot for diving and snorkelling with abundant marine life. You are guaranteed a turtle sighting if you take the round-island snorkelling trip which makes a stop at Turtle Bay, home to the Project Aware funded turtle sanctuary (hardly wild but a turtle nonetheless). There's also a good chance of spotting at black-tip and the imaginatively named 'Shark Point'. Dive sites around the island are numerous and offer a range of drift, mud, wreck and coral bommie dives. Well worth the trip is the 2-hour ride out to Redang Island which has successfully enforced a fishing ban 2 kilometres around the island, and with some consciencious anchor management from the dive boat operators has left the reef in pristine condition and the marine life in a healthier state.

However, things are changing fast with the global environment getting stressed with development and pollution. The Perhentians have not been spared as on a recent visit (June 2007), there are now works being carried out on both islands to construct jettys and shoplots which will inevitably affect the well-being of the islands, their surrounding environment and marine ecological systems.

Despite these developments and construction being carried out, the Perhentians still are a few of the most beautiful islands on the east coast of Malaysia, bypassing even some of the well-known islands of Thailand, making the Perhentians a must for any self-proclaimed sun and sea worshipper!

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When To Go

Perhentian Island

Perhentian Island

© suzy

As the Perhentians are situated on the east coast of Malaysia, they are susceptible to bad weather in the form of monsoon rains from October/November until March/April. Most chalets, longhouses and resorts on both islands cease operations and ferries would stop their service during this time of the year.

The rain begins to subside in April and while it's possible to visit the islands in March & April, the sea is still a bit choppy and visibility not at its best.

The best time to visit the Perhentians would be in June to August when the weather is good and the sea is calm with great visibility for diving and snorkelling but that also means increased prices, increased travellers' traffic and limited lodgings.

The shoulder seasons in April & May and September & October are worth considering if you don't mind getting the ocassional rain showers.

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Sights and Activities

There are no monuments, museums, viewpoints or other above-ground sights whatsoever on the islands; however, the beaches are a sight in themselves. White sandy beaches with clear water and flanked by rolling jungle covered hills make the views from the beach spectacular. The best location to experience sunset is at Coral Bay on Perhentian Kecil, but construction of a new jetty has spoiled most of the view. On Besar, the best and cleanest beaches are on the west side of the island. The south beach on Besar is less inviting and had lots of broken coral, treacherous to bare feet and lots of litter and discarded rubbish (as of May 2012).

There are several trails that you can take around Kecil island that offer spectacular viewpoints such as the Lighthouse Towers, which you can also climb up and jump off of into the sea.

With luck you might be able spot some of the islands' wildlife, including huge harmless monitor lizards (almost guaranteed - they are not afraid of humans) and monkeys, not to mention nesting turtles at certain times of year. Arguably the Perhentians' best sights of all are underwater, where you're likely to see reef sharks and sea turtles amongst the corals and tropical fish. Kecil island also has a huge population of cats, most of which are kittens that a lot of the locals and expats take care of.

Activities on the Perhentians are basically limited to scuba diving, snorkeling, sea-kayaking, sunbathing and turtle conservation volunteering. Those with excess energy may attempt the jungle trails crisscrossing the islands.

Diving

The Perhentians offer some great diving and excellent snorkeling. In addition to coral and fish, the Perhentians are home to sea turtles and many species of shark — none of them dangerous unless provoked though. Visibility is usually in the 10-20 meter range (although it will temporarily go down after storms, as well as during the end-of-year monsoon seasons) and no wet suit is required, although you may wish to use a dive skin for protection from coral and the occasional jellyfish. Popular dive sites include the Pinnacle (aka Tokong Laut, "Temple of the Sea"), a pinnacle jutting out from the sea bed, and the Sugar Wreck, an easily accessible 3500-ton sugar hauler. The (more expensive) single-day trip to Redang Island, where the water visibility is considerably better, offers diving a notch above the local options - but be prepared for a rough ride in a small speedboat.

Competition for divers is fierce and consequently diving is quite cheap, averaging out to RM60-80 per dive depending on how many dives you do and whether you bring your own gear. All dive shops also arrange introductory dives (no training required) and PADI training. If you want to try Diving for the first time, ask your Dive Center where did they do introductory dives and escape the 'jetti' trap.

Take care when choosing your dive center. Look closely at the state of the scuba equipment. It's not only about price but also about safety.

Snorkeling

Most resorts and a few restaurants rent out snorkeling gear (typically RM10 a day for mask, snorkel and fins) and arrange snorkeling tours around the islands. Popular snorkeling spots on Besar include Teluk Pauh (to the left of the beach in front of the PI Resort), Shark Point and Tanjung Basi. The best place to see sharks (black tip) is in front of an extremely small "beach", only accessible by boat, between Shark Point and the Teluk Dalam large beach, or the rocks off the Coral View and PI Resort. They are usually seen cruising the bottom of the reef but be careful in low tide, otherwise you could end up swimming right alongside them (mostly babies though). For turtles, best place is the middle of the beach in front of Perhentian Island Resort, where the sandy bottom is covered with algae.

On Pulau Besar, if you are planning to do snorkeling just in front of your chalet, then stay on the northern and east side of the island where the water is clearer than the south side.

The best spot for family snorkelling would be the south-west of the island. The water is shallow and it is not faced by any chalet so the corals are more abundant and colourful. Between Pulau Besar and Redang, the corals are much better in Pulau Besar.

Turtle conservation volunteering

The Perhentian Islands are home to a significant green turtle nesting population. The island was once home to hundreds of nesting Green and Hawksbill turtles but now the islands only receives 300 nestings per year partly due to frequent oil spills from oil production platforms and oil tankers owned by Petronas not too far away. The Department of Fisherie run a turtle hatchery on the islands to help readdress the declining turtle populations. Help Our Penyu are complimenting the work done by the Department of Fisheries by protecting two beaches on Perhentian Besar and educating visiting tourists around the islands. Ecoteer also run their weekly Turtles Need Trees after-school marine club which is educating the local school children about turtle and marine conservation. If you want to help the turtle conservation efforts whilst visiting the Perhentian islands you can join Ecoteer's or Bubbles Dive Resort volunteer program which accepts new volunteers every Monday.

Jungle trekking

The islands are crisscrossed by small paths connecting one beach to another, but be prepared to sweat and swat off bugs if you tackle any of these. There is a good chance to see big monitor lizards and large spiders between Long Beach and Coral Bay (Kecil), and if you are walking off the main trails, you are likely to spot some wild monkeys if you are lucky. There is a wide trail (30 min) between Watercolours Paradise and Arwana on Besar, you can see large termite trails, monitor lizards, big fruit bats and sometimes monkeys. There is a paved walking trail from Coral Bay to Mira Beach (30 minutes) and on to Impiani beach (20 min) and to the main fishing village on Kecil (20 min). This is a great trail to see monitor lizards.

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Getting There

By Boat

Access to the Perhentian Islands from the Malaysian mainland is by ferry from Kuala Besut, which is usually reached from either Kota Bharu, Jerteh or Kuala Terengganu. See the Kuala Besut article for more information. If you took a train (KeretapiTanahMelayu) 'Kuala Lumpur - Tumpat' or 'Johor/Singapore - Tumpat' it is recommended that you stop at Tanah Merah Station which is the third-last station to Tumpat. This station is the closest to Kuala Besut (if you don't want to waste time). There you will find locals who can provide the transportation (usually car/minivan) for between RM70-90 (+60 14-8060259). Note that ferries from Tok Bali and Kota Bharu no longer operate to the Perhentians. There are no ferries to neighbouring islands, but reasonably priced direct transfers to Redang are possible if a day-trip or dive boat has free seats - enquire with travel and dive shops.

From the main ferry terminal at Kuala Besut the only option to reach the Perhentian Islands is by speed boat. Previously there were slow boat services, but they have ceased operating due to poor demand.

Speed boats - usually small fibreglass boats with two or three outboards which take 30-45 minutes, charge RM70/person (though you can bargain it down to RM60, even in high season beware of unreliable & unlicensed boat operator do the under cut price) for return open ticket and RM40/person for one way. You can buy a ticket from Kuala Besut Boat Services or PI Boat services, tel no:+6097479668 Email Piboatticket@gmail.com. They can deliver your ticket to you at the airport upon your arrival, to your hotel room in Kota Bharu where you stay, to the Wakaf Bharu train station, or Tanah Merah train station or at their office in Kuala Besut. It is advisable to make reservation first especially during the peak period May to August for your seats. Daily departure from 07:30-17:00. The boat leave from the Kuala Besut jetty to the Perhentians 4-5 times a day, 1st departure at 07:30 when the gates of the pier are opened. Some boats are enclosed, some have a fabric roof, some are completely open. If the sea is choppy expect a bone-jarring, bumpy ride and in the case of the latter two types expect to get very wet. If you are early, sitting at the back of the boat (near the engines) is less bumpy, but wet and noisier. There is no safe space for electronics, you might want to wrap anything that will not survive being wet in plastic (e.g. in bags inside your backpack) beforehand. If you don't want back problems do not sit in the front part of the boat — large swells combined with the driver going as fast as possible will throw you up in the air and smash you down hard as the boat hits the next wave (but it's dry there).

All ferries take their passengers directly to their destination, wherever it may be on the islands. Passengers going to (Kecil) Coral Bay and (Kecil) Long Beach will be dropped at the beach's respective jetty, without getting your feet wet. There is no more extra RM2 charge to get a small boat from the ferry to the beach at (Kecil) Long Beach.

All travellers to the islands must pay a marine park conservation charge of RM30 (adults, RM15 for children). The marine park conversation charge 'ticket' claims to be valid for a few days, but in practice it is never asked for and is valid for the length of stay. This ticket is paid at the office in the jetty at Kuala Besut.

By Plane

The nearest airport to the jetties is the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport (IATA: KBR, ICAO: WMKC) at Kota Bharu, Kelantan. Both Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia have daily flights from Kuala Lumpur. Firefly has connections to Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

After arriving Kota Bharu, a taxi is required to get to Kuala Besut or Tok Bali. Both jetties are approximately an hour away from Kota Bharu.

By Train

KTM Intercity operates two daily overnight trains (with sleeper berths) to Wakaf Bharu, Kelantan.

16Ekspres WauKuala Lumpur 2035 – Gemas 2350 – Jerantut 0330 – Wakaf Bharu 0929 – Tumpat 0946
18Ekspres TimuranSingapore 1800 – Gemas 2240 – Jerantut 0212 – Wakaf Bharu 0842 – Tumpat 0900

The east coast railway track is connected to the west coast track at the Gemas junction, located about three hours south of Kuala Lumpur. This means the east coast-bound train from Kuala Lumpur will have to head south to Gemas first to access the east coast line.

Upon arriving at Wakaf Bharu, take a taxi to Kuala Besut or Tok Bali. Both jetties are approximately an hour away from Wakaf Bharu.

By Bus

From Kuala Lumpur, you can take an overnight bus to Jerteh, Terengganu, which is merely 15 minutes away from Kuala Besut jetty by taxi.

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Getting Around

Walking is the main way to travel around Kecil or Besar to travel between beaches on each island. There are many walking tracks that connect the beaches as an alternative to water taxis. Apart from the main tracks, everywhere else on the islands is dense jungle.

On Kecil, Long Beach to Coral Bay is about ten minutes and a very easy walk. To go from Long Beach to D'Lagoon, follow the jungle path that starts behind Bubu resort on the northern part of Long Beach, when you reach the turbines follow the path down behind the turbines (do not go down the stairs!) a further 30 minutes until you reach D'Lagoon. It takes about 1 hour. Another route from D'Lagoon is to Adam and Eve beach on the west side of the island (25 minutes), be careful when swimming here as there are sometimes thieves waiting in the forest, though they are only interested in cameras and money. Or another one to Turtle Beach also on the west side (10 minutes). There is also a track from the south end of Long Beach from Rock Garden Chalet to South East Masjid Besar. The walk paths lack maintenance, hence proper trail footwear is recommended. Also, use insect repellent: the paths pass through forests with many mosquitoes.

On Besar, an easy 30-minute walk starts behind the Arwana resort on the southern bay of Besar and comes out in the Perhentian island resort on the north west bay. The other is a more adventurous 45-minute trek between the camp site (Teluk KK) on the west bay and the west corner of the south bay. If it's damp, mosquitoes can be a menace.

Aside from walking, the only means of transport is by boat or water taxis. Prices are negotiable but figure on RM 12 for most hops from one beach to another, and a little more when crossing from one island to another. Travelling by boat is a much faster alternative to walking around the Islands and is of course the only means of travel between Kecil and Besar.

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Eat

Many of the smaller resorts only offer meals as part of an all-inclusive package. These are usually buffet-style with a variety of Western and Malaysian dishes. Larger beaches, such as Pasir Panjang, offer a larger variety of eating options. Since everything (except seafood) has to be imported, expect to pay at least 2 to 3 times more than on the mainland. Restaurants on Long Beach (Kecil) are slow to deliver food (30 min to 1.5 hr) and there are no hawker stalls and only one buffet (breakfast at Bubu's), so ask the waiter first how long the food will take before deciding to eat there.

Kecil

Shari La, Coral Bay. Great evening buffet (all you can eat) for RM20 with BBQ food (seafood, chicken, kebabs, etc.) Live music most nights and free drinks. Nice chilled out atmosphere with free wifi too. Food during the day is set menu or similar buffet style food. The cheapest meals in Coral bay at their beach stand - fried rice/noodles RM5, 2 pcs sandwich/waffles RM5, beef/chicken burger RM5, spaghetti RM6, big water RM2. Many meals from RM6 at their proper restaurant, looks quite upmarket surprisingly compared to their low prices.
Senja, Coral Bay. nice restaurant with the best sea views over Coral Bay, most of the meals from RM8, water refill for RM1.5, only place with WR in Coral bay. edit
Maya, Coral Bay. One of the two most popular restaurants in Coral bay, meals with reasonable prices - beef/chicken/kampung fried rice RM7, veg fried rice RM6, Thai fried rice RM8, veg fried noodles RM6, chicken fried noodles RM7 (same options with soup), fried vegetables with rice RM6, hot mango soup RM8, chicken cream soup RM8.
Amelia Cafe, Coral Bay. Simple and most popular restaurant in CB with good meals for good prices - fried rice Malay with veg&egg/Kerabu/Chinese/Kampung 6RM, veg fried noodles with egg 6RM, chicken/pataya fried noodles 8RM, many salads from 8RM, French baguettes with filling plus french fries for 8RM (same options for sandwiches), creamy soups tomato/chicken/mushrooms 7RM, roti with egg/banana/onion/garlic/cheese/chocolate plus curry sauce for 4RM.
Mama's kitchen, Coral Bay. Simple and most popular restaurant in CB with good meals for good prices - fried rice Malay with veg&egg/Kerabu/Chinese/Kampung RM6, veg fried noodles with egg RM6, chicken/pataya fried noodles RM8, many salads from RM8, French baguettes with filling plus french fries for RM8 (same options for sandwiches), creamy soups tomato/chicken/mushrooms RM7, roti with egg/banana/onion/garlic/cheese/chocolate plus curry sauce for RM4.
Ewan's Cafe, Coral Bay (path between Coral bay and Long Beach). from 07:30. Set under big shady trees, away from the beach. A most enjoyable, popular restaurant off Coral bay, two minutes from pier next to Shari-la resort. Overall good value for money, while cheaper than most competition. Ewan is usually there and is very friendly and up for a conversation. Fast WiFi.
Matahari Restaurant, behind the Matahari dive shop and chalets on Long Beach. Cheaper than Panorama, but the meals are smaller and the place is not as swanky. Still a nice joint to have a meal and the staff are friendly. Also screen a movie at 20:00, and you will have a better chance of hearing it here.
Crocodile Rock Beach Bistro, Coral Bay (Infront of Maya Chalets). This relaxing little restaurant with its palm-leafed roof and beanbags on the beach is a wonderful place to chill out whilst enjoying the view and eating great homemade sausages, burgers, spaghetti, pizzas and salads. They also serve good European coffee and are open for brunch as well - do try their eggs benedict or buckwheat pancakes.

Besar

Arwana Resort, East end of the South beach (jump off airplane in tt corner). The resort has two restaurants, one serving a la carte, the other as a deli buffet. Prices are quite high, but if you have breakfast/lunch/dinner coupons, the food is ok. Breakfast choice in May is not great, but may get better at the height of the season. There is usually a BBQ at dinner times serving fish, squid, chicken, and beef. The place is clean too, just ignore the stagnant swamp behind the resort and the rubbish along the beach.
Florabay Restaurant, In the middle of Flora bay resort. The restaurant offers good food at good prices. RM8 for a dish of chicken fried rice, and RM11 for fried prawns with mashed potatoes.
Watercolours Restaurant, next to the dive shop of the same name on Besar's main western beach. Affiliated with the Paradise Resort, this simple but attractive restaurant is packed every night with people feasting on fresh seafood and other items on the menu. Needless to say, the quality of the food is very good. Prices have gone up lately but RM25 for 3 BBQ rock lobsters or RM20 for fresh barramundi in banana leaf, served with a small baked potato and salad, are still a steal by Perhentian standards. Vegetarian food is available upon request.
Mama's Restaurant, beside Mama's Resort (oddly enough). This is the only other largish restaurant near the north end of Perhentian Besar. Their menu is closer to typical "kampung" (village) fare; however, the nighttime BBQ fish is not to be missed - the portions are far more generous, and the spices are much bolder/fragrant than the rather plain BBQ offerings from Watercolours. As well, it is the more economical of the two restaurants. Try roti canai (local bread) for breakfast and pisang goreng (banana fritters) for dessert. Service is friendly but slow, so expect to wait over half an hour.
Teluk KK, at the southwestern tip of the island near Teluk Keke. This little place is frequented mostly by locals and serves basic food - don't expect super tasty dishes. RM5-6.
On the way to Teluk Keke is a restaurant that is part of Abdul's Chalet. Cheaper than Mama's and Watercolours, Abdul's has a good deal for their nightly BBQ seafood, RM15-25 for your choice of BBQ and plenty of side dishes (you can get as much as you want). Their garlic bread is simple and amazing. Bring a flashlight or a digital camera with a large backscreen because it will be dark by the time you walk back.

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Drink

Pasir Panjang on Kecil (Long Beach) is the only place in the islands with any semblance of a nightlife, although Besar's first bar has recently opened up. Alcohol is expensive at RM8 and more for a can of beer, and Muslim-owned restaurants can't sell any. There is some under-the-counter booze, and bringing your own is also permitted in most otherwise dry restaurants.

Kecil

Oh La La's, Monkey Bar and Blacktips on Long Beach are the only places where you can get alcohol and hang out, but each have their own chilled out beach vibe. Oh La La's and Monkey bar have sunken or mat seating whereas Blacktips is a tiny shack with beach seating, but that always kicks off as a party late in the night (so if you want to dance, go there.)

On Coral Bay, you can buy Chang Beer and Orangutan after 19:00 from a vendor with a cooler that is usually set up near Mama Restaurant. Just ask around when you are there. It is no problem to drink the cans with dinner in the few restaurants on Coral Bay.

Beer is expensive for South East Asian standards, but is still only between 8-10 ringgit a can. Tiger, Carlsberg, Singha and Chang are the only brands readily available. For RM 25 you can get a bottle of Orangutan (325 ml) which is also known as monkey juice,and is the choice drink for backpackers and locals. It's a sweet vanilla rum but only about 25%. Vodka is also available at RM 25-30 a bottle (325 ml). If you have a chance to buy alcohol in either Kuala Lumpur, Kota Bharu or in Thailand, the extra weight you will carry will make it cheaper for your wallet as alcohol is expensive in this area. If you haven't bought alcohol before you get to Kuala Besut, don't bother stocking up there, as prices are no cheaper than in the Perhentians.

Besar

Watercolours Restaurant. serves chilled beer.
New Cocohut. Serves chilled beer.
Tuna Bay. Serves chilled beer.
Flora Bay Resort, ☏ +60 9-301 1166.

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Sleep

Kecil

There is little luxury accommodation on Kecil, with the top of the line being air-conditioned chalets (RM100-200) and the bottom being a bunk in a longhouse (RM10 and up). Discounts are usually negotiable in the off season (although most resorts are closed), for weekdays, for longer stays, if you show up late and they have room... but the better places can get snapped up fast, especially on weekends and holidays, so book in advance. Luxury accommodation is on the west bay of Besar, but expect to pay for it. (Air conditioned chalets and all the trimmings in some) easily arranged on line or in Kuala Besut, but booking in advance is recommended. Mosquitoes can be a problem after rain, so bring your own mosquito net if staying in low-end (non-aircon) accommodation. The most popular backpacker destination is Pasir Panjang (Long Beach) on the eastern coast of Kecil, where a bed in a longhouse can go for as little as RM20. More private "chalets" with fan, electricity and bathroom start at RM50.

Moonlight Chalets, Long Beach. Various types of accommodation including 24-hour electricity, dorm beds, small wooden chalets (very very simple) with fan and mosquito net to aircon rooms with beautiful views of the sea from the verandah. Food is OK. Wonderful receptionist, Dee Dee who seems to remember everyone's name. From RM30.
Bubu Long Beach Resort, ☏ +60 3 7805 4380. This is the first ferroconcrete hotel on the islands, offering air-con, hot water and other creature comforts. Great views from the balcony. Excellent restaurant, but pricey compared with the rest of the beach. The resort has its own generator and 24 hour electricity. From RM200.
Oh La La's, Long Beach - next to Turtle Bay Divers. Clean budget accommodation offers new mattresses, good sized private rooms, mosquito nets and fan. Shared bathroom, but they are spacious, clean and open concept (no roof so you feel like your in the jungle) Really friendly owner and great staff. Have a restaurant and bar as well!. Do not try to sleep without earplugs because of loud disco until late hours every night in the neighbourhood. From RM30-50. edit
Panorama Chalet & Restaurant, Middle of Long Beach. Panorama offers a variety of rooms and prices, ranging from a single bed with fan (RM35) to a family style suite (two double beds, two bathrooms, and aircon - with 2 free dinners per night of stay RM140). Additionally, Panorama is a popular hub for many of those who stay on Long Beach.
World Cafe, South end of Long Beach (beside Quiver Dive Shop). After renovation it no longer offers budget or dorm rooms. It now has only exclusive rooms with air-con - probably the best on Long Beach. Prices are around RM450 a night. The cafe has good food, although a bit pricier than other places on the island, but where the cafe really shines is their excellent coffee and friendly service.
Symphony Chalet, middle of Long Beach, ☏ +60 139755935. Check-in: 11:00. Well-worn wooden beach front huts (few more would see the beach if it weren't for a canopy they built) and larger stone huts for quite cheap. Wooden hut costs RM40 with bathroom shared by about 10 others, which could use some attention from the staff. Electricity is available from 19:00 to 07:00 with outlet, fan, light in all types of accommodation. Mosquito nets are usually provided. As with all the beach accommodation, security is an issue so bring your own padlock. RM40 wooden hut, RM60 stone hut.
Matahari, Long Beach. This clean simple family run resort has a variety of wooden rooms and bungalows with a mosquito net, a fan and a bathroom set around a beautiful tropical garden. Aircon rooms are also available. The resort also has a dive centre and dive/room packages are available From RM30.
Mohsin Chalet, Blue roof chalets on the hills, south end of Long Beach, ☏ +60 9 6911363, fax: +60 9 6911163, ✉ mohsinchalet@gmail.com. 22 chalets, one dormitory and a restaurant overlooking white sand beaches and a blue lagoon abundant with fish and living coral, and offers a prime location from which to witness the island's stunning sunrise. Restaurants offers buffet at nights, with movies on big-screen projectors and if you're lucky, the Reggae Band from Langkawi comes here to perform from time to time. The restaurant area overlooks the entire beach, and wi-fi Internet is free when you dine at the restaurant. From RM80.
Rock Garden, on the side of the hill on the southernmost part of the beach. Once the cheapest place to stay on the island and for good reason. The old cheap rooms are still available for around RM30 a night (RM40 in 2012 high season), but now you can also choose between a standard room (RM70 - RM120 in 2012 high season) and a deluxe room with air-con for RM200. Most rooms have nice views over the beach. But be warned: the nearby "beach disco" can get quite loud until 03:00.
D'Lagoon (in the bay of the same name, north of Long Beach), ☏ +60 199857089. Wooden chalets with mosquito nets, and own restaurant with reasonable prices. Good food, quiet place with private beach. Coral is right in the bay but so close you cut yourself in low tide. Possible to walk from Long beach (1 hr), see Get around section. 24-hour electricity, WiFi available. Tent RM10 (pax), dorm RM20, room with shared/private bathroom RM50-60/RM80, family room RM90-120, tree house RM110.
Mira Beach Chalet, southwestern end of Kecil, ☏ +60 16 647 4606, +60 19 967 2349, ✉ keranjiholidays@gmail.com. Check-out: 11:00. On its own quiet beach, a 20-minute stroll down a paved jungle path from the busy beaches. Simple wooden chalets with mosquito nets, and a place to eat. All rooms with fan and sea view. Rates: room with shared bath RM50 to RM80, room with bathroom attached RM80 to RM150. Dorm RM40. From RM50.
Shari-la Island Resort, Coral Bay, ☏ +60 96911500. Air con dorms are RM20 with power outlets, by far the nicest on the islands, not advertised anywhere. BBQ buffet in the evening for RM15. Free drinks, free water refill and free Wi-Fi for guests in lobby. Other rooms priced from RM100 upwards which include 24-hour electricity, hot shower, satellite TV, aircon and fan in room. RM230.
Teratak Amelia Cafe and Chalet, Coral Bay, ☏ +60 199130742. In the middle of Coral Bay. BBQ buffet in the evening for RM15. Small rooms with fan priced from RM40 which includes 24-hour electricity.
Ewan's, Coral Bay (Two minutes from pier on path to Long Beach, next to Shari-la resort.). The same owner as Ewan's cafe, Coral Bay. Set under big shady trees, away from the beach. Fan room for RM45 with attached bathroom.

Besar

Perhentian Island Resort, ☏ +60 3 21444 8530, ✉ enquiry@perhentianresort.com.my. Offering the best digs on the islands, the resort is on Besar's nicest white sandy beach and equipped with the first swimming pool in town. Still, 5-star luxury it isn't, and the list prices of RM250 to RM350 are overpriced especially since some of the older, further-off chalets are downright grotty; take a look at your room first and ask to see a different one if you don't like it. It offers 24-hour electricity and water supply with heater, air-con with individual climate control, free wifi and in-room coffee/tea making service.
Coral View Resort, at the north end of Besar's main beach, ☏ +60 9-6974943. Once a close number two to the PI Resort, it's taken some knocks over the years but was spruced up in 2007 and is now again a decent option. Standard rooms are back in the jungle, so it's best to opt for a beachfront room. Air-con and fan-only rooms available. The restaurant food is good, although alcohol is not served and you are asked to not bring your own to the restaurant. No TV or kettle in the rooms.
The Reef. The first in a series of near-identical no-frills chalets just south of the Coral View on the same beach, followed by Paradise Island Resort/Watercolours and Mama's. All offer basic non-air-conditioned chalets with basic attached bathrooms in the RM60-80 range.
Watercolours Paradise Resort, ✉ info@watercolours.com.my. Has clean but mostly basic non air-conditioned chalets (specifically request for one if desired) with attached bathrooms. The Garden View chalets are RM 60 and the Sea View chalets are RM 80. There's not much difference between the two, although the Sea View rooms are bigger and closer to the sea. The standards huts with fan share the same roof so you can hear your neighbours. The staff are very friendly and helpful. The Watercolours Restaurant and Dive Centre is attached to this resort. For those on a budget, this makes a good place to stay. There are no power outlets in the rooms, although they do let you use the restaurant's outlets.
Mama's Place. Mama's Place is run by Aziz, a very friendly and organized person who will go the extra mile to make your stay enjoyable. Bungalows start from RM70 for a clean fan room with private bathroom. Aziz provides snorkeling equipment, arranges transfers and is more than willing to give you advice. The attached restaurant offers basic meals for breakfast and lunch but puts on a great BBQ dinner by the sea.
New Cocohut Chalet, a bit further south from the Cozy.. One of the options on the south beach, New Cocohut offers air-conditioned chalets starting at RM130, chalets with a fan, and longhouse beds for less. The staff is friendly and helpful. The restaurant offers basic meals and beer at regular prices. However, expect run down toilets in the RM130 rooms with no water heater. The beach in front of Cocohut has some corals which could make it hard to swim at the shallow ends. 5-min walk to a nicer beach. Cocohut also runs the new Cozy Chalets. Its just next door to Cocohut, a bit uphill and you have to climb stairs to reach to the beach. These chalets offers airco and a good view.
ABC Guesthouse, just further south on Besar's south beach. A barebones longhouse-only operation in a creaky two-storey building, which looks like it will soon collapse and join Cozy in the dust pile of history.
Abdul's Chalet, It is nice place to those looking for nice, clean and not too expensive accommodation. All of the sea view chalet serve aircond chalet with bathroom attached and hot shower and garden chalet with aircond and attached bathroom. The staff are very helpful and friendly to be around. Electricity mostly 24 hours but some disruption during nightfall.
Tuna Bay Island Resort, south of ABC, ☏ +60 9 6979 779. One of the newer and classier hotels, offering air-con chalets from RM290, including hot showers and safety deposit boxes in every room. The seaside restaurant is also pleasant with fairly decent food and a small bar.
Bubbles Dive Resort, at the southern end of the island, ☏ +60 12 9838 038, ✉ info@bubblesdc.com. A very quiet and small resort. Located in a beautiful bay you can rent family and air conditioned chalets with bathroom (from around RM200). There is a restaurant and a good dive school. Friendly staff, Turtle and Reef Conservation Project. Ideal for families and those who wish to experience the islands` tranquility at its best.
Arwana Perhentian Resort, East end of the beach, ☏ +60 9 6911888. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00. Arwana is a family/student oriented resort at the very end of the beach, with reasonable room rates and a large swimming pool. Don't expect luxury or 'deluxe' as the decor is not to everyone's taste and be warned, some rooms are upstairs with no balcony. No kettle in rooms, but each room has a flask and there is free hot water on tap near the beverage counter. Air-conditioned rooms start from RM140, and there are dorms available for large groups at RM30/person. All the air-conditioned rooms have TVs with a few channels on. The staff are very helpful and can arrange your boat transfers if you haven't already. Free WiFi in the main lounge. RM30-580.
Samudra Resort, Beside Arwana, ☏ +60 9 691 1677, ✉ azli8880@yahoo.com. Quiet resort with a fan beach (RM60) and garden chalets (RM40-50). No power sockets in the rooms but electricity mostly 24 hours.
Flora Bay 1 and 2. There are two resorts separated by the Fauna resort offering chalets and rooms at reasonable prices. Nice restaurant and the 2nd pool on Besar.
Everfresh chalets. It had a lot of chalets and some rooms, but was reported to recently look deserted.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are available in cities and major towns. Wi-Fi hotspots can be found in shopping malls, restaurants, food courts and cafés. Many of these hotspots are provided free-of-charge. Internet cafés can also be found in cities and towns.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Malaysia is on the GSM 900/1800 and UMTS (3G) mobile network. If you have an "unlocked" GSM band mobile phone, you can buy a prepaid SIM card and use it with your phone here for cheaper rates instead of roaming here. Prepaid mobile SIM cards are available cheaply at mobile phone shops and 24-hour convenience stores.

Below are the area codes in Malaysia:

01Mobile Phones (nationwide)
02Singapore (special access code to call Singapore)
03Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor
04Penang, Perlis, Kedah
05Perak
06Negeri Sembilan, Malacca
07Johor
080Brunei (special access code for use in Sabah and Sarawak only)
08xSabah, Sarawak (x determines the region)
09Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan
1-300Non-geographical numbers (local call rate)
1-800Non-geographical numbers (free call from landline, local call rate from mobile phone)

Area code is not required when calling a number of the same area code. However, it is mandatory when calling from a mobile phone.

There is no charge for receiving calls on any Malaysian phones. Only the caller is charged for the call made. However, if you're on mobile phone roaming service, you will also be charged for any calls received, by your operator.

To dial out of Malaysia, use the international access code 00 (zero zero), followed by the country code, followed by the area code (remove the preceding 0, if any), and finally the telephone number.
e.g. To call London, United Kingdom, dial 00-44-20-xxxx xxxx; or to call Dallas, Texas, United States, dial 00-1-214-xxx xxxx.
For mobile phones, the plus sign "+" can be used as the international access code.
e.g. Using the previous scenario, type +44-20-xxxx xxxx or +1-214-xxx xxxx and press the call button.

The country code for Malaysia is 60. To receive calls from overseas, that person will have to dial the country's international access code, followed by 60 for Malaysia, followed by the area code (remove the preceding 0), followed by the phone number.
e.g. If your prepaid mobile number is 012-1234567, and someone in the United Kingdom were to call you, the number to dial is 00-60-12-1234567. Those calling you from the United States and Canada will have to dial 011-60-12-1234567.

The emergency number is 999 and can be dialled from any phone, free of charge. The worldwide standard emergency number for GSM mobile phones, 112, can also be used on a mobile phone, even without a SIM card. Calls to 112 will be routed to 999 centres.

Post

Pos Malaysia is the national postal service of Malaysia. Rates for sending a standard letter locally is 30 sen (20 gram) to 40 sen (up to 50 gram). International airmail has minimum rates ranging from RM1.00 to RM2.00, depending on destination. It costs 20 sen to send a postcard or aerogramme locally, or 50 sen to send a postcard or aerogramme to anywhere in the world.

Expedited Mail Service (EMS), branded locally as Poslaju, is available for both domestic and international destinations. Domestic EMS has a next day delivery guarantee. International EMS guarantees mails and parcels to be delivered out of the country by the following day. The time required to arrive at its destination will depend on clearance by authorities and the postal service of the destination country. For most countries, delivery of documents can be done in 3 to 5 days.

If you need to receive mails or packages from home, there is Poste Restante service available at all General Post Offices (GPO) in the country. There is one GPO in almost every capital city of every state, and in all federal territories. Mails sent from Singapore and Brunei will be retained for one month while mails from all other places will be kept for two months, after which if unclaimed, will be sent to the Dead Letter Office.

Generally, post offices are open from 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Saturday, except the first Saturday of the month. They are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Electricity

Electricity voltage in Malaysia is 240V AC 50Hz. The UK 3-pin plug is the standard used in Malaysia. European 2-pin plug can also be used on the 3-pin socket by inserting a screwdriver (or any hard object that fits) into the earth pin hole to open the live and neutral shutters. However, this practice can be hazardous.

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Contributors

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Perhentian Islands Travel Helpers

This is version 36. Last edited at 9:14 on Nov 5, 19 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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