The Pulau Perhentian (Perhentian Island)
group of islands are the northernmost islands off the east coast of
Peninsular Malaysia. There are two main islands -- Pulau Perhentian
Besar (Perhentian Besar Island) and Pulau Perhentian Kecil (Perhentian
Kecil Island) -- plus several large rocky outcrops to the northeast
namely Pulau Tokong Kemudi Barat (Tokong Kemudi Barat Island), Pulau
Dara Kecil (Dara Kecil Island), Pulau Tokong Kemudi (Tokong Kemudi
Island), Pulau Rawa (Rawa Island), Pulau Burung (Burong Island) and
Pulau Serenggeh (Serenggeh Island).
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 colorful 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.
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. (www.virtualmalaysia.com)
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.