Only1invillage dedicates this whole page to the breathtaking and colourful marine life you will see when diving in Malaysia. The Malaysian coral reef is teeming with life. You will see an amazing variety of colourful hard and soft corals. Swimming around them are plenty of turtles, sharks, sting rays, parrot fish and an abundance of other marine life.
Malaysia is an unknown diving and snorkelling paradise. If you love clown fish, you will find it particularly rewarding. We’re talking many different types of clown fish, not just the orange and white one called Nemo! If you love these fish check out our related post here.
Diving in Malaysia
Parts of Malaysia that Only1invillage visits, rivals the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
Giant clams, clown fish, turtles, black tip reef sharks, giant wrasse and angel fish are common sightings in Malaysian waters.
Not only that, but Malaysia has white sand beaches to rival those of the Maldives! Don’t believe us? Click here to see some beach pics of our Malaysian travels to islands of paradise. Our top 2 diving and snorkelling destinations don’t even need a boat to get out to the reef from the shore.
We are not kidding. The following pictures of the marine life have all been taken within a 100 metres from the shore.
We reveal why you must make Malaysia your next underwater adventure. We will tell you where the easiest spots for beginners are. How to get there and the best time to go.
How expensive is diving in Malaysia?
Snorkelling and diving in Malaysia are a quarter of the price compared to Australia and most other western countries.
1 dive with full tank and all equipment is around 140 to 150 Malaysian Ringitt. (Around 55 AUD, 28GBP, 35USD and 32EUR)
2 dives with full tank and all equipment is 260 to 270 Malaysian Ringitt.
A recent trip to the Great Barrier Reef for 2 dives cost us 350 AUD! (185GBP, 240USD and 215EUR). You can go diving in Malaysia 4 times for the price of 1 dive in Australia.
If you decide to do your PADI certification, some places offer free accommodation. It is still about a third of the price of getting certified in the West.
Is diving in Malaysia safe?
Diving in Malaysia is very safe. Tanks, wet suits, flippers and masks are well maintained.
The boats you travel on vary from 8 people boats to dozens (for snorkelling).
What marine life will I see when diving in Malaysia?
Turtles are very common in Malaysian waters, especially on the Eastern coast. You often don’t need to dive to see turtles off Redang and the Perhentian Islands. The turtle below hangs out just 50 metres off the beach in Redang. He, or she, often takes a lunch break between midday and 2 pm!
If this is a female turtle, she will return to this beach and lay her eggs. Turtles are known as the navigators of the sea. They are cute and need space. Please don’t stress them by chasing after them, or, swim too closely. Admire them from a distance and use your zoom, please!
We like this guide that helps us identify the many fish we see. For photo identification, we found this site useful. It’s also one of our favourite Malaysian island destinations, Redang.
How does diving in Malaysia compare to nearby Thailand and Indonesia?
The reefs, corals and marine life are far superior to those of Thailand and Indonesia. Also, on a recent trip to the Great Barrier Reef we found that the health of the corals and the marine life are very similar.
Best time to go diving in Malaysia
The dry season will offer the clearest visibility. After it rains, visibility is always reduced for divers and snorkellers. The dry season on the NE side of Malaysia is April to July. The dry season on the NW side of Malaysia is November to March. This is very similar to popular Phuket and Krabi in Thailand.
Best diving spots in Malaysia
Sipidan – Difficult to get to though and has had some safety concerns recently.
Borneo – Half of Borneo is shared with Indonesia. You can also visit orangutans after you have had enough of beautiful marine life.
Perhentian, Lang Tengah and Rawa Islands – Easy to get to and day trips possible from Perhentians to Lang Tengah and Rawa Island.
Redang – Our personal favourite island to go diving from.
Tioman – An East coast contender. Best time to go diving is March to May.
Langkawi IS NOT a good diving spot. There is no diving around Langkawi itself. You have to go to a marine park called Pulau Payar. The west coast of Malaysia is not as good as the East coast for diving.
So what’s your favourite place that you have visited? A common question that is hard to answer. For us when it comes to beach destinations around the world this is it! Redang Island Malaysia is a tropical paradise! Beautiful sand, crystal clear warm water, spectacular scenery, amazing marine life and largely unknown. Keep reading and discover why we call it the Malaysian Maldives.
We are not joking! You don’t even have to dive to see giant bumphead parrot fish, angel fish, giant clams and the clown fish are everywhere!!! Black tip reef sharks, turtles, puffer fish, red breasted wrasse and titan triggerfish are common sightings.
If your idea of paradise involves palm trees, frangipanis, sitting with your toes in soft, white sand, crystal clear warm water, amazing fish life and serious relaxation, you know what to do……..keep reading!
We know, we know, you want to go to the Maldives, but, trust us, the Maldives is a huge rip off. Do you enjoy paying $US5 for a 330ml can of Coke? Do you like getting your feet cut on sharp coral? Do you enjoy going for a 1 hour snorkel and seeing one grey coloured fish?
Is your idea of paradise worth $US400 a night for a 3 star resort? Unless you go to exclusive resorts which charge in excess of $US800 per night, the sand quality is not better in the Maldives. To us, Redang is the Malaysian Maldives!
Compare these photos. Can you tell which one is Malaysia and which one is the Maldives?
You can see where we’re heading can’t you? Malaysia has everything the Maldives has but on a budget! Train your brain to say Redang Island is my next dream destination. Forget about the Maldives. Malaysia or the Maldives? See, they are even beginning to sound similar!
Where is Redang Island?
Redang Island is part of Malaysia. The island itself is located in the South China Sea. Redang Island is NE of the capital Kuala Lumpur. It used to be a plane ride away, but the runway closed in 2016. It is a bit of a transportation collective to get to Redang Island, which makes it less popular than Langkawi. Yes, Langkawi is beautiful too, but far more crowded. We like the fact that it’s difficult to get to Redang. A plane, a taxi and then a boat ride from KL, makes Redang Island quieter. Redang is close to our other dream destination in Malaysia, thePerhentian Islands.
When is the best time to go to Redang Island?
Redang Island weather is tropical. Redang Island has three seasons. Bloody wet and hot, bloody hot and dry and monsoon season. Best time to go is non monsoon season. June, July and August offer the calmest seas and best water clarity. Many places close on Redang Island from November to February. Always check in advance. The crossing over can be very rough in the monsoon season. Some boats may not operate at all. So the best time to go depends of what type of weather you like!
April is a good time to go to Redang too, but tidal waves bring in some rubbish from wherever all that plastic comes from. When we come in April, we spend a lot of time cleaning the beach.
It is however, nothing like the nightmare of rubbish you see on Indonesian beaches. September still has plenty of sunshine. Even in October, when you might get downpours of H2o, it doesn’t last long! Basically Redang is an escape for the southern hemisphere experiencing Winter.
If you’re bored of crowded European beaches in June, July and August, come on over to the Malaysian Maldives, of Redang! The sun shines all day long, the water is warm and clear and the sand is soft.
How to get to Redang Island
Option 1 – Getting to Redang Island
The nearest airport is Kuala Terrenganu. Kuala Terranganu is a 50 minute flight, from the capital of KL. KLIA2 and Air Asia offers the most number of flights to KT daily. From KT airport (Malaysians love acronyms) a 50 minute taxi ride takes you to Shandabhar Jetty. From there, a public ferry takes 90 mins to cross the South China Sea to our no longer secret paradise island.
Option 2 – Getting to Redang Island
You can also go to Merang Jetty and wait for a boat to fill up to get to Redang Island. Don’t confuse Merang with Marang, which is totally different. The letter e makes all the difference. There is no jetty at Marang. You must go to Merang. Click here for the boat times from Merang Jetty to Redang. Note, we only use this for the return from Redang. We cannot vouch for the accuracy of the times going to Redang from Merang Jetty. Also, we have never booked online, we always pay cash.
However, the boats can be more crowded and you may have to wait for one to fill up.
Buy your tickets here to go to Redang if you turn up at Merang Jetty. Your accommodation can also buy your ticket in advance along with your taxi transfer from Kuala Terrenganu. Don’t forget, you will also have to pay a small jetty access charge and the marine park fee. Have to preserve paradise! It won’t put a dent in your budget. It’s 30MYR for non Malaysians, 15MYR for children and senior citizens. That’s the same fee for the Perhentian Islands marine park fee. If, like us, you go to Redang, from the Perhentian Islands, you don’t have to pay twice!
Option 3 – Getting to Redang Island
If you love a bumpy, hold onto your bones boat ride for 50 minutes, you can also get to Redang Island from the Perhentian Islands! On arrival at the Perhentian Islands, we always go to Ayumni House, which is behind Tuna Bay resort and ask the lady there to arrange a boat transfer. The cost is MYR100 per person.
At least 6 people have to go to make it worthwhile for the ‘taxi’. That’s why you need to enquire at least 3 days in advance. In our experience, it’s easier to island hop from Perhentian Besar to Redang Island and not the other way around.
If you’re staying at the Taraas Beach Resort or Laguna Redang Island Resort, they will arrange all transfers for you. This includes a meet and greet at the airport in Kuala Terrenganu. Enquire with your accommodation.
What’s there to do on Redang Island?
The things to do on Redang Island are all outdoors. This is not a tropical paradise where you want to stay in your hotel room. Some accommodation comes without TVs in the room, which we think is a great idea. How will you catch the moon rise? Yes, there is such a thing. Even massages, morning and evening yoga are an outside activity.
It’s all about the ‘s’ words. Sun, sea, sand and snorkelling! There’s also some hiking, massage, reading and yoga. A few places will rent out kayaks and stand up paddle boards. Believe us, it’s exhausting from dawn until dusk fitting everything in.
The snorkelling and diving is some of the best in Asia. The diving is also very cheap and the equipment you get is of a good standard. Diving instructors are knowledgable. If you’re thinking of getting your PADI license, why not do it in paradise? It really gives Thailand, where J got certified a run for its money.
Redang is an underwater paradise. Every day, we are busy spotting resident turtles, clown fish, angel fish and rare sightings of bump head parrot fish.
Not to mention giant wrasse, titan triggerfish, black spotted cod, moray eels and sting rays!
Almost forgot about the schools of black tip reef sharks which smile at you as they glide past!
Redang Island is, for us, the perfect mix of not too isolated and not too busy.
Nightlife consists of live bands at the various resorts. Thankfully where we stay doesn’t have a band at all. Also, Sari Pacifica doesn’t do live music, which means it is possible to sleep at 10pm.
During the day, you often have the powder white sand to yourself and 10 other western tourists. Asian tourists avoid the sun from 10 until 4. Your peace will be interrupted 3 times a day when the snorkelling boats come in and out.
Apart from that you can only hear waves, gently lapping against the shore. Oh and course people’s conversations about the amazing fish!
What’s the food like on a tropical island?
One of the things to do on Redang Island is to eat and eat and then eat some more. The Malaysian food is better than the western food. Eating out doesn’t break the bank in Malaysia and Redang Island is no exception.
You’ll need great coffee to go with that cake. Forgot to add the latte pictures! Here you go. You can get great coffee on Redang Island. OK, not Milan or Melbourne standard, but what else are you going to drink with your cake?
Where we stay on Redang Island
Our secret island paradise is out, so we might as well share where we stay. Our favourite place to stay on Redang Island is Coral Redang Island Resort. This is a 3 star resort.
Good value and modern with a prime position on the beach. What we like about Redang Island is that even though the hotels are built on the beach, they are well camouflaged. They are also about 20 metres back from the water.
The service is good and the restaurant is the best option for western food. We have tried every restaurant on the island. The organisation of transfers to and from the island is very good. Visa is accepted for paying the final bill. You cannot book via booking.com or expedia. You have to book direct with the resort.
There are two types of room available. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Deluxe rooms are more expensive, better decor and you only have one neighbour. Deluxe rooms are two storey stand alone buildings at the front and centreof the property. The first 6 from the reception area have beach and water views.
Standard rooms are set further back from the beach. They are cheaper but are newer. They have a more plain decoration. The standard rooms don’t have a fridge. The showers are more powerful, however than deluxe rooms. You have more neighbours, especially if you are in the middle floor. Beds are newer and slightly more comfortable than in the deluxe rooms. We like both rooms and have stayed in both. Both rooms have a massive safe. The safes are big enough to store laptops, something quite rare. There are also family rooms. There is a block facing the pool which is ideal for 2 kids and 2 adults in a sort of adjoining room.
Breakfast is included at Coral Redang Island Resort.
There is fruit, yoghurt, cereal, croissants and toast. There is also an egg station. Don’t expect poached, egg white omelettes or soft boiled eggs. The egg station is strictly for fried eggs and omelettes.
There’s always hash browns (English and Australian style), baked beans and some kind of starch like noodles or rice. On Sundays it’s roti bread breakfast day! Our absolute favourite flaky bread with a yummy curry sauce.
Coral Redang Island Resort also have a very professional dive centre. Snorkelling and diving trips go out every day and the staff speak English, Mandarin and Cantonese in addition to Bahasa Malay. The equipment is modern and clean. If you have your own diving equipment, there is a small discount. So bring your oxygen tank, just joking! Waterproof cameras, masks and snorkels are available to rent. Life jackets, masks and snorkels are part of the snorkel trip package. Kayaks and stand up paddle boards complete your water sports adventures. Thankfully there are no banana boat rides or giant doughnuts on Redang Island.
The beach view frangipani villas are the only choice here. You have well padded veranda lounges and a king sized bed. The food isn’t the best here. There’s no live music at night which makes this and Coral Redang on the quiet end of the beach.
Laguna Redang Island Resort is a big development. Even though it is large it blends quite well into the scenery. This is rated as a four star resort and caters mainly for tourists on a package, which includes daily snorkelling. During peak season, the breakfast buffet can be chaotic!
If you want a pool for the kids and a jacuzzi for yourself you have to stay at Laguna Redang. Make sure you venture out between 11 and 4pm and you’ll be like J (see picture below!)
Popular with Chinese tourists on a package. However, most Chinese people stay in the shade between 10am and 3pm, so you’ll have the facilities pretty much to yourself during daylight hours. Beware as the temperature drops (by 2 degrees from 32 to 30) the vampires begin to come out and the peace will be shattered!
Located just next door to the big complex that is Laguna Redang is Redang Beach Resort. Yes, the names all get a bit confusing! This is also quite a big resort. The sand in front is powder white and has a volley ball net set up for the 5pm games. Note: no one plays before then, it’s too hot!
This is a 3 to 4 star hotel, depending on your tastes. The rooms seem comfortable enough and you get the usual tea making facilities.
Expensive and posh for Malaysia. Read Tripadvisor reviews however, for the service. Commanding a whole white sandy bay all to themselves. The Taaras is a bit remote. Stunning location, definitely a mirror image of some Maldivian islands. Once there, you don’t have many choices for food or activities. It’s a place to stay if you want luxury and you don’t want to leave the one beach.
Turtle spotting happens just in front of this luxury resort. So you don’t have to pay for a boat trip, because this is where you end up. The turtles here are amazing! But, it is sad to see that the tour operators let people get too close. They also feed the turtles squid to encourage them to hang around. We don’t like this practice and prefer to see our resident turtles on Long Beach.
There is a beach right next door which has the same soft white sand. We trek across the island and it takes about 50 minutes of pure sweat through the jungle. Don’t bring anything valuable as there can sometimes be people ready to snatch your belongings. (see the jungle trekking pictures)
The beaches on Redang Island
Used to be a resort Beach
This is where we want to buy and develop a resort! After that we want to set up house on this island, our beautiful Malaysian Maldives. There used to be a resort here and it is a bit eerie exploring here. But, go through Laguna Redang Resort, past their private jetty area and into the back area to get to Delima Resort and you will arrive here! We are always the only people here. We don’t know what this beach is called. There are no facilities here obviously.
Well if we haven’t convinced you that Redang Island is the Maldives on a budget, you’ll have to go yourself and prove us wrong. We love it so much, we have been six times! Pop on over to the Perhentian Islands, our other fave Malaysian Maldives islands, while you’re in the area!
Only1invillage shares our dream destination the Perhentian Islands
Here, we reveal how the Perhentian Islands is just like the Maldives and why it should be your number 1 dream destination! We are regular visitors and this is our 5th trip to these amazing hidden gems. You’ll be kicking yourself in the nether regions, thinking “How come I’ve never heard of this place?!” Forget Thailand and Bali for beaches and sunshine, hello Malaysia! Malaysia is the new Maldives. Keep reading and start planning your first visit to the Perhentian Islands! You know you want to 🙂
Ask yourself these questions about a beach holiday destination.
Do you love to walking and lying on powder white soft sand?
Do you love watching spectacular sunsets and sun rises?
Are turtles, clown fish and reef tip sharks your favourite ocean animals?
Do you love days of clear blue skies and no rain?
Do you love swimming in crystal clear, warm water?
Do you love gorging yourself on fresh seafood and local delights?
Do you enjoy island hopping?
Is snorkelling in pristine coral reefs high on your agenda?
Are friendly locals an important part of your holiday?
Do you like to gain some cultural knowledge of the place you’re visiting as a tourist?
Do you love getting a bargain on holiday?
Have you answered yes to all the above questions? Well, who wouldn’t? Maybe some of us don’t care too much about the last question, but, overall you say yes to the questions. That’s why the Perhentian Islands is your next dream destination.
Where are the Perhentian Islands?
The Perhentian Islands are in Malaysia, south east Asia. They are on the Eastern side of the Malaysian peninsula. The Perhentian islands are south of the Thai border. Penang is on the western side, directly opposite the Perhentian islands, when looking at a map. From Kuala Lumpur in the south, the Perhentians are located in the North East.
How many Perhentian Islands are There?
They are two islands which on a clear day, you can see across the South China Sea. In Bahasa Malay, they are known as ‘pulau Perhentian’. Pulau means islands. Furthermore, Pulau Perhentian Kecil means ‘small Perhentian island’ and Pulau Perhentian Besar, means, ‘big Perhentian Island. It’s important to not that there is an island off the coast of Melaka, called Pulau Besar, so don’t confuse the two!
How do I get to the Perhentian Islands?
To get to the Perhentian Islands you have to get a boat from Kuala Besut. Before you get to Kuala Besut, you have to get to Kota Bharu. International visitors will fly into Kuala Lumpur. From Kuala Lumpur, an internal flight is necessary. Air Asia, Firefly, Malindo Air and Malaysia Airways fly to Kota Bahru, one hour away. Air Asia offers the best number of flights per day. From KL, you can choose from 10 flights per day on Air Asia. The cost is usually about $US20, $GBP15, $AUD30, EUR18 one way before luggage and taxes. Air Asia is a budget airline. But for an hour’s flight who cares?
From Kota Bharu, you get a taxi to the jetty point of a little town called Kuala Besut. You can either get your resort to arrange a taxi, use your GRAB app (UBER for SE Asia) or get a pre -paid ticket at the taxi counter at Kota Bharu airport.
There is a public ferry, but we never take it. Time is of the essence when you need to get to paradise!
We always hitch a ride with the Tuna Express, run by the Tuna Bay resort. They also arrange a driver from Kota Bharu airport and drop you off at their office on the mainland. The operation is seamless.
They guide you to the departure point where you pay MYR30 per adult for the marine park fee and then onto their own boat. The boat ride is 45 minutes to Perhentian Besar.
What’s the best time to go to the Perhentian Islands?
The tropical islands of Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil experience the dry season from April to August. Peak season is June and July. To escape southern hemisphere Winter, the Perhentian Islands are perfect for that dream destination getaway. Long days of sunshine make for perfect snorkelling and diving in June and July. On the cusp of dry season, March and September are months still worth going, as the rain is generally at night.
What’s there to do on the perhentian islands?
Like the old saying goes, there’s 4 things to do on a tropical island. It’s sun, sea, sand and serious sandcastle building! Actually the snorkelling and scuba diving is pretty amazing. Crystal clear waters an abundance of sea life from turtles, reef sharks, sting rays, clown fish, parrot fish and plenty more make it an adventure every time you go in to the water! Jungle hiking and kayaking are also popular activities. Most resorts do not have a television which suits us just fine.
Jungle trekking on Big Island
The path is well signed for this short, but very sweaty little hike. Take mosquito repellent!
You actually start the walk from the beach after Cocohut Chalets. See picture below.
Oh there’s snorkelling too and high quality snorkelling at that.
To recap the Perhentian Islands activities are sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling, diving, sand castle building (unlike on Boracay, this has not been banned!) jungle trekking, walking, reading and island hopping.
Throw in eating and sleeping and then press repeat. Yup, it’s a serious beach vacation on the Perhentian Islands.
How do I pay for items and services on the perhentian islands?
There are no cash machines on the islands! We repeat, you cannot get cash out! You need to bring a combination of Malaysian Ringitt and credit cards. Bigger establishments will accept credit cards. The water taxi boats accept cash only. The small shops on both islands accept cash only. If you like collecting foreign currency banknotes, some Malaysian notes are plastic. This means that even if you drop your money in the crystal clear waters of the Perhentian Islands, you can still use it!
Is there WI-FI?
The most important question! It’s an island in the middle of the South China Sea. Yes, WI-FI is available. Of course it can be unreliable in times of bad weather. If you need an uninterrupted connection it is better to buy your own SIM card at the airport. There are three outlets at KLIA2 and a few stands at KLIA. Tune Talk seems to be reliable and DIGI also sell good plans.
Prices are very cheap. MYR40 buys you 15 days and 25GB. Beware that if you don’t activate a top up message half way through your plan, your plan will stop in 12 days. You can buy Tune Talk before you go and pick it up at your arrival airport in Malaysia. For DIGI you have to go to the shop.
Is the food halal?
Malaysia is a Muslim country. There’s no pork available on the Perhentian Islands. There are several places on Perhentian Besar that serve halal food. These will be the Malaysian run places. If the restaurant or cafe is Chinese Malaysian owned, the food will not be halal. This is a generalisation. It is best to check before you order just to be on the safe side.
What are the food options like on the Perhentian Islands?
Western and Asian food is widely available on both islands. Vegetarians always need to check if the food contains small bits of meat. Also oyster sauce and fish sauce are widely used. So, if you’re a strict vegetarian you must make sure you say so. Salad leaves are rare but cooked vegetables are plentiful. Malaysian style curries are fabulous. The roti bread on the Perhentian Islands is something else! Flaky and buttery, one is never enough!
Check out the size of those prawns. The fork is there for illustration purposes. Cocohut Chalet on Perhentian Besar provides the best value for huge prawns on their nightly barbecue. Size does matter in this case!
For the best in Western cuisine we like Bubu’s on the small island. From Tuna Bay on Big Island it’s only MYR15 per person in a boat taxi.
Can you get alcohol on the Perhentian Islands?
You can get beer, wine and spirits on both of the Perhentian Islands. There are a few places that do not serve alcohol, such as Abdul Chalets on Perhentian Besar. Beer is available to purchase from the small shops on both islands. The most popular beers are Tiger and Heineken.
How do I get around?
There are two options – your legs and boats. There are no cars or mopeds on both islands. Water taxis clearly display their prices for both islands and various snorkelling trips. There is no haggling as prices are very reasonable.
The Beaches of Perhentian Besar
Tuna Bay Beach
This is the best all round beach for sand, coral and fish life.
Here we see puffer fish, parrot fish, needle fish, titan triggerfish and wrasse. There is also something very special here. One bright neon pink anemone is in the crystal clear shallow waters. If you’re very lucky the resident turtle will make an appearance. If you’re really lucky, bumphead parrot fish will make an appearance. On our 6th visit here we see one! This is the beach that has the best coral. It’s just in front of the resort called Tuna Bay. There are some naughty small fish that like to take a nibble if you stand still in the shallow water.
The reef begins literally 1 metre from the sand. Please don’t wear fins when snorkelling. There is a sign that says fins are not allowed, but, this is unfortunately, largely ignored. There is some bleaching happening, but, overall, for snorkelling it’s pretty good!
On our latest trip, we discovered a neon pink anemone! This is something we haven’t seen before on our previous 5 trips. There’s always something different to see. There is also some conservation work going on underwater. The marine park has sunk some frames, to encourage coral growth. Some of them are quite successful. The sand here has small bits of coral in it, right in front of the restaurant, but head further along and it’s powder soft.
Abdul Chalets Beach
Powder soft sand. It’s a continuation from Tuna Bay and on the other side of the pier. A couple of large granite rocks provide some snorkelling opportunities, but, not as good as outside the front of Tuna Bay. Better for swimming. This beach has no umbrellas and is generally used by the guests staying at Abdul Chalets. The water is of course crystal clear. It’s better for swimming at this beach.
The Barat Beach
When you jungle trek accross the pathway shown in the map above, you reach this part of Perhentian Besar. This isn’t really the name of the beach.
When you get water taxis around you will notice the destinations are the accommodation names.
Here you will also find Mama’s Place, Water Colour, The Reef and Coral View resorts. From here you get a view of the mosque on Kecil.
The beach here is made of small stones and fine sand. More a beach for sunbathing and getting your feet wet. No coral here.
Perhentian Island Resort Beach
Perhentian Island Resort pretty much has a sheltered bay and granite rocks at one end. This beach is a 50 minute walk through the jungle or a MYR10 ride in a water taxi from Tuna Bay. This stretch of white sand has the colourful pier on one side and ends with huge granite boulders on the other side. It is a lovely curved bay.
Before you get here, there is a massage place on top of the hill offering spectacular views of this beach.
Reef tip sharks love to swim near the pier in knee deep water!
Powder soft sand with some coral the closer you get to the water. Chairs and umbrellas are reserved for guests only. There is however, some natural shade under the coconut trees. This beach has easy entry into the water along the sand. At low tide you might have to go 20 metres before you can’t swim. You can swim out to these floating square buoys for a break in between swimming.
Perfectly calm without waves, it is great for children.
This is clown fish heaven. The little cuties are everywhere! You will also see different species of clown fish, not just the orange and white ones. This is the best beach for clown fish spotting. There are hundreds of the little orange and white cuties fiercely defending their territory. The anemone here is also pale white, pale green and the more common green colour.
KK Beach and Teluk KK snorkelling point
This is a very, very quiet beach.
Water taxis can drop you off or you can walk from Tuna Bay or Abdul Chalets. Warning, there is some broken jungle path along the way and a kind of bridge made from plastic pipes! There is one lady selling snacks here.
The sand is powder soft, but the beach is narrow. It’s good to swim out to Teluk KK which is where snorkelling trips drop you off for half an hour. Due to its remoteness we saw some western girls go topless on this beach. Please don’t do this in a Muslim country. It is quite disrespectful.
Guess what you can see on Turtle Beach? Erm…..yes you’re turtle-y correct. It’s a flippin marvellous sight to behold! The sand is lovely and soft here too. Granite boulders enclose this small crescent shaped beautiful beach. To be the only 1 in the village, you have to get there early before the boat loads of tour groups. Please, please don’t touch the turtles, it stresses them out. Of course the aquamarine clear water makes this beach a dream destination. What more do you need? White sand, tick, clear water, tick, turtles just offshore, tick and for an hour or so by yourself! Dream destination status secured in our humble opinion!
Although it’s often called Quite Beach, it’s really is supposed to be QUIET. Not many people come here as its name suggests. Reachable by water taxi.
The beaches of Perhentian Kecil
Long Beach is the main attraction.
Many restaurants and cafes have put their chairs onto the sand, making the beach look a bit like Thailand. We guess due to rising popularity, the vendors don’t want to miss out. The sand is powder white and soft here. There isn’t any coral or fish to see here.
Coral bay is on the other side of Long Beach on Kecil. You can get there by a well maintained path starting from the glamping tents or just before Bu Bu Villas. Look out for the signs! It is a bit of an uphill walk, but you can do it in about 25 minutes. The beach here is curved. It’s mostly yellow sand with a few patches of large grainy sand. It’s not the prettiest view with many boats tied up in the water. The water is clear once you get out past the boats.
If romance is on your mind, head to the aptly named Romantic Beach! You’ll be left alone! Ask your water taxi driver to come back for you!
There are more beaches which we will share next time! This should be enough to get you planning a trip to the Perhentian Islands. Remember the best time to go is between April and September. A perfect getaway from the Southern hemisphere Winter!
Walking from Long Beach to Coral Bay on Perhentian Kecil
If water taxis are too easy for you and you want to get your cardio exercise for the day, we suggest you do this little hike!
It will take about 25 minutes, going at a reasonable pace.
On Long Beach look for the Aina Garden Chalets or Long Beach tents.
Accommodation Options on the Perhentians
We always stay on Perhentian Besar. It is slightly more upmarket than Perhentian Kecil, which is mainly for backpackers.
We are loyal customers to Tuna Bay Resort because they offer a really convenient transfer service from the airport to the jetty and then the island. They use their own private boat which runs three times a day. Most of their rooms could do with a make over, but they have the best restaurant on Perhentian Besar. After years of lying on the hard wooden sunbeds, they have finally added padding to their sun loungers! Tuna Bay are not on any of the hotel websites, you have to book with them directly.
Warning, there are not any 5 star establishments like in Thailand or Bali. It is altogether a more rustic kind of paradise.
There are exceptions on Kecil such as BuBu Resortand a newly built hotel, MIMPI on Long Beach. The reason we stay on Besar, is also for the snorkelling. It is non existent on Kecil, it’s more for the sun part of your holiday.
Kecil caters more for budget travellers. There are tents and shacks with fans only. If you want air conditioning, you will have to pay a bit more.
There is also free accommodation! If you do a diving course with some diving centres, they’ll throw in the accommodation for free. We have not inspected a room being offered, so we can’t comment on this offer.
Well done for reading (or scrolling through!) our very long article on your next holiday destination in Asia. What are you waiting for? Paradise waits for no one. Get packing, Perhentian paradise is waiting for you! You too will be dreaming about this destination. Like us, you’ll be returning visitors. We even have another little Malaysian Maldives up our sleeves. Redang Island our favourite tropical paradise