On a Dutch, rainy day, what better to do than recall your memories about warm and sunny paradisaical islands? Pictures of little islands spoiled with palm trees, white sand, crystal waters and sun are familiar to everyone. They make you daze away, wonder how it would be to lay there…. the Perhentian islands are this place. With several bays to choose and an untouched inner landscape. And the best and most surprising of it all: no masses of tourists here!
Perhentian Kecil – Long Beach
23 march 2015 – 6 nights
After reading about Perhentians main backpacker hub, Long Beach, I decided to stay there. I red about parties, trash and noise, but nothing of that did I found. There may be some karaoke on the beach in the evening and also dive shops throw parties now and then, but nothing in compare to your Koh Phi Phi island. There are about 13 restaurants and bars for each price range and ca 20 accommodations to choose from. Also some dive shops (70R/dive) and taxi boat/excursion huts. The beach is very long (hence the name) with umbrella’s for rent (10R/day). Although not the most beautiful bay, I enjoyed the options of eateries and the relaxed atmosphere. From Long Beach you can easily walk around the island and also take taxi boats to the main island.
The most places are budget options. I walked in on Matahari and Panorama hostel, there weren’t cheap rooms available and they didn’t look good either. Then we found Bintang View which was absolutely great value for money (50R/n). A little bit up the hill, you feel among nature and get fresh breezes from the sea. I absolutely loved the place. Good rooms, nice owner, books for rent, great breakfast and cute little cats. Can highly recommend it!
Perhentian Kecil – Coral Bay
Almost every day, I walked up to the other side of the island’s Coral Bay. You will enter a whole different surrounding. With the hills closer to the beach, the scenery is the most beautiful. There’s a small beach, but with shade of palmtrees. The ocean is more calm here and you will enjoy good snorkeling. We loved Coral Bay. You will find about 8 restaurants here from where you can enjoy sunset in the evening. There are about 10 accommodations. They all looked relaxed and well maintained. There’s a little paved track between Long Beach and Coral Bay which will only take about 10 minutes to cross.
From Long beach there is a track to the northern part of the island. The track is easy to walk. It takes about 60 minutes to reach the bay ‘D’Lagoon’. This a good spot to refill your water bottles and enjoy good and cheap lunch. It’s a nice bay, but not terrible pretty. On the east side of the island, you will find here Turtle bay and Adam’s and Eves beach, about 45 minutes from LB. I will not give away too much, but the Adams and Eve beach…. it’s a big stunning surprise. Keep it a secret (;
Perhentian Besar – Main Beach
One afternoon, I went to the big Island, Perhentian Besar. Some folks I met in Taman Negara, where staying here. The taxi boat costs 15 R/pp and takes 10 minutes. You will not regret going here, it’s another paradise. On Perhentian Besar, you will have time to connect totally with your inner self. Mainly families stay here, who don’t look like they want to socialize. There are some great jungle tracks and within 30 minutes you can reach Turtle point where there are many turtles to spot. I wouldn’t like to spend the nights here, it’s too quite and more expensive than necessary, but it was great to visit.
How to get to the Perhentian Islands?
From Kuala Besut there are frequent boat departures. This are all small boats (45 minute bumpy rides) and it looks like they belong to different owners. As a tourist, you will just be seated on the first boat that leaves. You pay 70R return ticket and 5R marine park fee (which nobody checks upon). Kuala Besut is a cute little lively town. You can buy the boat tickets everywhere. The local bus dropped us of in front of a shop where they were very friendly. The girl who was working there drove me with her own car to the ATM to get cash! This ATM is about 20 min walk from the centre of the town. The boats from Perhentian to KB run every day at 8.30, 12.00 and 16.00.
There are three main options coming from the following directions:
– from Taman Negara
Each day there are minibuses running between Jerantut (main hub to Taman Negara) and Kuala Besut by hostel and touroperater NKS. Price 145R pp, ca 9 hour drive. Bookings can be made at hostels and touroperaters.
– from Kuala Terengganu
This is the route I took. There are buses from the company ‘P. Bumi’ at 7.30, 10.00 and some more up to 17.00. Check at the bus terminal in advance to be sure! Price 10.80 R pp, 2,5 hours driving along the coast (beautiful).
– from Kota Bahru
As far as I understand there are no direct buses from Kota Bahru to Kuala Besut. You will have to take a taxi (expensive), or a bus to Jerteh. From Jerteh to Kuala Besut you pay 20R for a cab (20min drive).
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