Perhentian Islands are located about 12 miles from the north-east coast of Malaysia on the South China Sea, not far from the border with Thailand. Perhentians are two islands: Perhentian Besar (the big one) and Perhentian Kecil (the small one). In the Malay language ”Perhentian” means ”stopping point” and came from traders who was stopping there to have some rest on the way to Bangkok. We did as they had done and stopped there too to check charm of the islands. Until the very last moment, we didn’t know which one to choose for our accommodation. Finally, our choice was smaller Kecil with more backpacking vibe.
Long Beach and Coral Bay
As always, we didn’t book any hotel or dorm and that was our mistake that time. It was holiday time and Harvest Festival in Malaysia – almost everything was already booked. We were walking from one guesthouse to another hoping to find something. We walked Long Beach all the way to the last possible place to stay and luckily we took last room for three nights. After that, we had another place at Coral Bay for next two nights.
Best beaches on Perhentians
Perhentian Islands are little heaven for those who love to spend time on beaches with bright white sand, palms and crystal clear water. Apart from that two mentioned beaches we had a great time on:
Another loved by us beach P.I.R. was on a bigger island, Perhentian Besar.
Snorkeling – let’s find a hidden paradise!
Islands are amazing, but the best part of it is hidden underwater. Colorful reefs with plenty of different fishes and other sea life was waiting to be discovered. We took a snorkeling tour to three nice spots for diving or snorkeling: Coral Garden, Shark Point and Turtle Point. Yes, we really saw sharks! They were swimming around 2 metres from us and were as long as Anna is tall! 🙂
Trekkings around the island
We spent all days on lying on the beaches or in the water, snorkeling with fishes or trekking around the island through the jungle. First longer trek we did was from Long Beach to the north part of the island. We found a broken jetty somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
Then we followed the path further to find a deserted beach, it was exactly what we liked the most. 🙂
Second longer walk we did to the south coast of the island. First few miles were easy because there was a walking concrete path. It was falling apart, but still useful. (Most of the tourists take water taxi to get to the other parts of the island.)
After a long walk, we reached a fishermen village.
Malaysia is a Muslim country (61% of population pray to Allah) so women must cover hair and body. Unfortunately for them, even holiday is not an exception and they can’t enjoy the sun. They have to wear a specially designed ”Muslim swimming suits” (no idea how they call it). It looked like black leggings (we didn’t see any other colours) with a loose shirt like a dress and head cover made out of lycra.
Everywhere in the village we saw signs like this:
Anna had shorts and a skimpy shirt on her so we walked through the place quickly and came back on a loop trail leading to Long Beach. According to a local map, the path was supposed to go from Coral Bay to Fishermen Village and then from there along the coast right to the Long Beach. The path was there for first few yards only. As we walked further and further it was changing into something more like a jungle walk with fallen trees or hanging lianas in the way. Then we got to the point that it was hard to tell what was jungle or the path. We found long sticks which we were using like a machete or to check the surface we were walking on. 😀
After one hour going through the jungle we decided to get closer to the shore with huge rocks and walk on them. It was easier that way, but sometimes there were gaps too big to jump over or climb down and up so we had to come back to a dense wall of the jungle.
It was only over 1 mile from Fishermen Village to Long Beach, but it took us over 2 hours to get to our destination. There were moments we were thinking about turning around, but we went so far… Exhausted we managed to get to our place and just jumped into the sea without taking clothes. If you are ever on Perhentians, do not trust to local maps! 😉
Time spent on the island went very fast and we almost didn’t notice we were there for six days. After great time spent there we headed to a concrete jungle… Goodbye paradise and hello Kuala Lumpur! 🙂
More travel stories from Malaysia you can find here: Malaysia