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Perhentian - Paradise island on the east coast

Pulau Perhentian Islands is a group of 9 small islands 21 km off the coast of Terengganu and Kelantan on the east coast of North Malaysia. The island has been a popular destination for visitors for over 30 years. Initially, the islands only served as the "stopover" islands for the local fishermen who took shelter from the fierce sea during the monsoon. fun at the Perhentian beach

By the time the backpackers came to frequent the beaches the word quickly spread out how beautiful the beaches were and soon after the islands became a favorite holiday spot. Now, it is a world renowned location, especially favored by sea lovers, beach bums and diving enthusiasts alike. Nowadays, the islands are a National Marine Park.

There are 9 islands:

  • Perhentian Kechil (Little Perhentian)
  • Perhentian Besar (Big Perhentian)
  • Pulau Rawa
  • Tokong Burung
  • Tokong Burung Kechil
  • Susu Dara Besar, Susu Dara Kechil
  • Serenggeh
  • Tokong Laut

Of all these islands, only Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kechil are inhabited by humans. There are around 30 dive sites around the 9 islands Islands. Some have been discovered long time ago but more and more new dive sites are also being explored in recent years. (see the diving map for details about the dive sites)

Perhentian suffers from the monsoon. This means roughly that the island is closed from November to early March. Hotels will be closed, ferries not available.

Accommodation and Facilities

Perhentian has plenty of good affordable hotels available. We have made a selection of hotels at both Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil, so it's up to you where you prefer to stay. Hotels include for example the Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort & Beach Chalet, a favorite of us. But there are many (mostly upmarket) hotels at the island.

Beach at Perhentian Island


Most of the travelers come for diving. It's not surprising. With the amount of dive spots (see the diving map for details), this is one of world's leading dive opportunities.

Padi logoMany of the resorts offer diving facilities. The Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort & Beach Chalets has a great amount of facilities available. Details of the Arwana's diving facilities on our Arwana Resort page or check here:

But other resorts, like Perhentian Island Resort Terengganu or the Tuna Bay Island Resort Perhentian offer similar packages.

There are shore dives from the house reefs but most dives are from a boat which is not more than 20 minutes ride from your resort. The boat will return after each dive so that you can spend your surface interval while having some hot or refreshing drinks at the base.

Sometimes, there are day trips organized to go as far as Pulau Redang and Lang Tengah. In this case, three dives are usually planned, with a packed lunch being prepared on board.

Diving at Perhentian Islands

Find a specific description of most of the 30 dive sites at:

...and don't forget to have a good look at the map we created for you.

The more popular ones have complete description. However, please bear in mind, some of the less popular one also have their own special features. Those which become favorites of divers usually have a large amount of marine life at any time, the clarity of water is normally good and also, they have easier entry and exit points.

Diving courses and leisure diving at the Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort & Beach Chalet. Offers will be slightly different for other hotels.

Diving all over the world

More diving packages available all over the world, click here to check out diving in Thailand, Maldives, Red Sea, Great Barrier Reef and many More

Click here to enter our recommended diving packages

Getting There and Away

A place can be as beautiful as paradise, if you can't visit, no one will experience the beauty. The islands are easy accessible from either Kuala Besut (main ferry port) or Tok Bali.

Road (your own transport)

Kuala Lumpur
Follow Route No: 2 & 3 - via Kuala Lumpur - Karak Highway - Kuantan to Kuala Terengganu and the last 60 or so km to Kuala Besut, it's about 455 km

From Butterworth, take the road to Gerik, and follow direction Kota Bharu, East-West Highway, Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Besut, about 460 km.

Diving at Perhentian

Johor Bharu
It's a long way from Johor Bahru, you will follow route 3 all along the east coast to Mersing, Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Besut, about 534 km.

Sungai Golok is the border with Thailand. From here follow route 3 to Kota Bharu and further south to Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Besut, 198 km.

If you decide to cross into Malaysia from Padang Besar, at the west coast, follow directions to Alor Setar and Penang and from there to Gerik and Kota Bahru. It's a long way with almost 600 km.


There are two ferries: Tok Bali and from Kuala Besut. Kuala Besut is the most used and closest. The Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort & Beach Chalet have their own boat operator in Kuala Besut: Kuala Besut Travel. Customers for the Arwana have to book their ticket through Kuala Besut Travel, rate for boat transfer RM 70.00 return for Adult and child RM 35.00 for return.

Boats to the island: 07.00, 09.30, 10.30, 14.00, 16.30
Boats from the island: 08.00, 12.00 and 14.00


Perhentian beachThe nearest big bus stations are in Kota Bharu and Kuala Terengganu. Unfortunately the bus service is irregular, so the best option is to take  taxi.

If you are traveling from Penang or other towns in Malaysia, take the express bus to Jerteh. From Jerteh, you take a taxi to Kuala Besut.


Take a flight from LCCT to Kota Bharu preferably or Kuala Terengganu. From Kota Bharu airport to Kuala Besut, the pick up service to the jetty is at RM40.00 per person one way.


There's no railroad service available in this part of Malaysia. You can travel by train from Thailand to Kota Bharu but from there you have to travel by bus or taxi.

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More about the Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort & Beach Chalet

More about Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort & Beach Chalet diving facilities

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