The Perhentian Islands are two islands named Pulau Perhentian Kecil (Small Perhentian Island) and Pulau Perhentian Besar (Large Perhentian Island). The Malay name Perhentian is translated as "place to stop". The islands remain relatively untouched and the only permanent inhabitants live in a small fishing village on Perhentian Kecil. Apart from footpaths that cut through the jungle, there are no roads on the islands. The only way to get around is by walking through the jungle or taking a sea taxi. Perhaps it is the stretches of white beach or the crystal clear water and the superior scuba diving. Perhaps it is the untouched forests or the relaxed atmosphere and unspoiled charm.
We, around 19 men, started our journey from Kuala Lumpur (KL) on July 15th night. It's our first trip to Kuala Terenganu side ( I guess ) and we are not sure how to reach the places; but we know what are the prime stops. We took Transnasional
bus from Hentian Duta Bus Terminal around 10pm to Kuala Terengganu. It's a 7 hours journey from KL through Karak highway heading to Kuala Terengganu. 90% of the seats were occupied by us; so the fun was on already. In fact, we reached 20min late to the bus terminal and the bus already departed. Some how, we managed to get the same bus. Thanks to the heavy traffic jam. The drivers were extremely angry and the boys ignited it on time to time. Like small children in school, teacher has to pull the stick and beat it on the table to stop talking, driver had to pull off every time and switch on the light to stop the highly noise, laugh, song etc from us. After 10 min he started driving, the fun is on again. I hope he might not be never seen a gang like this (joking).
Around 5:30am on July 16th, we reached Kuala Terengganu. Now we know, need to go to Kuala Besut Boat Jetty. When inquired found that, it is 75 min journey from Kuala Terengganu. There are travel agents, who roam around this bus terminal to catch tourists, who simply come to explore places without having much ideas. One of them caught us. He arranged 2 van (10 sitting capacity each) for us to reach Kuala Besut. Once we reached there, found out Mahligai Bus service
has direct connection to Kaual Besut. If anybody wish to go Kuala Besut by bus, check with Mahligai. They got direct service to the Jetty.
We are almost there. Final traveling point. Nearest airport at Kuala Besut is Kota Bharu.
Now, we have to book boats to transfer from Kuala Besut to Perhentian Islands. Speed Boat services starts at 7:00am in the morning and costs RM 70 ( with return ) per head. It's around 30min + journey from Kuala Besut to Perhentian Islands; depending on which Island you want to go. If the sea is rough you can be assured of a bumpy ride and you may even get wet. You may need to disembark in shallow water if there is no jetty at your beach, so dress (and pack) accordingly. We were heading to Long Beach at Small Island. There is no jetty, so the speed boat stops at shallow water. Small boats will come to transfer from there to shore. They will charge RM2 per head for their service. There we are. We touched down the beautiful island now.
Our wandering actually starts. There are few 5 start kind of chalets, which costs RM280+ per night for 2 persons. There are many other chalets, guest houses, dormitories available. Those are only walk-in options. Rate starts from RM35 onwards. Check in time is 11am and check out time is also 11am. So, you need to go to all places to find out whether any rooms available, if so, grab it at first. After a long walk, we finally got 2 rooms. At least we got place to put things down; but the search for rooms were on. After 2-3 hours, we got 2 more rooms plus 5 beds extra to sleep. That was enough for us.
From mouth to mouth, heard that these islands will be closed during rainy seasons and opens only during summer season. Most important, there won't be any electricity during the day. Electricity will be available only from 7pm to 7am. This is because, they produce electricity for the island from solar energy. 5 star kind of chalets provide electricity during the day too, using their own generator. Dormitory type rooms are just nice to sleep; but no safe for your things. But I felt, there is no security issue found there. A safe place.
Our first day was on. Most got ready, brushed, washed face and had break fast. We started playing water ball in the sea followed by 3 set of volley ball match in the hot sun (you feel we are mad, rt !!! ). Then we headed to have lunch. There are plenty of options for food and you will not be worried about the taste too. But, the services are very slow. If you wish to eat, be there 1 hour before. If you rush there to have something in very hungry state, you will be mad. Your hunger will be died by the time what you ordered arrives. Almost 1hr takes to get things on your table.
Evening we gone for a trekking through jungle. On the top of the hill, there is a wind mill and solar farm. Wind mill is just for show only, not working at all. On the other side of this farm, its a beautiful and charming view. You will be loved to see that. There are steps to go down to the shore of that side and small stop over to rest. Very beautiful. It took 15-20 min walk through the jungle to reach there. Way to top the hill is extremely dangerous. So be careful, if you want to climb up. It was a nice journey for us.
Back to beach again by 6:30pm. We had another set of volleyball match. It was fantastic. Volley ball courts are there on the beach. It's free and anybody can play there. No restrictions. It was a full moon night. We had a great barbecue party on that beach. I think, all finished around 2am. Enjoyed much. At that night, near to one of our huts, tortoise came and laid eggs. Morning, we saw some marks on the sand. Some people came and told us, not to touch, not to walk through and watch out for anybody digging there. It was the place where tortoise laid eggs. They are the protectors of these kind of species. Beautiful to see that.
After break fast, we started our snorkeling trip around 11am. It was amazing one; first time experience in my life. Though I know swimming, but I didn't take a chance to avoid the life jacket. Because it is sea. We can't predict. There was 3 stop over during the snorkeling trip. First to watch turtles. Unfortunately, we didn't see anything. Simply jump to water, but nothing found. Then headed to another place, where we saw corals, fish, and many many beautiful sea species. It was an amazing experience. Like, when you see a stranger on your village, how you look at them; the same way, all the fishes were looking at me, when I entered to coral to watch what they are doing. They looks at me the continue their business. But their eye was remain on me. I tried to follow some of the beautiful fishes; they taken to many places and see large heap of fish under the rock, passing by etc. Fantastic experience. Spent a lot of time there. Then we headed to watch sharks. 3rd stoppage; where we all jumped. I had a luck to watch 4 sharks. Tried to follow them, gone to many many places with them and saw very beautiful species. Lovely !!!!!!! We returned to shore around 2:15pm. On the way back, we stopped again at the turtle place; but no luck again. At least we had a very good trip. Per head, we costs for this snorkeling around RM 35 only.
Then we had a quick bath, lunch etc and packed up things to go back. Last boat from the shore at 4pm. After that no more service. So we had to rush to catch the boats. All 19 in different boats. On the way back, one of the boat had engine failure and stuck in the middle of the sea. So, we had to wait for a long time to see our friends back to Kuala Besut.
At Kuala Besut, everything will be closed at 5pm, after the last boat departs. There won't be any shops opened after that. We had a tea break there and had small shopping. Then we had to arrange van again to go back to Kuala Terengganu. 2 Van booked; each costs RM200. Reached around 8pm to Kuala Terengganu bus terminal. Then we went for dinner as our bus departs at 10pm only. Back to terminal after the dinner, took the bus had a nice nap. The smart bus driver put us an offer to drop us at KL Sentral for RM 5 per head. We had to agree that, as the bus arrives at Hentian Duta terminal around 5am and taxis will charge us extra to take us from there to our house. On this agreement, this driver drop us at brick fields and we had a very nice journey.
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Hope this info may be useful to those who wish to visit that place. Check out some photos here