Sunday, May 1, 2011

Jungle Trekking Activities in Pulau Perhentian

The islands are crisscrossed by small paths connecting one beach to another, but be prepared to sweat and swat off bugs if you tackle any of these. There is a good chance to see big monitor lizards and large spiders between Long Beach and Coral Bay, and if you are walking off the main trails, you are likely to spot some wild monkeys if you are lucky.

There is a wide trail (30 mins) between Watercolours Paradise and Arwana on Besar, you can see large termite trails, monitor lizards, big fruit bats and sometimes monkeys.

There is a paved walking trail from Coral Bay to Mira Beach (30 minutes) and on to Impiani beach (20 mins) and to the main fishing village on Kecil (20 mins). This is a great trail to see monitor lizards.

Snorkeling Activities in Pulau Perhentian

Most resorts and a few restaurants rent out snorkeling gear (typically RM10 a day for mask, snorkel and fins) and arrange snorkeling tours around the islands. Popular snorkeling spots on Besar include Teluk Pauh (to the left of the beach in front of the PI Resort), Shark Point and Tanjung Basi. The best place to see sharks (black tip) is in front of an extremely small "beach", only accessible by boat, between Shark Point and the Teluk Dalam large beach, or the rocks off the Coral View and PI Resort. They are usually seen cruising the bottom of the reef but be careful in low tide, otherwise you could end up swimming right along side them (mostly babies though). For turtles, best place is the middle of the beach in front of Perhentian Island Resort, where the sandy bottom is covered with algae.

On Pulau Besar, if you are planning to do snorkeling just in front of your chalet, then stay on the northern and east side of the island where the water is clearer then the south side. Of course, the chalet and food is more expensive.

The best spot for family snorkeling would be the south-west of the island. The water is shallow and it is not fronting any chalet so the corals are more abundant and colorful. Between Pulau Besar and Redang, the corals are much better in Pulau Besar.

Snorkeling and Camping at Rawa Island. The small, uninhabited island lie off Kecil.Feel like prison in paradise! From Rm70 per person included boat transfer from Perhentian Island, Snorkeling gear and camping equipment. the only company organise this trip: MD Travelers Holiday,at the Kuala Besut Jetty.Phone no +60196005262. Reservation is a must.

Turtle Conservation Volunteering

The Perhentian Islands are home to a significant green turtle nesting population. The island was once home to hundreds of nesting Green and Hawksbill turtles but now the islands only receives 300 nestings per year partly due to frequent oil spills from oil production platforms and oil tankers owned by Petronas located not too far away. The Department of Fisheries, are running a turtle hatchery on the islands to help readdress the declining turtle populations. Help Our Penyu are complimenting the work done by the Department of Fisheries by protecting two beaches on Perhentian Besar and educating visiting tourists around the islands. [Help Our Penyu] also run their weekly Turtles Need Trees after-school marine club which is educating the local school children about turtle and marine conservation. If you want to help the turtle conservation efforts whilst visiting the Perhentian islands you can join Help Our Penyu's volunteer program which accepts new volunteers every Monday.

Scuba Diving Activities in Pulau Perhentian

The tip of the  Pinnacle
The tip of the Pinnacle

The Perhentians offer some great diving and excellent snorkeling. In addition to coral and fish, the Perhentians are home to sea turtles and many species of shark -- none of them dangerous unless provoked though. Visibility is usually in the 10 meter range (although it will temporarily go down after storms, as well as during the end-of-year monsoon seasons) and no wet suit is required, although you may wish to use a dive skin for protection from coral and the occasional jellyfish. Popular dive sites include the Pinnacle (aka Tokong Laut, "Temple of the Sea"), a pinnacle jutting out from the sea bed, and the Sugar Wreck, an easily accessible 3500-ton sugar hauler. The (more expensive) single-day trip to Redang Island, where the water visibility is considerably better, offers diving a notch above the local options, well worth every dime - but be prepared for a rough ride in a small speedboat.

Competition for divers is fierce and consequently diving is quite cheap, averaging out to RM60-80 per dive depending on how many dives you do and whether you bring your own gear. All dive shops also arrange introductory dives (no training required) and PADI training. If you want to try Diving for the first time, ask your Dive Center where did they do introductory dives and escape the 'jetti' trap.

Take care when choosing your dive center. Look closely at the state of the scuba equipment. Its not only about price, it's also about safety. Some new Dive Centers don't even have the equipment to repair regulators properly.

There are 7 dive centers on Kecil's Long Beach and Coral Bay(from North to South): Sunlight Divers, Quiver Dive Team, Turtle Bay Divers, Seadragon Divers, Matahari (formerly Coral Sky) Divers, Spice Divers and Angel Divers.

  • Sunlight Divers, (tel. +60179312630), [1]. A dive centre which has earned its reputation from having friendly,professional members of staff, well maintained equipment and its frequent eco work. One of the smaller shops on the beach so dive groups are kept small. Has shops on Long Beach and Coral Bay, Kecil.
  • Quiver Dive Team. [2] Located on Kecil's Long Beach, adjacent to the Bubu Long B[[3]]each resort.
  • Turtle Bay Divers, (tel. 019 333 6647), [4] (English, French and Malay). Another respectable, long-running outfit which has a nice chilled-out shop on Perhentian Kecil's Long Beach. Currently offering very affordable prices for courses and fun dives. The staff are very enthusiastic, friendly and always up for a chat! Stop in to find out more about the island and diving.
  • Angel Divers , (tel. +6010-576 65 64) ( [5] (French English Spanish Swedish Malay). Small, intimate shop with friendly staff, chillout atmosphere and small dive groups. When you are not diving you can hang out, use the internet (free for customers) and listen to your favorite music.

On the big island (Besar) are a number of dive centres, placed on different beaches.

  • Alu Alu Divers, (tel. +60 9 6911 650), (email:, [6]. A small, friendly dive center on beautiful island of Besar which offers a personalised and unique diving experience.
  • Flora Bay Divers, (email:, [7], [8]. The only PADI 5 Star Gold Palm Instructor Development Centre on Perhentian. Offers courses from Open Water Diver right up to Master Instructor on top of diving & snorkelling trips. IDCs are run by highly rated PADI Course Director Azman Sulaiman.
  • Perhentian Island Divers, (email:, [9] is a small and friendly dive centre situated on the same beach as Perhentian Island Resort. It has modern equipment and excellent service. Dive courses and boat diving are always on offer, and the beach diving is great as well. Huge sea turtles can be seen right off the beach.
  • Turtle Bay Divers, (tel. 019 333 6647), [10] (English, French and Malay). Another respectable, long-running outfit which has a relaxing shop on Perhentian Besar next to Mamma's Chalet. Currently offering very affordable prices for courses and fun dives. The staff are very enthusiastic, friendly and always up for a chat! Please stop in to find out more about the island and diving. Great for family trips!
  • 'Watercolours, (email:, [11] is a small-mid sized centre that can get quite busy. They offer diving in small groups (maximum 4 divers) and excellent information on the marine life. As well as the usual courses and fun diving, they also offer Reef Check Eco-courses and the chance to participate in reef and beach cleans. They also give free presentations on the marine environment and conservation issues.


There are no monuments, museums, viewpoints or other aboveground sights whatsoever on the islands, however the beaches are a sight in themselves. White sandy beaches with clear water and flanked by rolling jungle covered hills make the views from the beach spectacular. Coral Bay on the small island is the only beach that provides a sunset but construction of a new jetty has spoiled most of the view.

Get Around Pulau Perhentian

Aside from walking, the only means of transport are water taxis. Prices are negotiable but figure on RM 12 for most hops from one beach to another, and a little more when crossing from one island to another.

There are many walking tracks that connect the beaches as an alternative to water taxis. Long Beach to Coral Bay is about ten minutes and a very easy walk, also Long Beach to D'Lagoon is possible but the track becomes a little more uneasy towards the second part so best to get some directions first. Another route from D'Lagoon is to Adam and Eve beach, be careful when swimming here as there are sometimes thieves waiting in the forest, though they are only interested in cameras and money.

Many places on the island are referred to with both their Malay and English names. To make life a little more confusing, the words "beach" (pantai) and "bay" (teluk) are often used near-interchangeably as well, and a few English place names are not literal translations.

Malay English Location
Pasir Panjang Long Beach Kecil, east coast
Teluk Aur Coral Bay Kecil, west coast
Teluk Dalam Deep Bay Besar, south coast
Teluk Keke KK Bay Besar, southwestern coast
Teluk Pauh - Besar, northwestern coast

When To Go?

Due to the eastern monsoon, the season in the Perhentians (and all other east coast islands) is effectively limited to the period between the beginning of March or April until late October. Outside this period the seas can be very rough and choppy, skies overcast, and with currents that make swimming dangerous and most (though not all) accommodation options are closed. Do not believe the travel-agents when they claim the accommodations are open. Even if they will provide a room, restaurants and all shops (i.e. no place to get water, food, sunscreen etc.) are closed in off-season. If the restaurant is open, food choices will be very limited and over-priced.

When going during off-season be aware that there will be literally no one there but you and maybe a handful of locals.