The Perhentian Islands are a small group of beautiful, coral-fringed islands off the coast of northeastern Malaysia, not far from the Thai border. The two main islands are Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil (Big and Small Perhentian). Kecil attracts more travellers as it has cheaper accommodation, while Besar caters more to families and those who want to avoid the backpacker party scene.
Langkawi has the reputation as the go-to island for tourists in Malaysia. But on the other side of the peninsula is the ultimate tropical getaway.
From luxury to backpacker, party to secluded, it has it all. And the best thing is that, although it’s not a complete secret, it’s not on the standard tourism trail… yet.
Welcome to the Perhentian Islands.
Two mountains of green rise from the sea as you approach by boat. Almost all you can see is jungle.
As you get closer, you can spot a few settlements around some of the coves, down by the coast. Behind them, just trees.
One of the most pleasant things about the Perhentian Islands is that there are no roads at all, which means there’s also no major development.
They’re called the Perhentian Islands, plural, because there are two of them. Perhentian Besar (literally: Big Perhentian) and Perhentian Kecil (literally: Small Perhentian). Which one you choose to stay at is normally decided naturally by the kind of traveller you are.