Few perfect days on Perhentian islands, Malaysia

Back in May this year, I and my family flew to Malaysia from Nepal and had a relaxing  vacation. We first visited Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and then went to beautiful Perhentian islands on the eastern coast of Malaysia. Out of so many different islands in Malaysia, it was difficult to pick one that suited our needs and budget. I finally settled on the Perhentian islands due to the islands being lesser known among tourists, sea being calm and crystal-clear and the hotel prices suiting our budget.

Jackfruit growing in abundance near our hotel

The journey to reach the islands involved an early morning flight to Kota Bharu from an airport outside of Kuala Lumpur, an hour-long van ride to the nearest port Kuala Besut and finally a 40 minutes speed jetty ride to the Perhentian islands.

There are two Perhentian islands, one is called Perhentian Besar (bigger island) and the other one is Perhentian Kecil.  Perhentian Besar doesn’t have any locals living in it and is filled with hotels and resorts. Since my research told me that the bigger island was better suited for families (with kids), we opted for Perhentian Besar.


After what felt like a perilous journey over the water, as we were going super fast on a small boat, we docked at the calm waters of the island. As we were walking towards our hotel, we could see tropical fish and reefs in the water as the sea was crystal clear.

Beach time

Our hotel was practically on the beach. So we just had to take few steps the reach the nearest beach. On our short walk to the other beach, look what we saw:

Just a cute monitor lizard sunbathing

We then spent some time swimming and snorkeling at the rock pool near the beach. I was stunned by the variety of marine life. There were so many kinds of colorful fish, but also a lot of sea cucumbers (yuck).

Chilling at the beach

My siblings and parents really enjoyed the beach time, as it doesn’t happen frequently for people living in land-locked Nepal. The scenery was gorgeous and dipping in the warm, blue sea was more than relaxing.

Morning walk

On the second morning, my mum, I and my sister took a walk in the area and enjoyed some fantastic scenery. The temperatures were in the 30s during afternoons, so a walk in the morning proved to be really enjoyable. Of course with a lot of photo session along the way.

One of the most beautiful beaches in Perhentian Besar

Snorkeling trip

On the second afternoon, we went on a snorkeling trip to nearby location, famed for sea turtles and black tip reef sharks. As I first looked through my mask under the water, I was elated with pure joy. There were thousands of colorful fish roaming about! We were lucky to have spotted a sea turtle on the first spot itself.

Sea turtle feeding

The second spot was for sharks – and there were considerably more number of people in the water. Our guide had a fish feast for the sharks to lure them towards us. The feast from our guide’s hand was enjoyed by other fish in the sea, but we did see reef sharks, swimming elegantly,  a few times. I tried following them but they were too fast! 😀 The footage I have isn’t very clear so I will include a photo from the web to show the breed of shark we saw.

A white tip reef shark. Photo from pixabay

Scuba diving

I and my sister went for a discover scuba diving session one morning. My mum was very worried as she had to sign a paper giving permission for my sister to dive, but we managed to convince her that there was nothing to worry about. Discover scuba dive program, just like the one I had done in the Philippines earlier this year, is a program designed for all kinds of people to give them a taste of underwater life. No certification is needed and you’re with a trained instructor at all times.

The gorgeous beach where we started our dive

This area in Malaysia is popular with divers due to the warm sea and variety of marine life. We unfortunately didn’t take the camera during the dive as we swam to the site immediately after the skills demo and practice at shallow water. The highlights were a beautiful blue spotted stingray and a giant puffer fish that just hanged out at the bottom doing nothing! 😀

One of the best experiences ever

My sister ended up loving her first experience and did much better than I had done in the Philippines.

Stingray was one of the highlights. Photo from pixabay


I and my sister went on a short kayaking around the island one evening. The calmness of the sea (almost no waves!) and its color were both incredible. It almost felt like kayaking on a lake.

Views from the kayak

We headed towards a beautiful strip of beach only to discover a less crowded beach on the other side. It was beautiful and we spent some time swimming, snorkeling and clicking photos. I had never experienced such a rich snorkeling few meters from a sandy beach.

This was the beach our kayaking led to

The beautiful colors in the sky just as the sun was about to go down was the cherry on the cake that evening.


We had an idyllic time visiting this region of Malaysia and returned with a ton of happy memories.






15 thoughts on “Few perfect days on Perhentian islands, Malaysia

  1. Oh wow these are such amazing pictures especially the underwater shots with turtles. Malaysia is beautiful I was there for two years but I got to explore langkawi, Penang and tioman island. This beats all three I must say.

    1. Hi, thank you for your comment. Malaysia is indeed beautiful! It must have been quite an experience for you. I’ve read good things about all those islands where you went to.
      It was not too easy for me to decide between the islands, but I m glad I went for Perhentian Islands because crystal-clear sea and laid-back nature there was just what we needed!

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