Malaysia Backpackers Destination and Homestay


Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Pulau Perhentian or Perhentian Island - What you Can Do

The Perhentian Islands are a small group of beautiful, coral-fringed islands off the coast of northeastern Malaysia in the state of Terengganu, not far from the Thai border.

Activities on the Perhentians are basically limited to scuba diving, snorkeling and sunbathing. Those with excess energy may attempt the jungle trails crisscrossing both islands.

Scuba diving

The Perhentians offer excellent diving and draw divers from far and wide. 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 often in the 20 meter range (although it will temporarily go down after storms) 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 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.

There are 5 dive centers on Kecil's Long Beach: Spice Divers, Coral Sky Divers, Seadragon Divers, Turtle Bay Divers and Sunlight Divers.

* Sunlight Divers, (tel. 012 307 1952), 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. Has shops on Long Beach and Coral Bay , Kecil

* Coral Sky Divers, (tel. 019 910 1963), Located on Kecil's Long Beach, this is one of the longer-running scuba (not actual sky diving) outfits with a good reputation. RM150 for an intro dive, RM800 for a 3-day PADI Open Water course.

* Turtle Bay Divers, (tel. 019 333 6647), Another long-running outfit which has shops on both Kecil's Long Beach and the main beach of Besar.

* Alu Alu Divers, (email:, A small, friendly dive center on beautiful island of Besar which offers a personalised and unique diving experience.


All resorts rent out snorkeling gear (typically RM30 a day for mask, snorkel and fins) and arrange snorkeling tours around the islands. You can get some cheaper equipment from some local restaurant. 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. They are usually seen cruising the bottom of the reef. For turtles, best place is the middle of the beach in front of Perhentian Island Resort, where the sandy bottom is covered with algae.

Jungle trekking

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.

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