Getting to Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

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The East coast of Malaysia is famous for its beautiful islands with white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and breathtaking snorkelling and diving spots. Buses from $12 can get you to the point where you'll board the Jetty for $17. Once there, water taxis start at $3 but the price can be negotiated depending on your destination.

Perhentian Islands Key Information

There is a couple of islands to choose from but Perhentian Islands probably would be the best because of a variety of the facilities and resorts at different price points. It’s also a good base if you want to explore other islands nearby eg Redang (which has only upscale resorts).

There are two Perhentian Islands, a smaller one – Pulau Perhentian Kecil (which has a more vibrant nightlife and is usually chosen by backpackers) and a bigger one – Pulau Perhentian Besar (with only a couple of resorts, better suited for family holidays, honeymoons or travellers who prefer quiet places where they can relax and enjoy the nature).

Perhentian Islands

The tricky part

Make sure you arrive at the ferry terminal before 6pm as that's when the last boast leaves. If you miss the last boat, you need to wait till next day.

There are a couple of hotels in Kuala Besut so you can spend a night there. Getting to the ferry terminal from the bus station may be tricky as taxis are not that common in Kuala Besut so you may end up walking (around 10-15 minute walk). The roads are walkable though and the traffic is not heavy so if you're okay with carrying your luggages, the walk won't be that exhausting.

There isn't any specified place where you take a taxi. Taxi drivers simply drive around the town and when they see a tourist they offer a ride.

Getting to Perhentian Islands

There are two ways of getting to Perhentian Islands. You can take a bus to Kuala Besut and then take a boat to Perhentian Islands. There are daily buses from from all over Malaysia, some of them are direct (eg from Kuala Lumpur) and sometimes you need to change. Alternatively, you can take a plane to Kota Bharu, a taxi or a bus to Kuala Besut and a boat to Perhentian Islands.

If you'd like to take a bus to Kuala Besut, there are many bus companies (eg Perdana Express, Queen Express) offering transfers to the East Coast of Malaysia from various parts of Malaysia. Check the schedule and available buses at from BusOnlineTicket. If you take a bus from Kuala Lumpur be ready for a 7 to 8 hour journey. Buses depart day daily (daytime and nighttime) from TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan). A ticket can be bought directly at the station or online through BusOnlineTicket. The price for a one way ticket from Kuala Lumpur is around $12. Once you arrive in Kuala Besut, you need to go to the Jetty from which you'll take a boat to Perhentian Islands. There are some taxis that can take you to the Jetty or you can simply walk. It's 10 to 15 minutes walk which may be worth taking if you'd like to save $4 to $5 on a taxi. Otherwise you'll not miss out on anything by not walking. The return boat ticket should be around $17. The boat will take you directly to your resort. There is usually one boat taking passengers to both Pulau Perhentian Kecil and Pulau Perhentian Besar so just tell the boatman which resort you're going to so that he can plan the transfer accordingly.

If you prefer to arrive by plane, take a flight to Kota Bharu. Air Asia has a lot of affordable flights available. Once you arrive in Kota Bharu, head to the city bus terminal (old terminal) and take a bus (SKMK City Liner 639) for around $1.40 to Kuala Besut. Once you arrive in Kuala Besut, head to the Jetty (walk or via taxi) where you can get your ticket to your resort at Perhentian Islands.

Alternatively, you can take a taxi or arrange a prebooked transfer and arrive at the Jetty in Kuala Besut. Taxi should be around $30 and for a pre arranged ride you can book with Mozio for $26.

Find Rides to Perhentian Islands
Boats at the Perhentian Islands

The Frugal Option

If you are on the budget, take a bus to Kuala Besut. There are many bus companies (eg Perdana Express, Queen Express) offering transfers to the East Coast of Malaysia from various parts of Malaysia. Check the schedule and available buses from BusOnline Ticket. If you take a bus from Kuala Lumpur be ready for a 7-8 hour journey.

Buses depart day daily (daytime and nighttime) from TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan). A ticket can be bought directly at the station or online through BusOnline Ticket. The price for a one way ticket from Kuala Lumpur is around $12.

Once you arrive in Kuala Besut, you need to go to the Jetty from which you'll take a boat to Perhentian Islands. There are some taxis that can take you to the Jetty or you can simply walk. It's 10-15 minutes walk which may be worth taking if you'd like to save $4 to $5 on a taxi. The return ticket should be around $17.

The boat will take you directly to your resort. There is usually one boat taking passengers to both Pulau Perhentian Kecil and Pulau Perhentian Besar so just tell the boatman which resort you're going to so that he can plan the transfer accordingly. The last boat is at 6pm so make sure you arrive before. Otherwise you'll need to spend a night in one of the hotels in Kuala Besut and take a boat next day.

Rides to Perhentian Islands
Turtle Bay

Private Transfer Options

Take a plane to Kota Bharu and from there take a private taxi to the Jetty in Kuala Besut. Taxis are available at the airport for approximately $30 or you can arrange a prebooked transfer with Mozio for $26.

Private Transfers
Besar Island

The Mozio Recommendation

If you are short on time and want to make the most of your holidays, I'd recommend taking a plane to Kota Bharu and then Mozio to Kuala Besut Jetty. This way you save time (the flight lasts only 35 minutes and a ride from Kota Bharu to Kuala Besut takes less than an hour) and travel in much more comfort not having to worry about figuring out where the Jetty is, whether you'll find a taxi at the bus station or if you'll need to walk carrying your luggages. Air Asia, Firefly offer affordable flights (around $20 to $30) so check them out. Once you are at the Jetty, get your ticket to your resort at Perhentian islands. The return ticket should be around $17.

Find Rides to Perhentian Islands

Moving AROUND Perhentian Islands

Besar Island

Perhentian Islands are very small and there is no infrastructure inland. However it's super easy to get around them using boat taxis. The price is for a ride is usually around $3 however you can always ask and see for how much they would take you to different parts of the island. Water taxis operate 24/7.

The Frugal Option

Perhentian Islands are very small and there is no infrastructure inland. However it's super easy to get around them using boat taxis. The price is for a ride is usually around $3 however you can always ask and see for how much they would take you to different parts of the island. Water taxis operate 24/7.

D'Lagoon Beach

Are Rideshare & TaxiApps Readily Available In Perhentian Islands?

  • Uber

    Uber

    Not Available
  • Lyft

    Lyft

    Not Available
  • Cabify

    Cabify

    Not Available
  • Bolt

    Bolt

    Not Available
  • Grab

    Grab

    Not Available
  • FreeNow

    FreeNow

    Not Available
  • GoJek

    GoJek

    Not Available
  • Didi

    Didi

    Not Available

Day Trips Around Perhentian Islands

Redang

Redang would be a perfect place for a day trip from Perhentian Islands. Redang is famous for its pristine water, stunning beaches, rich marine life and some of the best diving or snorkelling spots (sharks, tuna, turtles and more spotted there). Redang is also famous for high prices. Upscale resorts and restaurants may not suit every pocket hence it's best to go there for a day trip and have a picnic instead! Perhentian Dive Center at Pulau Perhentian Besar does diving trips there. To book a trip to them walk if you're staying at Tuna Bay Resort, Abdul Chalet, Ainaohana Chalet, D'Raii Chalet or New Coconut Chalet you can walk there and book your trip. If you're staying somewhere else, you'll need to take a taxi boat.

Redang

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