With her mysterious charm the Perhentian islands captivated us with her beauty. We ended up extending our stay…day after day…


  • Ferry – Bus – Ferry: This is the only option except for flying and then still needing to catch a bus/taxi and ferry. We took the late afternoon ferry from Kuah Jetty (Langkawi) to Kuala Perlis. (1h15 and it cost us RM 18/adult and RM13/child). See our VLOG 
    Luxury Ferry with onboard entertainment

    Luxury Ferry with onboard entertainment

    We then walked about 250m to the bus station where we took the 20h00 bus to Kuala Besut.

    After a 9 hour drive throughout the night, we arrived at Kuala Besut where a gentleman awaited us at 5am to direct us to the jetty. This was roughly about 300m from the bus stop. IMPORTANT TIP: The aircon in the bus is freezing and even though you close the grilles, there is still icy wind blowing onto you from somewhere. Take jackets with else you’ll be up all night shivering like we did! We were quite surprised to find a crowd of tourists at the jetty, sleeping on backpacks and waiting for the clock to strike 7 for that first morning coffee at the restaurant right next to us. Do not even try your luck at 6h55. Rules are rules! Then the dreadful countdown until 8am for the ferries to start departing to the Perhentian.

    Sleeping spot at the Perhentian Ferry Jetty

    Sleeping spot at the Perhentian Ferry Jetty

    After a tiresome night two coffees just did not do the job, we were desperate for 5 mins of sleep…The trip on the ferry quickly got us sitting upright with wide eyes. This is not the ferries we are used to. This is a small speedboat with a thrill seeking captain flying over the waves at high speed. You have to hold on for your lives! We were dropped off at Perhentian Kecil jetty on Coral Bay.

    Ferry ride to Perhentian

    Ferry ride to Perhentian


Perhentian islands consist of two islands. Perhentian Kecil (the smaller island, more budget and backpacker friendly) and Perhentian Besar (suitable for families and more upmarket).

Kecil and Besar

Kecil and Besar

We tried to find accommodation on Besar, but everything was fully booked and our budget also did not allow it.
We arrived during super high season (the island is closed during the monsoon season so everyone is rushing over for the last few weeks). We wanted to stay at Butterfly cottages, but they don’t take bookings. First come first serve, write your name on the white board to be in the queue. As Murphy wanted it, we had to write our name on the white board, luckily only for a day. We stayed in a stuffy. mosquito infested room at a ridiculous expensive price the first night…I guess when you are desperate for accommodation there’s no space to argue or negotiate the price. We were not very impressed with Perhentian at this stage, but also this was from a sleep deprived mom and dad with two supercharged kids.

Approaching Buttefly cottages, you walk through / past the very fancy Senja Lodge. The reception is non-existent, instead you will find a rusted exercise bike, trash bins, loads of washing on the lines, not very inviting at all. I just gave Eben the evil eye, what were we thinking!! Walking to our cottage was like a fairytale unfolding before our eyes. When we got onto our deck silence fell upon us…we couldn’t believe this indescribable beauty before us. Crystal clear turquoise waters, with the most beautiful fish everywhere…and we could see this from right up there.

We immediately booked a second night. As morning broke we were greeted by the glittering clear waters from our bedroom window…this was paradise. Please note, the cabins are extremely rustic, only cold water showers, fans and electricity only from 18:00 until 07:00. This was more than enough for us. We ended up staying for 7 nights @ RM100/night…and we were very reluctant to move on…


* We quickly found our spot that would fit our budget. Ewan’s cafe, a bit more inland, had the cheapest menu, decent servings, fresh fruits, ceiling fans, free wifi (very slow though), board games and electrical sockets all over to charge all your devices.

* Amelia’s cafe was our 2nd spot, being right on the beach with the best BBQ and great sunset scenes.

Beer is very scarce on this (western) side of the island, but we managed to find the cheapest beer (RM8) on the eastern side of the island. A very rustic bar right in the middle of the beach with a very welcoming and entertaining barman. I enjoyed a very refreshing Monkey Juice (Rum and Coke).

Monkey Juice...the name says it all

Monkey Juice…the name says it all


  • Take a 15min walk from the western side to the eastern side of the island where you will find more of a party vibe. The beach is also great for swimming.
  • Take a hike through the jungle to the southern side of the island. It is paved, so don’t worry about hiking boots, along your way you will find a very small secluded beach with the most beautiful coral fish. If you carry on more south you will pass a rustic campsite and beach bar with a lovely beach.
    Rustic Campsite and Beach Bar

    Rustic Campsite and Beach Bar

    We went on further until we found the beautiful Mira beach where we spent our afternoon relaxing on the beach.

    Mira Beach

    Mira Beach

  • Snorkeling can be done anywhere from right on the beach, the kids were amazed with all the beautiful fish swimming amongst them.

    Just look at all the fish!

    Just look at all the fish!

  • Take a boat cruise and snorkel at 3 different spots. Our most favourite spot was the light house where you will find millions of coral fish swimming amongst you.We booked our trip through the friendly Joe and Jeffrey from Seabreeze at RM200. All snorkeling equipment and life jackets included. Will definitely recommend them!

    Sea Breeze Tour operators

    Sea Breeze Tour operators – right next to Amelia’s Cafe (No Name displayed)

  • At the end of the day, just sit back, relax and let this beautiful island mesmerise you with her beauty and spectacular sunsets …you won’t be able to get enough and it will be very difficult to leave…

    Perhentian Sunset

    Perhentian Sunset

Check out these must have goodies when visiting the Perhentian.

What is your most favourite island that just captivated you or what island is still on your bucket list? Would love to hear from you!

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Happy Wanderlusting!



  1. Candice says:

    Great article. It brought back great memories of our trip to the Perhentian islands. I remember a overnight bus ride and yes, the aircon was really freezing.
    My bucket list islands: Togean islands.


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