Updated: Jun 17
Surrounded by sparkling, turquoise waters that shimmer and shine in the sun next to their wealth of beautiful beaches, the jungle-coated Perhentian Islands really do make for an island paradise. Lying just off the northeast coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the small collection of islands are part of the Pulau Redang National Marine Park, and their waters teem with amazing marine life.
The islands are a great place to go snorkeling and scuba diving, while sea-kayaking is also very popular. Besides the fantastic marine-related things to do in the Perhentian Islands, visitors can lounge on one of the idyllic beaches, volunteer at one of its turtle conservation projects, or simply bask in the stunning nature on show.
The two main islands in the group are Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. From them, you can explore the rest of the gorgeous uninhabited islands that lie nearby in the South China Sea.
1. Scuba Diving
Due to the astounding array of marine life in the surrounding waters, the Perhentian Islands have long attracted scuba divers to its shores and coral reefs. As such, a wealth of dive shops have sprung up, particularly on Perhentian Kecil. These cater to every level, regardless of whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned pro.
Organizing a trip with one of the dive schools is one of the best ways to visit Pulau Redang National Marine Park’s underwater attractions. Prices are very favorable when compared with other places in Asia. The biodiversity on show is simply staggering, and in most places, visibility is over 20 meters.
Some of the best dive sites in the marine park are Pinnacle, the Sugar Wreck, and T3. Divers can expect to see everything from incredible underwater rock formations and coral reefs to reef sharks, sea turtles, and clownfish.
With so many underwater riches on show, scuba diving in the waters surrounding the Perhentian Islands is simply a must and is the highlight of many people’s holiday.
2. Long Beach
Although it is a bit overdeveloped in comparison with many of the Perhentian Islands’ other beaches, Long Beach certainly boasts the most in the way of amenities and is the most popular and famous beach of them all. Lots of restaurants, bars, and hotels can be found along its white sands; these cater to every budget, with various dive shops interspersed among them.
In addition, its long stretch of sand has lots of parasols and deck chairs for you to rent, and the views out over the sea are simply fabulous. At night, its bars are often full of people having a good time. It is the best place in the Perhentian Islands to head if you’re after a nightlife.
Besides enjoying its soft sands and inviting waters, Long Beach is also just a stone’s throw away from Coral Bay and many other beautiful beaches.
BOOK A BUS TO THE PERHENATIAN
The waters around the Perhentian Islands are a memorable place to snorkel, and a remarkable number of its best snorkel sites are found just offshore. This accessibility means that in no time at all, you can find yourself swimming above beautiful coral reefs full of brightly-colored fish; the fantastic visibility only adds to the perfect experience. Besides seeing stingrays, clownfish, and jellyfish, you can also expect to see turtles and reef sharks, depending on where you go.
As scuba diving and snorkeling are so popular, there are lots of dive shops around the islands where you can rent equipment or arrange to go on a boat trip to some of the different snorkel sites.
Among the most popular spots are Teluk Pauh and Shark Point, while Turtle Point and Coral Garden are also well worth checking out. With so much marine life to see in Pulau Redang National Marine Park, you really can’t go wrong.
4- Turtle Sanctuary Beach
Renowned for the Hawksbill and Green turtles that come to nest here every year, the appropriately named Turtle Sanctuary Beach is one of the best places in the whole of Malaysia to spot the adorable creatures up close. Set in a lovely bay with a mess of thick jungle behind it, the beach looks incredible and makes for some great sunbathing.
Offshore, there are a couple of coral reefs for you to snorkel above; you may even see a turtle or two lazily swimming about. A great thing to do when in the area is to volunteer at the Perhentian Turtle Project and help out with their conservation projects that ensure Hawksbill and Green turtles continue to nest on the beach in the future.
5- Kincir Angin (Trail)
Starting at Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil, this fantastic trail takes you through some wonderful nature and scenery before you reach the highest point on the island. From here, you can enjoy commanding views out over the island.
Off in the distance, you can also see Perhentian Besar. After drinking in the panorama to your heart’s content, you can either hike back to Long Beach or continue on to Windmill Point – another lovely lookout.
To get to the viewpoint, which is located on a craggy outcrop of rocks down by the water, there is an old wooden boardway and staircase for you to follow. While this is quite rusty, rickety, and even falling apart in places, it is well worth persevering to the end of Kincir Angin for the dazzling views out over the sea.
All in all, it should take around forty minutes to hike the trail. On the way, you’ll often see brightly-colored birds flitting about the trees, and even monitor lizards if you’re lucky.
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