How to Travel to the Perhentian Islands from Malaysia

How to Travel to the Perhentian Islands from Malaysia

The Perhentian Islands offers a genuine taste of paradise in northeast Malaysia. Jungle-fringed beaches combine with calm water and flawless diving conditions. But one of the reasons this spot remains somewhat elusive is the challenge of actually reaching the islands. Culture Trip breaks down how to get to the Perhentian Islands into manageable chunks so everyone can visit Malaysia’s secret beach utopia and diving oasis.

Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands allure visitors for their secluded beaches, perfect diving conditions and refreshing lack of tourists. Culture Trip uncovers how to travel to the Perhentian Islands including the best routes and tips for using public transport and ferries.

Why you should visit the Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands offers tourist-free tropical beaches, spectacular snorkelling conditions and affordable scuba diving schools. While the tourist trail might involve trips to both Penang and Langkawi, northeast Malaysia’s islands have a refreshing lack of commercialisation. Rather than cars and motorbikes, tourists find jungle trails and water taxis. But the chance to visit this paradise comes at a cost which keeps visitors at bay. Be prepared for a full day of travel including flights, two-hour bus journeys and a stomach-churning boat ride.

Flying to Kota Bahru

Direct flights connect Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kuching in Sarawak to Kota Bahru. The fastest way to travel to the Perhentian Islands from Sultan Ismail Petra Airport is by taxi. Fares cost approximately RM80 ($19.70) and should take no more than an hour. Alternatively, buses depart from Kota Bahru Bus Station every hour at RM25 ($6.20 USD). If you’re on a budget, local bus number 639 connects the state capital to Kuala Besut for less than RM10 ($2.50 USD). However, this third option takes more than one and a half hours to cover the 56 kilometres (34.8 miles). You’ll need to get to the city before taking the bus. Pro tip: Because ferries to the Perhentian Islands stop operating at 4pm, it might be better to get a taxi.

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