Perhentian Islands travel guide — The ultimate guide & suggested how to spend 3 days in Perhentian Islands for first-timers

This Perhentian Islands trip was supposed to last four days, but I spent practically all of Day 1 and Day 4 traveling. On the morning of Day 4, I prepared to leave the island and return to Kuala Lumpur without stopping anywhere else or doing anything. As a result, I only spent two days on the Perhentian Islands, so you may use my plan to create your own acceptable schedule. So, what should you do in three days on the Perhentian Islands? To find out the answer, read our Perhentian Islands blog, which has the most comprehensive Perhentian Islands tour (Perhentian Islands travel guide) with suggested Perhentian Islands itinerary 3 days from how to get there, best locations to visit, and top things to do in Perhentian Islands.

Perhentian Island, Malaysia
A paradise for divers with pristine nature, clear blue water, diverse coral reefs and stunning white sand beaches.

I’ve always assumed that having friends who work in Malaysia was a benefit. If someone else pays for the hotel, I will be able to stay with my buddy without having to pay for lodging. If other people just knew about Kuala Lumpur, Penang, or Malacca, I was taken to many intriguing sites by friends. One of these sites is the Perhentian Islands.

And this will be my first 4D3N trip to this new island for me. My buddy informed me that Perhentian has only just begun to promote tourism, and that even the locals are unaware of it. It appears to be appealing, doesn’t it?

My journey to Perhentian is a bit arduous and with a bit of regret, if I have more time, my trip will be more complete than ever.

The islands that few tourists know

Spectacular sunset.


Perhentian islands cuisine.

Perhentian islands travel guide: Some interesting things about the Perhentian Islands that you should know

The Perhentian Islands are relatively pristine islands in Malaysia that are new to travelers. Even the indigenous people are poorly known in this area and have never stepped foot there. The saltwater around the Perhentian Islands is blue and calm, with long and beautiful white sand beaches, crystal blue water, and is exceptionally clean.

Perhentian islands are made up of two main islands: Perhentian Besar (Big Island) and Perhentian Kecil (Little Island) (Small Island). Both islands contain resorts or hotels, so finding a place to stay is not a problem if you visit. The most important factor to consider here is your travel style, since this will dictate where you go and what you do.

If you like a tranquil and leisurely holiday, Big Island is a better choice, but if you like to have fun and participate in a variety of activities from dawn to night, Small Island is a terrific option.

Perhentian islands map


perhentian islands
Perhentian Besar (Big Island)


Perhentian Island, Kecil. Long beach, Malaysia2
Small Island of Kecil.


Perhentian Island, Kecil. Long beach, Malaysia
Long beach Perhentian Kecil.

When to visit?

Every year, the optimum time to visit the Perhentian Islands is from March through September. Actually, it is also affected by the weather in each month.

From October to February, the other months are considered the monsoon months of the Perhentian Islands, a period of perilous stormy seas during which our “daughter” becomes a fussy girl for exploration. It is also better not to believe any travel agent who tells you that now is a good time to visit here, LOL.

Island resort
Perhentian islands malaysia resorts hotels


Kayaking in Perhentian islands
Kayaking in Perhentian islands


Snorkeling in Perhentian islands
Snorkeling in Perhentian islands

The local people here are quite strange

  • Every few hours they carry their bags to pick up trash on the beach regardless of day or night, so the white sand beach is very clean, only sand.
  • If you cannot buy things at shop A, they will introduce you to shop B to buy. Their mean: “You should go over there to buy something more suitable, but I don’t force you to buy anything from my shop”.
  • Please bargain, you will get a pleasant price if you are eager to take a tour but can not gather enough people to team up.
  • The bars will be opened until 4am or 5 am and islanders will therefore live in certain European time zones. That means, you will go to bed at 4am, 12am get up for breakfast and 4pm go to lunch. Indeed!
Very clean with white sand beach.


Visitors strolling along a beach.

Oh, there are many more strange things, but you will know when you come.

Perhentian islands guide: Before going to the Perhentian Islands, these things cannot be forgotten

Air tickets

Purchasing inexpensive flight tickets with an appropriate flight time is usually tough since you must browse through several websites and compare the pricing of various websites before making a decision. Fortunately, now that everything is more convenient, you may look for and purchase airline tickets at, Google Flights, or The search results include a variety of airlines, rates, and routes to assist you in selecting the best trip.
I purchased the ticket a little late (2 weeks before the departure time), thus it was a little pricey, around $175 / round-trip for the Saigon – Kuala Lumpur – Kota Bharu itinerary. This is an automatic transit ticket type, so I don’t waste time checking in and checking out at the airports.

If you buy tickets 1 or 2 months in advance, the fare will be cheaper, only about $109 – $130 / round-trip.

kuala-lumpur-international-airport-best airports in asia in 2016 by skytrax ratings
Kuala Lumpur International Airport | perhentian islands travel guide

Ferry tickets

You can take a ferry from Kota Bharu to Perhentian Islands, ferry tickets can be bought online here or at the pier for about $15.16 (70 Ringit) / round-trip. The ferry runs all day from 8am to 4 pm. The ferry will return mainland from the island with 3 trips at 10am, 1pm and 4pm.

You must be at the pier 10 minutes early. The ferry is extremely rapid, thus the trip to the island just takes 30 minutes. The ferry, which can only transport approximately 10-12 passengers, is very tiny, making it particularly unsteady in strong waves. You will quickly have a stomachache if you overeat, especially if you are prone to seasickness.

Perhentian island jetty in Terengganu | perhentian islands travel guide

Portable medicine bag

When traveling away from home, it is essential to have medicine with you since odd cuisine, strange weather, and a variety of other things might occur.

Going to the Perhentian Islands or Kota Bharu necessitates such a bag of medications because you will be visiting a distant location known as “the middle of nowhere.” Because everything here is still extremely new, there aren’t many services to pick from.

Below are some certain medications you should definitely bring:

  • Antipyretics
  • Pain relievers
  • Medicines to get rid of stomach pain
  • Drugs used for Abdominal Pain
  • Drugs used to treat digestive disorders
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Oresol (if not available, you can buy Revise or 100 to replenish electrolytes in case of severe dehydration)
Long beach
| perhentian islands travel guide

Perhentian islands travel guide — Day 1: Saigon – Kuala Lumpur – Kota Bharu

There is no direct flight from Saigon to Kota Bharu because the island is relatively isolated and just recently discovered. I’ll have to transit in Kuala Lumpur. That’s why I dedicated the entire first day of my agenda to travel.

I flew from Saigon to Kuala Lumpur, then to Kota Bharu, which took around 12 hours. I’ll get up at 8 a.m. to fly to the airport, and I’ll be able to relax in the Airbnb I booked in Kota Bharu until 8:30 p.m.

The detailed travel times are as follows:

Saigon – Kuala Lumpur (KL): It took 5 hours for traveling including check-in time to boarding.

Transit in KL airport, GATE B: Waiting time for 2 hours. The waiting spot to fly to Kota Bharu is quite “remote”, you can hardly find any cafe. If you do not want to wait too long you can go to GATE A, which has a small cafe; coffee is not very good but you can kill your time.

KL – Kota Bharu: It took 4 hours to travel, including flight time and transit time to Airbnb. You’ve come a long way, haven’t you? Because the dock and the airports are roughly an hour and 15 minutes apart by car. Because the hotels in Kota Bharu were subpar, I opted for Airbnb, which was very modern and clean. My Airbnb is roughly a 10-minute drive from the dock (thanks to the owner to take me to the pier).

The pier where you can take a boat to Perhentian. | perhentian islands blog

Kota Bharu is a “silent” city where you won’t see many people after 8 p.m. My Airbnb is more calmer because it is located distant from the city center; the scenery is similar to that of the countryside. If you are not traveling in a big company, I recommend that you do not leave the house after dark. It is critical to purchase additional food to bring here because restaurants are not open late, Malaysian food is difficult to consume, and the convenience store is pretty far away.

kota bharu attractions
Kota Bharu City

Perhentian islands blog — Day 2: Kota Bharu – Long Beach (Perhentian Kecil)

I arrived at the dock in Kota Bharu at 8:45 a.m. to catch a speed boat to the island; the boat departs at 9 a.m. Every hour, there will be a journey. Because the boat is fairly irritable, I don’t recommend eating too much or too early in the morning to prevent becoming seasick.

I chose to stay at a resort on Long Beach in Perhentian Kecil (Small Island) since the island offers a variety of activities ranging from restaurants and bars to scuba diving and snorkeling.

Long beach | perhentian islands travel guide

| perhentian islands blog

Perhentian Islands-most beautiful islands in Southeast Asia4

I chose Aman Resort, which has hotel prices of $97 (400 Ringgit) per night. The hotel is not particularly attractive, but it has a sea view and a clean and tidy room, which is the most significant aspect of this vacation. To go to Aman, though, I must hire a taxiboat from the dock for $2.5 (10 Ringgit) per person. I could also walk 20 minutes on the sand with my large stuff, but it would be exhausting.

Aman Resort | perhentian islands blog

My activities on the first day were lunch, scuba diving, snorkeling, BBQ and watching fire performance.

Regarding snorkelingscuba diving for anyone who is interested in The price for scuba diving is $49 / person (200 Ringgit). You only need to pay $17.5 / person if own a driving license.

Snorkeling in Perhentian islands
Underwater paradise for divers.


Scuba diving in Perhentian islands
| perhentian islands guide
Perhentian Island, Kecil. Long beach, Malaysia
Long beach | perhentian islands itinerary

Fireshow + Bar: Fire dance will start from about 9:30pm to 11pm, this is the activity of the biggest bar on the island. You can watch and drink beer and smoke shisha. According to my friend, the price of shisha or beer here is quite OK, not expensive, about $8.7 / pot (40 Ringgit).


BBQ: Honestly, waiting for BBQ was so long. The restaurants on the island have the same cooking quality, so there is no need to be too picky, you should go to a restaurant with just a few customers to avoid having to wait long. A meal for 2 people is about $13 (50 Ringgit).

Party at the beach | perhentian islands itinerary


Sunset in Perhentian islands
Sunset in Perhentian islands

Perhentian islands travel guide — Day 3: Long beach – Turtle Point – Fisherman Village – Keke Bay – Kota Bharu

Most activities on the island will be offered by tour operators, and most excursions will involve island hopping, scuba diving, and snorkeling (for 3 days 2 nights or 2 days 1 night itinerary). However, because I had gone diving the day before, these trips were completely inappropriate.

After agreeing on a price of $31.50 / 2 persons (130 Ringgit), my companion and I traveled to the four locations indicated above. Because the Perhentian Islands are so remote, every place has pure, clean, and crystal-clear water.

Keke Bay | perhentian islands itinerary
You can diving and swimming with giant turtles at Turtles Point


Turtle Beach | perhentian islands itinerary


Fisherman Village | perhentian islands itinerary

I went to the dock around 3:30 p.m. to return to Kota Bharu. To be honest, this city bores me since it is so quiet. Even though I leased an Airbnb in the city center, the restaurants and shops close at 6 p.m., so what can you eat or drink?

Two Sun Restaurant comes highly recommended from me. The food is pretty nice, and the pricing is quite reasonable ($13 for two people and four complete servings) (60 Ringgit).

Perhentian islands guide — Day 4: Kota Bharu – KL – Saigon

Another lengthy day of travel between places on the way back to Saigon.

There isn’t anything to do or see at Kota Bharu Airport, thus there’s little to do or see. There are just two departure gates at the airport. I’m astonished that this little city has such a large airport.

Malaysia Airlines flew me on four itineraries (both outbound and inbound). I was exhausted because I hadn’t eaten anything throughout my travel. You should buy something ahead of time so you don’t become hungry on the aircraft like I did because Malaysian cuisine is impossible to consume.

5pm I landed in Saigon and finished my 4D3N adventure on the Perhentian Islands. Actually, I was a little disappointed because there was just one night on the island. To thoroughly visit the island, you must spend at least three days and two nights there. So, see you next time!!!

| perhentian islands itinerary