Most people who travel to Malaysia include a beach visit and Pulau Langkawi often gets all the attention.
But on the opposite side of Malaysia exist two little gems that offer pristine beaches, a lush backdrop, ample adventures and are known to have a more laidback vibe – Pulau Besar (big island) and Pulau Kecil (small island), otherwise known as the Perhentian Islands.
Once you arrive in paradise you won’t want to leave. So here are 5 of the best ways to spend your time on the Perhentian Islands…
5. Beach hop
There is no doubt your accommodation will have a beautiful beach right at your doorstep. But there are so many isolated beauties dotted around both islands that it is worth going on expeditions to find your favourite. Look out for the guys on the main beaches who own little boats – they’ll take you wherever you like and organise a pick up time to collect you and bring you back. Try Turtle Beach for a bit of seclusion and a dream-like setting, or Mira Beach for a Robinson Crusoe vibe.
The colours of the coral and the diversity of fish will keep you bobbing up and down in the water for hours. Do a half day snorkelling trip (or scuba dive for those who have the experience) and get the locals to take you to the best reefs. Simply hop off the boat, don your snorkelling gear and try to take it all in. If you’re lucky you will come across a harmless reef shark, but you can also have a lot of fun spotting the orange and black striped ‘Nemo’ fish. Make sure you go right in between the Besar and Kecil islands for a chance to find turtles and see how far you can swim with them.
3. Sea kayak
Jump into a sea kayak and make your own way around to a few beaches that you can’t walk to. The water is forever calm – it looks like a mirror – so you won’t have to worry about navigating waves. And if your arms get a bit tired then stop, look around, catch your breath amidst all the beauty and jump in for a quick dip to cool off.
2. Trek through the jungle
For those who get a bit tired lying around on the most beautiful beaches in Malaysia all day, then a trek into the jungle will build up a sweat (and probably make you wish you were back on the beach!). Although it can be humid and insect-ridden, trekking does have its rewards as you can encounter wildlife, waterfalls and stumble across yet another immaculate beach.
1. Eat seafood bar-b-q
There are a few restaurants on the islands and most of them offer freshly caught seafood barbecued to perfection. The prawns are mind-bogglingly big and whole fishes are slathered in tangy, chilli sauce. Wash it all down with a freshly squeezed tropical fruit juice. It’s the perfect way to refuel for another day of, well, doing not too much at all!
You can explore the Perhentian Islands on Intrepid’s Best of Malaysia small group adventure.