Off the coast of Northwestern Malaysia, are two pristine islands called ‘The Perhentian Islands’. Although siblings, both the islands are drastically different from each other. While the bigger island, Besar, is ideal for families, the smaller one, Perhentian Kecil is a backpacker’s paradise. But why is Perhentian Kecil ideal for backpackers? Let’s find that out:
Perhentian Kecil is popular for Snorkelling and Scuba Diving, and has a bevy of dive shops on the Long Beach. Barely 20 odd meters off the beach, one can see Turtles and Sharks. For confident swimmers, there is the Coral Beach, which comes to life during high tide, with underwater visibility as good as anywhere else in Southeast Asia.
With the weather being hot to pleasant throughout the year, it makes for a perfect place for budget travellers, especially from the western countries. It is rather inexpensive from a European or a North American’s point of view, and they make the majority of tourists.
Not many people visiting Perhentian Kecil know that there are more than two beaches in Perhentian Kecil. An hour’s walk away from Coral Beach, there is a fishing village where you will hardly find any tourists. Along the way, you will come across a few secluded beaches, too. Mira Beach and Pantai Beach are the most exquisite ones … way better than Long Beach. If you would not like walking, you can hire a kayak and paddle your way through the currents.
Long Beach is arguably the best place in the entire country for partying. The culture is similar to that in the southern part of Thailand. Unlike in Besar, it is difficult to miss the parties in Perhentian Kecil with free flowing beer and scrumptious sea food.
If a place does not have a laid-back environment, it is not meant for backpackers. In Perhentian Kecil, life is rather relaxing and easy going. People tend to start their day pretty late, and end it late at night.
Accommodation and fooding is pretty cheap in Perhentian Kecil, as compared to any other Southeast Asian backpacking destination. But it is known for its inexpensive Scuba diving courses. Lodging in dorms with WiFi starts from 6 USD. If you can’t go without drinking, you may exceed your budget, unless you drink only during the happy hours.
How to get there?
The only way to reach Perhentian Kecil is by taking a boat from Kuala Besut. Kuala Besut is well connected with major cities in Peninsular Malaysia by direct buses. From Kuala Besut, ferries move between its jetty and the Perhentian Islands. For non-Malaysians, it costs MYR 50 for a return journey.
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