Most people who travel to Malaysia include a beach visit and Pulau Langkawi always gets all the attention.But on the opposite side of Malaysia exist two little gems that offer original beaches, a rich 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.This article will provide you top 5 things to do in Perhentian Island when you arrive there.
1. Scuba Diving
The Perhentians offer some wonderful diving and excellent snorkeling. In addition to coral and fish, the Perhentians are home to sea turtles and a lot of species of shark and none of them wild unless provoked. Visibility is usually in the 10-20 meter range (although it will temporarily go down after storms, as well as during the end-of-year monsoon seasons) and no wet suit is required, although you may urge to use a dive skin for protection from coral and the occasional jellyfish. Famous dive spots include the Pinnacle aka Temple of the Sea, a pinnacle jutting out from the seabed, and the Sugar Wreck, an easily reachable 3500-ton sugar hauler. The (more expensive) single-day trip to Redang’s Island, where the water visibility is considerably better, offers diving a notch above the local selection, well worth every dime but be prepared for a bumpy ride in a small speedboat.
Most resorts and several restaurants rent out snorkeling gear (typically RM10 a day for mask, snorkel, and fins) and arrange snorkeling tours around the islands. Famous snorkeling spots on Besar include Teluk Pauh, Shark Point and Tanjung Basi. The best spot to see sharks (black tip) is in front of an extremely small beach, only reachable by boat, between Shark Point and the Teluk Dalam large beach, or the rocks off the Coral View and PI Resort. They are normally seen cruising the bottom of the reef but be careful in low tide, otherwise you could end up swimming right alongside them (mostly babies though). For turtles, the best spot is the middle of the beach in front of Perhentian Island Resort, where the sandy bottom is covered with algae.
3. Sea Kayaking
Each island individually can simply be navigated as an easy day trip, and it is probable to do both islands in a day.Small is 8.5 miles in circumference and takes 3 hours of constant easy paddling. There is a lot of opportunities to stop and explore some of the more isolated beaches and snorkel.Big, the larger of the two islands, is 10 miles in circumference.
4. Jungle Trekking
The islands are crisscrossed by small trail connecting one beach to another, but be prepared to sweat and swat off bugs if you tackle any of these. There is a nice chance to see large monitor lizards and massive spiders between Long Beach and Coral Bay (Kecil), and if you are walking off the main trails, you are likely to see some wild monkeys if you are lucky.There is a wide trail (30 mins) between Watercolours Paradise and Arwana on Besar, you can find large termite trails, monitor lizards, big fruit bats and sometimes monkeys.There is a paved walking trail from Coral Bay to Mira Beach (30 minutes) and on to Impiani beach (20 mins) and to the primary fishing village on Kecil (20 mins). This is a supreme trail to see monitor lizards.
5. Turtle Conservation Volunteering
The Perhentian Islands is a place for a notable green turtle nesting population. The island was once home to hundreds of nesting Green and Hawksbill turtles but now the islands only receive 300 nestings per year partly due to recurrent oil spills from oil production platforms and oil tankers owned by Petronas located not too far away.