Week 46: The Perhentian Islands

July 27, 2009 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Weekly Report

Monday was a travel day. It took us almost 11 hours to get from Penang to the Perhentian Islands off the east coast of Malaysia. One taxi, two planes, a mini-bus and one very bumpy speed boat, and we finally arrived.


The Perhentians are a small group of laid back islands, known mainly by backpackers. Only two of the islands are actually inhabited, and apart from a few footpaths that cut through the jungle, there are no roads. The only way to get around is by hiking through the jungle or by taxi boat.

Perhentian Besar

Although there are a couple of larger resorts on the islands, the bulk of the accommodation is pretty “rustic”. Some people say that tourism grew so fast that most of the resorts were haphazardly thrown together and as a result, many of them are quite run-down and almost all have seen better days. We stayed at the Bayu Dive Lodge, one of the newer options on the islands, and although things there seemed to be in better shape, the construction was definitely on the cheap side. If your neighbor turned on the light at 2:00am it shined through the thin wood slats that made up the walls, and if they coughed, burped or farted it sounded as if they were in the same room.

Bayu Dive Lodge

Our main reason for heading to the Perhentians, was to get in a bit of diving. After spending a month in Penang we were itching to get back in the water. (Although Penang is an island, there isn’t actually any diving in the area). The diving in the Perhentians is quite similar to the Gulf Coast of Thailand, but maybe a bit better. The exception of course being the whale shark we saw at Sail Rock.

diving perhentians

diving perhentians

We did three days of diving over the week, two of them around the Perhentians and one day trip to Redang, one of the neighboring islands about 2 hours away. In between diving we chilled on the beach and even got a bit of work done. (I know we said we weren’t gonna work much for the next few weeks, but some stuff came up and there was WiFi available so we couldn’t really pass it up).

diving perhentians

diving perhentians

All-in-all our week in the Perhentians was pretty relaxing. The food was definitely lacking and no where near as good as in Penang, and the Muslim influence made finding restaurants serving beer a little harder, but there were a few choice spots we were able to enjoy a cold one, and you really can’t beat the view.

Perhentian Islands

Posted by: Kelly

2 Comments so far

  1. Sofia @ As We Travel May 22, 2012 3:40 am

    We’re thinking of heading there in a couple of days. Was there wifi where you stayed? If so, what was the name of the hotel, and how much did it cost per night?

  2. Shim May 22, 2012 12:36 pm

    We stayed at the Bayu Dive Lodge. There was no wifi available when we were there and the walls were paper thin, but the price was right. If staying there, spring for a private cabin if you can. There was wifi at the big resort down the beach by the dock.

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