5-Days Perhentian Islands and Terengganu

Coral Bay Beach
Coral Bay Beach at Perhentian Islands

If palm-fringed islands with pure white sand beach, abundant marine life, chill-out atmosphere and shacks serving sumptuous barbecue by the seaside is your thing, Perhentian Islands, at Terengganu, Northeast Malaysia offers the perfect island escape. It’s distance that has kept this gem partially hidden fromt he tourist crowd and enjoyed mostly by backpackers and those few whose willing to travel far to this coast of Malaysia. Personally it’s one of my favourite islands since it sets a perfect balance between tamed development and keeping the natural wonders intact. Sharing here is the summary of the trip.

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Terengganu: Quick Walk Sidetrips from Kuala Terengganu Bus Station

The royal Masjid Abidin
The royal Masjid Abidin

The Crystal Mosque is just one of the places to visit in Terengganu. But when pressed for time, there are some interesting attractions near the Kuala Terengganu Bus Station just a few blocks away. Like when we were waiting for the SP Bumi bus to Kuala Besut to arrive, we stretched our legs for a bit and went to the direction of the boardwalk.

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Perhentian Islands | Easy Morning and Goodbye at Coral Bay Beach

Lounge chairs and coconut trees at Coral Bay Beach
Lounge chairs and coconut trees at Coral Bay Beach

Now I understand why some of the travellers we talked decided to settle temporarily on Perhentian Islands. Aside from the beautiful environment, the atmosphere is laid-back. The island is less than an hour away from the mainland where people can restock supplies. There’s internet connection on the island, so those online entrepreneurs can do the their jobs while lounging on the beach. But how long can this paradise last from impending developments?

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Perhentian Islands | Chasing Turtles, Sharks and Sting Rays

Chasing Sea Turtles at Perhentian Islands
Chasing Sea Turtles at Perhentian Islands

Oh yeah I love snorkelling. I simply can’t get enough of the underwater world even on shallow depths. I would take diving but it is a much more expensive a hobby and I never got a chance to get certified that’s why I’ll settle with snorkelling for now. And if you ask me now where was the best snorkelling I had? I would definitely say Perhentian Islands, in Malaysia since the snorkelling tour was so organised and I was surprised to see the abundant marine life in one afternoon.

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Perhentian Islands | The Islands and Sunrise at Long Beach

A rather weak but still serene sunrise at Long Beach Perhentian Kecil
A rather weak but still serene sunrise at Long Beach Perhentian Kecil

“This is crazy!” I said aloud as I look in amazement at the dense school of fish gathering by the jetty on this side of Long Beach. Never have I seen something like it on land. A large school of fish gathering a few hundred meters as if ready to invade the extensive white sand of Long Beach Perhentian Kecil.

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Perhentian Islands: Wind Down at Coral Bay Beach by Senja Bay Resort

Sundown at Coral Bay Beach Perhentian Kecil
Sundown at Coral Bay Beach Perhentian Kecil

It was like living on a tree house! The wooden cottages blended well with the vegetation sloping gradually along the treeline. Our cottage was one of the higher ones and we had to do a bit of a stair climb, but it was okay as it was amusing to see some squirrels scurrying on the sides. We came to Coral Bay Beach without any reservations but we were lucky enough to stumble upon Senja Bay Resort which was offering an off-peak promo at that time. For RM 80/night for a twin bed room, we took the offer and became our home for two nights in Perhentian Kecil.

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In Transit: Kuala Lumpur to Perhentian Islands, Terengganu

The Jetty at Coral Bay, Perhentian Kecil Island
The Jetty at Coral Bay, Perhentian Kecil Island

It was the onset of summer in the Philippines and I was yearning for the beach! “But why go Malaysia? You have plenty of great beaches there in the Philippines!” an American backpacker asked me. That’s true but somehow this was different and unexpected. It felt like cheating, I know I love the Philippines and its beaches but somehow, Perhentian Islands in Malaysia is so homey and relaxing I quickly fell in love with it and yes even if some Travel Magazine dubbed our very own Boracay Island as the best in the world, this one is a lot closer to me as a perfect beach island getaway. And it all started when I was looking for an offbeat place to visit in Malaysia and this picture of a beautiful island with torquiest water and a promise of unspoiled underwater haven sold me to fly to Kuala Lumpur.

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