August 26, 2003

More about the Perhentian

I first heard of this place when hanging out with people in Capetown. A Capetonian diver/backpacker told me about this place as a must-dive spot. Well he was not wrong, dives are simply amazing here if you're lucky enough to dive in a good visibility (conditions are very changing).

The snorkelling in Long Beach is also absolutely stunning I must say and this is the best place I have seen for coral reef formations since Dahab, Egypt.

Apart from that, the islands are very different from the busy Koh Tao in Thailand. This is still in development and obviouslly poised to take off.

Accommodation is not great and somewhat expensive for what you get, the lowest you can get is probably 15RM (shared ablutions, 2-bed bungalows) but if you have never travelled before on a budget avoid this like the plague or you will have a heart attack when visiting the accommodations/toilets/showers. Otherwise it ranges from 30 to 150RM (I cannot say about the value for money)

Food is quite good in all restaurants I did, though basic. A good fish barbecue (barracuda, kingfish, blue marlin, etc...) is 10-12RM. Water is 3RM. Bring your cash or you are a dead man, there is no ATM/Bank/etc... on the islands.

To get there take a taxi from Kota Bahru to Kuala Besut (28RM, ~1h. Best thing is to share it, and I would not take the bus as it is quite a long ride). From Kuala Besut you have the choice of a slow boat (20RM, ~2h) or fast boat (30RM ~45min), you then have to board a taxi boat (2RM) to bring you to the beach.

Diving is very good value, both for pricing and quality. It beats Koh Tao hands down, it's not in the same league at all. However, visibility can be 2m or 30m on the same dive site in 48h so don't go there for just a week end or if you are unlucky you may leave disappointed. Good point, loads of fishes and great varieties of them.

I highly recommend diving 'Temple of the Sea' and 'Twin Rocks'.

If you are diving with Coral Sky Divers (highly recommended), boats go out at 9AM, 11AM, 1PM, 3PM and you may do a nightdive as well.

Posted by stephane at August 26, 2003 04:30 PM

Diving in Perhentian is indeed a delight and I have to agree with stephane. Glorious diversity, excellent dive sites and pristine beaches. Stephane said it well about the comparing Koh Tao with Perhentian so I won't add much there.

Although, just a note to those looking to visit, there are many many chalets/resorts to choose from. Don't discount the big island as having more expensive accommodation. You'd be surprise how affordable the accommodation can get.

One more thing about diving, most of the dive centers are good but the outrigger boats can be less than comfortable. If you are looking for personalized service, fun atmosphere, accommodative people, check out

I went diving with them and not only I got to go where I am want to go, I got free t-shirt, log book after completing my course. Their boats are customized dive boats - no worries about dive tanks banging on your toes

Oh yeah. There is a shop next door that sells cold cold beers (a rarity on the islands)

Have fun and Happy Diving. See you on the islands. I am going again in a few months time.

Posted by: jebong on December 26, 2003 05:53 AM

Perhentian is the place I fell in love with diving. The snorckling there is very good, and I cannot add more to that. But I only did snorckling there, as I didn't have a diving certificate. I wish I could go back again day and go diving there.

Posted by: Joyce on October 29, 2004 02:57 AM