Perhentian Islands Tourist Attractions
Both Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil, which make up the tropical hotspot that is the Perhentian Islands, offer excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities for visitors and locals alike. People come from all over the world to marvel at the marine delights below the blue, idyllic waters; and ocean activities are hands-down the top tourist attraction here in the Perhentian Islands.
Marine life around the Perhentians
The seas surrounding Besar and Kecil, as well as a few smaller uninhabited islands, are teeming with ocean life that promises mesmerizing and unforgettable marine encounters. The water surrounding the islands is actually a designated marine park and it comes as no surprise to learn that these clusters of islands on the northeast coast of Malaysia are world-renowned for their underwater worlds. The turquoise waters abound with blacktip sharks, turtles, stingrays, eagle rays, sea snakes, bamboo sharks, tropical fish and enchanting corals. Whale sharks have even been known to make guest appearances every now and then.
Best diving sites not to miss
With so many dive sites being offered in the Perhentian Islands it can feel overwhelming trying to decide which spots are unmissable during your trip. Our favourite dive sites include a combination of unforgettable marine life experiences as well as a couple of wreck diving sites that reward with fascinating reef adaptation, history and coral formations.
Be sure to check out Sugar Wreck which is a 90 meter cargo ship resting on its side that allows for penetration and exploration of the engine room, cabins and wheelhouse. The ship sank during a monsoon in 2000 while it was attempting to transport mass quantities of sugar.
Another excellent wreck site is Vietnamese Wreck which sunk to the ocean floor in the 1970’s and compensates its visitors with a dizzying array of sea life such as devil scorpion fish, great barracudas, stone fish, box fish to name but a few. Fortunately penetration of this wreck is wonderfully manageable too.
Tokong Laut is arguable one of the very best dive sites in all of the Perhentians and is a must-see for all ocean aficionados. Plus if you’re fortunate and if the season is right you may even glimpse a whale shark at this Tokong Laut. Tuna and barracuda schools are frequent visitors of the underwater boulders and pinnacles here and are easily spotted darting in and out of the beautiful rock formations in slivery unison. Shark Point is also well worth a visit with a variety of corals, fish, anemones, hawksbill turtles and, as the name suggests, blacktip reef sharks.
For those who prefer to snorkel rather than dive, there are excellent snorkelling opportunities off both Besar and Kecil and all resorts rent out snorkelling gear at around MYR 10 per day as well as organise snorkelling tours on boats around the islands.
Popular and highly enjoyable snorkelling spots on Besar are, Teluk Pauh, Tanjung Basin, Pulau Susu Dara, Pulau Rawa and even Shark Point. For those longing to spot the majestic turtles, head to the centre of the beach (in front of Perhentian Island Resort) and keep a look out for hungry turtles munching away on the bottom of the algae covered floor.
Fortunately for those who wish to go snorkelling just off the shore without venturing out on a hired boat, there are plenty of off-island snorkelling spots too. The northern end of Long Beach is one of these snorkelling locations and offers snorkelers delightful marine gems under the waters.
Recommended diving centres
Recommendable diving companies on Besar include Bubbles Dive Resort (they also have an excellent green sea turtle conservation programme), Flora Bay Divers and Octo Dive Center. On Perhentian Kecil Turtle Bay Divers, Angel Divers and Anti-Gravity Divers are all reputable and responsible diving centres and come highly recommended. Fortunately because of the saturated diving market on the Perhentian Island many of the trustworthy diving companies have similar and competing price structures. It costs around MYR 280 for a PADI (confined and open water certificate course) of around 4 hours. The various Adventure Dives where divers can visit several diving sites, range in price from around MYR 180 to MYR 225. Certified divers can expect to pay MYR 70 to MYR 90 per dive.
Highly unforgettable and diverse marine life ensures delightful snorkelling and diving encounters off these clusters of exquisite islands and any trip to the Perhentians would be wasted without sticking your goggled-head below the waves.