A short family trip to the Perhentian Islands


We decided it was about time we experienced what The Perhentian Islands have on offer, having heard positive things from so many people – who had sometimes been more than once. Even my fellow Happy Go KL team mates have been, as you’ve read.

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We flew with Firefly from Subang. We live pretty close to Subang airport, so it was lush not to have to travel far. I made a mistake in our bookings, so we ended up having to stay one night in Kuala Besut. I wouldn’t do that again. Apart from having the jetty with the boats that will take you to the islands, there is no need to stay there! I did love eating a fabulous freshly caught ginger fish at one of the Chinese restaurants though, and my one year old did too!

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Our trip to the island was a bit rocky, it seemed that the sea was a bit angry that day. In fact, it was pouring down as we were sitting in the boat, waiting to depart! On the way,our boat kept going up and crashing back down on the water which made the journey feel like it was taking for ages, especially with my one year old trying to fall asleep on me. But as we were approaching the island, we seemed to get rid of the clouds and got excited at the sight of the shore.

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We were nicely surprised by Abdul’s chalets. OK, it is not a five star resort where you get more than you may need. If you are lucky, the wifi will even work at the restaurant. The rooms were small, but clean and comfortable, the shower powerful -it might be a detail but getting rid of sand is not that easy! And the AC worked. We didn’t need anything else. We had to bring along with us a cot bed for our 1 year old, and we all just about fitted. To be honest, we only spent time inside the chalet sleeping so it wasn’t a big deal.

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The beach is beautiful and there were not too many people on it so it just made us feel very relaxed straight away. I love the fact that there was plenty of shade with the palm trees – a treat for sensitive baby skin. Also quite a nice touch, the resort has a basket full of beach toys that anyone can use and put back to find again the next day. No need to pack for those then, which is a bonus.

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We were traveling with our two daughters (1 and 6 years old). We never felt like we were short of things to do. Keeping our 6 year old out of the sun at the scorching hot hours of 12-4 proved a challenge because she was so excited to swim all the time.

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She also eventually snorkeled, after overcoming the weird sensation of being able to breathe under water. We walked 10 minutes to the left (if you face the sea) and ended up in a beautiful spot where snorkeling was just fabulous. The rocks had made a little pool on the shore and that was a perfect spot for a 1-year old to freely enjoy the water, sand and rocks all at once. It was wonderful to watch my daughter’s face when she saw baby clown fish for the first time, coming in and out of the anemone with daddy and mummy clown fish, obviously.

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snorkeling in perhentian islands

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We were given the tip to eat at Tuna Bay, just next door to Abdul’s chalets – to the right, if you face the sea. So we did just that, we took all our meals there and checked our messages there too, as wifi works very well in the restaurant. Every evening there was a BBQ with fresh seafood and all sorts of other choices. We all enjoyed our food there, the choice is aplenty, the coffee is good and there is wine and beer. It was actually very pleasant to walk back and forth there, especially when the night has fallen and the sand is cool and the sky is pitch black with millions of stars that we forgot even existed.

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We only stayed 3 nights, but that was enough. We took the 8 am boat which worked out really well for us, and the return journey was as smooth as the way there, albeit far less exciting, as we were coming back to KL. It’s such an easy destination to reach, and it serves exactly what we were looking for: relaxation, easy going, beautiful scenery, with a friendly and helpful staff. We will go back, perhaps next year, when our girls are a bit bigger and we can venture on a boat for a day and swim with turtles.

Previous posts on the Perhentian Islands can be found here and here. Also, follow this space: we have heard there is a new resort on the islands and we are about to check it out!


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  1. The grouper looks yummy!
    You have to try soon hock (marble goby), best to have it steamed simply in soya sauce 🙂
    Another fish you have to try while you’re in Malaysia is steamed white pomfret in Teochew-style.
    Actually if you order this fish in any Chinese restaurant there, it’s always steamed in Teochew-style by default.
    I miss food in Malaysia so much 🙂

    • London Caller, thank you for putting a name on that fish! Sorry I didn’t know what it was, all I know is that it was absolutely yummy! I shall take note of your recommendation. Thank you!

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