The Perhentian islands are one of the most beautiful islands we have been since we moved to Malaysia. The beaches are amazing, the water is so clear and you really feel you are on paradise. We took our children (6 and 9 years old) to Bubbles Dive Resort after many of our friends had warmly recommended it. They are well-known for snorkeling, diving and the beautiful beach.
Bubbles Dive Resort is not just for divers, it is a place for nature lovers. A typical day at Bubbles is all about sun bathing, snorkeling at the house reef looking for black tip sharks and turtles, diving or just hanging on the hammock and finishing your favourite book.
Activities at Bubbles
The reason why our children loved this resort so much was the kids club. Every day around 3pm the kids can join energetic Becky for arts and crafts, beach clean-up or learn about conservation and the environment. This is not your sit in an air conditioned room colouring sheets kind of kids’ club, but more the old-fashioned outdoor games, getting dirty and sweaty kind of one.
Bubbles also runs a dive centre and from the age of eight or nine, children can do a Bubble Maker course, is specifically designed to introduce children to diving. They don’t need experience, start from the beach and will stay close to the shore with a dive instructor. How deep they can go depends on their age.
Snorkeling trips are our favourite activity at the Perhentian islands and Bubbles can organise a variety of tours to different parts of the islands. At Bubbles you are lucky to have the house reef, so you have the luxury of snorkeling any time of the day. Take your time to explore the reef. Although the coral is pretty pale, you can spot black tip reef sharks, turtles, bumphead parrotfish, and many more colourful marine creatures.
If you feel adventurous, try the walking trail next to the resort to explore the jungle. But of course you can always just relax on the beach, read a book and watch your children play.
Eco-friendly practices at Bubbles
One of the reasons we chose to stay at Bubbles was the fact that it is an eco-friendly resort. Here are a few of the things they do to protect the environment:
- The resort provides a free drinking water refill service – bring your own water bottle!
- There are no beach front rooms, to preserve the shore line
- Separation of trash for recycling
- Towels and linen are only changed upon guests’ request, and for long term guests every alternate day
- Nightly talks to all resort guests on turtle conservation
- Turtle conservation project
- All snorkeling trips and diving activities are guided, to provide tips to reduce damage to the environment
- According to their website, they also have a proper sewage system, unlike many island resorts.
Bubbles turtle conservation project
As much as we love the beach, we also love the colourful underwater world at the Perhentian islands. Bubbles runs a turtle and reef conservation project and help raise awareness about the sea turtles and their environment. They have a nightly talk about sea turtles and how we can help to protect them.
Volunteers help protect the turtle eggs from predators by collecting the eggs out of the nest and placing them in a turtle hatchery. When the eggs hatch, the baby turtles are released to the sea. If you are lucky, you can witness one of these beautiful moments. Turn the wooden turtle sign hanging at your room door to “yes” and the staff will wake you up if a turtle comes to shore to lay eggs or when eggs hatch. We were very lucky to witness when a nest hatched and see the new-born baby turtles running to the sea.
Rooms at Bubbles
We booked a family room with five beds, which was a good size. Rooms are basic, clean and quiet, despite the generator that powers the resort. As the resort is next to the jungle you can expect some bugs in the rooms.
The photo above is from a standard room with two double beds. It is big enough for a family of four. The rooms are air-conditioned, but there is no TV, fridge or other frills.
Food at Bubbles
When you book a room at Bubbles, food is not included. You can pay an extra RM75 for adults and RM35 for children to include breakfast, lunch and dinner. As the resort is quite isolated on a private beach, we think this is a good idea, unless you plan to rent a boat to visit other beaches. There is also the option of ordering á la carte, which we saw a few families do.
The meals included are all buffet style, freshly made and with enough choice for everyone. Don’t expect lobster or crab but chicken rice, a choice of vegetables, eggs on toast, fresh fruit and noodles. Kids were well catered for with sandwiches, fish & chips, macaroni and cheese and other usual suspects, all made in-house. We were very surprised with tuna on the menu given their eco-focus, though! Afternoon snack of fruit and cake is included in the meal package.
How to get there?
The Perhentian islands are located on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. They consist of Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. You can only visit the islands between March and October, due to the change of the monsoon.
There are a few options to get to the Perhentian Islands. The easiest and fastest option is to take a one-hour flight to Kota Bharu from Kuala Lumpur and another 1 hour drive to Kuala Besut Jetty by taxi. If you are feeling adventurous, driving is another option. The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut jetty takes about 5.5 hours, depending on traffic.
At the jetty, you can buy boat tickets to the islands for RM75 for adults and RM35 for kids, one way. You can also book your boat transfer from the resort and pay them together with your bill. The speedboat transfer to the resort takes about 45 minutes.
Bubbles in a nutshell
We think Bubbles is perfect for a family holiday that will also teach children about reef and turtle conservation. The kids had a blast running around the resort grounds and in the kids club and were pleasantly exhausted in the end of the day. At the same time, all we had to do was to arrive at the restaurant at mealtimes and relax. We warmly recommend Bubbles for anyone who values old-fashioned beach fun over luxury. The world seems to agree with us – check all reviews here.