The coconut trees waved their goodbyes at us as we hopped onto a motorboat for a 30-minute ride towards Perhentian Island, famous for its white sandy beaches and turquoise sea. In February, the waters were still choppy as the monsoon season reached its tail end. But with the gentle sea breeze, the sound of waves hitting the bow of the boat and the occasional splashing of seawater against the sunlight, it had seemed like a lifetime ago since we left the hustle and bustle of the Kuala Besut jetty, the gateway to the island. Our destination was to the Perhentian Island Resort for a stay that would be quaint, yet packed with idyllic charm. The goal, we thought, was to just relax by the beach but then, stepping off the boat, we couldn’t help but to admire just how blue the water was. We knew we couldn’t resist jumping in!
Relaxing, kampung-style stay
But first, our first impression of the Perhentian Island Resort. Location-wise, the resort is in Perhentian Besar, away from the backpacking crowd in Perhentian Kecil. It is perfect for those who are looking for a quiet time to relax. Families with kids would also enjoy this resort as the South China Sea is just a few steps away from the rooms.
Upon checking in, we were greeted by a friendly receptionist who brought out welcome drinks while she patiently explained to us about the resort and the amenities that they have. The first resort to be built in the Perhentian Besar in the 1980s, it is one of the few with chalets that actually have an A-frame design, making the room super airy during the day and cool by night because of its high ceilings. A rarity these days, we must say. Now, the resort has 106 rooms to cater to guests’ various needs and budget.
We were then brought to our beachfront, Malay-style wooden bungalow house, with four rooms in it. We particularly loved the fishing boat photos on the wall, a nod of acknowledgment to the old economy of the Perhentian islands. In the past, the islands were a pitstop (hence, the name Perhentian which means a stop in Malay) for fishermen seeking shelter from thunderstorms and bad weather.
Apart from the wall decor, the bedrooms have minimalist design, with a few pieces of furniture on wooden floors. The minimalist approach balances well with the spectacular scenery outside. After all, the whole idea is to spend more time outdoors anyway!
Verdict: We loved the resort for making us feel like we were in a Malay kampung. The staff were friendly and helpful, and with all the amenities close by, it truly felt like home away from home.
Like being on a private island
As the Perhentian Island Resort has its own beach, you would feel like being on a private island, away from the crowd. With all the privacy we got to frolic on the beach, we’d say it was just perfect.
Water’s not your favorite thing? The resort also has a tennis court, a beach volleyball court, karaoke rooms, snooker and foosball tables. Trust us, you won’t even run out of things to do here!
Another winning point for the resort is that it is also the ONLY hotel on the island with a swimming pool, surrounded by a beautiful garden with a lotus and lily pond. So if swimming in the sea is not your cup of tea, you can chill out by the pool or gaze at the view of lily pads resting on the pond which made us feel like looking at some of the most famous Impressionist paintings.
If that doesn’t sound restful enough, we’d recommend you to pamper yourself with a full body massage. After all, what’s a holiday without it? At the Pinang Seribu Spa in the vicinity of the resort, you can choose between the relaxing aroma massage for a medium press, or the Pinang Seribu classic massage to treat those sore muscles. We must admit, we have had not felt this refreshed for such a long time!
If you just want to be a homebody and chill in the resort, why not sample its restaurant’s menu? The resort’s Pinang Seribu Restaurant serves buffet-style breakfast, lunch and dinner, and has an extensive ala carte menu. Even the pickiest among eaters would have something to choose from! For lunch, we had the recommended Pinang Seribu fried rice that came with tempura prawns and egg, cooked sunny-side up, while for dinner we tried the battered chicken thigh in black pepper sauce. The food was delicious and would definitely satisfy your appetite after a whole day of fun in the sun. But one thing’s for sure, we loved having a meal overlooking the sea!
The resort has a mini mart where you may purchase snacks, drinks, t-shirts, swimming suits, souvenirs and many more. Speaking of how convenient it was for us, we could even take the purchases into our room, and pay for them during checkout. Since there are no ATMs on the island, we loved the fact that we did not have to bring our purses with us, especially since we wanted to spend the entire afternoon lying on the beach!
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the sun, sea and sand with ample privacy yet equipped with modern amenities, check out the Perhentian Island Resort.
See and do
Snorkeling is a must-do when you’re in Perhentian Island! This activity requires no license unlike scuba-diving, and is your next best chance to swim among colorful fishes and explore the deeper parts of the South China Sea.
Snorkeling in Perhentian Island is breathtaking as you’ll be able to see colorful fishes such as the clownfish (Nemo!) and blue ring angelfish in their natural habitat and the beautiful corals up close. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot a turtle or maybe, even a shark! Just remember not to touch the animals and step on the corals as this will endanger their lives.
The Perhentian Island Resort has a sports center where you may rent equipment and life jackets, and sign up for snorkeling trips, which runs twice daily — one at 10am and another at 2pm. The 10am trip’s exploration points are the Shark Point, Teluk Keke and Turtle Point, while the 2pm trip includes Tanjung Basi, Tiga Ruang and Marine Park.
If you have a bit more sense of adventure, we’d recommend you to rent a kayak and explore the islands on your own. You’ll find some isolated beaches which offer a little more privacy and you can also snorkel in the waters around these beaches. Paddle your way to and fro both islands on a day trip (a great workout, we’d guarantee). With constant paddling, you can navigate around Perhentian Kecil in about three hours while Perhentian Besar will take you about five hours. Don’t forget to rest up in a shady part of a beach, if you’re feeling tired.
Hiking may be the last thing you’d like to do on an island holiday, but it would be a good way to work up a sweat and explore the non-touristy area of the island. At the Perhentian Island Resort, follow the hiking trail near the jetty which will take you about 30 minutes to reach Flora Bay on the south side of the island. Be sure to keep an eye out on the animals along the trail like the adorable Lutung monkeys!
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags because Perhentian Island Resort is waiting for you!
With such a wide range of accommodation options across the country, it can be a challenge to pick the one that’s best for you. To be in the know when it comes to Malaysia’s outstanding stays, keep your eyes peeled for Traveloka’s ‘Super Stays’ posts, a bi-weekly hotel special featuring our top picks!