Perhentian Islands with kids: the most beautiful beaches in Malaysia!
The Perhentian Islands with kids are fun! We stayed there for a whopping 9 days and enjoyed the islands’ beautiful beaches. As for us, the islands were truly a highlight of our trip through Malaysia. The beaches of the Perhentian Islands reminded us a bit of the beautiful beaches of the Seychelles, which we visited before, and we thought those were perhaps the most beautiful beaches we visited so far. In this blog, all the information you need to visit the Perhentian Islands with kids.
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How do you get to the Perhentian Islands?
We flew from Kuala Lumpur on a cheap domestic flight to Kota Bahru. This is a flight of about an hour. We then made the mistake of spending the night in the city of Kota Bahru and not continuing immediately by cab to the port. Indeed, Kota Bahru is a city where except for some street art, there is really nothing to do.
If we had to do it again now, we would fly from Kuala Lumpur in the morning and then take a cab to Kuala Besut right at the Kota Bahru airport. In Kuala Besut it is quite chaotic, with lots of agencies around the port to arrange the crossing.
There is a difference between the fast (40 minutes) and slow (1.5 hours) boat, though. We booked the boat with the little agency that works with the first hotel where we stayed (Cozy Resort).
General information about the Perhentian Islands with kids
There are no cars on the islands, and transportation between them is by water cab. You can actually arrange for a water cab at any hotel (just someone with a boat) to take you to another place for a small fee. For some beaches you have no facilities on the beach and it is convenient to arrange a time with the water cab, when the person will pick you up again. It may sound all complicated, but the system works well and we found it very relaxing and all very easy to arrange.
Also keep in mind that there are no ATMs on the island. We had pinned enough money in advance so we had no problems with money on the island. It is also possible to pay by credit card at some hotels and restaurants.
The Perhentian Islands consist of two islands (Besar and Kecil) and we visited both islands for four nights. In retrospect, we might have preferred to stay in 1 place. Because you get to every place pretty quickly by water cab, you don’t really need to move around in terms of accommodation.
We were a little apprehensive beforehand about whether there were enough eateries on the islands. Our daughter is not an easy eater, but all over the island you have plenty of nice eateries, where you can have a rice meal, fries or a salad. In terms of fruit, unfortunately we did not come across many tents where we could buy loose fruit.
We were there for a total of nine days, which we ourselves thought was just a little too long. About five days is more than enough to properly visit the islands. Our final tip: also bring water shoes, as the coral is very sharp and you will quickly open your feet otherwise.
What to do in the Perhentian Islands?
On the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia, there’s actually not that much you can do. We also visited Langkawi Island and there were more children’s activities to do there, but the beaches of the Perhentian Islands are really much nicer and if you have to make a choice between the two we would recommend visiting the Perhentian Islands.
So what can you do in the Perhentian Islands with kids? That’s mostly sunbathing, kayaking, snorkeling and building sandcastles. Especially the snorkeling is really great on the islands. You have several beautiful places on the island that you can visit by boat. There are actually two similar snorkeling tours offered all over the island, where you visit multiple spots on the island during these snorkeling tours. We did both tours (one tour even twice) and both were great fun to do.
The prices of these snorkeling tours are reasonable and you pay about ten euros per person for a few hours by boat. You have beautiful coral in some places, but you also really see a lot of tropical fish, turtles and we even saw several small sharks. We did find the snorkeling tours to be a highlight of our visit to the Perhentian Islands.
What are the most beautiful beaches in the Perhentian Islands?
The beaches of the Perhentian Islands are beautiful. The most beautiful beaches we found:
Turtle beach: this is a beautiful white beach with clear blue sea. You have to go here by water cab and then you have to say right away, when you want to return, since there are no facilities on this beach. An excellent beach to go to for a few hours. Here we also snorkeled.
Rawa beach: this beach is located on Rawa Island, which is a small island off the coast of the Perhentian Islands. You go here on one of two snorkeling trips (the Rawa snorkeling trip). Around this beach you have several beautiful snorkeling trips and at this beach we saw small sharks, among other things. There are no other facilities on this beach either.
Romantic Beach: there are no facilities at this beach either and you have to tell the water cab in advance what time you want to be picked up again. With any luck, you will be completely alone here. Then you must go early in the morning, because during the day plenty of tourists come to lie on this beach for a few hours.
We found these top three beaches to be the most beautiful beaches in the Perhentian Islands. If you are looking for a beach with some more facilities with kids, you can visit the following three beaches.
Long Beach: on this beach you have lots of different restaurants and also lots of cheap accommodations. Here you will find many backpackers. What makes the beach attractive to kids is that the sea is very calm and there is often a pool of water when the sea recedes. Snorkeling tip: go snorkeling at the boat docking spot near the rocks. So many colored fish and the water here is not super deep. Also a great place for kids to snorkel.
Perhentian Island Resort beach (PIR): we also really liked this beach which is in front of the resort. This is another beautiful beach and there is very little sharp coral in front of it, so you can easily enter the sea here. You also have several eateries here near the beach.
Tuna Beach: the beach located near the Tuna Resort really has the most beautiful coral on the island. It’s really fantastic that you can step into the sea here and see such beautiful coral right away. As for eateries, you also have several choices here.
Family-friendly hotel Perhentian Islands
We slept at the Cozy resort for the first four days during our visit to the Perhentian Islands and we liked it. We would have liked to stay here all of our stay afterwards. This is a very affordable hotel with simple rooms, but for us it was fine. The rooms are basic, but have air conditioning and a reasonably hot shower (one of the better ones we’ve had in Malaysia).
In addition, you can have breakfast at the hotel fairly early in the morning (starting at 7:15 a.m.). Here they have excellent breakfast dishes and delicious juices and at a very reasonable price. The location of the hotel is top notch. Perhaps the best location for the various islands. You have several restaurants in the area, a supermarket within walking distance, a beautiful beach in front of your door and several places for good snorkeling.
If you are looking for a slightly more luxurious option than the Cozy resort, then the Tuna Bay resort is a great option, as it sits on the same stretch. For more information on the Tuna Bay resort, take a look here.
Of course, there are other family-friendly hotels in the Perhentian Islands, despite the choice not being huge. If you want to see the entire list of accommodations, take a look here.