The Perhentian Islands is the name given to a group of islands in the state of Terengganu and lie close to the coast of Thailand. The islands are accessed by ferry and water taxis also operate between them giving visitors the chance to island hop at their leisure. Main reasons to visit the Perhentians include clean beaches, azure waters, and widespread scuba diving opportunities.
Of the cluster of islands that make up the Perhentians, only two are actually inhabited called Perhentian Besar (Big Perhentian) and Perhentian Kecil (Little Perhentian), and these are the only two that have accommodation options as the others are reserved for day trips. Perhentian Besar is popular with families and has a relaxed atmosphere but not much in the way of nightlife so if you are not going to be content with stargazing on the beach then you may want to consider going elsewhere.
Perhentian Kecil is known for being much more of a party place, and as such it tends to attract a younger backpacker crowd and has live music options in some of the bars and restaurants.
Whichever island you choose, it will come with a white sandy beach and plenty of opportunities to snorkel or scuba dive and the clear waters are guaranteed to be teeming with aquatic life including turtles.
When it comes to accommodation on either of the two main Perhentian Islands, it will usually be pretty basic, however this is good news for travelers on a budget and you can find some cheap deals here if you ask around and you will have a pretty good range of places to choose from. Almost all of these will be in the form of guesthouses or homestays so you will also get the chance to experience some of the local hospitality and culture firsthand.
In short, the Perhentian Islands offer a great escape for anyone who wants to enjoy some quality time on the beach, exploring the local flora and fauna, and sampling a more laid back way of life for a few days (or weeks!). Don’t expect upmarket resorts and fine dining here but you can still find a little piece of island paradise in the Perhentians if you look for it.