Going to the Perhentian Islands? YES? Great choice! These islands are stunning and make for the perfect tropical island escape.
However, before you get to enjoy these islands you do need to know how to get to Perhentian Islands (otherwise known as Pulau Perhentian). While it can seem a little complicated, as a popular tourist destination it’s quite easy once you get to the region – as long as you follow these instructions!
In this article, I tell you exactly how to get to the Perhentian Islands. I start with a summary before giving you detailed instructions depending on whether you want to fly to Perhentian Islands or travel overland as well as full information about the boat to Perhentian Islands. Finally, I give you further detailed instructions for some of the most poular journeys to the Perhentians.
By the end of this, you will be set to go!
Table of Contents
How To Get To Perhentian Islands
In the rest of this article, I will break down exactly how to do this.
Flights To Perhentian Islands
There are no flight to Pulau Perhentian directly as there is no airport on the islands. For an airport near Perhentian Islands, you should fly into Kota Bharu (closest airport to Perhentian Islands) or Kuala Terengganu.
It’s faster getting to Perhentian Islands from Kota Bharu airport and there are more flight options to here so I recheck this airport first.
I recommend you check all your options here.
Flying To Kota Bharu
Currently, there are domestic flights to Kota Bharu with Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Malindo and Firefly. There are also international flights from Singapore with Scoot.
Flights are mostly to and from Kuala Lumpur, but they also exist between Penang, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
Flying between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu takes about an hour.
From the airport, you can taxi a taxi direct to Kuala Besut for the ferry (about one hour away) or take two buses. Full details are here.
Flying To Kuala Terengganu
Currently, there are domestic flights to Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Malindo and Firefly. There are also seasonal flights with Malaysia Airlines to Saudi Arabia.
Flying between Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Terengganu takes about 50 minutes.
From the airport, you can taxi a taxi direct to Kuala Besut for the ferry (about one and half hours) or take a taxi to the bus terminal in Kuala Terengganu and take a bus from there (about three hours in total).
To get between Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Besut, take any bus heading north and get off at Jerteh. You can see timetables and book tickets here.
This is still 17 kilometres from Kuala Besut. From here, you can take a taxi or a local bus the rest of the way to the jetty to Pulau Perhentian.
Buses To Kuala Besut
If you are travelling overland, you can look for buses direct to Kuala Besut here.
Many buses don’t stop at Kuala Besut, so if you don’t find one, look for a bus to Jerteh, 17 kilometres from the boat to Perhentian Island, where you can catch a local bus or taxi the rest of the way. Failing that, you can take a bus to Kota Bharu and then travel from there using the instructions here.
Ferry To Perhentian Islands
The ferry to Pulau Perhentian leaves from Kuala Besut jetty. Once you have made it here using the instructions above, you need to catch one.
In reality, this isn’t a big ferry but small speed boats that hold about 15 people. They can be overloaded, uncomfortable and you can get wet so keep valuables safe.
The upside is that the trip to Perhentian Island usually takes about 45 minutes – exactly how long will depend on which beach you are going to as the boats stop at multiple locations. Your boat operator should ask you which beach you are going to when you hop onboard.
You can buy tickets beforehand or check timetables here or on arrival at the jetty area. There are multiple stalls and tour agency selling tickets. The usual price is RM70 return.
When it comes time to hop on your boat, make sure you find the right one! The boat operator should match the operator on your ticket. There are plenty of people around to ask for help if you are confused.
Better resorts sometimes have their own ferries so if this appeals, check to see if this is the case before you leave.
Before getting on your boat to Pulau Perhentian, you need to pay the environmental fee. This currently costs RM30 for foreigners and RM5 for Malaysians. You pay this at a separate stall on the left hand side of the departure area.
You can hire a private boat to travel to Perhentian Islands if you chose. This is substantially more than a ferry ticket and likely to cost about RM400.
Perhentian Islands How To Get There…
Finally in this guide to how to reach Perhentian Islands, I cover some of the most popular journeys to reach here below.
Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands
The easiest way to get to the Perhentian Islands from Kuala Lumpur is to fly but there are also direct bus options to Kuala Besut.
Read full details on how to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Perhentians here.
Singapore To Perhentian Islands
The easiest way to get to the Perhentians from Singapore is to fly to Kota Bharu and travel overland from there although you can also get buses.
For full details on how to make this journey, read our detailed explanation here.
Penang To Perhentian Islands
For how to get to Perhentian Island from Penang, the easiest way is to fly to Kota Bharu Airport and follow all the instructions above.
If you would prefer to go overland, you can catch a direct bus either during the day or overnight between Penang and Kuala Besut.
Langkwai To Perhentian Islands
From Langawi to Perhentian Islands is somewhat complicated given the distance involved.
You can take two flights to Kota Bharu via Penang or Kuala Lumpur and travel to the islands from Kota Bharu Airport as described above.
Otherwise to go overland, you first need to get off Langkawi and over to the mainland. You can catch a ferry to Kuala Kedah. From here, you can take a bus to nearby Alor Setar which takes less than half an hour.
From Alor Setar, there are direct overnight buses to Kuala Besut. You can find the timetable and ticket price here.
Cameron Highlands To Perhentian Islands
Getting to the Perhentian Islands from the Cameron Highlands is quite straightforward with a six-hour direct bus to Kuala Besut.
Taman Negara To Perhentian Islands
For how to go to Pulau Perhentian from Taman Negara, I recommend taking the direct bus from Han Rainforest Resort to the jetty at Kuala Besut.
Redang Island To Perhentian Island
Finally, if you are wondering how to get to Pulau Perhentian from Redang, It is possible to hire a boat to take you between these islands which are only an hour apart. The usual price is around RM1000, but Perhentian Island Resort does the journey for only RM700 currently which is how we did it. I recommend booking accommodation with this resort to get this transfer.
There are group tours from the Perhentians to Redang when there is enough interest and you may be able to travel on one of these from the Perhentians to Redang but organising it in the other direction is tricky and you are better off booking a private transfer.
It’s also possible to take a ferry from Redang Island to Kuala Terengganu then travel overland to Kuala Besut and then take a ferry to the Perhentian Islands. However, this will take much longer and you’ll have to leave early to be able to do it in a day.
I hope you are now crystal clear on how to go to Perhentian Island. Ask any questions below!
Joshua is an Australian who has fallen in love with Malaysia! He explores Malaysia at least a few times a year and has previously lived in Penang.