If you’re going to the Perhentian Islands, you’re in for a real treat. These islands are absolutely stunning and make for the perfect tropical island escape.
However, before you get there you first need to know how to get to Perhentian Islands (Known as Pulau Perhentian in Malay). While it can seem a little complicated, as a popular tourist destination it’s quite easy once you get to the region. Just make sure you follow these instructions!
In this article, I’ll tell you exactly how to get to the Perhentian Islands. I’ll start with a summary before giving you detailed instructions depending on whether you want to fly to Perhentian Islands or travel overland by car or bus to Perhentian Islands.
This article also provides all the information you need for the boat to the Perhentian Islands. Lastly, I’ll provide further detailed instructions for some of the most popular journeys to the Perhentians such as how to go Pulau Perhentian from KL or Penang to Pulau Perhentian.
By the end of this guide, you’ll know exactly how to get there.
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How To Get To Perhentian Islands
In the rest of this article, I will break down exactly how to travel to Pulau Perhentian – step by step.
Flights To Perhentian Islands
There is no flight to Pulau Perhentian directly as there isn’t a Perhentian Island airport. The next best thing to a flight to Perhentian though is a flight to Kota Bharu (the nearest 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 recommend checking this airport first.
I recommend you check all your options here.
Flying To Kota Bharu
As mentioned, the nearest airport to Kuala Besut jetty (where you get the ferry to the islands) is in Kota Bharu. Currently, there are domestic flights to Kota Bharu with Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Batik Air, MYAirline and Firefly.
Flights are mostly to and from Kuala Lumpur, but they also exist between Penang, Johor Bahru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
Flying between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu takes about an hour.
From the airport, you can take a taxi directly to Kuala Besut which is where all the ferries leave from (about one hour away) or you can take two buses. Full details are here.
Flying To Kuala Terengganu
If you decide to go Kuala Terengganu to Pulau Perhentian – you can get domestic flights to Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Batik Air and Firefly.
Flying between Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Terengganu takes about 50 minutes.
From the Kuala Terengganu airport, you’ll need to then take a taxi to Kuala Besut for the ferry (about one and half hours), or you can take a taxi to the bus terminal in Kuala Terengganu and from there take a bus (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.
Jerteh is still 17 kilometres from Kuala Besut and from here, you’ll still need to take a taxi or a local bus the rest of the way to the jetty to Pulau Perhentian.
It is much easier to fly into Kota Bharu.
Buses To Kuala Besut
If you are travelling overland from KL to Pulau Perhentian, 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, which is 17 kilometres from the boat to Perhentian Island. From Jerteh you can catch a local bus or take a taxi the rest of the way. Your other option is to take a bus to Kota Bharu and then travel from there using the instructions here.
Taxis To Kuala Besut
The easiest way to get to Kuala Besut is to take a private taxi from anywhere on Peninsular Malaysia or Singapore. This will get you there as fast as possible and is so easy, especially with luggage.
It means you’ll only have to take one form of transport and will be picked up at your hotel/home/airport and will arrive directly at the jetty.
It is a long way so taxis aren’t cheap, but they are good value.
Ferry To Perhentian Islands
The ferry to Pulau Perhentian jetty leaves from Kuala Besut jetty which you can reach by using the above instructions. In reality, it isn’t a big ferry but rather a small speed boat that holds about 15 people. Note that the boats can be overloaded, uncomfortable and you can get wet so keep valuables safe.
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.
Better resorts sometimes have their own ferries so if this appeals, check to see if this is the case before you leave. Often this is more expensive then the speed boats – however, it is more convenient.
You can also 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.
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. There’s also a local council fee of RM5 per person.
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.
The trip to Perhentian Island usually only 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 on board. Check which beach with your resort in advance.
Perhentian Islands How To Get There…
Finally, in this guide on how to reach Perhentian Islands, I cover some of the most popular journeys below.
But first, here’s a quick and easy booking chart so you can easily see the times and prices for public transport on this route. You can also switch out buses for easier private taxi rides by filling in the form here for a quote.
|Perhentian Islands from…||Details||Ferry|
|Kuala Lumpur||Fly to Kota Bharu and bus or taxi from here to Kuala Besut.|
You can also take a direct bus to the jetty here.
|Timetables and prices here|
|Singapore||Fly to Kota Bharu and bus or taxi from here to Kuala Besut.||Timetables and prices here|
|Penang||Fly to Kota Bharu and bus or taxi from here to Kuala Besut.||Timetables and prices here|
|Langkawi||Fly to Kota Bharu and bus or taxi from here to Kuala Besut.||Timetables and prices here|
|Cameron Highlands||Timetables and prices here|
|Taman Negara||Timetables and prices here|
Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands
The easiest way to get to the Perhentian Islands from Kuala Lumpur is to fly to either Kota Bharu or Kuala Terengganu and make your way to Kuala Besut for the ferry across to the islands. However, you can also get from KL to Perhentian Islands by taking a direct bus to Kuala Besut or a taxi.
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 to Kuala Besut for the ferry across to the islands. You can also take a bus or a direct taxi (book here).
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 travel overland to Kuala Besut for the ferry across to the islands. There is also the option of catching a bus directly from Penang and Kuala Besut. You have the option of either a day or overnight bus.
You can also take a private taxi from Penang to Kuala Besut which makes things very easy. Click here to book now.
Langkawi To Perhentian Islands
From Langkawi to Perhentian Islands is somewhat more complicated given the distance involved.
If you want a flight – you’ll need to first take a flight from Langkawi to either Penang or Kuala Lumpur. From either of these locations, you can then take a second flight to Kota Bharu. From here, you then need to travel overland to the ferry as described above.
Your other option is to first get a ferry to Kuala Kedah from Langkawi and from there take a 30 minute bus ride to Alor Setar. From Alor Setar, there are direct overnight buses to Kuala Besut. You can find the timetable and ticket price here.
You can also take a ferry to Kuala Kedah and then take a private taxi from here all the way to Kuala Besut for your boat to Perhentians. Click here to book a taxi.
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.
You can also make it even easier and faster by booking a private taxi right from your hotel in the Cameron Highlands to the ferry.
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.
Even better is to take a private taxi. Book here.
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 did the journey for only RM700 when we did it. I recommend booking accommodation with this resort (see our full review here) and then ask them about this.
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.
While it can feel a little complicated to get to the Perhentian Islands, this does keep the tourist masses away, so you’ll be so glad when you get here that it’s not so easy that everyone visits 🙂
In saying that, it is still straightforward to get to here. Just follow the directions above.
I hope you are now crystal clear on how to go to Perhentian Island. Ask any questions in our Facebook group!
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