Want to relax on a beach like in the picture below and need to know how to get from Kuala Lumpur to Perhentian Islands? We have all the answers for you!
Whether you want to get the bus from Kuala Lumpur to Perhentian Islands or fly or don’t really have any idea but know you need to go then we can help. Below, we share how to get to Perhentian Islands from Kuala Lumpur from the quickest to the cheapest ways.
There are basically two parts of this journey – travelling from Kuala Lumpur to the jetty at Kuala Besut where boats leave for the Perhentians and then the boat ride across.
Below, I break this into two steps with all the options for each one. At the end, I share my most recommend option for how to reach Perhentian Islands from Kuala Lumpur.
Table of Contents
How To Get From Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands
Step 1: Travelling From Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Ferry At Kuala Besut
Flights From Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands
There is no airport on the islands so there is no way to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Perhentian Islands by flight.
You can, however, fly to nearby Kota Bharu and then travel easily overland from this airport to Kuala Besut for your onward boat. It’s also possible to fly to Kuala Terengganu and do the same thing, but Kuala Terengganu is further away and it’s much cheaper and easier to travel to Perhentian Islands from Kota Bharu.
The good news is that flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu can be very cheap – I have done it for only RM30! Of course, you have to catch a sales fare to get it this cheap.
I recommend signing up to the AirAsia newsletter for cheap sale fares if you have some time before you travel from Kuala Lumpur to Pulau Perhentian.
Otherwise, you can find the cheapest flights by searching here.
Once you have made it to Kota Bharu airport, you can take a taxi from Kuala Besut for about RM80 or catch a local bus into Kota Bharu and then bus #639 to Kuala Besut.
There are full details in this guide about travelling from Kota Bharu to Kuala Besut.
Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands Bus
The best option for a bus Kuala Lumpur to Perhentian Islands is to take one going directly to Kuala Besut. You can catch an overnight bus which will drop you off at the Kuala Besut jetty in the morning ready to catch a boat across. This makes more sense than a day bus where you will need to spend the night in Kuala Besut.
There are more options if you catch the bus to Kuala Besut bus terminal instead which is an easy walk from the jetty.
This takes about 7.75 hours and tickets start at RM35 a seat at time of publishing.
This is the cheapest way to get to Kuala Besut by public transport.
Driving From Kuala Lumpur
You can also drive to Kuala Besut from Kuala Lumpur. This takes about six hours. There is safe parking close to the jetty for RM10/day.
Travelling From Kuala Besut To Kuala Lumpur
Travelling from Perhentian Islands to Kuala Lumpur, you can also go back to Kota Bharu and fly back to Kuala Lumpur.
You can book a shuttle service to Kota Bharu which runs three times a day from the jetty in Kuala Besut to Kota Bharu that meets this ferry.
Otherwise, you can get a taxi to the airport from the jetty for about RM70. You can bargain on the price.
You can also take a bus from Kuala Besut back to Kuala Lumpur. Click here for the latest timetable and to book a ticket.
Step 2: Travelling From Kuala Besut To Perhentian Islands
The final part of your journey is a 30+ minute boat ride to the Perhentian Islands. This is sometimes called a ferry, but, in reality, you will be loaded on a small speed boat. These can be overloaded and a tight fit. It can also be a bumpy ride and you may get wet so keep electronics wrapped up and safe.
Before hopping on any boat to the Perhentians, you need to pay the environmental fee, currently RM30 for foreigners and RM5 for Malaysians. This is paid at a separate stall on the left hand side of the departure area and you will be given a receipt to show your boat operator.
Option 1: Public Boat
These run throughout the day starting at about 8am and usually finishing around 5pm. They can finish earlier in the monsoon period and not many boats run at this time.
You can book a boat service and see the latest timetables by clicking here.
Bigger resorts sometimes have their own boats and you may be able to book this through your accommodation, although often prices are higher.
If you don’t book online, you can buy tickets on arrival at ticket stands and tour offices which are easy to find around the jetty. The usual price is RM70 return.
Arrive 30 minutes before your boat departure and make sure you find the same operator as you bought your ticket through. You may need to ask around as it can get confusing, but there are plenty of people around to help.
When you hop on board, let the operator know which beach you are heading to. The boats will stop at most beaches so you may have a bit of a wait until you get to yours. Occasionally, they may not be able to take you to your beach and you may have pay a few extra ringgit for a second boat to your destination.
Option 2: Private Boat
You can hire your own boat across to the Perhentians although this is not usually necessary. You can arrange this for about RM400.
Travelling Back To Kuala Besut
There are less public boat options back to Kuala Besut with boats usually leaving at 8am, 12pm and 4pm. You should ask your accommodation provider to book your return journey for you the day before you want to leave if you have a return ticket.
You can also book your ticket in advance online, and you can see the latest timetables by clicking here.
Show up at least 15 minutes early for your pick up and expect that you will probably need to stop at other beaches before heading back so don’t have any tight connections.
It’s straightforward to get from Kuala Lumpur to the Perhentians. The quickest way is to get a flight from Kuala Lumpur then a taxi to Kuala Besut and then a boat out to the islands.
To save money, the cheapest way is to catch an overnight bus from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut and then a public ferry. This is also the easiest way since the bus to Perhentian from Kuala Lumpur will drop you right at the jetty. It can be a lot more tiring though.
If you have any questions, ask them in the comments below!
You can also read our full guide about travelling to the Perhentian Islands here. Wondering where to stay in the Perhentian Islands? Read our acommodation guide here. Find our full Perhentian Island guide here.
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.