Want to relax on a beach like in the picture below but first need to know how to get from Kuala Lumpur to Perhentian Islands? We have all the answers for you!
Whether you plan to get the bus from Kuala Lumpur to Perhentian Islands or fly or don’t really have any idea – we can help. Below, we share exactly how to get to Perhentian Islands from Kuala Lumpur, including both the quickest and the cheapest way.
There are basically two parts for getting from KL to Perhentian Islands. First, you’ll start by travelling from Kuala Lumpur to the jetty at Kuala Besut where boats leave for the Perhentians. Then you’ll take the boat across to the island – that’s it however you will need to decide how to get from KL to Kuala Besut.
Below I got into a lot more detail of the above two steps as well as cover all the options for each one. I’ll also share my recommended option for how to reach Perhentian Islands from Kuala Lumpur.
- 1 How To Get From Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands
- 1.1 Step 1: Travelling From Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Ferry At Kuala Besut
- 1.2 Step 2: Travelling From Kuala Besut To Perhentian Islands
- 2 Final Words
How To Get From Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands
In the map below you can see the distance from KL to Pulau Perhentian Islands – keep reading below for more details on how to make this trip.
Step 1: Travelling From Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Ferry At Kuala Besut
In this first step, I’ll cover the different options for travelling from KL to Kuala Besut jetty for the ferry across to the islands.
Flights From Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands
There isn’t an airport on the islands, so there is no way to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Perhentian Islands by flight.
However, the next best thing to a KL to Perhentian flight is flying to nearby Kota Bharu and then travelling overland to Kuala Besut. From Kuala Besut you can take a ferry across to the islands. 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.
While there are no direct flights to Perhentian Islands, 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.
Once you have made it to Kota Bharu airport, you can take a taxi to 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 the Kuala Besut jetty. From KL, 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.
Another option for a KL to Perhentian bus is to catch the bus from KL to Kuala Besut bus terminal instead, which is an easy walk from the jetty. There appear to be more buses taking this route then KL direct to the jetty, so this might be the better option for you.
This bus journey takes about 7.75 hours and tickets start at RM35 a seat at the time of publishing.
Taking the bus from KL to Kuala Besut 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. KL to Pulau Perhentian by car via Kuala Besut takes about six hours plus the ferry travel time. If you do decide to drive from KL to Kuala Besut jetty, there is safe parking close to the jetty for RM10/day.
The Return Trip: Travelling From Kuala Besut To Kuala Lumpur
For your return trip – 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.
Step 2: Travelling From Kuala Besut To Perhentian Islands
Once you’ve made it to the Kuala Besut Jetty, the final part of your KL to Perhentian Island trip is a 30+ minute boat ride. 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.
I’ll go through the different boat options below.
Option 1: Public Boat
These run throughout the day, starting at about 8 am and usually finishing around 5 pm. 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 (check with your resort in advance). 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 to 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.
The Return Trip: Travelling Back To Kuala Besut
There are less public boat options going from the island back to Kuala Besut with boats usually leaving at 8 am, 10 am, 12 pm and 4 pm. 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 return ferry and expect that you will probably need to stop at other beaches before heading back so make sure you don’t have any tight connections.
It’s straightforward to get from Kuala Lumpur to the Perhentians. In terms of how to go to Perhentian Island from KL, the quickest way is to get a flight from Kuala Lumpur then a taxi to Kuala Besut jetty and then a boat out to the islands.
If you want to save money when it comes to how to go Pulau Perhentian from KL, then the cheapest way is to catch an overnight bus from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut jetty 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.
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You can also read our full guide about travelling to the Perhentian Islands here. Wondering where to stay in the Perhentian Islands? Read our accommodation guide here. Find our full Perhentian Island guide here.