How To Get From Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands [2024]

Published Categorized as Perhentian Islands
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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. You can soon be lying on this beach…

The beautiful Perhentian Islands

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 go into detail of each of these two steps as well as cover all the options for each one. I also share my recommended option for how to reach Perhentian Islands from Kuala Lumpur.

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How To Get From Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands [2019]

How To Get From Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands

Here’s an overview of how to travel from KL to Pehentians, starting with the first step of getting to Kuala Besut jetty for the ferry across

DetailsTimeCostBest For…
Option 1 – FlightFlight Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu – Book here.5 hours (taking into account taxi and airport time)RM50+ for the flight (highly variable) + RM90 for the taxi + RM70 for taxi to KLIAPeople who want the fastest way
Option 2 – BusBus Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut – Book here. 8.75 hoursRM44 + need to get to TBS terminal in KLPeople who want the cheapest option
Option 3 – TaxiTaxi Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut Jetty – Book here.6 hoursRM1000 for up to four peoplePeople who like the easiest option with no fuss
Option 4- CarBook car hire here6 hoursPer day cost so it depends + RM10/day parkingPeople who like the freedom and flexibility of driving and will be visiting other places along the way
Prices and durations are approximate. See more detailed information below to help you decide the best option

No matter which option you choose above, the next step is to take the 30 minute ferry ride across. You can find tickets here.

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.

Kuala Lumpur To Perhentian Islands map
Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

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.

Kota Bharu Airport
Kota Bharu Airport

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.

Otherwise, you can find the cheapest flights by clicking here.

Once you have made it to Kota Bharu airport, you can take a taxi to Kuala Besut for about RM90 or catch a local bus into Kota Bharu and then bus #639 to Kuala Besut.

There are full details about catching the bus in this guide about travelling from Kota Bharu to Kuala Besut.

Kota Bharu bus station
Kota Bharu bus station

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. You can catch an overnight bus from KL to Kuala Besut bus terminal that will drop you off 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.

Click here to check the timetable and book now.

The bus terminal is an easy walk from the jetty.

This KL to Perhentian bus journey takes about 7.75 hours and tickets start at RM44 a seat at the time of publishing.

Click here to check the timetable.

Taking the bus from KL to Kuala Besut is the cheapest way to get to Kuala Besut by public transport.

Taxi From Kuala Lumpur

You can also easily get a private taxi from KL to Kuala Besut and be dropped off right at the boats. This is an easy way to go that saves time and energy. It’s comfortable and air-conditioned with nothing to think or worry about.

We can book you with a local operator for RM1000 for up to four people or a slightly higher price for up to seven.

This takes about six hours.

Click here for more information and to book.

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.

Click here to check out hire car prices and deals.

Want the Easiest Way to travel between Kuala Lumpur and Perhentian Islands?

We can book a taxi for you from anywhere in Kuala Lumpur direct to the ferry to Perhentian Islands for a great price.

You can pick your own departure time, relax and know everything will go to plan.

Click here for prices and online booking.

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.

Click here for more information and prices on the shuttle bus.

Otherwise, you can get a taxi to the airport from the jetty for about RM80. 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.

Or, you can take the easiest option and book a private taxi to take you anywhere in peninsular Malaysian or onto Singapore.

Find our taxi service here and our special Singapore service here.

Step 2: Travelling From Kuala Besut To Perhentian Islands

Kuala Besut Jetty
Kuala Besut Jetty

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. You also need to pay a local council service fee of RM5 per person.

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.

ferry perhentian island to kuala besut
Our “ferry” back to Kuala Besut

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.

It is easier to book beforehand here though.

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. Consider it a free tour!

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.

Final Words

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. It can be a lot more tiring though.

The easiest way is to take your own taxi from Kuala Lumpur. You can be picked up right from your hotel.

Click here if you want to book a taxi and take it ultra easy.

Looking for the ultimate Malaysia Itinerary Planner for your trip? Click here to get it now!

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

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.

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon is a certified Malaysia travel expert and can't get enough of travelling and talking about Malaysia since she first visited 21 years ago. She travels around Malaysia multiple times a year both alone and with her kids. She used to call Penang home and especially loves this food paradise. Sharon also has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and has been certified by Tourism Malaysia as a Malaysia Travel Expert. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to this amazing destination.