Ready for some serious tropical island time and just need to know how to travel from Singapore to Perhentian Islands? We have all the answers for you!
The Perhentian Islands are gorgeous and a great place to hang out, enjoy and explore. But, of course, you can’t do that until you get there.
Whether you want to get a Singapore to Perhentian bus, taxi, fly or have no idea how you should get to the Perhentians, we can help! Below, we give you the exact details for how to get to Perhentian Islands from Singapore from the quickest to the cheapest ways.
No matter what option you take, there will be at least two parts to your journey. The first is travelling from Singapore to the jetty at Kuala Besut. Once you are in Kuala Besut, you can take the second part of the journey. This is the boat to the Perhentians themselves.
There are no airports on the Perhentians so you will always need to take this second step no matter how you make your way to Kuala Besut.
Below, I describe each of these steps with all the options for each one. At the end, I tell you which option I most recommend for how to go to Perhentian Island from Singapore. If you like a spoiler, feel free to skip ahead!
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How To Get From Singapore To Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Here is an overview of the different ways you can get from Singapore to the Kuala Besut jetty.
|Option 1 – Flight||Flight Singapore to Kota Bharu via KL – Book here.||8 hours (taking into account taxi and airport time)||SG$100+ for the flight (highly variable) + SG$27 for the taxi + need to get to Singapore Changi Airport||People who want the fastest way. Going via Johor Bahru and flying there can be cheaper and quicker (more details below).|
|Option 2 – Bus||Bus Johor Bahru to Kuala Besut – Book here.||16 hours||SG$30+||People who want the cheapest option|
|Option 3- Train||Train Johor Bahru to Kota Bharu – Book here.||20.25 hours||SG$50||People who love trains|
|Option 4 – Taxi||Taxi Singapore to Kuala Besut Jetty – Book here.||8.5 hours||SG$600 for up to five people||People who like the easiest option with no fuss|
|Option 5 – Car||You need your own car.||8.5 hours||Per day cost so it depends + RM10/day parking||People who like the freedom and flexibility of driving and will be visiting other places along the way|
No matter which option you choose above, the next step is to take the 30 minute ferry ride across. You can find tickets here.
The fastest driving route is pictured below.
Step 1: Travelling From Singapore To Pulau Perhentian Ferry At Kuala Besut
Before I get into the nitty gritty of getting to Perhentian Islands from Singapore, I do want to point out that it’s further than you might imagine. It’s actually about an eight and a half hour drive from Singapore to the ferry at Kuala Besut.
Keep this in mind when choosing your best option to get to Kuala Besut from the choices below.
Option 1: Flights From Singapore To Perhentian Islands – Fastest Way
As stated above, there is no airport on the islands themselves. It is possible to fly to nearby Kota Bharu. From here, it is much faster to get to Kuala Besut for your boat onwards.
Pre-pandemic, there were direct flights from Singapore to Kota Bharu at popular times of year with Scoot. Unfortunately, these have not returned (yet) and you’re only option is to fly to Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur which impacts how long this takes
Airlines like AirAsia, Firefly and Malaysia Airlines fly these routes, but finding great deals is difficult. It also usually takes at least four hours plus the time you need to be at the airport early, waiting for luggage when you land, getting to and from airports etc.
You can also consider crossing the border to Johor Bahru and catching a flight to Kota Bharu from there which is likely to be cheaper and quicker as there are direct flights with AirAsia on some days.
When I was updating this article, I found flights from Johor Bahru to Kota Bharu for around SG$40, whereas from Singapore, it was around SG$310 for the cheapest flights.
You can book a taxi here to take you from anywhere in Singapore directly to Johor Bahru’s Senai Airport for SG$90.
From Kota Bharu airport, it is very easy to get to Kuala Besut. You can take a direct taxi for about SG$27 or take a local bus into Kota Bharu and bus #639 to Kuala Besut if you are watching pennies and not in a rush. A taxi takes about an hour and a quarter.
You can read the exact details from Kota Bharu to Kuala Besut here.
Option 2: Singapore To Perhentian Islands Bus
The next option is to take a bus from Singapore to Perhentian Island jetty. This will take a lot longer.
Pre-pandemic, there was a direct bus from Singapore to Kuala Besut. The Kuala Besut bus terminal is just a couple of minutes walk from the jetty. This bus was not cheap, but it did make things easier.
I’m hoping it will return soon. You can click here to see if its back.
Otherwise, you need to go over the border to Johor Bahru. You can book a taxi there here.
From JB Larkin bus station, you can take a bus to Kota Bharu. From here, you can catch a bus or taxi to Kuala Besut for the ferry.
There are buses every evening that take around 12 hours and cost around SG$21.
The ferry is about 1.25 hours away by taxi or you can take bus #639 from the main bus station to the jetty. It takes longer but is cheaper. There are full details on taking the journey from Kota Bharu to Perhentian Islands here.
By the time you do all of this, it’s a long journey. I recommend this option only for people who want the cheapest price.
Option 3: Train From Singapore
An interesting (but slowest) way to get to the Perhentians is to take the train from Johor Bahru to Wakaf Bharu near Kota Bharu and then take a taxi from here to Kuala Besut. There will be plenty of taxis waiting.
It’s also possible to take a bus from Wakaf Bharu (#27) to the Kota Bharu terminal and then a bus from there to Kuala Besut. See full details on taking this final bus here.
The train is known as the “jungle train” and is quite scenic as it heads through Malaysia’s interior. It takes about 16.25 hours so this isn’t for people in a rush. Tickets start are SG$17.
You’ll also need to make your way to the train station at JB Sentral in Johor Bahru from Singapore to start this journey.
Option 4: Take A Taxi From Singapore
The easiest, most stress free option is to take a taxi from Singapore.
This is because it’s the only method here that only involves one method of transport – everything else is at least three!
You can be picked up from anywhere in Singapore and dropped off right at the Kuala Besut jetty. Easy!
It costs more at SG$600 and takes around 8.5 hours but this is the total price for up to five people. You can also book bigger taxis for larger groups.
Option 5: Driving From Singapore
You can also drive to Kuala Besut from Singapore. This takes about eight and a half hours. Close to the jetty, you can find safe parking for RM10/day.
Travelling From Perhentian Islands To Singapore
Travelling from Perhentian Islands to Singapore, you can do all the choices above in reverse.
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 RM90. You can bargain on the price. You can also get the local bus back to Kota Bharu as mentioned above.
Step 2: Travelling From Kuala Besut To Perhentian Islands
Once you have made it to Kuala Besut, you are nearly there! You just have a 30+ minute boat ride to go depending on weather conditions and whether you are the first or last stop as boats drop off at most beaches in the Perhentians.
These boats are sometimes called ferries but, in reality, they are small speed boats. Unfortunately, they can be overloaded and can be a tight fit. The ride can also be bumpy and I recommend wrapping all electronics in something waterproof.
Once you have a ticket (more about this below), you need to pay the environmental fee which is currently RM30 for foreigners and RM5 for Malaysians.
This is paid at a stall on the left hand side of the departure area. In return, you will be given a receipt to show your boat operator (if they ask).
You also need to pay a RM5 per person local Council fee.
Option 1: Public Boat
These run all day long usually starting at about 8am and finishing around 5pm. How many there are and exact timings depend on how busy it is. Outside the monsoon season, they are usually hourly. In the monsoon season, expect there to be a lot less boats that may finish up earlier.
If you are staying at a bigger resort, they may have their own boat that you can book in advance direct with them. Prices may be higher.
If you would rather not book online, there are tickets available on arrival at stands and tour offices which you won’t be able to miss around the jetty. The current price is RM70 return.
However, it does save some mucking around if you already have your ticket.
I recommend you arrive 30 minutes before your boat departure. You need to find the same operator as listed on your ticket. It can be slightly chaotic so don’t be afraid to ask people where your boat is.
When you are getting on, tell your operator which beach you are staying on.
Option 2: Private Boat
It’s possible to hire your own boat to the Perhentians although not really necessary. You can arrange this for about RM400.
Travelling Back To Kuala Besut
The timetable back to Kuala Besut is more rigid with boats usually leaving at 8am, 12pm and 4pm. If you have a return ticket, ask your accommodation provider to book your return journey for you the day before you leave. The phone number should be on the ticket.
You can also book your ticket in advance online. Click here for the latest timetables and to book.
I recommend you arrive at least 15 minutes early for your pick up. Remember that the boat will probably need to stop at other beaches before heading back to Kuala Besut so don’t have any tight connections.
It’s reasonably straightforward to get from Singapore to the Perhentians but the journey can be long.
The quickest way (and what I recommend) is to get a taxi to Kuala Besut from Singapore and then a boat out to the islands. If this is outside your budget, flying is also a good choice.
To save money, the cheapest way is to travel to Johor Bahru and catch a bus or train from there and then a public ferry. This is also the longest though and it becomes quite a journey!
Whatever you do, once you arrive, you’ll be glad you made the effort! It’s a great place.
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!
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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 acommodation guide here. Find our full Perhentian Island guide here.