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!
Whether you want to get a Singapore to Perhentian bus or 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. This is where you take a boat to the Perhentians for the second part. There are no airports on the Perhentians themselves so you will always need to take this second step.
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!
Table of Contents
How To Get From Singapore To Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
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. There are direct flights from Singapore to Kota Bharu at popular times of year with Scoot. These can be a great deal starting at about SGD$60 to Kota Bharu and $40 for the return journey. Sale prices drive this down even further.
You can look for flights here.
If you are unable to get a direct flight, you will need to fly via Kuala Lumpur. Flights are often still great value flying airlines like AirAsia but it’s likely to take you closer to four hours compared to the quick 80 minute direct flight.
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.
From Kota Bharu airport, it is very easy to get to Kuala Besut. You can take a direct taxi for about RM80 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.
During peak times, it’s possible to take 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 is not cheap and you may be able to get a better priced airfare during a sale.
If this bus is not available, look for buses to Kuala Terengganu or Kota Bharu from where you can catch a bus or taxi to Kota Bharu. It may be easier to get across the border to Johor Bahru and catch a bus from there.
The direct bus is generally overnight and takes about nine and a half hours.
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 17.5 hours so this isn’t for people in a rush.
Option 4: 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 RM70. You can bargain on the price.
You can also take a bus from Kuala Besut back to Singapore. Click here for the latest timetable and to book a ticket.
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).
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. Expect there to be a lot less boats that may finish up earlier in the monsoon period.
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.
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 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 flight from Singapore then a taxi to Kuala Besut and then a boat out to the islands.
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.
I would only take the train if you have plenty of time and love trains. Otherwise, a bus is much faster.
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.