Imagine a beach that comes straight out of a postcard. Picture the towering coconut trees, the warm breeze, the tranquil emerald waters calmly rolling in on powdery white sands. Sounds amazing, does it not? Now imagine that it’s reasonably priced. This dream is not fiction; I’m scribing about Perhentian Islands.
Located on the north-east coast of Malaysia, this area is frequently missed by travelers, presumably on their way to the islands of Thailand. There are guesthouses and bungalows aplenty right on or near the beach at Perhentian Kecil that can be acquired for nearly nothing. This should appeal to backpackers or anyone who wants to save on accommodation and is far less sullied by tourists than most Thai spots. If it’s luxury you crave, there are also many luxury digs on Pernetian Besar that include all the bells and whistles.
One of my favorite things to do here is SCUBA dive. The sites are top-notch, such as Tokong Laut (the pinnacle), which features an awesome display of coral, turtles, sharks (not the dangerous variety,) and hundreds of species of fish. For something a bit more eerie, the Sugar Wreck, a 3500-ton sugar-hauling vessel is easily accessed, even by novice divers. The main aspect of the diving that should appeal to just about anyone is that it is far less expensive to dive here than other parts of the world. The last time I was here, dives were available for about 60-80 Malaysian Ringgit (about US $20) per dive.
In summary, the Perhentian Islands are one of those utopian beach getaways that everyone’s always looking for but is rarely ever found.