How to go to Perhentian Island (and come back)?

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How to go to Perhentian Island (and come back)?

Perhentian island is a gem! However, it’s not straight forward to go there. However, the reward is immense if you go there.

It’s situated in north eastern side of Malaysia in a stated named Terengganu. Interestingly, this place is not far from the Thai border.

This is how I went to the Perhentian Island:

  1. First of all, you need to land in Kuala Lumpur, I believe, you will get plenty of flights for doing so.  Cost: Will depend on your point of departure.
  2. Next you need to catch a flight to Kota Bharu airport. Kota Bharu is an hour of flight from Kuala Lumpur. Budget airlines like Malindo and Air Asia flies there.
    • Cost: Around US$ 50 depending on the time of purchase of ticket.
    • Time needed: 1 hour
  3. When you will reach to Kota Bharu airport, you can take a Taxi to a place named Kuala Besut. It is a small fishing town and have a jetty to take boats to the Perhentian Island.
    •  Cost: RM 78 or US$ 20. Four persons can hop into it, so, you can look out for a partner to split the cost if you are alone.
    • Time needed: 60 to 80 minutes
  4. From the Kuala Besut jetty, you will find many office of many companies in the street as well as in jetty, selling ticket to Perhentian island. You need to buy a round ticket from any of them and wait for their call to start the journey. There are two main islands in Perhentian. One is Kecil(small island) which is more popular to the young people and Besar(big island), which is more popular to the family. The boat will drop you either of those places.
    • Cost: RM 70 or US$ 17.25 for both way. These tickets are open dated, so don’t worry about your return date. Besides, you need to pay RM 5 in the jetty as a Marine park conservation charge. If you go to the Long Beach of Kecil, the bigger boat will leave you to a smaller boat to complete the last 2 minutes of travel which will take RM 2.
    • Time needed: 30 to 40 minutes


Ticket from Kuala Besut to Perhentian island(in my hand)


Entrance of the jetty from where your boat will start to the Perhentian island

How to go out of Perhentian Island:

This one is a bit tricky! There is only three time slots for going out of Perhentian Island. If you miss any of those, you will find it very difficult to find an alternate transportation.

The boats leave at 8:00 AM, 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM. You must inform your hotel or boat provider a day prior to leaving. You should come to their front desk 15 minutes prior to the boat leaves. Depending on your hotel, they might arrange a drop to your bigger boat with a smaller boat.

If you don’t want to spend your time in Kota Bharu town or in the airport, buy your plane ticket considering the fact that, you will need at-least 2.5 hours to reach to the airport and 1.5 hours in the airport. So, the best time to leave the airport will be 12:00 PM, 4:00 PM or 8:00 PM.

After reaching to the Kuala Besut jetty, you can take a taxi to the airport and do the opposite of what you did while coming to the Perhentian Island.

However, I wanted to make the journey more interesting this time, I decided to take a bus instead. If you want to do the same, then bear with me.

After leaving the Jetty, you need to go left and walk straight until you reach a point where road divided in different direction. At that point, you need to take a turn to the right and walk until you reach to the Bus Terminal. Don’t hesitate to ask anyone if you need help.


From there, you will find buses to go to the Kota Bharu town or to the airport. It will cost you between RM 5 to RM 8. However, the journey take about 90 to 120 minutes. I went to the Kota Bharu town to roam around the city and took my lunch there. The bus ticket was RM 5 and a taxi to the airport was RM 20 from the town.


People are waiting in Kota Bharu airport for taking the flight to Kula Lumpur

Does it sound complex? I can assure that, it is not, and you will find it very easy when you will hit the road.

Fuad Omar

Fuad Omar

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