Kuala Lumpur to Perhentian Islands

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A detailed step by step guide on how to get to the Perhentian Islands from Kuala Lumpur Airport. You will also know how to reach the Perhentian Islands from Singapore and Penang.

Where are the Perhentian islands!? This is what I thought when I saw a photo of the Perhentian Islands. It looked so beautiful and serene! I thought it must be somewhere in Thailand, Indonesia, or the Philippines. All of my guesses were wrong. It was in Malaysia! The moment I saw a photo of the island, I decided to visit there. And my journey began…. It was not an easy one to get to the Perhentian Islands. First, I had to fly to Kuala Lumpur from Dhaka, where I live. It was about a 4 hours’ flight. Still, the way to the Perhentian Islands from Kuala Lumpur was long. Read further to know the step by step guide to get to the Perhentian islands from Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu

First step of Kuala Lumpur to Perhentian Islands is to reach Kota Bharu.
A glimpse of Kota Bharu Airport: Passengers are waiting for the flight

My first island exploration experience in Malaysia was Langkawi. It was very easy to reach there. On the contrary, visiting the Perhentian Islands needed some planning and effort.

From Kuala Lumpur, I took a flight to Kota Bharu. We landed after 1 hour. The official name of the airport is Sultan Ismail Petra Airport (IATA code KBR). The airport was a small one.

Book your Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu Trasnsportation

Kota Bharu to Kuala Besut

After landing in Kota Bharu airport from Kuala Lumpur, you need to rent a taxi for Kuala Besut.
We were driving through Kota Bharu, the capital of Kelantan

Once I landed in Kota Bharu Airport, I was looking for transportation for going to Kuala Besut jetty. Fast boat runs to the island from that jetty.

I took a car (and managed some other co-passengers to go with me to share the cost) from the airport. It was a 56 KM ride. It took us 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the jetty.

Book Kota Bharu to Kuala Besut Transportation

Purchasing boat ticket from Kuala Besut jetty

Third step of Kuala Lumpur to Perhentian Islands is to buy a fast boat ticket in Kuala Besut.
Fast boat ticket to Perhentian Islands

From the jetty, we purchased a ticket for Fast Boat Service. It was an open-dated ticket. It means that you can ride on any day using this ticket.

A wall in Kuala Besut - the gateway to Perhentian Islands.
Welcome to Kuala Besut – that’s what written in Malay language

The name of the jetty was Kuala Besut Jetty. Kuala Besut is a small town (Mukim in Malay) in Terengganu province, Malaysia. We learned that we have an hour in our hands before the boat starts. So, we decided to walk around a bit.

Ferry jetty in Kuala Besut from where you will get a boat for Perhentian Islands.
Entrance to the jetty

There are around 10 rides per day to the island. The jetty was neat and colorful. There were orange shades and pillars. People were selling souvenirs, toys, flags, and many other small things. It is recommended to book the transfer to Perhentian Island from Kuala Lumpur online prior to your journey.

Kuala Besut to the Perhentian Islands

We waited on the jetty for a while, and our boat came. It was about a 45-minute’ ride until we saw a glimpse of land. The captain of the ferry was asking us where to drop We did not have any idea about it (there are, in fact, two islands, Perhentian Kecil and Perhentian Besar). We choose one randomly.

We have arrived to Perhentian Islands from Kuala Lumpur
Yes! That’s the Perhentian Islands!

Unfortunately, we were not dropped off on the island directly because our boat was unable to reach there. They moved us to a small boat that took us to the shore. We had to pay a little to the boatmen.

So, after taking two flights (one if you start from Kuala Lumpur), one car ride, one fast boat ride, and one small boat ride (for two minutes only), we reached the Perhentian Islands.

Wait! It was not as complex as it might sound to you. It was easy once we hit the road.

How do I get to the Perhentian Islands from Kuala Lumpur?

Time needed: 6 hours

How do I reach the Perhentian Islands?

  1. Fly to Kota Bharu from Kuala Lumpur

    Take a flight from Kuala Lumpur Airport to Kuta Bharu Airport (1 hour, 10 minutes).

  2. Reaching Kuala Besut jetty from Kuta Bharu airport

    Take a car to Kuala Besut Jetty (1 hour, 10 minutes).

  3. Waiting in Kuala Besut

    Wait in the jetty or explore Kuala Besut (depending on your time of arrival) before your fast boat to the Perhentian Islands arrives.

  4. Boat to Perhentian islands

    Take the fast ferry to Perhentian Islands (50 minutes)

  5. Using a small boat

    The ferry might not drop you off on the island; you need to take a small boat (less than 5 minutes).

Kuala Besut jetty to Kota Bharu by Bus

Bus from Kuala Besut to Kota Bharu town on our way back from Perhentian Islands.
We took a bus from the ferry jetty of Kuala Besut to Kota Bharu town on our way back from the Perhentian Islands

Note: On my way back from the Perhentian Islands, I took a bus from the Kuala Besut jetty to reach Kota Bharu bus station. We took a quick bite and took a taxi from there to reach the airport. It saved me quite a lot of money, as the taxi from the jetty to the airport was expensive. If you have time in your hands, you can try taking the bus instead of the car.

Kuala Besut bus terminal.
Kuala Besut bus terminal

Are you planning a trip to Pulau Perhentian?

Important facts about reaching the Perhentian Islands

How do I get to the Perhentian Islands from Singapore?

You will find many flights to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore. Once you are in Kuala Lumpur, follow the steps mentioned in this article.

What is the name of the Perhentian Islands airport?

There is no airport on the Perhentian Islands. The nearest airport is in Kota Bharu.

How many flights do you have to the Perhentian Islands?

It’s zero, as there is no airport in the Perhentian Islands.

Can I go from Penang to the Perhentian Islands?

The distance between Penang and Kuala Besut Jetty is 350 kilometers. A van will take 6 hours to reach Kuala Besut. From there, take the fast boat to the Perhentian Islands.

Must Read for Perhentian Islands

Where to stay in Perhentian Islands?

Things to Do in Perhentian Islands

Tips for Visiting Perhentian Islands

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Fuad Omar

Fuad loves to travel! A lot! Carrying a Bangladeshi passport means he needs a prior visa for visiting most of the countries. He got detained in many borders because of his nationality but; he didn’t give up - he set his foot to 40 countries. He believes, if he could travel the world despite all the odds, you can, too. Fuad is a Computer Engineer by profession, and author of a travelogue in Bangla. He currently lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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