On safari under the sea level
If Nemo is not yet right, then he is easy to find around these beautiful islands. The Perhentian Islands on the East coast of Malaysia are a paradise for lovers of the underwater world. The islands can be distinguished in Pulau Kecil (small island) and Pulau Besar (large island), and are an hour’s sailing from the mainland.
According to many, the best dive and snorkel spots of Southeast Asia can be found around these islands. You can snorkel directly from the beach here. Snorkel sets can already be rented for 15 ringgit (3.50 euros) per day. A good place to snorkel on your own is Romantic Beach, accessible from Coral Bay via a path through the ShariLa Resort. The rocks offer a home to coral and beautiful fish, including the colorful parrotfish. Romantic Beach is also an excellent place to simply do nothing and enjoy the crystal clear water.
Snorkeling and diving
Several tour operators leave daily from Coral Bay for snorkeling trips. The trip takes about seven hours and takes you to various snorkel spots, such as Shark Point, Turtle Point and Coral Garden. In between there is a lunch – at your own expense – in the fishing village. The spots each have their own character and their own residents, which makes this trip a varied experience. Among others, Ombak Resort offers the snorkel trip daily.
The Perhentian Islands are also not to be missed as a dive site. Rays, sharks, turtles and many tropical fish are here on the dive menu. For the advanced divers, the sea also accommodates some shipwrecks, where a mysterious atmosphere hangs. The best-regarded dive school is Quiver Dive Team. They also work with some Dutch speaking instructors, so it is a perfect place to get your certificate.
It must be said, in addition to the activities under water, there is little to experience on the islands above sea level. A walk to Long Beach and the windmill is one of the possibilities, where you can look for the huge barrels and butterflies. This means that the active part also stops immediately, and you will discover for yourself what these islands are perfectly suited for: enjoying beautiful beaches and bobbing boats from your beach chair.
Most eateries and shops can be found at Coral Bay. The Malay cuisine is well represented, but if you have your stomach full of rice and noodles, you can also find pizza, sandwiches and burgers. Fatimah Café offers the best value for money. In the evening there is fresh fish from the barbecue, which is prepared for you while you can enjoy the sunset.
Spend the night on the Perhentian Islands
The most popular place to stay is Coral Bay, on the small island. Here are the most budget accommodations, although the prices are high compared to the mainland. Simple two-person bar starts from RM50 (11 euros) per night, such as at Fatimah Chalets and Butterfly Chalets. More expensive and more luxurious options – with Wi-Fi, Senja Bay Resort and Ombak Resort.
Not all accommodations have a website, but reservations are not necessary outside the summer months. Take the boat to the island and look for something beautiful! Incidentally, there is no cash machine on both islands, so bring enough cash. Several diving schools accept credit cards, but keep in mind that an additional fee of 8% must be paid. An amount that can increase significantly if you want to follow a PADI course. On the big island you can find the more exclusive resorts, and the prices are considerably higher. However, that is rewarded with more rest.