Dive Trip Perhentian Islands
Perhentian Islands comprise of a cluster of 2 main inhibited islands - Pehentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil while being surrounded by a few other smaller islands. It is located 20km north east along the West Malaysia coastline. It used to be an important stopover on the Thailand/Malaysia trading route. These 2 main islands are among the top tourist attractions in Malaysia. You can experience a tropical beach holiday, surrounded with white sand, relax under the clear blue skies and dip into the turquoise ocean. Perhentian Besar generally caters to the more deluxe and upscale resortss, while Perhentian Kecil caters to budget travellers and backpackers.
Perhentian provides an extraordinary diving experience with fantastic visibility and immaculate coral reefs in good condition. There are a couple of popular dive sites such as the Pinnacle/Temple of the Sea, Sugar wreck, and T3. The Perhentians are under the jurisdiction of Terengannu Marine Park which is famous for its underwater world. It has about 20 dive sites within its cluster which are easily accessible within a short boat ride. Perhentian brims with very rich marine pelagic life such as reef fishes, turtles, and sharks.
What to See While Diving in Perhentian Islands
You can expect to sight reef fishes such as barracudas, bumphead parrotfishes, blacktip sharks nudibranches, titan triggerfishes, turtles and whale sharks if you are lucky as whale sharks make visits to Perhentian Islands from time to time.
When to Dive?
Perhentian Islands are closed for diving and tourists from November to March due to monsoon seasons and reduced visibility. It is not a year round diving destination. The peak period are mainly during the summer season from June to August where the island is packed with tourists and diving activities. You can expect a nice warm tropical weather during this season.
Diving season mainly starts from early April till end October. Human traffic and activities are generally very low during this period. You can expect water termperature to be within the range from 27 to 32 degree celcius. Higher temperature occurs ususally at the commencing of the dive season. The nice warm temperatue will start to drop towards the end October. Currents are largely mild and gentle and all dive sites are easily accessible. Visibility typically ranges from 8 to 20 meters, depending on the season.
Perhentian Islands has been home to a sizable number of hawksbill turtles. However, due to oil spillers from oil tankers and platforms within the vicinity, this number has dropped drastically over the years. As a result, Malaysia’s Department of Fisheries have initiated a turtle hatchery as well as a Turtle conservation volunteer programs on Perhentian Islands in a bid to protect these wildlife and to provide an opportunity to educate the locals and public on marine conservation. As part of the conservation efforts, many dive schools conduct regular checking and cleaning of the reefs among their conservation efforts.
Getting to Perhentian Kecil
To access to Perhentian Islands, the nearest airport is Kota Bharu airport from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Upon arriving in Kota Bharu, you may take a one-hour taxi ride directly to the Kuala Besut port town centre. From Kuala Besut, you will need to purchase a round-trip speed boat ticket which takes approximately one hour to reach Perhentian Kencil. Do take note that there are no jetty on the beach, hence, you will need to transfer to a smaller boat to reach the island.