The Perhentian Islands are to-die-for tropical islands off the coast of Malaysia. They are fringed with white sand beaches and coral reefs. The Perhentians have escaped any major development: they are home mainly to fishermen and backpackers. And a few in-the-know sailors, who have discovered just how idyllic a Perhentian Islands sailing trip can be.
The Perhentians make a natural stopping-off place for sailors. Generations have used the islands as a resting place on the journey between Malaysia and Bangkok. The name ‘Perhentian’ even means ‘stopping point’. If you’re cruising South East Asian waters, you could certainly do worse than make sure the Perhentians are on your itinerary.
There are two main Perhentian islands, and several smaller, uninhabited ones. All of them are part of a protected marine park. There are no major ports on the islands, but there are boat landing places all around the coast of the inhabited islands. From the Malaysian mainland, the easiest place to leave for the Perhentians from is the fishing village of Kuala Besut, where scheduled ferries leave from. Travelling from the Perhentians, it is easy to sail up through the calm waters of the Gulf of Thailand, to the Thai islands, Bangkok, Cambodia or Vietnam.
Given the lack of development on the Perhentians, it can be difficult to pick up sailing lessons there. But charter companies on the Malaysian mainland and in Thailand do run trips to the islands, often including tuition.
If you can charter your own boat,you’ll have the freedom to explore the Perhantians undiscovered, uninhabited side. Sailing between its coral reefs and deserted beaches is difficult to beat!
Take a Perhentian Islands sailing trip and explore this unspoilt, little-known corner of South East Asia on your own terms. While others are left the beach, you’ll have the freedom of the seas.