Photo: Lazy beach days.


Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil

This is Kecil's best known beach and hosts a mix of backpacker shacks through to midrange resorts. The sand is a squeaky near-white and the water very clear and calm. The central and southern sections of the beach have a serious trash problem and can be quite unsightly. In the evening, beach bars get going towards the southern end of the beach. An easy-to-follow trail leads from Long Beach over the hill to Coral Bay -- beach to beach it takes about 10 minutes.

Bintang View Chalet
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
Behind Matahari Chalet, Long Beach
T: (010) 793 4069

A short walk back off the beach, up the hill behind Matahari, Bintang Chalet offers solid and very clean wooden bungalows scattered across the hillside on both sides of the restaurant. The huts are all fan-cooled and come in both share bathroom and private bathroom varieties. Facilities include a small veranda with a table setting and a mosquito netted bed -- what more do you need? Shared... Read our full review of Bintang View Chalet.

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Bubu Long Beach Resort
Toprange - 250 to 500 ringgit
Northern end of Long Beach, next to the jetty/pier, Perhentian Kecil
T: (09) 691 1333

Set second to last at the northern end of Long Beach, Bubu Long Beach has smart hotel-style rooms in a three-storey, L-shaped building looking onto the beach and Long Beach's pier beyond. For Long Beach, rates are high. The rooms are of a good standard and the upper floor rooms have some decent views, but for some inexplicable reason, they've built the L so that half the rooms face towards the... Read our full review of Bubu Long Beach Resort.

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Bubu Villa
Luxury - over 500 ringgit
Southern end of Long Beach, behind the beach bars, Perhentian Kecil
T: (09) 691 1999

Set behind the popular World Cafe at the southern end of Long Beach, they were busy building more villas at Bubu Villa (previously Villa @ World Cafe) in a walled off enclave when we visited in April 2014, but there were a handful of completely finished villas behind the restaurant. The white cottages with frond roofs and wooden finishing may be the direction Perhentian Kecil is heading, but at a... Read our full review of Bubu Villa.

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D'Rock Garden Resort
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
Southern end of Long Beach, on the headland, Perhentian Kecil
T: (012) 325 2162

Wrapped around the headland at the far southern end of Long Beach, D'Rock Garden Resort offers some of the best elevated views over the ocean on Long Beach from a mix of basic and more slightly comfortable duplex bungalows scattered across the slope. The majority of the rooms are in the higher air-con price bracket while the remaining fan-cooled rooms are wedged into a small quarter up behind the... Read our full review of D'Rock Garden Resort.

Panorama Chalet
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Centre of Long Beach, between Sunrise Guesthouse and Oh Lala Restaurant, Perhentian Kecil
T: (09) 691 1590

Panorama Chalets is a backpacker haven on Malaysia's Perhentian Kecil, with several room and chalet options. What Panorama lacks in amenities they make up for in conveniences and location. Lots of shade here. Practically a village within a village, their tree-laden grounds are front and centre of the sandy white shores of Long Beach, with nearly every possible desire a short walk away. The... Read our full review of Panorama Chalet .

Lemon Grass Chalet
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
Southern end of Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil

Set at the base of the stairs that lead up to D'Rock Garden, Lemon Grass has two rows of uber-basic wooden freestanding bungalows facing one another, running back from the beach. You'd have great views to the water save for the fact the owners in their infinite wisdom have blocked the view with a bright green corrugated iron, ill-equipped toilet block. Seriously -- what on earth were they... Read our full review of Lemon Grass Chalet.

Matahari Chalet
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Between Sunrise Guesthouse and Panorama, centre of Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil
T: (019) 914 2883

Very long-running Matahari is, like much of Long Beach, slowly making a transition from cheap and rustic to more mid-market, best represented by a two-storey concrete building full of air-con and hot water rooms just off the beach. Their more rustic wooden bungalows are slightly more charming, albeit quite rundown, and we expect that as they slowly fall apart they'll be replaced by more concrete.... Read our full review of Matahari Chalet.

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Coral Bay, Perhentian Kecil

Coral Bay is the largest beach along the west coast of Perhentian Kecil and while it is quite built up with bungalows, resorts and restaurants running more or less from one end to the other, and has an unsightly pier running along about a third of its length, it still delivers on the sunset front. Snorkelling and swimming are best done elsewhere thanks to the volume of boat traffic in and out of here, but if you want to just bake on the sand, in front of Maya is pretty good. Snorkelling is better down to the south or north of Shari-la Resort.

Ewan's Place
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
Behind Ombak Resort on the trail to Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil

Set just behind Ombak at the start of the pavement through to Long Beach, Ewan's has cut a slice out of the woods and has started building simple, backpacker orientated bungalows. They're attached to the far larger and far more established same-named restaurant which is a bit of a traveller hub thanks to its cheap food, football on TV and, at least for Perhentian Kecil, good WiFi. The rooms are... Read our full review of Ewan's Place.

Fatimah Chalet
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
South of Ombak, on the beach, Coral Bay, Perhentian Kecil

Fatimah Chalets has sturdy little wooden bungalows as their staple and we found it to have a very friendly, welcoming vibe -- or maybe it was just the guitar-strumming attendant who showed us around. Located right on the beach at the start of the strip of beach cafes on Coral Bay, rates here are very reasonable and drop 10 ringgit as soon as you agree to stay a second night. The interiors are not... Read our full review of Fatimah Chalet .

Ombak Resort
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
Next door to Amynf Chalet, Coral Bay, Perhentian Kecil
T: (016) 900 1228

Along with Bubu on Long Beach, Ombak is about as close to international standard as Perhentian Kecil gets, which is to say, if you're after a well-sized and well-equipped room and are not fussed about lacking a sea view, then this is a reasonable option. Set in a brown three-storey (it feels towering by Perhantian standards) building with a large attached restaurant (which shows nightly movies)... Read our full review of Ombak Resort .

Senja Bay Resort
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Far southern end of Coral Bay, Perhentian Kecil
T: (09) 691 1799

Sprawling Senja Bay is kind of a mirror image of Mohsin Chalet on Long Beach, with a collection of duplex bungalows running back from the beach and up the hillside behind. Standards though are considerably better than Mohsin. The cheapest, fan-cooled rooms are at the top level up the hillside, reached via a rickety wooden stairway (tricky going maybe for young kids). It's worth the climb though... Read our full review of Senja Bay Resort .

Maya Bay Chalet
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
South of Angel Divers, beachfront with a large truck tire with Maya painted on it out front, Perhentian Kecil
T: (019) 927 7683

With their spacious palm tree dotted grounds, this laidback option gets a qualified yes from us. Located more or less at the centre of Coral Beach you can't miss the skyscraper tall palm trees or their tractor tire signboarding. There is plenty of space for kids to run around (possibly with helmets to prevent death by coconuts) and the beach frontage here is the least developed on the beach.... Read our full review of Maya Bay Chalet .

Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
Southern headland, Coral Bay, Perhentian Kecil

Last off the rank on Coral Bay, this is an unusual find. According to their signage, Butterfly is a DIY guesthouse: you check yourself in, pick your own bungalow and, well, figure it all out yourself. Not surprisingly, we couldn't find anyone to show us anything here. But the wooden bungalows looked pretty rustic from the outside. Still, some are extremely well appointed, and the one in... Read our full review of Butterfly.

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Keranji Beach

About a 30-45 minute walk south of Coral Bay along a well tended pathway, Keranji beach delivers an idyllic setting, with yellow to white-ish sand, clear water and, we were told, good snorkelling to the north and south. This is an isolated spot though, so bear in mind any alternative eating options are quite a walk away.

Keranji Beach Resort
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
30-45 minutes walk south of Coral Bay
T: (016) 647 6406

Previously known as Mira Beach, we really liked Keranji Beach Resort and if you don't mind simple accommodation and the isolation (it is a good 30-45 minutes walk from Coral Beach) then this is our top pick on Perhentian Kecil – and we're not the only ones who like it, as it was booked solid for the rest of the month when we visited. Under European management, Keranji has a mix of older and... Read our full review of Keranji Beach Resort .

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D'Lagoon Beach, Perhentian Kecil

This is the northernmost beach on Perhentian Kecil and it's really just a small sliver of sand -- the great beaches here are a short walk through to the west coast of the island -- and they are glorious. D'Lagoon beach is home to the same-named, very long-running resort.

Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
T: (019) 985 7089

The northernmost of Perhentian Kecil's developed beaches, the very long-running (20+ years) family-run d'Lagoon offers a range of options from dormitories to duplex bungalows to fancier deluxe bungalows. The bungalows (they're named individually after sea creatures -- we had prawn) are, all in all, pretty ordinary and the bathrooms in particular are pretty ropey and in need of a revamp, but you... Read our full review of D'Lagoon.

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PIR Beach, Perhentian Besar

Despite a large pier being added to the western end of this bay, this remains the most beautiful developed beach on Perhentian Besar and is home to a single resort, the eponymous Perhentian Island Resort. The gorgeous bay is home to turtles (you'll find them easily snorkelling) and boat traffic is restricted to the area near the pier, leaving most of the beach undisturbed. If you're into just laying on the beach, you'll love it here.

Perhentian Island Resort
Toprange - 250 to 500 ringgit
PIR Beach
T: (09) 691 1111

Arguably Besar's fanciest resort, what is beyond debate is that it's set on the island's most beautiful beach, a stunning eclipse of brilliantly white sand with turquoise water lapping at its edge. Yes, the cliches come thick and fast here! The beach is known for a tribe of turtles that hang out in the waters, including one massive one lucky snorkellers will find often not far off the end of the... Read our full review of Perhentian Island Resort.

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West Beach, Perhentian Besar

This beach stretches from Coral View Island Resort south past The Reef and Watercolours, finishing off in front of Mama's. Of the developed beaches on Perhentian Besar, this is just about the worst and the beach is pretty much entirely gone in front of Mama's, with the sea kept at bay by a retaining wall. Ask Aziz or Jimie to show you the photo of the beach at Mama's before it all washed away -- such a shame. Coral View has a beach both to the west and north, both of which are okay for swimming, but you're really better off walking over to PIR for your swimming needs.

Mama's Chalet
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Southern end of West Beach, Perhentian Besar
T: (019) 984 0232

Last off the rank between Watercolours and the southern bushwhacking trail to Tuna Bay sits Mama's Chalet, a slightly more modern-looking version of the 'typical' A-framed Perhentian budget chalet. With 24 years in the business and under the watchful eye of Aziz and Jimie -- two of the most knowledgable, helpful and really funny guys we've met in a while -- Mama's is a good spot. Rooms are basic... Read our full review of Mama's Chalet .

The Reef Chalet
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
Just to the south of Coral View, West Beach, Perhentian Besar
T: (09) 691 1762

The Reef has a crescent moon of bungalows running back from the beach between Coral View Resort and Watercolours and a two-storey building set towards the rear of the grounds. The bungalows are by far the better outfitted option and for once the interiors are almost as decent as how they look from the outside. Each has its own terrace veranda and they're well positioned, yet shaded to take in the... Read our full review of The Reef Chalet.

Coral View Island Resort
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
Northern end of West Beach, Perhentian Besar
T: (09) 691 1700

Coral View Island Resort straddles the headland that separates what is known as Main Beach (to the left when looking at the sea) and Turtle Bay (to the right) and has a tonne of bungalows running in both directions and well inland up the slope of the small hill behind the resort. It has a staggering variety of rooms and pricepoints -- so many that when they showed us the map we just took a photo... Read our full review of Coral View Island Resort .

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New CocoHut Chalet & Cozy Chalet
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
Northern end of Tuna Bay, Perhentian Besar
T: (09) 691 1810

Most of the bungalows here commence at the northern reach of the beach, tumbling down the hill where the walking track from the north comes through, and some have spectacular views and are priced accordingly. The primary price division is between garden and sea view and given the generally high prices, if you're already in this price bracket, the seaview ones are definitely worth the extra coin... Read our full review of New CocoHut Chalet & Cozy Chalet .

Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Middle of West Beach, just north of Mama's, Perhentian Besar
T: (09) 691 1852

You'll find Watercolours between The Reef and Mamas, where the sprawling resort does budgetish rooms (by Perhentian Besar standards) spread across a large lawn property. Rooms are a bit rundown and some could certainly do with a coat of paint (in some cases, perhaps a complete rebuilding), but the price is reasonable -- we paid 90 ringgit for am air-con room with private bathroom a short walk... Read our full review of Watercolours.

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Tuna Bay, Perhentian Besar

Also referred to as Main beach and Government beach, Tuna Bay hosts a selection of predominantly midrange resorts spread across a couple of pleasant strips of sand. It is a very scenic area, with some coral reef offshore and a couple of pontoons to bake on or jump off. There is quite a bit of boat traffic at these beaches though, so it isn't all peaceful and serene -- the beach areas though, dotted with palm trees, deckchairs and the occasional hammock, are quite pleasant.

Abdul's Chalets
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
Southern end of Tuna Bay, Perhentian Besar
T: (019) 912 7303

Abdul's used to be a budget hanger-on in this area, but their old fan-cooled rooms are now ancient history and it's firmly moved up into the mid-priced bracket. Of the offerings along this strip, this was our favourite -- rooms are spacious and air-con with good bathrooms, private balconies and, for the beachfront rooms, good beach frontage on a great stretch of beach. Bungalows are wooden with... Read our full review of Abdul's Chalets .

Ayumni House
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Behind Seahorse Divers, Tuna Bay, Perhentian Besar
T: (09) 691 1680

Friendly Ayumni House is tucked away down a walkway that leads behind Seahorse Divers. There's no beachfront here, but the rooms are quite reasonable for the standard and the dorm is one of the better ones we saw. Accommodation comes in two main flavours: freestanding wooden bungalows with compact private bathrooms and fan or air-con, and an air-con dorm. The dorm, at 55 ringgit, is pretty great... Read our full review of Ayumni House.

Suhaila's Palace
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Near Tuna Bay Island Resort, Tuna Bay, Perhentian Besar
T: (013) 968 3119

Set behind a small shop that doubles as reception, Suhaila's isn't quite a palace but it offers reasonably modern rooms in a concrete two-floor building overlooking the water. The downstairs rooms are slightly cheaper, but if you go for here, try for an upstairs one as they have the better outlook from a shared terrace and the ground-floor rooms see a lot of foot traffic. Rooms are no frills but... Read our full review of Suhaila's Palace.

Tuna Bay Island Resort
Toprange - 250 to 500 ringgit
Centre of Tuna Bay, Perhentian Besar
T: (09) 690 2909

Tuna Bay Island Resort doesn't have much of a beach directly in front of the restaurant and it's a busy coming and going spot for taxi boats and so on. Behind the boat landing the frontage is dominated by their large wood-fronted restaurant, which has an afterthought of a reception set on the northern wall that's staffed by very friendly workers. Chalets here come in two flavours, beachfront and... Read our full review of Tuna Bay Island Resort.

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Teluk KK, Perhentian Besar

Located a short walk to the south of Tuna Bay along a series of easy to follow walkways, Teluk KK has a western stretch (the length with the pier), but then, after the very photogenic rocky point, it sweeps east, creating a lovely southward facing, totally undeveloped beach. This is a lovely part of the island and well worth visiting on a lazy day trip. The only place to stay here is the campground.

Teluk KK Campground
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
South of the pier, Teluk KK

Teluk KK is one of the more southernmost developed spots on Perhentian Besar -- two beautiful stretches of beach which collide at a rock outcrop ideally situated for sunset. There is a little-used (but much photographed) pier here, some simple buildings that (we think) are used by fishermen, a very low key (as in you could die here and not be served) restaurant and a camping ground. That's it.... Read our full review of Teluk KK Campground.

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Teluk Dalam, Perhentian Besar

Teluk Dalam is a long, southward facing beach with very fine off-white sands. There are quite a few places to stay along the beach, but the eastern stretch of the beach is undeveloped. As with Long beach on Perhentian Kecil, rubbish and refuse can be a bit of a problem here. You miss out on both sunrises and sunsets, but the beach does have an attractive, relaxed vibe to it. There is an easy to follow jungle trail from here to PIR beach to the north and another to Teluk KK to the west.

B'first Chalets
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
West of Bayu Dive Lodge, middle of Teluk Dalam, Perhentian Besar
T: (014) 534 2114

From the beach, this looks more like a restaurant and bar (yes, they have beer) than a guesthouse, but running back behind the restaurant building are a string of coloured bungalows that are fairly reasonable value for the locale. The owners are inititally businesslike, but soften over time and both fan-cooled and air-con options are available. There is just about no ocean views to be had from... Read our full review of B'first Chalets.

Bayu Dive Lodge
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Middle of Teluk Dalam, Perhentian Besar
T: (09) 691 1650

We skipped this on our first run through due to a sign out front declaring exclusively for divers, but it turns out non-divers are welcome here and the rooms, especially the fan-cooled ones in the longhouse, are pretty good value. They're large and very clean, with real bedding, clean bathrooms, properly running water, 24-hour electricity and a pleasant garden setting. The beachfront bungalows... Read our full review of Bayu Dive Lodge.

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Flora Bay Resort
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Western end of Teluk Dalam, Perhentian Besar
T: (09) 691 1666

Flora Bay is towards the western end of Teluk Dalam -- there is one resort after it, but it appeared to be abandoned when we visited (and Flora shouldn't be confused with the similarly named and similarly equipped Fauna Beach Resort next door, nor with Flora Bay Resort II on the far side of Fauna – we were told they're all run by the one extended family, who own the Flora Place hotel in Kota... Read our full review of Flora Bay Resort.

Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort and Beach Chalet
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
Resort style living with a poolEastern end of development on Teluk Dalam, Perhentian Besar
T: (09) 778 0888

The largest and most prominent resort on Teluk Dalam beachfront, and one of only two places on either island with a swimming pool, the Arwana is the most typically resort-style hotel we saw other than Perhentian Island Resort. It boasts both a typical resort complex surrounding the off-beach swimming pool and a series of two-floor, largely glass-fronted beachfront rooms running along the beach to... Read our full review of Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort and Beach Chalet.

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Fauna Beach Chalet
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
East of Flora Resort, Teluk Dalam, Perhentian Besar
T: (09) 691 1607

If you're looking for a pure beach frontage bungalow and are umming and ahhing between Flora and Fauna, go with Fauna. The rooms may not be in as good a condition (interiors are pretty rundown and bathrooms are basic, even for the Perhentians), but the seaside rooms here are much better positioned to take in the beauty of this beach than those at Flora, with bigger verandas and tall, thin,... Read our full review of Fauna Beach Chalet.

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Bubbles Beach, Perhentian Besar

This is the most remote developed beach on Perhentian Besar and can only be reached by boat. Home to a single dive-orientated resort, the beach is quite lovely and very quiet -- thankfully it lacks the boat traffic you get on many of Perhentian Besar's beaches. There is good snorkelling here and there is an active turtle hatchery on the beach.

Bubbles Dive Resort
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
Bubbles Beach
T: (012) 983 8038

We really wanted to love here. Although badged as a diving resort, what they should really be trumpeting is their work as a turtle hatchery. You can't miss the hatchery -- it is on your left as you walk up from the lovely beach here to the restaurant and reception area. This is one of the few beaches in the Perhentians where turtles still return to lay their eggs and the staff and volunteers work... Read our full review of Bubbles Dive Resort.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Perhentian Islands? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Malaysia.

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