My wife and I are thinking of travelling to Malaysia at at the end of June / start of July for 9 days. We were thinking of doing the following - flying in between destinations as it seems very cheap (only $15 with firefly with advanced booking):
- KL for 1 or 2 days
- fly to Perhentian Islands for 3 days
- fly to Penang for 3 days
- fly back to KL for 1 day to wind down.
I have already looked into the flights, so know the above is possible. Not sure if it's too much for the short time we have though.
Does this sound doable with the time we have? Does anyone have any better ideas?
I am also having trouble finding places to stay on the Perhentian islands. Does anyone have a recommendation, and is it possible to make advance bookings?
#1 Alexdoz has been a member since 14/5/2013. Posts: 7
Hi Alex -
It'll be a busy 9 days, but it's definitely doable. Do know that you're not really flying *to* the Perhantian islands, you fly to Kota Bahru and then it's approx a 1 hour drive and a 1 hour ferry to the islands.
If you wanted to have a slower paced trip, you could check out Langkawi island instead (which is near Penang) instead of Perhentians.
The Perhentians are an excellent beach holiday location for that time of year, June/July being dry season on the eastern side of the peninsula.
The other (western) side is in wet season - usually not so good for a beach holiday but you should still get enough sunshine to enjoy yourself. Penang is a good visit from the cultural/historical/architecture/shopping points of view - the beaches are okay but nothing to get excited about. Langkawi is a real nice beach location and has enough other attractions to give variety. Being low season there should be some good deals on real nice resorts.
If you wish to maximise beach/sunshinetime and cut down on transfers an alternative may be to fly into Johor Bharu, do the Perhentians, jump into a taxi and go down to Merang (cost maybe 80-100rm) for Redang island which is gorgeous, then go the short distance to Kuala Terengganu to fly back to KL. An alternative to Redang is Kapas island out of MArang (not the A) just south of KT. Kapas is the nicest island I've visited in the past few years and I've done maybe 40. I like these combinations so much I'm revisiting Perhentians/Redang/Kapas in September.
Actually if you chose Perhentians/Redang it may pay to do the reverse order. Public and resort boats go out to Redang in the morning only whereas those to Perhentians and Kapas leave all times of day. Note Berjaya Air flies KL to Redang. Singapore - Redang too for other readers.
However if you have your heart set on Penang-Langkawi, go for it. I travel the Thai Andaman immediately north/same climate zone a lot in wet season and have never had a holiday spoiled by persistent rain.
You've got me interested in the east coast islands again now! Wish we had more time.
Is there a direct boat between Redang and the Perhentians? Could you recommend any places to stay on these islands?
I assume you meant to fly into Kota Bharu not Johor Bharu.
#6 Alexdoz has been a member since 14/5/2013. Posts: 7
Jeez, absolutely right - KB not JB.
There is no direct service boat between Perhentians and Redang. But apparently quite a few people charter local boats to take them. Aint cheap. I'm not a fan of longer sea trips on small boats - if I was doing it I'd be trying for something not too long after breakfast. Later in the day the sea breeze often kicks in and makes things pretty choppy (uncomfortable and possibly wet). Not sure how much you would save doing the direct route by sea but you would definitely save lots of time.
Recommending places is tricky not knowing your budget range and preferences beach wise (isolated, party, good access to others, lotsa restaurants/bars, good snorkelling off the beach, best sand yada). I'd suggest you look at any of travelfish's reviews, plus user reviews on travelfish's linked Agoda booking sites plus others like good old Trip Adviser.
All I can do is tell you about places I've stayed lately or plan to stay upcoming trip:
PERHENTIANS: last trip I stayed at AWANA on the big island Besut (midrange place gets not great reviews - I stayed in the dorm to take advantage of huge excellent pool, inclusive brekka and good position - you can reach most parts of the island from here. Beach is not bad but not great - suffers the low tide blues big time) - and SENJA on the small island, Coral Bay (flashpacker standard - pretty good place on okay beach, short walk to others).
Upcoming trip - booked CORAL VIEW on the big island (lower midrange/flashpacker - gets poor review but this place is in a great position close to the nicest beach on the island at Perhentian Island Resort which gets very poor reviews and seems overpriced IMHO) plus ABDUL'S (flashpacker/budget on a gorgeous section of beach with excellent snorkelling off the sand, gets good reviews - a place I've wanted to stay since my first visit in the 90s).
btw the place which seems to get best reviews at reasonable prices is TUNA BAY RESORT on the same section of beach. But any web-booking facility seems down right now.
On the small island I'm staying at SHARI LA also on Coral Bay - a lower midrange/flashpacker joint. gets good reviews.
btw the fact I'm not staying the same places as previous visits is that I like to try new places each visit. Plus Lady Tezza is coming this time, and I don't think the dorm at Arwana would cut it.
REDANG - I'd be trying for something on the main PASIR PANJANG BEACH unless you can afford the very expensive TAARAS. Or if you want some lonely beach. btw I'd avoid the newish REDANG ISLAND RESORT which is in a very isolated position (except for the airport) with a very third rate section of sand.
Last visit I stayed in the divers' dorm at REDANG BAY RESORT which otherwise is lower midrange/flashpacker concentrating on all inclusive packages for middle class Malaysian and Singaporean visitors. Okay place. This visit I wanted to splurge on the nicest joint on the beach LAGUNA but I read it was recently featured in a blockbuster Chinese lurv movie and has been inundated by fans - I'm not real keen on jostling for a place at the brekka buffet etc so gave it a miss - instead booked SARI PACIFICA a midrange place looked real nice last visit but gets poor reviews. I don't care - it's in a good position, has a nice pool and a poor buffet is a step up from my usual budget fare. It was also easy to book from Australia (I used Agoda) - quite a lot of Redang Resorts want a direct bank transfer which Aussie banks are not keen about in relation to Malaysia).
KAPAS - here I'm abandoning my usual policy of not staying twice in the same joint. I was so impressed with QIMI CHALET (flashpacker/budget) last visit that I want to show it to The Lady. But there are about another half dozen places on the island. all looked okay - none get above flashpacker although like QIMI you could argue the best rooms/chalets go into lower midrange) and the place is so compact that all the beaches can be covered in a 30 minute walk.
One other point about these islands. All have pretty good snorkelling off the beach and even better stuff on very short boat trips. Penang and Langkawi only have snorkelling via long long boat trips.
Crikey, I'm starting to seriously worry about myself - must answer less when under the influence of cheap Aussie red.
Last line in paragraph one of the previous post should read:
" Not sure how much EXTRA YOU WOULD PAY doing the direct route by sea but you would definitely save lots of time."
"I'm revisiting Perhentians/Redang/Kapas in September." ---> is the sea still good in september? what about the water visibility?
Yeah, islands on the east coast are generally nicer than the west coast ones, as long as not during the monsoon months (oct - feb). But Penang + Langkawi are still worth a visit, esp Penang if you have done some east coast islands. it all now depends on your time factor and logistics.
#10 chopin has been a member since 28/4/2007. Posts: 154
We've decided to go to Kapas and The Perhentian Islands. Managed to book Qimi Chalet on the phone - easy and didn't require any transfer of funds to keep the booking. They reserved the 'treehouse' rooms for us. Are they okay, or should I ask to change to another room?
Having a harder time finding any available accommodation on The Perhentians. There are some but not our first choices. Seems you need to book at least a couple of months in advance for peak season. A lot of the places you mentioned are full already. Senja Bay is the only one that still has availability. Going to book there I think.
#12 Alexdoz has been a member since 14/5/2013. Posts: 7