Perhentian Island, the underwater paradise

Kuala Besut is a small seaside town on the east coast of Malaysia where you  pick up a speedboat to the perhentian islands. It’s a crowded touristic place that unfortunately you can’t avoid if you want to pop in to the Perhentian islands off the North East coast of Malaysia. But try not to spend much time around. To buy the boat tickets avoid the pier shops, we bought our ticket for 50RM.

Not everything is bad, there are many good eating places in Kuala Besut and better food than on the Perhentians! Just before you go take cash with you because there’s no ATMs on the islands and plenty of suncream, I learnt it the hard way :/

The Perhentians are divided by two different Islands called Perhentian Kecil and Perhentian Besar. Kecil, the smaller islands is a walhalla for backpackers, and Perhentian Besar, the biggest one it’s calmer, very beautiful and perfect for to relax and enjoys what mother nature has to offer…  so better suited for me 🙂


The island is just a peace of paradise on earth, with powdery sand, white beaches, crystal-clear water, palm trees, no concrete or cars, great atmosphere, lovely sunsets, luxurious jungles… it’s all too perfect, and kind of magical, that’s is hard to believe that is real.


There’s not much to do in the island, what is just perfect, so we spent our time, walking around, relaxing, enjoying  the beautiful beaches, sunsets,  hiking through the jungle, spotting wildlife like monkeys, birds, spiders, flying foxes and reptiles. And of course discover amazing deserted beaches and friendly locals.

Lizards are a real thing in the island, and being so close to them is kind f scary, so when you have a huge lizard that decides that your front door is good place to be, is kind of uncomfortable 🙂


On top of that,  you have an immense blue ocean full of life to be discovered. I did here the best snorkelling trip of my life, what a shame I didn’t have a waterproof camera, the visibility was extraordinary, and I was so lucky with all I saw.

In this trip I saw the most incredible fishes species, they were so so many all around me, with different vibrating colour, shapes and sizes, just extraordinary. After this trip I just bought a waterproof camera so I will not miss a shot of a place like this ever again.

Just don’t forget to do snorkelling with a t-shirt, I only put suncream and wasn’t enough at all, I mean I just got a biggg sunburn?.

For the first time in my life I swam with giant turtles, black tip reef shark, clown fish, blue-spotted stingrays, titan trigger fish,  parrot fish, moray eel, and many other  brightly coloured fish that I don’t know the names.

I was lucky enough to be able to swim in waters where you can still see colourful reefs, which unfortunately are despairing because of pollution, climate change  and worrying  lack of environmental awareness and care for the state in which we will leave this Earth when we die.

Kayaking is also a must do, and a great way to explore by your own other parts of the island. We got a kayak for a day and we paddle around the island discovering  a couple of deserted beaches.

In the end of our amazing stay we left this paradisiac island behind and we got a boat back to Kuala Besut, and from there we walked to the bus station( around 10 minutes). Nearby there’s plenty of drink and food stalls and a market behind the station.

Be kind, have fun and protect the coral reefs ?

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

How to get to one of the most beautiful island in Malaysia – Pulau Tioman

Mersing is located on the east coast of the peninsular Malaysian and north east of the state capital Johor Baru. The bus costs 13RM for one way.

When you arrive at Mersing you have a shop near the waterfront hotel, that provides a good service and gives great information about the islands and the available accommodation. Here you can buy your boat ticket and book your hotel, if not you need to contact the hotel yourself by email with some time and make all the arrangements.

Messing is not spectacular, so no need to spend the night there, but is a great place to eat and buy food, fruit and drinks,  to take it with you to the island once everything is more expensive there.


Tioman is the largest of the 64 volcanic islands that form the Seribuat Archipelago on Malaysia’s east coast. It’s considered by many one of the most beautiful in Malaysia. I need to agree that the landscape is indeed stunning and still with little human presence.

We got a boat to Tioman  in the afternoon (70RM with open return), and we decided to stay at a very calm and less touristic part of the island, the Panuba Inn Resort.  This beach is located in between the famous ABC beach (or Air Batang) and Salang both are more for backpackers and are the most  social spots on the island along with Tekek.

ABC and Salang have some night life,  beach bars and diving schools, But we weren’t looking for that so Panuba was the right choice for us.DSCF4681.JPG

Panuba is isolated, surrounded by lush forest and has ‘it’s own beach’. All the rooms have sea view and the price is quite good (with AC and hot water 95RM, with fan and cold water 65RM).

DSCF4644.JPGThe views from Panuba are magnificent, and the sunset from the pier just amazing. The beach is great to laid down reading a book, enjoying the scenery and swim, but is a bit rocky.

Because we don’t like to be just lying down on the beach all day we did lots of trekkings.

We went to the ABC beach (Air Batang) a couple of times were we saw black squirrels, Monitor lizards (that are literally everywhere in the island) beautiful birds,  a big scaryyy yellow and black snake and a shiny green one on our path.

One day we walked from Panuba  to Tekek near the airport, this tiny town has of course more life and better prices than in our part of the island that was a bit on the higher side. Tekek is Tioman’s largest village and has the only cash machine. We got the felling that Tekek is the main tourist gateway, but still very quiet.

Another great trekking was from the Panuba to the Monkey bay, it’s a rough trail with many monkeys around, so you can’t do it if you are afraid of them. While you are walking you can fell that this jungles has many eyes observing you and it’s very alive, so be careful in case a monkey decides to be ‘funny’! The trail takes around 45 minutes each away.

The beach is just fabulous and paradisiac, the water cristal clean, and there’s no rocks. We were there alone with the naughty monkeys, that tried really hard to still our belongings. We got our bags well tight, and still we have had to run in their direction a couple of time just to keep them away of our shoes and clothes!

Tioman is a great place to do diving and/or snorkelling and I do recommend it highly, the colourful fishes and the corals in the turquoise blue water are just stunning.


love Ana xx 

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha