Perhentian island Kecil, our 4 days in paradise

1. Day in paradise

After 8 and a half hour bus ride from Penang, we finally arrived to Kuala Besut around 5:30am. Kuala Besut is small fisherman village with port where we waited till 7am to take a boat to Perhentian island Kecil. Perhentian islands consist of two islands. A bigger one called Besar and a smaller one called Kecil. Pretty fast and bumpy boat ride took about 30 minutes in small boat with other 12 person. While arriving to Kecil Island I felt like arriving to a paradise island. Kecil Island has no infrastructure, just small beaches with hotels, bars and small shops where the only transport is by boat.

Coral bay beach

Our hotel was situated on Coral bay, the first boat stop, so we got out of the boat and I just stayed on the pier staring on small beautiful beach with some diving shops and some unordinary hotels. I think for the first few hours I couldn’t believe that we were there. Water was so clear and sand so soft and white. Just a few meters from the beach was a real jungle which covered the whole island.

coral bay

I was a bit worried that our small beach and azure blue sea were going to be crowded, but luckily I was wrong. During day you could find free deckchairs and there was almost nobody in the water so it was just perfect.

coral bay beach 2
Beach view from our hotel’s terrace

After a first dive in the sea I realised really quick that why they call this a snorkelling/diving paradise. There were beautiful fish everywhere. I also have to mention that I have never been to such warm water. Reminded me of some thermal spa in Slovakia.

under water
relax under crystal clear water

In the evening the place where we lived seemed a bit quiet, but soon we figured out that all the people were on the other side of the beach, approx. 200m from our accommodation having a great BBQ dinner which was very popular there. More about food in Malaysia in the food & drinks section.

beach restaurant
Restaurant Amelia which was always crowded by night, offering amazing BBQ dinners

2. Day in paradise

Our second day we booked a snorkelling trip to visit 5 various destinations for snorkelling. Our group consisted of about 10 Chinese tourists and an Italian couple which we made friends with right away. First point to visit was called Shark bay, where I saw a baby shark for the first time in my life. Too bad I don’t have a video or a picture of it. After that our cool local boat captain took us to a point with thousands of fish where he gave me a piece of bread to feed them so I did and I have a pretty cool videos from the feeding where all I could see was just fish everywhere around me. It was a very cool experience, being under water and feeling all the fish touching you and swimming by like crazy.

lots of fish eating bread and swimming by

While arriving to our third stop we had seen already an amazing turtle swimming on the sea surface, so when the boat stopped, I jumped right into the water and started filming. Again for the first time in my life I saw a real huge turtle in its natural habitat just feeding on the bottom. It was pretty difficult to dive deep to take some pictures but I tried. After some time the turtle decided to take a swim and headed up so I took some close-up pictures and a video trying to chase it like everybody else who was around me. Amazing experience.

turtle 2
turtle swimming towards me while everybody around was trying to follow her

After a Turtle point we went for a lunch to fisherman village with amazing beach and atmosphere. Lots of fishing boats parked on empty beach where was very difficult to find any locals, but after lunch there was one guy walking towards me, so I kindly asked him to take a picture with me. People in Malaysia are just so kind and nice they wouldn’t say no to you.

fishing village
me and a local fisherman during our lunch break

Our fourth stop was a light house where was a big colourful coral reef full of different fish. It was very difficult to swim on one place because this was a first stop where we were not near the coast but on the open sea and the currents were drifting us away from our boat. So just after a minute of snorkelling I ended up about 100m from the place I had started originally.

tons of fish near coral on our fourth stop at lighthouse

For our last stop of amazing 5-hour snorkelling trip and for even more amazing 30RM (7eur) we arrived to a “romantic beach”. It was a small and very nice beach where we were told to be able to see a Nemo, but we were not so lucky and didn’t see him at that time. Instead I saw 2 types of octopus which was also for the first time in my life. The time flew so fast and after 5 hour trip we came back to our Senja resort full of amazing experience.

a small octopus near our last stop at romantic beach

Later that day I saw 2 guys taking pictures of something in the bushes near our hut, so I grabbed my camera and went there. It was a dragon, a big lizard I have never seen before in nature. It was pretty astonishing to see such an animal not only on TV, but for real.

dragon lizard hanging out approx. 15m from our hut

In the evening when I and Maria were having some drinks on our balcony with amazing sea view, a bat decided to fly around and through our terrace which was kind of funny. After that a couple of lizards, for me pretty big since I have never seen them that big in Slovakia, were just hanging out on our ceiling and above the door. So our second day was full of new encounters with beautiful and interesting animals in their natural habitat which for me was very special.

me and a small lizard above our door

3. Day in paradise

Was just about enjoying the beach, snorkel near our hotel and checking out other beach which was situated about 15 min walking through the jungle. The other part of the island was called Long Beach because it was simply much longer beach that on our side. Long beach was definitely more crowded and nothing interesting compare to our Coral bay. I mean, it still looked amazing, but we found some dead fish on the shore and too many people on the beach made me feel like not in paradise.

Long Beach
Long beach

Once we got back to Coral bay we started following the path through the jungle to visit also other part of the island. The vegetation was just amazing. On the way we saw 3 pretty big lizards looking for some food in the leaves. We found a camping site called Stairway to heaven located on the deserted beach about 15min walk from our accommodation. It was a very cool and green concept of accommodation in the nature. Instead of sleeping in huts or hotel rooms you could rent a tent in the jungle.

me adoring a jungle vegetation

There was also a bar where bartender was sleeping in hammock and just to make 2 cocktails for us he had to turn on the generator to use electricity for the blender. Chairs and tables were made of natural material like wood from trees and shells from the sea. The bartender told me that he lives there throughout the year except for November and December when there is a hurricane season and the weather gets a bit tough.

4. Day in paradise

Our last day in Kecil Island was short because we booked a boat ride to mainland for 12am, so we just cleaned the room and packed our stuff. I wasn’t really looking for carrying our bag all the way to the other site of the beach in my hands since there was no pavement to simply pull the bag. Because of this, most of the people had just big backpacks rather than bags. No wonder they call this island backpackers’ paradise J You should definitely go there just with backpacks.

Saying good bye to our small paradise island and amazing accommodation

Once we got on the mainland, there were hordes of taxi drives ready to hunt their prey. We didn’t even get on the pier and were already asked 4 times if we need a ride to Kota Bharu, the nearest city with airport and also our destination. We joined together with a German couple to divide taxi cost and left for Kota Bharu in old C class Mercedes-Benz with 620.000km and no air-conditioning. At this time I was already feeling very bad. In next post you can find out what happened and why I felt so bad.




Richard Jančovič

Richard Jančovič

My name is Richard Jančovič and I am a travel addict from beautiful country called Slovakia. Although full-time employed, I try to spend all my free time traveling. So far I have visited 41 countries, met a lot of amazing people and experienced many adventures.

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