Travel Memories: Perhentian Islands

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an initiative that invites bloggers to post an alphabet-themed post every day (excluding Sundays) during the month of April.  As part of this challenge, I’ll be sharing some of my travel memories to known and unknown places in the hope to inspire your travel dreams.

Perhentian Malaysia
Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

P is for…Perhentian Islands (Malaysia)

The Perhentian Islands is the first international holiday my now husband and I took together (besides Ireland to meet his family). I was never into beach holidays (which is difficult to tell going through my travel destinations list!) because of my fair skin and propensity to get super sunburned super quickly. But my husband’s idea of a holiday was laying on the beach. So we compromised. I found us an out of the way island that was an adventure getting to and then we would round out our trip with a few days in Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur. Everyone was happy!

perhentian islands
Kecil Island across the water, Perhentian Islands

There are two main islands in the Perhentians – Kecil (small) and Besar (large). The smaller island has more limited accommodation options, catering more towards the backpacker and budget traveller. This is where I would have gone in previous years, but since I was moving on from my backpacker days, we opted for the large island with a more chilled atmosphere and nicer accommodation!

Perhentian islands
Adorably cute town of Kota Bharu where we caught our speed boat to the Perhentian Islands

The island is not like other islands. There are no roads or cars. There is one main path through the jungle that leads to the other side of the island, but really most people find few reasons to leave their hotel or the beach.  To reach the islands we had to fly from India to Kuala Lumpur, then to Kota Bharu where we got on a speed boat for 40 minutes before arriving to our beautiful hotel tucked away in behind the palm trees.

Our hotel sat on beautiful white sand beaches, on a small bay inlet which made the water calm and perfect for snorkeling.  This was my husband’s first time snorkeling and he was hooked! We swam with turtles, saw an eel and colorful little fish everywhere.

Perhentian Islands
Snorkeling for the first time, Perhentian Islands

We also took a kayak out one day, which I will never live down. I had never been kayaking before, and have never been known to be full of upper body strength.  That combined with sun poisoning meant that I was virtually useless…once we got out on the water! My poor husband didn’t realize how unhelpful I would be until we were already well on our way to a secluded beach. I started breaking out in sun poisoning spots all over my hands and there was nothing I could do except keep them covered with my sarong, which meant it was pretty difficult to help paddle. Oops.

It was still pretty awesome (for me!). My husband says he’s glad I enjoyed it because that is the last time he’s going kayaking with me.

If you are looking for super developed islands in Malaysia, head to Langkawi, but if you want peace, quiet and absolute relaxation, head to the Perhentian Islands.

Other posts in the A to Z Challenge:

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Belchite, Spain
Czesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Devi Garh Hotel, Udaipur India
Emeishan, China
Flores, Guatemala
Gimmelwald, Switzerland
Highway 1, California
Istanbul, Turkey
Jaisalmer, India
Kashmir, India
Lily Beach Resort & Spa, Maldives
Machu Picchu, Peru
Niraamaya Retreats, Thekkady Kerala India
Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima Japan

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