Long Beach, in Perhentian Kecil. (Malaysia, July 2006)
Long Beach, in Perhentian Kecil. (Malaysia, July 2006)

Head to Perhentian Kecil!

  Malaysia: Peninsula and Borneo - July 2006

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

I leave Kota Bahruand its women buried and concrete for the Perhentian Islands. Perhentian Besar the great, and Perhentian Kecil the small, renowned for their crystal-clear waters and coral reefs .

I share the cab to Kuala Besut, from where the boats leave for the islands, with two young English girls. Afterwards, everything is very easy. The driver drops us off in front of the small agency he works for, which collects the tickets for the crossing.

The Perhentian Islands will be my first island stop, during this trip in Malaysia. I plan to spend five to seven days there, alternating days of laze and dives. You can also dive at Redanganother island famous for its seabed, located not far from there, from the Perhentian. Then, I intend to discover the island of Tiomanand I plan to end this trip to Malaysia on a high note: Sipadan...in Borneo...

(Small addition, years after the publication of this post: I don't know yet, during this July 2006 trip to Malaysia, that this first passage in Sipadan will be followed by two others, because I won't resist the pleasure to go back diving on this really exceptional spot, in 2009 and in 2013.)

But for now, I'm at the beginning, in the Perhentian Islands, so...

Transparent water and white sand

Long Beach, the aptly named, main beach of Perhentian Kecil Island. (Malaysia, July 2006)
Long Beach, the well named, main beach of Perhentian Kecil Island (Malaysia, July 2006)

We are a dozen young people backpackers (backpackers) to cram us into a large boat, equipped with two powerful engines: 45 minutes of jumping in the waves and we are there!

We all go down to Perhentian Kecil, the Little Perhentian (pronounced "ké-tchil"). It is typically the island of the young travelers with a small budget and backpacks... The accommodation is more rustic and a little less expensive than in the neighboring island of Perhentian Besar (the Big one), and a lot of bars are aligned along the beach.

My first impression of the islands is in any case consistent with the information gleaned here and there on the internet : transparent water, white sand, coconut trees, deep green forest behind. Really a very nice scenery, very postcard. The sun is banging, it's terribly hot.

The water is incredibly transparent on Long Beach in Perhentian Kecil. (Malaysia, July 2006)
The water is incredibly clear on Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil (Malaysia, July 2006)
Long Beach, in Perhentian Kecil. (Malaysia, July 2006)
Long Beach, in Perhentian Kecil. (Malaysia, July 2006)

Just deposited on the beach, I head for the big red sign of Coral Sky DiversIt is clearly visible. This is the diving club I contacted by e-mail before leaving.

WARNING: This trip dates back to 2006, and Coral Sky Divers has not existed for several years. But there are a lot of other dive centers on the Perhentian Islands, which can be easily found via a small Google search.

Cottages in Malaysia

Perhentian Kecil being crowded in July-August, it is a bit difficult to find a place to stay without having booked anything, especially when you arrive for the weekend, like me.

So the club arranged for me to stay in a bungalow with their neighbors. Here in Malaysia, the tourism industry uses the term chalets (sic!) for the bungalows.

I am therefore housed in Matahari Chalets, which adjoin the diving club (mata-hari means "sun" in Malay, literally "the eye of the day"). Very practical.

The Matahari Chalets. (Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia, July 2006)
The Matahari Chalets. (Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia, July 2006)

I won't have much to do in the morning, when I get out of bed, to get equipped before the first dive of the day. My only concern will be the difficult choice of the swimsuit to put on. This beginning of vacation looks pretty good...


  Malaysia: Peninsula and Borneo - July 2006

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  1. Apart from the interest of your chronicles, today's is not lacking in flavour, let me explain: chalets outside an Alpine context are unusual enough, but when they're called Matahari, it gives you an air of seduction and intrigue from the last century; as for the island of Perhentian Besar, I can't help thinking that "besar" in Spanish means "to embrace"; here are a few ingredients that could inspire many a novelist...

    Hello to the underwater world, say the fish in the aquarium...

  2. Well what, cottages, there are plenty here!!! 😆

    This description of the islands did me a world of good... a little exoticism... ah...
    Here in Switzerland, it's still hot, but there's no sea and beach nearby.... snif,snif!!! 3 weeks to go!!!! Tonight, Les Bleus advance to the final, where they'll play Italy. You haven't heard the last of Zidane over there...

    Big kisses, and hello fish, remain cautious !!!!

  3. Hi !
    I am doing research to spend our padi in Asia and why not in Malaysia. Do you have another address for Coral Sky Divers because your link does not work anymore?
    We would like to have a family and French speaking dive center 😉
    thank you

    1. @Christelle: This trip to Malaysia and this stay on Perhentian Kecil date back to... 2006. Everything changes very quickly in Asia, and Coral Sky Divers closed several years ago now (I'll make that clear in the article). I can't remember the name of the resort that took over the structure...

      Otherwise, I returned to the Perhentian Islands three years later, in 2009. This time I went to Perhentian Besar, a really nice place, which in retrospect I prefer to Perhentian Kecil. And I had dived with the Watercolours center, which is very good, and which I think will meet your criteria. They're still in business, and I've had occasional feedback since then from other travellers saying they were very happy with their services. I believe they also have an annex, somewhat isolated, on Perhentian Kecil too. I suggest you visit their website and write to them for more information:

      To learn more about Perhentian Besar and Watercolours, all the posts about my 2009 trip are here:
      -> http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/voyage-borneo-malaisie-indonesie-2009/

      Good preparations !!!