First swim with turtles

Snorkelling with turtles right off the beach on the Perhentian Islands

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Pulau Perhentian Besar , Big Island

Our 10 days in Perhentian Islands Malaysia was such an amazing contrast from our busy schedule of the many thing to see and do in China. Its low season now as the monsoon hit these islands mid October and most hotels and restaurants close until after Chinese New Year in February.

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Snorkelling off the beach on Long beach, Perhentian islands

The feeling of having nowhere to go and nothing to do…except for swim, snorkel and do some school work was simply amazing. We had opted for a slightly more expensive hotel with pool on the big island to allow us all to recover from our intense time in China and this worked really well. We loved the cheap and amazing food, the soft sand between our toes, crystal clear water and some great animal encounters on these quiet and remote Islands.

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Snorkeling taxi on Long beach, Perhentian islands
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Snorkeling taxi on Long beach, Perhentian islands

10 different beaches dotted around the 2 islands all have a slightly different offering in terms of swimming, snorkelling and food. There are no roads here so boat taxi’s on every beach that can take you from one island to the next or simply to another beach. We loved the Perhentian Island Resort beach RIP the best as it was great for swimming and snorkelling directly off the beach. We also enjoyed the 30 min jungle trek to get here from Arwana resort on the other side of the island where we were staying.

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Southern beach on Big Island Perhentian Islands Malaysia
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Arwana resort on Big Island Perhentian Islands Malaysia

The snorkelling here is so accessible and truly spectacular. We saw all sorts of fish, big and small and even had a swim with wild giant green turtles in Turtle bay.

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Having a break from Snorkelling on Big Island Perhentian Islands Malaysia
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Ingrid spots a big leatherback turtle while snorkelling on Big Island Perhentian Islands Malaysia

Unfortunately great crowds of Malay tourist with varying swimming ability and knowledge of the coral reef, meant some areas were really crowded with people standing and sitting on the coral.

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Our favourite lunch spot on the southern beach, Pehentian Islands

We were pleased with the change of food and menus in China to the Malay cuisine and even more so when we discovered how cheap it can be, once you are out of the mani hotels and resorts. Small beach cafes offer chicken, fish, prawns, squid, fried rice and other local delicacies such as Nasi Goreng and Tom Yam soup. A typical dinner/lunch for 4 cost us around £15.

Good to know about Perhentian Islands

All payment are made in cash and no ATMs are valuable on the island so bring all the cash you need. You can get money from the main hotels if you need to but it is expensive to do.

Food in the resorts is expensive and there is only a tiny selection of things, food and snacks to buy in a couple of shops across the 2 islands. You are better off bringing the things you need with you from the main land

Malaysia is a Muslim country and many Malay tourists are on these islands. Most men and women bath in the pool and sea fully clothed, so its good to be aware and respectful.

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Chilling by the pool which is full of fully dressed Malay tourists

Wifi is very poor overall on the islands so prepare to disconnect and enjoy the peace and quiet of doing nothing.

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3 thoughts on “First swim with turtles”

  1. This looks amazing! One of your posts popped up on my Facebook page and I have just lost an hour looking through your blog! I have had several big trips abroad and been to many of the places you have….but seeing the Perhentian Islands has really got me reminiscing…I was on Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil in 2001 and it was the first beautiful island I had ever been to. No hotels, no electricity most of the time, wifi! Anyway, just lovely seeing you were there and I will now be looking up your blog and living vicariously! I’ve not yet made it up to London with Milo, I can’t imagine going abroad ever again!!! Happy New Year! Katy (Miss Lavender!)

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    1. Wow, Soo good to get this message from you! How is Milo, hope the colic got better and you managed to get some sleep. Scott was so happy to her we had a message from you and he still thinks of you as his best teacher ever. So far Perhentian islands still stands at the top of our list of places visited so far. Its soo beautiful and still very peaceful. Glad you enjoyed reading the blog. Our time in Ais is coming to an end in a couple of weeks and then our 6m South American adventure begins. Hope you will enjoy following that too! All the best to you and your family. Kristina, Paul, Scott and Ingrid

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