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Perhentians, Malaysia


Perhentian (Malay for 'terminal') is the final frontier of the Malaysian territorial jurisdiction. It is actually a group of islands (or to be more precise, a pair of islands: Kuala Besar and Kuala Kecil, Big Island and Small) off the northeastern coast of the Malayan peninsula, and technically part of the eastern state of Terengganu.


Reaching here is fairly simple by bus or road or train, and eventually by boat to the islands per se, and the people are ever so friendly to help out in case you get into difficulties. The islands have luxury resorts or home stays depending on individual preference, but another option would be to stay on the mainland at Kuala Besut, and take day trips to the islands for sightseeing, or water sports such as scuba and snorkeling.


The waters are clear and rich in marine life but mass tourism now threatens the bountiful fish and corals, as even the locals seem to have scant respect for them, and watching them 'walk' on the reefs was painful to say the least!

At Kuala Besut, you could spend an entire day hiking up Bukit Keluang and then chill by the adjoining beach, where there are beautiful views and plenty of street food stalls. A day or two could be reserved for paragliding, though this is entirely dependent on the winds, and you could end up wasting precious time and money booking a flight when it cannot happen owing to poor weather.


The rest of the excursion should certainly be spent just soaking up the lovely village ambience, cycling around, and sampling the traditional flavours.


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