The crystal clear waters and brilliant white sandy beaches of the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia have for many years captured the hearts and imaginations of the backpackers and travelers who passed through. Recent years however have seen a different type of traveler coming to the Perhentian Islands, as their reputation as a premier diving destination has slowly increased amongst the scuba diving community.
In fact it would be fair to say that a large amount of the success of the Perhentian Islands as a scuba diving location should be attributed to the neighboring Thailand, and the dive resorts of Koh Tao, Phuket and Koh Samui. Large numbers of travelers who have learned to scuba dive in the larger Thai resorts often find themselves gravitating to the natural beauty of the Perhentian Islands. Looking for one last dive before the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore!
The Perhentian Islands comprise of Pulau Perhentian Kecil and Pulau Perhentian Besar, and are located approximately 20 kilometers off the coast of Malaysia. Offering what can only be described as a slice of paradise, the palm fringed beaches encircle these tropical islands, whilst the clear blue waters hide a wealth of marine and coral life below.
The scuba diving in the Perhentian Islands is of a high standard, and a wide range of dive sites has meant that the islands have become a popular destination for people looking to take a scuba diving course. There are approximately ten major dive sites which are regularly visited by the dive centers in the Perhentian Islands. Of these, Tokong Laut (Temple of the Sea) is widely acknowledged as being the best dive site on the islands. A large rocky outcrop of boulders just off the northwest coast of Perhentian Kecil offers some of the best examples of soft coral formations in the region. This carpet of stunning soft corals provides a home to a wide variety of marine life including kingfish, barracuda, nurse sharks and black tip sharks.
For fans of wreck diving, there are two excellent dive sites in the Perhentian Islands. The Sugar Wreck, a 90 meter long cargo ship in 18 m depth which sank in 2000, and the Vietnamese Wreck at 25m ,were it is still possible to dive inside the wreck itself.
If you are planning to go scuba diving in the Perhentian Islands, the best time to visit is between April to October, when both the visibility and weather are at their most favorable. November to March sees the monsoon season, when the weather becomes poor and access to and from the islands becomes limited due to the rough seas.
The Perhentian Islands offer superb scuba diving, and the shallow nature of the dive sites here make it a good choice for the novice or more inexperienced scuba diver. However what makes the islands so very special is their stunning natural beauty and undeveloped landscapes. You truly feel as though you are diving in your very own piece of paradise!