​Perhentian Islands – the fish are biting

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. Yes. A particular black fish was biting our ankles while we snorkelled over the coral. Not just at one of the beaches, but at several of the beaches we snorkelled at.

this black fish bites

This is our fourth visit to the Perhentian Islands. I won’t repeat what I wrote in previous blogs. But since our last visit two years ago it has changed a little.

  • The marine park tax has gone up a lot. You pay this just before you enter the jetty to board your boat to the islands. For foreign adults it’s RM 30, for foreign seniors (over 56) RM 15. Soak the foreigners (pun intended).

  • On the stretch of beach where we stayed on the larger island, Perhentian Besar, comprising Abduhls, Tuna Bay, Coconut Cosy etc. it was only at the latter you could buy (Tiger) beer, which was RM 11. Tonic water costs 5, and 1.5 litre bottles of water are RM 4. At Kuala Besut beer costs RM10. In Tesco, aboutRM8.
  • Some construction is going on at Ayumi, and with Tuna Bay having a larger deck.
  • While we were there it rained a little during the day, in the afternoon, but most rain was at night. Mostly it was cloudy, with occasional sunshine. At first we were disappointed, but actually it was very comfortable. We didn’t have to worry about sunburn, it wasn’t too hot outside, and yet the sea was just as warm, and snorkelling just as good. The only downside with the weather was that photos don’t look as bright. Oh, and we got drenched on the boat on the way over as we were closest to the bow because we got on last.
  • You can take a water taxi to the other island.
  • If you want to have fruit or vegetables you can go to the local village, which is almost on the tip of the smaller island, Perhentian Kecil. The village is also the start, or end, of a 3.2 Km walk between the village and Long Beach. See this blog.


  1. Never been there but it sounds a fascinating place. I’m not a good swimmer, in fact I have a fear of the sea, so I never can make proper use of some of the lovely waters I swim in. I envy you your snorkelling even if the fish were biting your anklles!

    1. It’s shallow enough near the shore to paddle or wade, and very clear. So it can still be enjoyable. But if you don’t like small boats you’d have to ensure you caught one of the bigger ones too go out to the islands.

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