Updated: Oct 20, 2020
As soon as travel restrictions were lifted in Malaysia, we felt an itch to get to the beach :) And there could be no better place than Perhentian to satisfy the craving for the sun and the sea. Perhentian situated in the south china sea is an island off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia (if this confuses you, fetch a map!) Perhentian is hugely popular among back-packers and the diving community - but its works equally well for those who prefer a bit of luxury and leisure
Accommodation choices in Perhentian are plenty with most of them located on the long beach, but we chose Alunan - which is a boutique resort located almost all by itself (except for a not so good looking resort next door;) It turned out to be a great choice as the place benefits hugely from a very dedicated team of service staff.
There a few different ways to get to Perhentian , you cannot fly directly to the island, however you can take a flight to K.Terranganu from where it is a an hour and half's drive to the Besut Jetty and then a boat ride of roughly 30mins or more should get you to your resort. The other option is to drive - roads in Malaysia are generally very good and long drives are easy to do with rest stops located quite conveniently at the highways. We opted for the road trip and decided to break journey and stay a night at Kerteh, which is roughly in the midpoint in the journey between KL and Perhentian. We stayed at a budget motel called Singgah Kerteh. Expect basic but clean accommodation.
For our boat trip, we arranged a private boat through the resort but public boats are available too. The rooms at Alunan are located mostly at upper levels that require a fairly strenuous climb, so this may not be a good option if have disabled/elderly guests in your group. Rooms are basic but they all have a private terrace located above with a hammock and deck chairs. Alunan does not give out bottled water, instead they give you a bottles as part of the welcome kit and you fill up at their water stations - you do need to return the bottles when you check-out!
Alunan has a great and friendly experiences/activities team and their prices are friendly too. On our first full day, we took a private snorkeling trip to 3 points - Coral/Fish Garden, Turtle point and Shark point . We were meant to do another snorkeling trip but unfortunately this got cancelled due to bad weather. You can also snorkel right at the door step of the resort in what they call the Alunan spot - here is where we spotted clown fish aka Nemo. The resort also runs an coral adoption project - corals adopted (and paid for) by guests are then planted at the Alunan spot.