Malaysia Scuba Diving, at the stunning Perhentian Islands & Lang Tengah
Terengganu is formidable for its rustic charm, quaint fishing villages and picturesque offshore islands. Located in Terengganu are Pulau Perhentian (Perhentian Island) and Pulau Lang Tengah (Lang Tengah). Both islands are world-famous scuba-diving and snorkelling destinations that cater for all spectrums of travellers’ budgets. The Perhentian Islands are comprised of two main islands, Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil, while Lang Tengah is a nearby island that shares similar natural beauty within its lush rainforests and pristine sandy beaches along their coastline. Gifted with multiple dive sites and first-class underwater scenery, divers from around the world will be ecstatic by the aquatic ecosystem of these islands.
How to get there:
The recommended route to Perhentian Islands:
- Fly to Kota Bharu from either Kuala Lumpur Airport, Penang (Georgetown) or Singapore.
- Catch a bus to Kuala Besut Jetty via Seven Seas Holiday from Kota Bharu Airport (1 hour).
- Catch a boat from Kuala Besut Jetty via Seven Seas Holiday to the Perhentian Islands (45 minutes).
The recommended route to Lang Tengah:
- Fly to Kuala Terengganu Airport (Sultan Mahmud Airport) from Kuala Lumpur Airport (1 hour).
- Catch a bus to Merang Jetty via Mara Liner MyBAS from Kuala Terengganu Airport (25 minutes).
- Catch a boat from Merang Jetty to Lang Tengah (1 hour).
Best time to visit:
The Perhentian Islands and Lang Tengah are open from early March to mid-October, with April to September being the best time to visit because of the dry season. The peak season is between July – September, when water clarity is at its best for divers, however, tourist crowds and accommodation costs are at their peak.
The Perhentian Islands and Lang Tengah are closed during the monsoon season from mid-October to the end of February, with limited accessibility to the island and closure of resorts and dive centres.
Three distinct islands:
Pulau Perhentian Kecil is the smallest island that boasts a vibrant nightlife and cheaper accommodation more suited for backpackers. On the contrary, Pulau Perhentian Besar is the largest island that offers a quiet ambience with restaurants and luxury accommodation better suited for honeymooners and families. Must-do attractions include island-hopping, hiking, snorkelling, diving and banana boating on either island.
Lang Tengah is a charming secluded island with only three resorts and few activities for visitors. The island appeals mostly to diving and snorkelling enthusiasts looking for a remote getaway. However, besides the daily snorkelling and diving trips, you can do some light hiking or kayaking, or you may be lucky enough to witness the “Blue Tears,” where the blue bioluminescence of ostracods illuminates the shore.
The Diving Wow Factor:
The Perhentian Islands are a dream for divers, with sparkling clear blue waters and about 20 dive sites near one another. There are two shipwreck diving locations: Sugar Wreck and the Vietnamese Wreck. To the north of Perhentian Kecil is D’Lagoon, where divers can blissfully drift dive amongst the coral floor and spot green turtles, parrotfish, angelfish, black-spotted snappers and even rare sightings of manta rays. At Tokong Laut, divers can dive around a pinnacle surrounded by scorpionfish, turtles, bamboo sharks and explore a labyrinth of tunnels and small caves.
Located at the west end of Perhentian Besar is Tanjung Besi or Iron Cape, home to staghorn corals, giant groupers, parrotfish and large moray eels peeking between coral crevices. For those bold enough to dive at night, you can scuba dive under the stars at the north end of Perhentian Kecil’s Long Beach where blue-spotted stingrays, cuttlefish and plenty of reef fish can be found.
Lang Tengah is one of Terengganu’s best-kept secrets, with crystal clear waters and about 15 dive sites around the island. Stop over at Karang Nibong, House Reefs and Yellow Reefs to spot schools of snappers, fusiliers, rabbitfish, blacktip, white tip, leopard and bamboo sharks. Between April to August you may even spot the many hawksbill or green turtles nesting along the coastline.
So, whether you want to dive, snorkel or simply relax within a tropical resort, the Perhentian Islands or Lang Tengah are one of the many fantastic and picturesque islands of Malaysia.
To learn more about our previous articles on Malaysia, click here.