Malaysia’s coral-fringed Perhentian Island reopens to tourists

About 1,500 tourists visited Perhentian Island in the first three days of opening. Source: Shutterstock

MALAYSIA’S pristine Perhentian Island, which was closed off to visitors since Nov 1 last year, has reopened to visitors last Friday.

Azmi Ab Rani, the Marine office head of Kuala Besut, the township near the resort island, said the reopening came earlier this year, ahead of the usual March openings in previous years due to high demand from tourists.

He said the Chinese New Year festive season prompted the authorities to encourage speedboat, accommodation and recreation providers to operate.

Perhentian’s early operation is also due to good weather over several days prior to the opening, allowing visitors to obtain permits to enter the area, Azmi said.

He said within the three days of the long holiday which began on Friday, about 1,500 tourists were recorded on the island.

Swim up close to exotic marine life and corals in Perhentian Island. Pic: movingdot

“The first day recorded the highest number of tourists – 900 people and starting Monday and Tuesday they started to leave the island,” he told Sinar Harian.

Perhentian is touted as one of the best diving and snorkeling locations in the world as its reefs and crystal blue and shimmering green waters are rich in coral and marine life.

However, the timeframe in which the island is open to visitors limited to between the months of March until late October due to the eastern monsoon.

During off-peak season, the seas tend to be rough and choppy while the island experiences torrential rain and occasional storms, making swimming an extremely dangerous activity.