The Perhentian Islands (pronounced Perhen-TEE-AHN, not Perhen-SHEN) lay approximately 10 nautical miles (19 km) offshore the coast of northeastern Malaysia in the state of Terengganu, approximately 40 miles (64 km) south of the Thai border. The name Perhentian means “stopping point” in Malay. This is because the islands became a staging point used by traders traveling from Malaysia to Bangkok.
The two main islands are Perhentian Besar (“Big Perhentian”) and Perhentian Kecil Island (“Small Perhentian”). Kecil attracts more travellers as it has cheaper accommodation, while Besar is a little more expensive and caters more to families and those who want to avoid the backpacker party scene.
The small, uninhabited islands of Susu Dara, Seringgi and Rawa lie off Kecil. All the islands belong to a protected marine park, which means that fishing, collecting coral and littering are strictly prohibited, although in practice litter is one of the major problems that face the islands.