I recently posted some photos of my travels to the Perhentian Islands. I also asked if anyone wanted to see a blog post on how I traveled there on a ridiculously low budget and the votes were 100%!
Firstly, it wasn’t just these beautiful Malaysian islands I went to on a budget but Singapore, Thailand and main land Malaysia.
Firstly I want to give you some tips on how to do this. Then I will give details on the trip in particular and how you can book!
This relates to my trip around Asia but we have done this around Mexico as well!! I have traveled to Mexico time and time again as a child into my 20s and for at least 5 weeks at a time. I learnt these tips of my parents who had to be savy when travelling for so long with me in tow. Also they got sticky feet a lot and so we spent a good 3 weeks out of the 5 travelling around the country taking internal flights and 11 hour long train trips! May not seem fun, but I have have experienced things as a child most pay thousands for so I have been very blessed and most of these adventures were possible using the tips below!
It can be a bit more faffy especially if you have kids! But I know people who do it and It can be done! Book everything separately. This includes flights there, (I flew to Singapore with one stop off in Doha. The first flight was with British Airways and the second with Air India!) The flight home was via Delhi and I flew with Singapore Airlines and then flew home on another airline which I can’t remember! The total cost was just over £500 return!
Once you get there you can travel within Asia at a cheap cost. I flew between Thai islands, Singapore, and within Malaysia on some flights that cost as little as £20 ( Bangkok to Koh Phi Phi!) That was with Air Asia, Tiger Air, Jetstar and Lion Air!
Do your research
This is obvious I know but make sure you research companies. Often there is cheaper travel like Tuk Tuk and buses. Have a look at online time tables etc before you get there. Taxi is always available but can be slightly more costly. Also if you do go on Tuk Tuk, you will need to travel quite light! I highly recommend going to Mamalina aka Emma Ross’s blog who I have written for before, for tips on more off beat travel with kids and how to pack! We have not done it yet but plan to once we have done our boring grown up stuff and brought our new house!
Where to Stay
So this I did plan before hand, though in Malaysia I had a booked a not so nice hostel and spent one day walking about until I found a decent one! But it wasn’t hard. Back then there was no Air BnB like now but it is something that so many people do and have positive experience off. Worth checking out online and often they can help advise on transports and transfers.
This beach hut was also booked separately and depending on where you go/ country will depend on cost. We got this beautiful beach hut in Koh Samui, Thailand for around £40 the night which we split between 2 of us!
Most exotic countries will have some amazing local food available and it is often far cheaper and much better. A good tip is look at places where there are a lot of locals eating. This is a good sign it is decent and safe. It can be far more exiting than all inclusive and much more of an experience with the true taste of the area.
Ok…so now to Perhentian Islands!
I based myself with one of my dearest friends in Singapore (oh another tip…see if you know anyone where you are going or friend of friends!) He let me keep my larger suitcase there and I took a back pack to travel. We always would end up back in Singapore for a day or 2 before our next destination which helped. On our trip back from Thailand, he had to go back to work and I was not sure where to go. I knew I wanted to catch the night train from Singapore to Malaysia and visit Kuala Lumpur but I had such a bug for the sand and sea I fancied going to another beach somewhere. This is when my friend Kai recommended these Islands. They are in the north of Malaysia and only accessible by boat.
There are 2 main islands, Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. Besar is where I went and slightly more accommodation there. Kecil is also beautiful but smaller. There are 5 more islands around it but they are uninhabited. However I did go one to snorkel and dive. There is heavy monsoon rain from November to February so it is generally closed to public then.
The great thing is that there is accommodation for all budgets. Where as the neighbouring island of Redang is almost all large resorts, more overpopulated with tourists and more expensive.
I was about 4 weeks into my travels and my budget was starting to get a bit thin. I still had other countries to travel too so anything I did needed to be budget!
This is when I was told about Perhentian and the website http://pulaupulau.com
Prices are all in Malaysian Ringet. We have done this in Mexico finding internal Mexican holiday packages all in priced in Pesos. It works out so much cheaper.
I got a full board package at Coral Bay, for 3 nights and 2 days ( there are other options for other places on the island which could even be nicer. I do not know as I have not been but where I went was beautiful)
It costs around RM860 (£160) You can add on extra days for which includes breakfast lunch and dinner for £28 per day!
This package is shown below and includes all transfers/flights, 3 meals for all 3 days, snorkelling, and free beach, air con, swimming and leisure time all for a whopping £160pp!
I added an extension 3 days on as for those prices including food I couldn’t resist it!
At night swimming is magical due to the bio illuminance and the sky is like someone sprinkled glitter on!
This jetty is one I jumped off at night and the water lit up with the most incredible bio illuminance.
Another thing that is very cheap is the room/beach service. I did order a lot of banana and coconut shakes (alcohol is not permitted there) plus other snacks and food and was very worried about my bill!! I did this daily and was shocked to find after a week it only cost 40 pounds!!
This is definitely a trip that you can do with children and the resort is child friendly and 2 of the diving instructors lived there in a beach hut with they 2 year old son!
Ofcourse it is added work going off the beaten track to some but I feel it is well worth it. You can get such an incredible exotic holiday and the fraction of the price than a package. You may have to be more open minded, flexible with the kids and of course pack light where you can.
My parents did this around Mexico and often booked a “Posada”. I always thought a posada was a party, which it sort of is, but it is a party about the pilgrimage Mary and Joseph made to find a place to stay. So a lot of hostels are called posadas. Check out reviews on line but they are nearly always family friendly, clean and incredibly warm and welcoming.
There are many places around the world that offer similar. Do your research and again there is Air BnB which is a relatively new thing for me but one we wish to try out! Villa hire is also available as well as house hire which can be cheaper.
I do hope you enjoyed this read and it has inspired you to take the plunge and book something a bit more “out there’!