Tuesday 22 March 2011

Paradise for peanuts on Malaysias Perhentian Islands

(c) Simon Bracken – Tourism Malaysia Australia
On the North Eastern Coast of Malaysia, near the Thai border, Malaysia's Perhentian Islands are gearing up for a solid season set to kick off on April 1.

Increasingly on the radar of Aussie travellers, the Perhentian Islands are emerging as a 'hot spot' for an affordable, easily accessible beach holiday less than one day travel from Australia.

The two main tourist islands are unspoilt, undeveloped and only open for tourism between April and October. Amazingly, there are no roads, no airports and no way on or off the islands except via a one hour boat ride from nearby Kota Bharu.

Remoteness is part of the appeal, along with fantastic diving and snorkelling. Swimming alongside a turtle can almost be guaranteed.

Backpackers and the budget conscious are being drawn to the smaller of the two islands, Kecil, for its affordable chalets and lively cafe-bars along the beach. Some have compared the island to neighbouring Thailand in years gone by.

Whilst Besar, the larger of the two islands, offers resorts geared toward families and scuba divers with a higher standard of accommodation and a quieter, more relaxed ambience.

Shahrin Mokhtar, director of Tourism Malaysia in Sydney says that the Perhentian Islands are an up and coming destination offering a new and attractive destination for Australians looking for value for money.

"Relatively undiscovered, the Perhentian Islands are really emerging as a popular destination amongst Australians, with a young and lively atmosphere, offering a new island paradise for travellers looking for value for money," said Shahrin.

"With AirAsia offering great value flights to Kuala Lumpur and on to Kota Bharu the destination is really starting to open up to budget conscious travellers and we expect that it will continue to grow as capacity builds."

AirAsia, the largest low-cost carrier in Asia, flies six times daily between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.  AirAsia has daily flights from Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Perth to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

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