If you’re traveling to/from the GORGEOUS Perhentian Islands in Malaysia, then you are certain to stop at Kuala Besut, the port town leading you to this tropical paradise. My advice, get out fast!
There is NOTHING to do in Kuala Besut. It’s a jump off point for the Perhentian Islands and connecting you to your next destination, that’s it.
So how did I end up spending 2 nights there? I have no idea.
I Needed Wifi (and air con)
While I was in the Perhentian Islands, I broke my recently purchased action camera and instead of relaxing on the islands, I spent 4 days frantically worrying about how to get it back to Langkawi to be replaced. Since the wifi wasn’t strong on the Perhentian Islands, getting the issue resolved was nearly impossible.
I knew if I could get back to the mainland and connect to wifi, I could figure out how to get the camera back to Langkawi without me having to travel across the country along with it. I hoped.
So when I made it back to Kuala Besut, my plan was to camp out for a night in a place with wifi and air conditioning, two things which I desperately needed.
I found salvation at Samudera Hotel for 80rm ($20 USD) per night which could be split between 4 people. I had a friend with me so we shared the room!
Lily and I immediately relished in the amazing air conditioning. We were so hot on Perhentian Kecil and both of us wanted a relaxing shower, some cool a/c, and some Netflix time.
Things To Do In Kuala Besut
While in Kuala Besut, we got out laundry done, checked out a few restaurants, and planned the next destinations for our travels. She was headed to Kuala Lumpur, I decided to venture to the Cameron Highlands.
- Restaurants: La Wood, April’s Cafe
- Next Destinations: Langkawi, Penang, Cameron Highlands, Taman Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Redang Island, Kapas Island, Tiomen Islands, and so much more! Virtually anywhere!
How Did I End Up With A 2nd Night Booked Here?
We arrived in the early afternoon and collapsed on the beds. By the time we woke up and started getting things done, I knew I wouldn’t be ready to leave in the morning. I hadn’t sent the camera back to Langkawi and I definitely hadn’t picked a next destination.
It took 2 trips to the post office to realize that my camera wasn’t getting sent out. The first was a 15 minute walk (each way) Friday afternoon in the insane heat where I learned that the post is closed on Fridays. Fun.
I tried again Saturday morning only to learn that the post is closed on the first Saturday of every month. Super fun.
I was going to try again Sunday morning before I left, but I knew there wouldn’t be enough time for me to get there and back and pack and eat breakfast and get to my bus by 9:30am.
The camera came with me to the next destination.
Perhentian Islands to ???
If you’re planning on leaving the Perhentians Islands and traveling the same day out of Kuala Besut, check www.easybook.com for bus times. Buses to the Cameron Highlands and Taman Negara leave in the morning at 10am so you need the first boat off the Perhentian Islands (8am). If you’re headed to Kuala Lumpur, there are a handful of bus options, including an overnight bus so you can leave the islands on any boat (8am, noon, 4pm).
Prepare for long bus rides
The bus rides from Kuala Besut can be all day (or night) long on bumpy roads and with infrequent bathroom and food breaks. Bring some snacks and be respectful of the driver’s rules. I had a driver go CRAZY on me because it was Ramadan and he was transporting two tourists who were eating during the day (which they were allowed to do since they aren’t Muslim). He took their passports and reported them to the embassy. Yikes!