There’s no place in the world quite like this! The Perhentian Islands in Eastern Malaysia are the true definition of paradise, with clear turquoise waters and snow white sands that were unlike anything I’ve seen before.
While visiting the Perhentians on our recent trip to Malaysia, we decided to splurge and stay at BuBu Long Beach, the island’s renowned upscale accommodation. Watch the sun rise from any of the 39 sea-view rooms, relax under palm huts on the beach, or enjoy amazing cuisine in their famous restaurant – I can honestly say the most stress you’ll have at BuBu’s is deciding which cocktail to order.
As photos indicate, the beachfront view of the bay is breath-taking – you can easily spend a week just relaxing on BuBu’s sandy beach and doing nothing at all. But the hotel’s friendly staff will also gladly arrange a mix of activities for you, from snorkelling tours, diving, fishing, kayaking and sunset cruises to spa treatments or private dinners on the beach. We spent most days just reading and swimming, but one day went snorkelling and saw the most incredible mix of coral reefs and tropical fish you can imagine (including sting rays, sharks and giant turtles!)
BuBu’s Santai restaurant is known as the best on the island, and it certainly lived up to its reputation – the fresh seafood platter was so delicious we had it twice during our stay! Breakfast is also served on the deck each morning, and it included a varied mix of western and Asian options.
We loved the daily happy hour from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., in which every guest can enjoy two complimentary cocktails on the beach (I can strongly recommend the pina colada). The staff were also willing to assist with any request, whether it was carrying our hefty bags out to the boat dock or having our morning lattés ready for us at breakfast.
The BuBu chain has two locations: BuBu Long Beach (where we stayed) and BuBu Villa, which is further up the beach and has recently undergone an expansion; it features newer rooms and family suites with more modern amenities like outdoor bathrooms and private courtyards. (Note that the photos featured in this article were taken at Bubu Villa). BuBu Villa also has its own restaurant, The World Café, which does an amazing seafood barbeque that’s not to be missed. During the day, you can enjoy both hotel’s palm huts on the beach, pending whether you’d like to be up at the top of cove or in the center of it all.
If you’re planning to visit the Perhentian Islands, there are two islands to choose from: Kecil (the small island) and Besar (the big island). There’s more action – and the best beach – on Kecil, which is also where you’ll conveniently find BuBu’s resorts.
Getting to the Perhentians is about a 30 minute boat ride from Kuala Besut, which is a one hour drive from the Kota Baru airport. Best of all, the islands aren’t overly swarmed by tourists, which makes for a most authentic and chilled out experience.
Text: Lydia Parafianowicz