More about Perhentian Tuna Bay Island Resort
tuna bay review
Was at Tuna Bay for 11 days and had a great time.
1) service was excellent and everyone was very friendly. Can't say much about the other places we went to for lunch and accomodation inquiries. Definetly different kind of management going on there.
2) rooms were very nice and clean. Felt like a hotel room with airconditioning and warm showers which were great. Also had a small safety box in room which was handy (although its best to sign all the meals to your room so you don't have to carry any cash with you around).
3) the menu was enough and the food was good. Prices also reasonable. We tried coral island resort but found them poorly organised with bad service. Perhentian Island resort has a nice buffet lunch/dinner which is worth considering.
4) has its own clear water beach and corals infront of resort. Note that a number of other resorts/accomodation is using the floating jetty infront of Tuna Bay and there is also contruction of a big jetty next door which is noisy and an eyesore at times.
1) we booked for 7 nights initially and when we arrived we were told that they only had 5 nights. Then after some time they told us it was ok for 7 nights. Had problems again with book extra nights.
2) noisy contruction next door.
3) rooms have thinish walls. If you are after some privacy then I suggest going to other single unit huts. For families its great as the rooms have interconnecting doors.
1) careful of broken glass along beach. We saw a few but not too much of a worry.
2) definetly go on the snorkel tour to see the sharks and sting rays. But make sure you hire your snorkel and fins next door at ABC chalets, its half price compared to Tuna Bay! Oh, and you can change your beach and room towels as many times as you want for no charge.
3) the best beach on the island is infront of peherentian island resort. Its big and has beautiful clear water. Forget about the beach infront of Tuna Bay, just go there in the morning and come back in the afternoon. Takes about 20 minutes walk. Or you can taxi boat it for 5 ringgets. There is also a large coral section for snorkelling next to peherntian island which is fantastic.
4) we stayed at the jungle huts and found them very good. Infront of the gargen huts there is a small but noisy water pump or something and its quite annoyiing if you want to sit outside and read on the veranda. So if you want to save some money i suggest you go for the jungle hut. The beach hut is nice so if you are loaded, go for that option, otherwise jungle hut is fine. We also checked out all the accomodation nearby and found them not so good. Cocohut was ordinary and has a bad beach. Abdul is ok for its price though. ABC chalets is more like backpackers. Coral island is NOT so good. But its next to the great beach at peherntian island resort. Pehrentian has nice big rooms and great beach. But as always, you get what you pay for.
overall, i would certainly recommend tuna bay resort. Its very very well run, compared to others on the island.
oh and they have internet for 12 ringgets/ 30 minutes, and also a nice bar with cable tv for the sports.
Fantastic family holiday spot
I'll start by saying first impressions were not 'wow'...there is a large jetty being contstructed in the middle of the beach by the government (Who should know better! - they should take the example of low impact development from Tuna Bay!).....and there was a large industrial barge anchored off the jetty to ruin the vista. Having read previous reviews here about noise from the construction we were a bit worried.
After being there for a day, and trepidation had gone......most of the heavy construction work seems to have been completed, and this is a FANTASTIC place...the only negatives were things that the resort has no control over.
Yes, there is coral rubble on the beach......folks - this is what makes white coral sand, like the rest of the beach....get over it! It's what you get when you have a reef so close to the beach.
Yes, the reef off the beach has a lot of dead coral, but there's also an amazing diversity of fish, and it is a fantastic place to introduce kids to snorkelling. We found at least 4 'Nemo' families within 10m of the beach - 1 with 8 fish in a very large anemone. Unfortunately the resort doesn't give out any information about preserving the reef - folks DON'T TREAD ON THE CORAL - we saw people doing this while we were there. Those big 'rocks' in the middle of the reef are NOT rocks - they are also coral. Standing on them KILLS THEM. As it is in the interest of the resort to preserve this reef, I think a pamphlet given to all visitors describibg how to best look after the reef would be a worthwhile investment.
We spent a couple of days getting our kids (4 and 6 years) confident with snorkelling here, then headed off in a water taxi and snorkelled with huge turtles and reef sharks. An amazing experience for all! We spent many hours at the beach, hired kayaks and all had great fun.
We had 2 families, and we both booked garden view family chalets. These are excellent - not flashy, but clean and comfortable. All A/C units and fans worked and were quiet. Bathrooms were very clean and showers had good pressure and hot water. Even without the beach view, you are only a few paces away. Service was excellent as was the food - while prices were probably twice what you would pay on the mainland, they were still very reasonable (main courses start at RM8 and go up to about RM35 for some of the flashy BBQ options). A nice touch was the gardener coming around with a ladder, picking and trimming coconuts and handing them to us with a straw for drinking.
All in all a fantastic experience - We will be back!
The only downside with the resort is that it’s removed from other well established resorts. So when it’s dark you are pretty much confined to eating at the Tuna Bay restaurant - every night. ** All the taxi boats stop working when the sunsets. No one told us this critical piece of information. We were on the otherside of the island, and no one would take us back to Tuna Bay. We ended up meeting "mama" from Mama’s Chalet and Restaurant – where mama arranged for someone to take us back after dinner. We had a delicious fish BBQ dinner and then got a speedboat ride back to our resort in pitch darkness - guided only by a flashlight and the stars! Dangerous and memorable.
Stayed at unit #4 –middle beach front bungalow for 4 days. It was nice to watch the sunset (private porch w/reclining chairs and large sliding glass door if you want to admire from your bed). The property is well maintained and very safe (we accidentally left our camera outside one night on our private porch- thankfully it was still there in the morning).
The low scale tourist development (no luxury high rises) helps reduce the environmental impact and thus amazing marine life - literally right in front of your resort! I literally swam right into a giant grouper and got to swim briefly with the shy turtles. I've been to the Great Barrier Reef and Cebu - and I have to say that I like the Perhentian Islands better. I would visit again. Tuna Bay is a great, well managed resort - but if you want to be able to visit other resorts/restaurants at night - then I would recommend elsewhere.
Gorgous Islands, Average Resort
When reading other reviews about this resort I can't help thinking some of them are reviews of the Perhentian Islands themselves, not actually the resort.
Therefore let me just say that the Perhantian Islands are amazing and I'd strongly recommend them to anyone looking for a quiet week in the sun with extraordinary natural beauty everywhere you look.
Tuna Bay however is a little more hit and miss, the transport to and from KB airport is superb and very well organised, the speedboat crossing is a little white knuckle especially if the boat you're on is also carrying supplies that come flying at you from every angle whenever the boat breaks into a wave (which is a lot!) but is definitley an experiance I'd recommend (if you're travelling with small children forget the speedboat!!)
The rooms are very basic but clean,comfotable and have a handy safe, we had a garden view chalet which was pleasant enough. The walls are thin though, so if you're next to newly-weds or a very loud Japanese family (like we were on our last night) bring ear plugs!
One thing that Tuna Bay should splash out on is little fridges in the room, it's a real pain not having one and the other major resort (Perhentian Isle Resort) does have them in their rooms.
The staff again are hit and miss, they're all very polite but will not offer you any information at all, indeed trying to get some advice from them on boat trips etc. is like pulling teeth. Do persist though as you'll get there in the end. Jimmy stands out as a top guy who is the exception to the rule and was always really helpful.
Two things that took us by surprise were how many young children were there, it became a bit annoying when your trying to chill out and read your book and getting sand kicked at you because someone elses kids decide to play football right in front of your lounger! Also the Jellyfish, there are jellyfish around the majority of the beaches and don't let anyone tell you different, this should not put you off but keep an eye out for them when your snorkelling.
The food in the resort is ok, nothing special. The best food we had was on the Restaurant on stilts (forget the name) about 30 yards along from Tuna Bay, they do a great seafood bbq every night and the wine is 70 MR a bottle compared to 140 MR at Tuna Bay.
Also Mamas Place is good for food but the service is a liitle surly and don't even think about using the toilet.
The beach at Tuna Bay is nice, some people complained about the broken coral on the beach which I guess isn't the most comfortable thing to walk on but is the natural result of having a coral reef about 10 feet from the beach. The snorkelling here is good but by far the best beach and snorkelling is to be had at the Perhentian Island resort which is a short water taxi ride away. This beach is your white sand picture postcard beach and is truly beautiful.
If you do venture out on a water taxi it's double time after 8pm and they stop at midnight. There's a shop behind the resort (D'Ayumni House?) which is a good place to get a taxi and hire your mask and flippers from (much cheaper then Tuna Bay's own hire). The water taxi guys on the front will try it on with you, we were quoted 12 MR each for one trip, went around the corner and got it for 5MR each.
Overall Tuna Bay is good but don't go expecting a luxury resort because this isn't one. Whether that's a good thing or not is down to what you want out of your holiday I guess. If we went again we would probably look at the Perhentian Island resort first purely because of the superb beach and the fridges in the room, but would not be dissapointed if we ended up back at Tuna Bay.
Watch out - the fish bite!
My husband and I have just returned from 8 nights at Tuna Bay. I was surprised at how stress free it was to get to the resort. We got an early flight with air asia from KL to Kota Bharu (about 80 ringit per person return), then taxi to Kuala besut (67 ringit) and finally the fast and bumpy ferry to the resort (60 ringit per person return). Easy.
We stayed in a delux garden view chalet. The bedroom was nicely decorated in creams and browns, it would have been better if it had been bigger but it didn't feel too small for the 2 of us. It had a double bed and a singe bed. There was a safe deposit box which was useful. The bathroom was very basic but the shower was hot and it seemed clean. Not enough towels though and they didn't change the bedding at all during the 8 nights that we were there (though they did remake the beds every day).
The cafe/ restaurant is pleasant, a good place to chill out and they do take away drinks as well. There was a very good choice of food on the menu and breakfast was quite good with a choice of hot foods, melon, cereals, toast and an egg station.
Eg. of prices, Nasi goreng = 8 ringit, milo and hot tea = 3 ringit, sweet and sour chicken with rice = 12 ringit.
I didn't find the staff very friendly though they weren't rude.
The beach is pretty, it would be beautiful but the new pier that is being constructed has spoilt it slightly. The fish are prolific - but they bite! plus there are jelly fish so beware! The water is so clear you can see the fish even without a snorkel. It is easy to get water taxis to the different bays around the islands, and there are also various trails through the jungle to get you from one bay to another. The best beach by far is at Perhentian Island Resort (stunning, one of the most beautiful beaches in Malaysia), we spent a couple of days on the beach there - water taxi = 5 ringit per person from tuna bay.
So I would recommend this resort but it is not idylic because of the new pier.
Great place, useless staff (and don't go for the package deal)
I thoroughly recommend staying at Tuna Bay. It's one of the islands' best resorts, reasonably stylish, and very clean place.
If you can, I recommend a sea-view cottage as they have a lovely little terrace to sit and have a beer in the evening. However, if you get one of the other chalets, it's no problem - you won't be spending much time there (awake) anyway.
The only major issue that Tuna Bay has is that the staff - with the exception of the resort general manager - is totally useless. They are incapable of individual thought and will fail to help you in any way. It's not that they don't want to, but they just seem to have been trained only to react to sepcific scenarios, and not to think. This is often quite frustrating. Don't ask open questions - keep it specific, and ask everything as they won't think of giving you follow up information (e.g. "oh, and if you're going to the rainforest, I recommend you take mosquito repellant").
Also, don't go for the package. We thought you'd get nice seafood etc, but actually it's (decent) Chinese food all the time, which is not exactly what you want on a tropical island. Also, they have a bizarre rule that Package guests have to sit at the back of the restaurant and so can't enjoy the view. this is apparently because the tables at the front are too small (bollocks). And the sum of the parts is less than the package price, so if you do room only and buy all the package stuff individually, you'll still save money.
Basic, overpriced resort
During our 6 weeks journey through Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, my wife and I stayed for 5 nights in Tuna Bay Resort.
The Perhentian Island is an amazing place to stay. Great to relax, sleep, snorkel and dive. Don't expect any nightlife and bars!
We booked the resort in advance, including transport from Kota Bahru Airport (60 RM per person for return ticket) and speedboat transfer (60 RM per person for return ticket). They also made reservation with diving school next door (Seahorse). Good communication with Jimmy, the transfer was efficient and well organized. The taxi's from Kota Bahru charge 57 RM single way, so if you travel with more than 2 persons you could consider looking for a cab on arrival. From the central pier there are several speedboats leaving, they also charge 60 RM for return ticket.
The hotel itself was rather dissapointing after reading some great (suspicious) reviews here at tripadvisor. Compared to the luxurious - similar prices - RESORTS in Vietnam and Thailand Tuna Bay Resor" was too basic (or too expensive). The room are clean, but simple and small. The badroom has an old curtain instead of a shower box, and the airconditioning in the room was very weak. Also there are no facilities besides the towel service. No swimming pool, the wooden beachchair don't have any covers, not very comfortable. We ended up paying 10$ per person for a small air-bed in a shop next door.
The service was good, people were very friendly. The restaurant has a great choice, for reasonable prices. The breakfast is simple though, no fresh bread, ham, cheese etc. Be prepared for lots of omelets :)
Overall it was not bad, but compared to the other 40 - 60 $ hotels and resorts we stayed in, Tuna Bay Resort was rather dissapointing. I would try another resort if I would come back.
Loved the sea view
Tuna Bay Island Resort is a lovely small resort consisting of 46 rooms in chalets facing the beach, garden or jungle. The location is very nice on a beautiful beach with its own small reef just a couple of meters off shore, which is perfect even for those who might not be very confident swimmers/snorkelers. The sea is crystal clear and you will see fishes even without a mask. The best view is, however, a little spoiled because of the new pier that is being built in front of the Marine Park centre. The hotel restaurant is very good and affordable and actually quite atmospheric at night. You can also book all kinds of excursions with the hotel for example snorkelling trips, but these can be arranged cheaper with the local operators ( I recommend booking with Abdul's Chalet which is close by). We booked our transfers to/from Kota Bharu airport with the resort and everything was arranged as agreed, very hassle free.
Staff is nice and friendly, some with better English skills than others. There was this one nice man in particular (unfortunately I didn’t catch his name) , a kind of a handy-man, who repairs beach chairs and everything else that needs maintenance but also looks for animals and comes to tell you if he’s spotted monkeys etc. Don’t know if he is the jungle guide too.
Our sea view room was basic but clean. Air-conditioning was efficient, even too efficient, so that we used only the fan at night. No TV or fridge. The missing of a TV was not a problem, but a small fridge would have been nice. Bathroom was OK and had a fan too, which kept the bathroom nicely cool. Shower wasn’t exactly powerful but there was enough warm water and the water temperature was surprisingly even. Towels are the only negative thing as some of the towels were very thin and had stains.
The best thing was about Tuna Bay was absolutely the sea view. The sea view chalets are just a couple of meters from the waters edge and if you don’t want to laze around on the beach, you can enjoy the view from your own terrace, which has bamboo furniture. Or you can just lie on your bed and admire the sea from the comfort of your air-conditioned room. Blissful.
Terrible staff, lovely island
Here I was travelling with my 8 month old baby, my 4 year old daughter, husband and a bunch of friends hoping to enjoy a wonderful holiday but the resort staff just don't cut it. Most of them had long faces, they do not greet the customers or even smile and God help you if you dare go ask for hot water from the restaurant. You will probably get answers like "Water just add. Not boil" and this all said in a defensive tone as if I just asked them to give me their life savings. To make matters worse when we arrived there, there was no water for more than 24 hours? I had to shower my baby using the cold water from the tap outside the chalet!! However there was one family who was very kind and even went out of their way to help us despite the killer looks given by their boss when caught giving us hot water. (Resort owned by Chinese family who perpetually carry the type of facial expression that just make you feel like slapping them). Anyway, do go to Perhentian Island as itb is beautiful and the sea and fishes wonderful but do not stay at Tuna Bay.
Beautiful island, horrible staff
Corals & fishes just right in front the resort. Makes great snorkelling experience. Feeding the fishes was great fun.
Beach was clean with the exception of some small bits of broken styrofoam, plastic bottles, candy wrappers.
Chalets were basic and sufficiently clean.
Scuba diving with the great folks at UniversalDiver- awesome!
Canoeing for the adventurous - we discovered a great resort at the far end of the island where turtles landing are frequent, and we are sure to check out the next trip!
Things we were expecting from the island resort and were disappointed with:
Warm welcome & friendly service - except for a few from housekeeping , we did not experience any from the others. It was bizarre that they don't even make eye contact when we speak with them or when we walk pass them. We got monosylable answers for any question we asked. Some can be rude and are unapologetic about it.
No fridge in chalet. Would be nice to have chilled drinks in the room after being in the sun.
No kettle in chalet. To get hot water from the restaurant to make milk for our kids was a horribly agonising experience. We experienced immense reluctance from them to provide us with some every time we needed to make milk. If they have the type of milk our kids drink on their menu, we at least have the option of buying from them. They do not. So for families with kids, this is an inconvenience.
We had no water supply for one full day during our stay and if you have kids, that is an unbelievably major inconvenience. Didnt help that the staff and management did nothing to soothe irritated nerves.
Things that made the island experience great:
Sany,Fez&Ozy of UniversalDiver right next door gave genuine warm and friendly welcome and of course, the diving experience with them was awesome. Teshekur larsh!
For great food, warm, friendly service and welcome, you must most definitely eat at the restaurant on stilts overlooking the sea ashort walk away. Even at the restaurant at the chalet besides the jetty being built offers a decent spread and the staff smiles. Can be a bit slow, so pre-order your meal.
Would we recommend Tuna Bay Resort to anyone: until they learn to appreciate their customers, most definitely not.