This dive site cosist of a jumble of rocks going down to sand. The deeper rocks support many black corals and these in turn support many wing oysters.
On the sand, you can find many sea anemones, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sea stars or starfish, nudibranchs and shells, plus the occasional stingray.
Average depth is 9 metres and maximum depth is 15 metres. Underwater visibility was about 10 metres.
Terumbu Tiga or Tiger Rocks is a dive site that should not be missed and is claimed to be the best off the Perhentian islands - three large boulders jutting out of the sea mark the entry point to the site.
The shallow rocks are carpeted with leathery soft corals and purple Dendronephthya soft tree corals, while down around the 9 metres mark are good Acropora table corals, cup corals and soft tree corals.
Careful observation reveal a diverse range of macro life such as molluscs, shrimps and nudibranchs. The fish life includes barracuda, batfish, surgeonfish, lionfish, filefish, moray eels, whitecheek monocle bream, threadfin bream, razorfish, hawkfish, bumphead parrotfish, shoals of trevallies/jacks, snappers, fusiliers and parrotfish are ever present. Sea anemones, clownfish, large groupers, spotted rays, different types of angelfish, butterflyfish, wrasses, lizardfish, pufferfish, scorpionfish, gobies and spotted sweetlips are commonly seen.
A prominent feature are the numerous and colourful Dendronephthya soft corals, large white gorgonian sea fans, sea whips and black corals. The small boulders and rocks on the sandy patches are home to colourful Christmas tree worms, sea stars, cushion stars and various shells (including cowrie and volute shells). Barrel sponges covered with Alabaster sea cucumbers are most noticeable.
Due to strong nutrient-rich current, it is not uncommon to spot whitetip reef sharks and the occasional turtle.
A jumble of large boulders going down to sand. In the rocks are caves and tunnels you can swim through. The upper rocks are liberally carpeted with leathery soft corals and small Dendronephthya soft tree corals; the deeper ones are covered in black corals, gorgonian sea fans, stinging hydroids and harp corals, together with lots of sea anemones, clownfish, zoanthids, bubble corals, wing oysters and oysters. Down on the sand there are some large barrel sponges covered in Alabaster sea cucumbers, many species of sea stars, cushion stars, sea cucumbers, nudibranchs and congregations of black sea urchins. Parrotfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, rabbitfish, lizardfish, pufferfish (many varieties), lionfish, surgeonfish, unicornfish, damselfish, cardinalfish, hawkfish and stingrays may all be seen, as well as shoals of sweetlips, snappers, razorfish and fusiliers.
It is a must if you are a certified diver. If you are not, do try the discover scuba diving or get yourself certify there or before the trip.
I will highly recommended you to try diving at Tokong Laut (dive site number 18). You will get to see many nurse sharks, moray eels, scorpionfish, soft and hard corals. The underwater visibility is reasonably good but depending on season.
I will be uploading the underwater photographs and updating my sports travel tips soon. Do return and check them out...
When I first reached there, although it was nothing much it was somehow very appealing. The sand in the crystal clear water is just so soft and nice. And the aura, pristine.
The tour operators refer to the island as Peter Styvesant Island, refering to their travel adverts that showed beautiful blue sea and white sand islands.
So what we did was just jump in from the boat, do basically nothing but dipping, swimming and enjoy breathing the whole thing. Only setback in the air, the exhaust fumes from the tour boats.
Bring a book, or a dream, your favourite pen, your handphone, or a memory/memories, .... if you ain't going out to sea or out for a light jungle trek to the otherside of the island, ... there's just basically nothing much to do.
Although we stayed on Pulau Perhentian Besar, our package included boat trips to snorkelling sites, not only around this island, but also nearby islands eg. the very near neighbouring Pulau Perhentian Kecil and Pulau Redang.
Pulau Redang is further than the Perhentian Islands from the mainland and that's where you shouldn't forget to bring your camera. Before I came here, I thought I could only see beautiful scenery on TV and magazines. But then there I was, in a paradise for real! Bring your camera, bring your sexiest, sensuous outfit if you're into photo shooting. International movie makers came here for the backdrop.
We negotiated with a boatman to take our group of 8 adults and 7 children from Perhentian Island Resort Beach (Perhentian Besar) to Long Beach (Perhentian Kecil). Actually, you can see the Long beach from Perhentian Island Resort Beach. The ride takes not more than 10-15 minutes and is a nice idea to go to Long beach. Long Beach provides an opportunity to do shopping, hiking, watch sunset, and have beer on the beach. I wont say there is any vibrant night life at Long beach, but you an have a pint of beer at many restaurants there, chat with fellow travelers and Lot of these activities are not available in Perhentian Besar.
The Long beach is broader and longer than any beach at Perhentian Besar and there are more cheap food outlets available there. There are few shops where you van buy day to day use items and also buy souvenirs.
We explored Perhentian Besar starting at Tuna Bay Island Resort and snorkelled NORTH past ABC chalet and around the massive rocks resting in shallow mid-thigh deep warm tropical water (don't need a boat for this, just go on foot). Here we saw schools of clown anemone and a secretive blue spotted sting ray dozing on the sand. Search cautiously for these as we saw a few blue spotted sting rays and were glad we hadn't accidentally trodden on it.
Locals who have speed boats charged us RM25 per person plus RM 15 for hire of mask, snorkel and fins for a three hour snorkel trip. The local who took us advertised at Nia Cafe directly to the right of Tuna Bay Island Resort. We were taken to Shark Point which had the best snorkelling of the three destinations. The snorkelling area was massive. Shark Point did not disappoint because we saw, well, a shark! A black tip reef shark. A shy little thing it was. The water was beautiful and warm. There were no jelly fish here. Our last destination was Turtle Bay and we saw three turtles mating. Or perhaps the third one was just a spectator! After that we had about 30 mins left over so the local took us to a place with freezing cold fresh water where Malays were camping for a week.
Arwana Resort included a 3-hour snorkeling trip around the island. They provided the guides, the gear and the fish food too. If you're lucky you might see a sea turtle or even small reef sharks at the bottom of Shark Point! They're like 100m below and hardly ever swim near the surface where the snorkelers are so don't panic!
For any seasons, take a snorkelling trips around the island. It's amazing down there! By only snorkelling, you can see school of Napoleon Wrasse (I never see that many in my life!), barracudas and even sharks! Some of the best sites are Sharks Point and Tanjung Basi.
The trips are usually arranged by your hotel, so ask the reception.
Snorkeling and Diving are the major activities while vacationing in the Perhentian Islands and there are numerous excellent sites to get up close and personal with the dazzling variety of marine organisms that inhabit the (mostly) clear waters. Visibility in the Perhentians is pretty good, similar to Ko Tao in Thailand, but not quite to the extraordinary level of Boracay in the Philippines. However, the Perhentians have a more diverse variety of sea creatures to observe, including a multitude of colorful fish in various shapes and sizes. I also saw a stingray, sharks and sea turtles during my visit... In this pic, I am seen snorkeling just near the beach at Tuna Bay Island Resort.
According to one popular theory, before we were bipeds, we were monkeys, and before monkeys were monkeys, they were rodents. And so we are the descendents of rodents, the great grandchildren of rodents, big fat walking rodents, albeit some of us are more monkey than weasel, others just the opposite. With that in mind, I was happy to make friends with one of our distant relatives, the Malaysian flying squirrel pictured here. The Perhentian Islands are full of interesting animals, the most prevalent being large monitor lizards, flying squirrels, bats and birds, in addition to the amazing biodiversity of marine organisms...
There's no television at Tuna Bay Island Resort and that means no reruns of "Dallas" or "Dynasty", so bring along a good book and do some reading while you relax in your chalet or out at the beach. I didn't bring any books but most resorts, chalets and shops have a used book exchange where you can either buy, rent or exchange books. I found a second hand copy of Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes" and it was perfect for the primordial milieu of the Perhentians, where one becomes at one rhythm with the sea creatures and other such distant ancestors. Alternatively, peruse your travel guide and bring an iPod...