Malaysia, Perhentian-Environs

This page covers areas near to, but not on, the Perhentian Islands in North East peninsular Malaysia. See the main Perhentians page, for general info about the Perhentians.


Rawa Islands

I took a daytrip boat out to a small group of uninhabited islands 5km Northwest of Perhentian Kecil.

One of the islands is called Rawa Island, but the term “Rawa Islands” seems to be used to refer to the whole archipelago.


There aren’t many detailed maps of these islands, so it was a bit of a detective series trying to arrive at one.  This one  names the individual islands as:

Pulau Rawa
Pulau Tukung Burung
Pulau Tukung Burung Kecil
Pulau Susu Dara
Pulau Susu Dara
Pulau Serengeh

I assume that the smaller of the two ‘Susu Dara’ is actually a ‘Pulau Susu Dara Kecil’.


You have to spin the top left corner of that map through 90 degrees to get it to fit with the satellite picture. Giving you this.

Mapping the island names onto the satellite picture gives you this final map:
But note that it is based on some assumptions. It might not be completely accurate.

Here’s the view of the islands from the West side of Pulau Kecil:


I booked a daytrip from the convenience store opposite the jetty in Coral Bay on Pulau Kecil. They seemed to be the only one running a Rawa daytrip. They are also the operator of the trip (the husband drives the boat).

They only go when there are enough people to fill a boat (about 12). I had to wait about five days for the bookings to fill up. The price was 50MYR.

No doubt you could hire a private boat if you wanted to throw money at it.

Area a – Pulau Rawa

The first stop was Pulau Rawa, itself. Arriving at the beach on the West side (marked “a” on the map), it was clear that some other operators do run public trips there.

P8102445 Rawa.JPG

We stopped near the beach and were directed to go straight out from the beach (towards the West) for the snorkelling.

The first thing of note was that the underwater visibility was awesome here – at about 12-15 metres, it was more than double what I had been getting on Perhentians Kecil and Besar. I guess that is due to the relative lack of sand here.

I looked all along the beach area. The corals close to shore were all dead and broken-up staghorn coral:
P8102446 was P8102486.JPG

but as you got about 40 metres out from the beach – coral quality started picking up.
P8102459.JPG P8102474.JPG

The further you got from the beach, the better the health of the corals. These fields of Staghorn coral are pretty awesome:


There was a good variety of fish here:
P8102485.JPG P8102462.JPG P8102468.JPG P8102464.JPG P8102465.JPG P8102472.JPG

..but not massive numbers. (Mouseover for speciesnames)


The fish seemed a little more chilled-out than usual. These three Orange Spined Unicornfish were about the most carefree OSUs I have ever seen.
P8102477.JPG P8102479.JPG


After about half an hour, we returned to the boat and set-off West for the next spot – Pulau Tukung Burung. (There wasn’t time to go exploring around the rest of Rawa).

This is the view as we left Pulau Rawa:
Tukung Burung is on the near right (you can just see some tour boats on its left). The two mounds on the horizon are the Susu Daras.


Area b – Pulau Tukung Burung

It is about 600m from Rawa to Tukung Burung. The boatman dropped us in the water 50m off the little beach on the South side (Area b).


There was some excellent, diverse coral at this spot.
Right where we hit the water was the best patch of coral at Tukung Burung.

I wandered about 200m Westwards for a look-around.

There were some more patches of beautiful coral:
Malay_Perhentian-Env_212_Area-B_Corals_P8102490.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_214_Area-B_Corals_P8102492.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_216_Area-B_Corals_P8102505.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_218_Area-B_Corals_P8102506.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_220_Area-B_Corals_P8102507.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_222_Area-B_Corals_P8102540.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_224_Area-B_Corals_P8102541.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_226_Area-B_Corals_P8102538.JPG
..although generally, the corals weren’t quite as beautiful as at the entry-point.

I also bumped into a Cuttlefish:

..who was systematically placing her eggs under a rock:

…and I followed a small herd of big Bumphead Parrotfish, a-grazin’ up the place:

Malay_Perhentian-Env_231_Area-B_Bumphead-Parrotfish_P8102528_.jpg Malay_Perhentian-Env_233_Area-B_Bumphead-Parrotfish_P8102515_.jpg

Back in the boat, we headed off West and passed the Eastern side of the two Susu Dara Islands. Then we swung round and headed South for the ~2km ride to Serengeh.

Here’s a shot of the Susu Dara islands from the boat.
The map shows them as both being called Susu Dara. I assume that there is a Susu Dara Besar and a Susu Dara Kecil – the same as the Perhentians.

According to the map, there should also be a Pulau Tukung Burung Kecil in the foreground. Maybe it is underwater or something!


Area c – Serengeh Island

The last stop in the Rawa group was at Pulau Serengeh.
Malay_Perhentian-Env_302_Area-C_Serengeh Island_P8102548.JPG
(Serengeh is sometimes spelled ‘Serengei’)


We snorkelled on the right-hand side, just past where the little boat is. There coral here was very nice too:

Malay_Perhentian-Env_304_Area-C_Corals_P8102552.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_321_Area-C_Blue-spotted-Ribbontail-Ray_P8102581.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_320_Area-C_Nudibranch_P8102558.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_318_Area-C_Corals_P8102577.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_317_Area-C_Corals_P8102574.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_316_Area-C_Corals_P8102573.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_314_Area-C_Corals_P8102571.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_312_Area-C_Corals_P8102568.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_310_Area-C_Corals_P8102564.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_309_Area-C_Corals_P8102562.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_307_Area-C_Corals_P8102559.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_305_Area-C_Corals_P8102553.JPG

but the previous two islands were a hard act to follow.

I saw another Cuttlefish laying eggs under some old coral about 4 metres deep:
Malay_Perhentian-Env_324_Area-C_Cuttlefish_P8102585.JPG Malay_Perhentian-Env_323_Area-C_Cuttlefish_P8102583.JPG


This took us up to about 1pm. At this point, we were taken back to Perhentian Kecil and we bought lunch in a restaurant in the village before getting back in the boat and going to two good snorkelling spots on Kecil (13 and 24d on the main Perhentians page). I don’t know if that means we had already covered all the good bits in the Rawa area. I suspect that it was more like the boat operator didn’t want the hassle of supplying packed lunches.

Anyway, there was not too much to complain about – the snorkelling at Perhentian Area 13 is awesome and we found a couple of turtles at 24d.


Overall, I would certainly recommend a Rawa trip. For snorkelling this good, 50MYR isn’t too much to pay and you will see prettier coral gardens here than you would ever have found on the main Perhentian islands.

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Written: Sept 2012  . . . . . . .  Last updated: Sept 2012



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