Alunan is a no-brainer choice for any visit to Perhentian Islands. I can write my face off, but it really comes down to this reason – Alunan Resort is a resort with SOUL. The resort was founded (and is still run by) passionate divers, and their ongoing conservation and awareness efforts are proof of their passion towards the sea. Everything in the resort is a reflection of their dedication not only to the sea, but also to the enjoyment of every guest that stays with them, for they count themselves guests of the resort too. For the same reason why artisanal coffee joints are a million times better than Starbucks, so is why Alunan better than any other resort on the island.
The above pretty much says it all, but for the sake of completion, here are other points:
- Cleanliness is top notch everywhere – in rooms, toilets, restaurant, walkways, cafe, reception, even in the shared restrooms and the mainland office.
- Hot water shower with great pressure, cold aircon, cold fridge, powerful fan – yes it’s expected, but good to know they deliver.
- Very friendly English-speaking staff is obvious, but Alunan goes a step further by employing marine biologists to not only manage their coral growth and conservation efforts, but also to take you on your excursions (for me, at least – may or may not be all the time). Seriously, how often can you say you got a marine biologist to take you around Perhentian?
- The food is great, and I say this as a seasoned Malaysian foodie. I would go for Asian flavours more than the western fare though, it’s really top-notch that’s hard to match even in Kuala Lumpur.
- They expanded during the Covid downtime, so if you make your trip now you’d get to enjoy all the awesome new stuff eg the new cafe, new restaurant, new pontoon, new spa, etc
- Lastly, the corals there are simply awesome, and since it’s right in front of the resort, it’s literally free. Just jump in and swim for hours and hours on end. Needless to say, the water visibility is amazing from morning to night, and the biodiversity at the resort is to die for. If you’re a good swimmer, follow the left shoreline for ~1km (about 45 mins on a leisurely swim enjoying the corals along the way) to reach the “secret garden” filled with sea anemone and clownfish (Nemo). If you’re lucky, you might even catch black-tipped reef sharks, a wandering barracuda, even dolphins if you’re ultra lucky.
I would write more but you get the point. Alunan is awesome. This is not a place to save money at. Come with a budget of RM1,000 per person per day (inc hotel stay – about USD250), at least 4D3N (ideally a week), and you’ll go home with the best memories Perhentian has to offer.
And please, for the love of the sea, please buy a rash guard before coming, or buy from Alunan, to minimise the need for sunscreen. Sunscreen kills corals, even in super-low concentrations. Please don’t litter, please don’t damage the corals, swim responsibly, so this place stays beautiful for generations to come.
Thank you Team Alunan for making my trip so awesome. I look forward to returning soon!