The sheer beauty of Pulau Perhentian makes it a destination for tourists. Both the islands have palm-fringed white coral sand beaches (that can be tough on the feet) and turquoise blue sea. One can enjoy a number of activities on its beaches and forests. Scuba-diving, snorkeling, and swimming are the most popular tourist activities here. On most beaches, the water is shallow with lots of rays, cuttlefish and parrotfish. For diving, there are dozens of divesites around both main islands, as well as several off-shore sites. Apart from these, activities like camping, canoeing, fishing, jungle trekking, and banana boat riding are also available. As for accommodation, most of it can be found on Perhentian Besar, the larger island. Hotels are usually aimed at budget travelers.
Tourism is the base of economic activity in Perhentian. However, owing to the Islands' protected status, the main tourist activities are minimal in environmental impact: sunbathing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and turtle and shark-watching.
Many places on the island are referred to with both their Malay and English names. To make life a little more confusing, the words "beach" (pantai) and "bay" (teluk) are often used near-interchangeably as well, and a few English place names are not literal translations.