Kecil means 'small' in Malay and this part of the island is known for backpackers. The vibe is pretty laid back and has a party atmosphere when dusk sets. There are several cheap accommodations at Perhentian Kecil and several eateries and bars on the main beach, Pasir Panjang.
It can get a little loud at night so best to stay somewhere that is secluded on Perhentian Kecil if you want some peace. Although most accommodations are minutes away to the sea, the view is not as spectacular as Perhentian Besar's.
Since Perhentian Kecil is popular among backpackers, there are plenty of cheap chalets across the island. Book a room at Matahari Chalet which is also houses a diving centre. There are several room types available, from longhouse, A-frame, chalet, bungalow, air-conditioned rooms to A-huts. All rooms have a Queen size bed, mosquito net and an attached bathroom except for A-hut. Matahari Divers offers dive packages starting from RM610 per person.
Mohsin Chalet offers the basic needs for a backpacker. The rooms do not come with mosquito nets so bring your insect repellent. There is an in-house restaurant called Cayaku Restaurant and it serves local and Western dishes. Alcohol is available at the restaurant.
Moonlight Chalet is set away from the main beach of Pasir Panjang and it is pretty quiet at night. The rooms are basic and toiletries with towels are provided. The chalet provides free WiFi, snorkeling trips and PADI dive courses.
Pasir Panjang is the main beach on Perhential Kechil and has a crescent shape coast, it is ideal for swimming, snorkeling and diving. There are less corals on the furthest left side of the beach. Bring a book or a beach ball to enjoy the view of the South China sea. Take a water taxi to Perhentian Besar if you want to explore the other island. There is Teluk Aur, or Coral Bay, that is smaller as compared with Pasir Panjang. The beach is less crowded and has good dive spots.
Perhentian Kecil has accommodations that house diving centres. The waters are known for diving and snorkeling so choose an accommodation that comes along with water sports package if you are into those activities. PADI dive courses and jungle trekking are available on the island. Bring along insect repellent and a bottle of water.
Seafood is the main cuisine found on Pulau Perhentian. Perhentian Kecil offers ala-carte eateries, mostly along Pasir Panjang. You can try local dishes such as Mee Goreng and quench your thirst with an ice cold lemon tea for less than MYR10. The prices at Perhentian Kecil are way cheaper than Perhentian Besar.
There are no ATMs, banks and public phones. Except for the free WiFi available at certain chalets, you'll be cut off from the outside world if you don't have a mobile phone. The best time to visit Perhentian Kecil is from October to early February. Do note about that pricing for everything at Pulau Perhentian is not fixed due to the high and low seasons.