The Perhentian Islands are a popular diving destination off the North Eastern coast of Malaysia, just south of the Thai/Malaysian Border in the state of Terranganu. The name of the island loosely translates as "stopping point" as the Islands served as an ancient stop over for trade between the two nations.
Nowadays the islands are home to a mix of long term expats and locals with the main focus of the islands being the relatively unspoiled marine habitat that is perfect for diving and other aquatic activities.
Because of the weather, (namely the monsoons) the islands are only open for tourism business from March until October. The islands are small, with the only transportation being water taxis and walking. There isn't much in the way of traditional sightseeing, but you don't need to worry about that - beach life and natural beauty is where it's at on the Perhentians, instead you'll be diving, snorkelling, going on boat trips or helping to conserve the islands slowly growing population of turtles.
There isn't a tonne of nightlife, but as with any diving island, the local instructors and backpackers still like to party around the bars in Kecil.
If you are looking for an island paradise that hasn't been overdeveloped, and is still like the South East Asia in the stories from the 1980s and 1990s, the Perhentians are the place to be.