Kuala Besut is a subdistrict or “mukim” located in the district of Besut, state of Terengganu, Malaysia, being slightly more northern than the other areas. From Kelantan’s state capital, Kota Bharu, visitors would travel a mere 50 kilometers south to reach here. Meanwhile, from Kuala Terengganu, visitors need to travel twice the mileage, about 110 kilometers to the north to reach the same destination. Since the old days, this town is a major fishing port. In present, Kuala Besut is a major entry point for visitors before going to Perhentian Island, which is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. As such, it has enjoyed more development, such as the construction of a mariner by the Marine Department of Malaysia to accommodate sailing boats and luxury boats to drop by Kuala Besut. From the demographic perspective, Malays are the major residents followed by Chinese and Siamese being other ethnicities that lived in Kuala Besut. The town residents, as well as its fellow district residents, identify themselves to be more Kelantanese than Terengganuan. This is exhibited in the ways they speak – they do not speak using the Terengganuan Malay accent like most people in Terengganu does, but they speak Kelantanese Malay. One of the folklores commonly told by the people here is that Besut once belonged to Kelantan, however the Sultan has handed the district to Terengganu over a loss suffered in a cockfight competition.
Kuala Besut can be accessed by by boarding flights to Kelantan. There are flights to Kota Bharu provided by Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia. From the airport, guests may hail up a taxi or public transportation to Kuala Besut.
People driving from Kuala Lumpur may drive through the Kuala Lumpur-Gua Musang Highway and exiting at Central Spine Route 8 before continuing the journey towards Kuala Besut. The journey could take up around six hours.
The express bus terminal is located at Kampung Gertak Seratus, Besut. Take the trip directly to Kuala Besut from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) terminal using express bus services such as Queen Express or Perdana Express.
Bukit Keluang Beach is located nearby Kuala Besut and three kilometres from the Air Tawar beach which is also famous. Rocky trails and small caves are common sight here, which what makes the structure of the beach unique and distinctive. There is a walking platform built specially for the visitors to venture through each caves and beaches to experience their natural beauty. Due to its landscape, it was once used as a hiding place for the pirates, nonetheless that was a thing in the past. Recently, it has been developed for tourism purposes, which has attracted the local boy scouts to organize their camps here. There is a resort nearby for a quick stay for visitors after the long walk.
Another interesting place and definitely a must to visit when visitors are in Kuala Besut is the Perhentian Island itself. Getting its name from the word “perhentian” which means a stopping point, it is definitely a big stopping point, a recognized tourist destination with wide range of accommodations suitable for any kinds of budget. The significant selling point of the island is its pristine white beaches and the presence of numerous diving and snorkelling spots. Besides that, visitors are open to go for jungle trekking and join the turtle preservation activities happening around the island.
La Hot Springs are a hot spring retreat which is open since 1992 as a tourist destination. It is a well-maintained hot spring retreat, with flowing hot water containing sulfur with the heat reaching up to 49 degrees Celcius which will provide a lasting freshness to the body after spending some time bathing in it. There are also other facilities available to visitors such as the rest house, musalla, lavatories, restaurants and many others.