Tuna Bay Island Resort is one of the newest hospitality establishments that was introduced a few years back. The resort nestles on a beautiful stretch of beach called Seberang Air Keruh. To be exact, it is located on the southwest side of Pulau Perhentian Besar (big island) and exactly facing the only fisherman village at Pulau Perhentian Kecil across the sea channel that separates the two popular islands.
The boat trip from Kuala Besut jetty should take less than 45 minutes if you take the dedicated vessels operated by the resort itself. Otherwise, should you miss the designated departure times, you may also take any other passenger boats at Kuala Besut jetty heading to the Perhentians with requested stop at Tuna Bay Island Resort. The published departure times to the resort are at 0800hrs, 1030hrs, 1200hrs and 1600hrs, although the frequency does get a little less on pre-opening or pre-closing seasons such as in February, March, September and October. As always, be sure to check with the resort in advance. Similarly, the return times are at 0800hrs, 1200hrs and 1600hrs, with only the noon departure remains during the low season.
Return boat trip costs RM60 per person or possibly more nowadays.
The resort boast 44 room units of deluxe category. While all the rooms are of similar built-up size, they are categorised into Deluxe Jungle Chalet, Deluxe Garden Chalet and Deluxe Seaview Chalet. Generally, each room type infers the view that it commands, be it the original rainforest encapsulating the resort compound, or the landscaped garden in the middle, as well as the beach itself. There are also options for Family Garden Chalet and Family Seaview Chalet which are actually two separate room units that interconnect with each other by a partitioned door inside each room.
The Deluxe rooms are surprisingly great and well-appointed. I often associate an island resort with outdated furniture, unappealing curtains and noisy air-conditioner, but Tuna Bay Island Resort really does make the exception. The external of the chalets is also nicely done with fresh colours and well-matched timber wall. Each deluxe room comes with either two single beds or one king bed. The timber-strip flooring really does add a touch of class to the room interior. Other than that, each deluxe room comes with an attached bathroom with hot shower, (surprise, surprise) an electronic safe, bottled water, storage wardrobes and even a writing desk. Big thumbs up for the deluxe room.
The main restaurant at the resort is called Tuna Café which is built in an open-air style with views of the beautiful ocean. Tuna Café serves delightful buffet spreads and a la carté selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I had to attest to the quality and selection of the food at Tuna Café which is quite some miles ahead of other island resorts in its class. Within the same reception building is Tuna Club which snugs at a corner in a bar-counter style. Tuna Club boasts a big-screen LCD television which often broadcasts live telecasts of sporting events from around the world. For those craving to check their emails or to post a quick update on their fanciful vacation in their blogs, the resort boasts wireless internet access within the perimeter of the reception building. Otherwise, there are a few internet-enabled desktop PCs provided next to the reception desk.
Outdoor activities are abound at Tuna Bay Island Resort. The usual activities like canoeing, round-the-island snorkeling trips, turtle watching, beach volleyball and jungle trekking can be arranged at the resort. For avid scuba divers, there are two dive centres next to the resort, namely Seahorse Dive Centre and Universal Diver.
Fronting the resort is the beach of Seberang Air Keruh, a rather peculiar name but very beautiful regardless. In general, Pulau Perhentian Besar itself boasts some of the most beautiful beaches around such as Teluk Pauh, just 15 minutes to the north of the resort. There are also plenty of snorkeling spots to choose from, so please ask the boatman to bring you to the best ones (hint: there are places where sightings of green turtles and juvenile sharks are 99% guaranteed!).
As for diving, the best dives are often found at Tokong Laut, a.k.a Temple Seamount. Thus far, I have dived at Tokong Laut, Terumbu Tiga (Tiger Reef) as well as D'Lagoon.
Room rates start at RM170 for Deluxe Jungle, RM200 for Deluxe Garden and RM290 for Deluxe Seaview. The rates do vary (read: cheaper!) during the low and shoulder seasons such as in the ending months of the monsoon season. Each rate comes with breakfast based on single-, twin- or triple-sharing basis.
There are also the typical 3D2N or 4D3N packages being offered by the resort. It is best to check with the resort on the exact pricing as it often changes depending on the travel period.