The name "perhentian" means "stopping point" in Malay, referring to their longstanding role as a waypoint for traders between Bangkok and Malaysia. The islands were sparsely inhabited by fishermen for centuries, although tourism now accounts for most economic activity.
The Perhentian Islands appear on many maps of the nineteenth and twentieth century as 'The Station Islands'. This arises from the British colonial period, as an English translation from the Malay "point to stop".
The Perhentian Islands were also used as a refuge in the late 1900s.
Perhentian Island also has a very beautiful beach call "Pasir Panjang" (Long Beach). It is located at Perhentian Kecil (Small Perhentian). It is a very beautiful white sandy beach, crystal clear water and it is the best place for picnic.