The Longest Marathon Swim in Southeast Asia Around the Perhentian Islands

The Longest Marathon Swim in Southeast Asia Around the Perhentian Islands

Set against the backdrop of the stunning Perhentian Islands on the East Coast of Malaysia, the Perhentian Island Marathon Swim Challenge is an event like no other. Organized by SwimOn, this 16km marathon swim takes place around Pulau Besar, one of the coral-fringed islands that make up this tropical paradise. Since its inception in 2017, the event has attracted swimmers worldwide, drawing a diverse crowd eager to tackle the unique challenges of the Perhentian Islands

The swim course is designed for both challenge and beauty. Participants will swim in an anti-clockwise direction around Perhentian Island Besar, starting and ending at the idyllic Teluk Pauh Beach.

Swimmers face a challenging 16km marathon course that takes between 3.5 to 7.5 hours, the event is designed to accommodate a range of abilities, from pros to the ambitious newcomers.

The waters are as clear as they come, offering a view of vibrant marine life and coral reefs. It’s both a rigorous marathon swim and a journey through an underwater landscape that few get to experience so intimately

Safety and organization are paramount. The organizers go to great lengths to ensure that every swimmer is safe from the moment they dive into the water until they cross the finish line. The event is sanctioned by [national swimming bodies] and enjoys the support of local government agencies. Medical professionals, lifeguards, and marine agencies are all on standby, ensuring a secure environment for participants.

But what truly sets the Perhentian Island Marathon Swim Challenge apart is its sense of community and engagement. The day before the event features a “meet your boatmen” session and a volleyball game with local villagers. There are social and charitable dimension to the event, allowing participants to engage with the local community. There is a local experience to be had, the people you meet, and the memories you create. So, if you’re looking to challenge yourself in a setting that’s as beautiful as it is demanding, Perhentian Island Marathon Swim Challenge is the event for you.


Location: Perhentian Islands, East Coast of Malaysia
Event Date: Saturday, 7th October 2023
Organizer: Swimon

Perhentian Islands, Malaysia — SwimOn is thrilled to announce the 5th edition of the Perhentian Island Marathon Swim Challenge, a 16km marathon swim around the breathtaking Pulau Besar in the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia.

About the Event

The challenge is to swim approximately 16km around Pulau Besar, one of the coral-fringed Perhentian Islands off the northeastern coast of Malaysia. The event was first launched in 2017 and has grown in stature and reputation, attracting swimmers from around the world.

Swim Course:
The marathon swim will be conducted in an anti-clockwise direction around Perhentian Island Besar, starting and ending at Teluk Pauh Beach.

Estimated Time:
Swimmers are expected to complete the course between 3 hours 30 minutes to 7 hours 30 minutes.

The event will start at 8:00 am and will have a cut-off time of 15:15 pm (7 hours 30 minutes).

Support and Safety

Every participant is required to have a one-to-one boat escort throughout the race. Swimmers can bring their own feeders or opt for one arranged by the organizer. The event will be patrolled by governmental rescue teams such as APM, Bomba, and a life-saving academy team. Medical teams will also be present.

Prizes and Amenities

  • Champion Trophies and Commemorative trophies for finishers & challengers
  • Finisher Medal
  • Finisher Gift (Towel)
  • Event T-shirt
  • 1 meal Dinner, lunch pack, high-tea meal at Perhentian Island Resort


The registration fee, inclusive of boat and skipper, is RM1390. The minimum age for participation is 18 years. To register, visit


“The best swim event in the world,” says Sofian, a participant from the previous edition. “The sea conditions were so pristine; it was unlike anything I’ve experienced before.”