Pulau Redang (or Redang Island) is a beautiful tropical island off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia in the state of Terengganu. Most travellers visiting Redang come on pre-booked packages from one of the resorts on the island. It is a more up-market destination than Perhentian Islands.
Johor Bahru is the state capital of the state of Johor and the second largest metropolitan area in Malaysia. Most tourists don't stop here and just pass through the city on their way to or out of Singapore. JB is a major local transportation hub however. Since it is just across the causeway from Singapore, some travellers use it as a hub to visit Singapore from here (lower accommodation prices) or to board the train, bus or airplane.
The Perhentian Islands (Pulau Perhentian in Bahasa Malaysia) lie approximately 10 nautical miles (19 km) offshore the coast of northeastern Malaysia in the state of Terengganu, approximately 40 miles (64 km) south of the Thai border. The two main islands are Perhentian Besar (“Big Perhentian”) and Perhentian Kecil (“Small Perhentian”). Popular for it’s beaches, snorkeling and driving. Like a real postcard.
Cherating is the only real backpacker hub at the east coast of the peninsula on the mainland. Offering plenty of affordable chalets and a relaxed atmosphere, it is good place to stop for a night or two on the way up or down the east coast. The beach itself is not that spectacular and misses the palm directly at the beach. But it has a good vibe and few things you can do like taking a tour or renting a kayak up the river into the mangroves. There is also an active surfer scene when the waves are right. Cherating is located about 30km or 1h by local bus north of Kuantan.