Pangkor island of Malaysia is a small island surrounded by the sea and covered in beautiful greenery. The simplicity of this island with a number of beaches is a perfect getaway for some days. It provides more of a relaxed trip with some exciting water sports and visits to historical and spiritual sites.
How to go there:
You can book a bus ticket from Kuala Lumpur Airport or Terminal Bersepadu Selatan at Bandar Tasik Selatan (TBS-BTS). The bus ride would be around 5 hours. You can book the tickets when you are there or online if you are booking from TBS. The destination would be Lumut mainland. Remember if you purchase your ticket online, you have to show at a counter to get your boarding pass. Or, you would not know which gate you should wait at. The ticket price is not expensive at all, it is around MYR 35. After you reach the bus stop, you would need to get a taxi from the taxi stand in front of the bus stop. Or, you can call a Grab to take you to Marina or Lumut Jetty.
You can purchase your e-ticket for boarding from TBS here: http://www.tbsbts.com.my/
You get a cab and ask them to drop you off at Marina or Lumut Jetty. The counter system is really bad there, mainly during night. There is a different system for boarding the night jetty. You would have to sit close to the boarding area and wait for someone who would open the rope for you to enter. For night ferry, you can call Pan Silver Ferry (+60173642188). You can find the ferry schedule on this site: http://coralsandoceanicservices.weebly.com/ferry-schedule.html
Once you reach Pangkor Island, you will get hailed by a lot of taxi drivers. It costs around MYR10-20. The taxi is actually a pink colored van and you might have more people boarding with you. You can tell the driver your hotel name and he would take you there.
There are plenty of accommodation options that would suffice all sorts of budget. You can look into Booking.com or Airbnb for trusted hotels or chalets. There is a well known resort in Pangkor, called Pangkor Laut Resort. If you prefer to be in the city, you can opt for hotels, but if you want to be closer to the popular beach “Teluk Nipah” or “Pasir Bogak”, you can go for chalets.
There is one ATM in Pangkor which is around the town area. So, it would be better if you are carrying enough on you. Around the ATM, there are lots of stalls and a bazaar, so you can get your souvenir from there.
There are those pink vans called taxis that you can book from your hotel or chalet. I would recommend you to rent a car there. It is quite cheap and you can get it for hours or a whole day. The cars are functional but of very model. It is safer than bikes or motorbikes because Pangkor is an island and has hilly roads with a lot of twists and turns. You would find places to rent around the “Teluk Nipah” beach area.
I stayed around “Teluk Nipah” beach but I went around the whole island with a car. There were “Mamaks” which are traditional stalls that serves Malaysian dishes. Sometimes you will find hornbills landing on your table in a Mamak. I loved “Daddy’s Cafe” though that overlooks a beautiful beach. At night the cafe provides candle light dinner on the beach. Their crab dishes and tomyam is really delicious.
Tour of the island
Rent a car or a motorbike and then take a tour around the whole island. You can hop by a good resort to eat, as well as stop by an empty beach. You can roam around the whole island in a day, and even go to the town for the ATM or stalls.
Masjid Terapung or the floating mosque of Pangkor is an enchanting sight. This mosque should interest you if you like to look at beautiful architecture. It is surrounded with blue water and is connected to the land with a passage.
Secret beach & Rainforest Reserves
If you want to do something more adventurous than just sunbathing on the beach for days, then go for a hike up in the rainforest. There are three rainforest reserves in Pangkor, each with a captivating speciality. Northern Rainforest Reserve is more of a relaxed way to enjoy mountainside. Enjoy a walk on the lush side of the mountains around the Pangkor Island Resort area. Central Rainforest Reserve should pique your hiking interest. It consists of Pangkor Hill and Tortoise Hill. Southern Rainforest Reserve has the Teluk Segadas Hill area which is also known as the Secret Beach of Pangkor. It is hidden behind the hill so you have to climb the hill which is not so hard, and then enjoy the scenic ocean views. It would feel well-earned after the hike, and you can take some snacks or cards to enjoy by the beach before making your way back. Teluk Segadas also serves as a good campground if you don’t mind insects and gecko lizards.
The Dutch Fort, located at Teluk Gedung is a historical site of Pangkor which was built around the year 1670. It is quite a sight for people who love history and architecture. The fort might be centuries old but it still stands. It was built to protect the Dutch from enemies, mainly pirates. It used to also protect the tin supplies of the Perak state. In front of the Dutch fort, you would see a large rock which has carvings on it which takes you back to the days of 1600s. The fort was abandoned by the Dutch after they were attacked by the locals. You can take a tour around the fort to see the structure of the buildings in those days.
Pangkor has some beautiful temples for you to view. An enchanting Chinese temple located at the village of Sungai Pinang Besar and an enticing Hindu temple at the north of Sungai Pinang Kecil. The ancient Fu Lin Kong Chinese is built at the foot of the Pangkor Hill. While you are in the Chinese temple, satisfy your artistic spirit by looking at the rock paintings and the miniature Great Wall of China. The Kali Amman Temple has an altar that faces the sea. It is one of the only two Hindu temples in Malaysia overlooking the sea. You have to wash yourself in the sea if you want to enter the altar. There is a small staircase that goes down into the sea from the temple.
Pangkor island has several beaches around it, but some surely are better than the others in terms of cleanliness and scenery.
- Pasir Bogak- This beach is the best one according to me. Crystal blue waves splash on the beach while you tan. The sound of the waves and the salty breeze would give you your much needed relaxation. The smell of barbequed meat and veggies from the open stalls would fill your senses. You can just walk to one of the beachfront stalls and get a small snack while enjoying the nature. Moreover, this beach is located a bit far away from the coral reefs, so you can swim or kayak there. You can also get into a fishing boat from the local operators. Sailing and windsurfing is also available around this beach.
- Teluk Nipah- This beach is the popular beach and has lots of accommodations. The main street is on the border of the forest reserve. Needless to say, you will see geckos running around by the honk of transportation and hornbills flying to the mamak stalls for food. There is a swing on this beach along with some hammocks for the your recreation. There are some sharp rocks on the beach, so you need to be careful when you walk.
There are some stalls on the Teluk Nipah beach, that provides some water-sports for a reasonable price.
- Snorkelling- You can rent a small boat if you are a couple or a large boat if you are a group. The stalls would provide you with the snorkelling masks that come with the renting of the boat. They drop you off at a snorkelling site and get you back after an hour.
- Mable Water Tube- You would sit on the tube that would be pulled by the driving speedboat. It is a thrilling water sport. But, hold on tight or you might fall down.
- Wakeboard Tube- You will lie down on the wakeboard and hold the handles. After that you would be pulled by the speedboat. Get ready for a bumpy ride!
- Kayak- You can rent a kayak and go to the nearby islands Pulau Giam and Pulau Mentaggor. It is quite tiring to use the row for long, and you might need to rest in the middle. But, be alert so the waves do not push you on to the shore or drift you away.
Hope this helps in planning your trip to this island!