The once small island of Pangkor was very popular with traders, fishermen and even pirates who scurried in the waters of the Strait of Malacca, however, today it has turned into a real beach resort. At first glance, it may seem that Pangkor is another paradise island with good hotels, white beaches and all the attributes for a holiday by the sea. All of this is true, of course, but Pangkor also has several unique advantages. First of all, it is its untouched wilderness and the centuries-old way of life of the islanders. Most of the island is occupied by tropical jungle, and only along the coast there are fishing villages with traditional wooden huts. Thus, the beauty of visiting this island is that tourists who come here can both be alone with nature and beaches, and get to know the way of life of fishermen. Moreover, rest here is possible not only in resort hotels, but also in less pretentious hotels, individual bungalows and democratic guest houses.
|Square||About 8 km 2|
|Population density||325 people / km 2|
|Currency||Malaysian ringgit (MYR)|
|Timezone||UTS + 8|
|International dialing code||+ 60–05|
Climate and weather
Pangkor is located in the equatorial climate zone and is influenced by monsoon winds, so it is always humid and hot here. Temperature of the island does not fall below the level of +27 ° C and in the summer may rise to +34 ° C . Moreover, it is always warm here even at night ( + 20 … + 23 ° С ). The water temperature is suitable for swimming all year round.
Locals conditionally divide the year into two seasons: rainy (from November to February) and dry (other months), but even in the winter months it rains here only once a week, since Pangkor protects the island of Sumatra from bad weather and winds. Thus, there is no particular reason to refuse to vacation in Pangkor during the rainy season.
Pangkor Island is located off the western coast of the mainland, directly opposite the port city of Lumut . The shores of the island are washed by the warm waters of the Strait of Malacca , which here have a bright sapphire blue color. The area of the island is very small (about 25 km 2 ), so you can easily get around it on foot. The main natural treasures of Pangkor are fine sand beaches lined with slender coconut palms and dense tropical jungle. There are also two nature reserves on the island ( Pangkor Forest Reserve and Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary), which boast a unique flora and fauna, the Bay of Turtles, home to giant sea turtles and the beautiful Tiluk-Nipah marine reserve .
Given the very small size of the island, it is not surprising that there are very few historical and cultural attractions here. First of all, this is the old fort of Kota Belanda , built by the Dutch back in 1670. After some time, the fort was captured and almost completely destroyed by the Malaysian commander Panglima Kulub. In 1973 it was reconstructed and made available for tourists. Another interesting object of the island is a Taoist temple called Fu Ling Kong , very close to which there is a small copy of the notorious Great Wall of China , built of the same stone as its Chinese original.
Lovers of wildlife will like it on the island, as the local landscapes are unimaginably beautiful and picturesque. The main natural attractions of Pangkor include the Pangkor Forest Reserve , where deer, big-nosed toucans and monkeys live, the Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary , where about 100 species of birds and animals live, and Turtle Bay , where giant sea turtles lay their eggs. You should also definitely see the Tiger Rock, which is associated with many legends, the beautiful Pasir Giam beach, from where at low tide you can walk to the island of Giam , and the small Tiluk-Nipah marine reserve , which is surrounded by a luxurious coral reef.
Small villages of the island are also quite interesting, offering to get acquainted with the life of local residents. For example, there is a fish factory in Kecila, where you can see firsthand the process of cutting and cooking seafood, and then even try a dish.
Despite the small size of the island, tourists will find many small restaurants and cafes for every taste. They are mostly owned by hotels, although if you are in the mood for food elsewhere, finding a suitable spot is not difficult here. For example, it is worth stopping by the Purnama restaurant ( Teluk Nipah beach ), which serves Malay cuisine, or the Pasir Bogak beach , where there are several restaurants offering fresh seafood. Also very popular fish restaurant ” Guan Guan ” in the town of Pangkor .
Of course, first of all, you should taste the local dishes, which were formed under the influence of Indian and Chinese traditions. The main ingredient in most of these treats is nasi rice . It is used here both as a side dish and as the basis of the most popular Malay dishes. Guests are recommended to try the island rice noodles ” cha Tew Kwai ” with herbs and clams, fish curry with rice ” Nasi Dagang ” and cooked in coconut milk rice ” nasi lemak ” with nuts and pickles.
Vegetables, exotic fruits and coconut milk also occupy an important place in the local cuisine, from which very unusual salads are prepared, for example, the rojak pineapple salad with cucumbers and shrimp pancakes.
Meat in Malaysia is rarely used, most often on holidays. It is imperative to try meat dishes such as sati ayam chicken kebabs and rendang meat , which are stewed right here in coconut milk. But the choice of seafood treats on the island is simply colossal: crabs, oysters, mussels, squids, lobsters, shrimps, sea cucumbers, etc.
The most popular drinks are various fruit juices and coconut milk. The alcoholic drinks offered in the resort areas are mostly imported.
Despite its rather small size, Pangkor boasts a fairly large selection of inexpensive hotels and guest houses, which are suitable for those who want to save money on accommodation. In most of these hotels, the price of a room does not exceed $ 50 per night, and in guest houses the cost of living is from $ 5 per person. Of course, there are several expensive hotels in Pangkor that are suitable for those who value luxury and comfort. First of all, this is Pangkor Island Beach Resort with two pools, a spa, a fitness center, a mini golf course, a kids club and a private beach (from $ 111). Teluk Dalam Resort (from $ 74) and Pangkor Laut Resort ($ 244), which is located on the neighboring island of Pangkor Laut, can also be attributed to institutions of this level .
Entertainment and recreation
Without a doubt, Pangkor is a great place to be enjoyed by fans of extreme sports as well as fans of a calm and secluded getaway. The best place to spend any time on this island is its beautiful beaches. The most popular among them is Pasir Bogak , which is always very crowded on weekends. Also, this beach will be a real boon for snorkeling lovers. Teluk Ketapang Beach is notable for the fact that turtles come to its coast every year and lay their eggs, while Teluk Nipah Beach boasts a variety of corals and marine life. Well, for lovers of sunbathing, the ideal place is Pantai Puteri beach .(Golden Sands Beach), however, it is available only to guests of one hotel. However, Teluk Nipah, which is located on the nearby island of Pangkor Laut , is recognized as the best local beach . The waves of the emerald bay, where this beach is located, are ideal for surfing. Moreover, next to the beach is the Tiluk-Nipah Marine Park , which is a great place for divers. Moreover, all diving equipment can be rented on special catamarans, which are moored near the coast. Another good place for scuba diving is Belaya Skala , the name of which speaks for itself.
In addition, athletes and outdoor enthusiasts can find a lot of interesting things to do here. For example, many hotels have excellent golf courses. Also on the island there is the opportunity to go windsurfing, fishing and kayaking. A very interesting leisure option can be a tour of the island in a rented car, during which you can see coconut trees, mangroves and small fishing villages.
In general, the range of goods offered by the shops and shops of Pangkor is not too large, so it will not be very interesting for passionate shoppers. The widest selection of souvenirs and handicrafts can be found in Pangkor town, where the Pangkor Special Corner market and several good shops are located. Here, first of all, you should pay attention to products called ” pewter»(Tin), for example, on mugs, figurines, vases, tea sets, ashtrays, etc. It is better not to buy gold and silver jewelry at the resort, since in the capital their choice is several orders of magnitude greater. If you nevertheless bought some piece of jewelry, then, so that there are no troubles at customs, be sure to ask for a receipt. More colorful purchases include local weapons – arrows and a tube from which they are launched. A much more harmless, but no less interesting acquisition can be a bright kite or a spinning top, which the locals launch into the sky. In some places, you can stumble upon dried insects and even stuffed animals. The purchase of such goods must be treated with extreme caution, since some of them may be under state protection.
In general, serious and expensive purchases are best done in the capital, and from Pangkor you can only bring cute crafts from everything that coastal waters are rich in: coral beads, shell bracelets, etc.
Pangkor is home to Pangkor Airport , where Berjaya Air operates flights from Kuala Lumpur and back. There are also several berths in Pangkor : Pangkor Jetty in Pangkor city, SPK Jetty in Sungai Penang village and Teluk Dalam resort (available only to hotel guests). Therefore, to get to the island, you can first drive to the city of Lumut, and then use the services of a boat or ferry.
The island itself is quite small, and the length of its ring road is only 20 km. Public transport functions here are performed by the so-called taxis, which are pink minibuses. The driver of such a taxi will take you to the exactly indicated place, but on the way he can pick up other people. On average, the cost of a trip, depending on the distance, is from $ 1.2 to $ 8 (for each group of people who enter). You can also rent a motorcycle, bicycle or car to get around the island. However, it must be remembered that the roads are narrow and with many sharp turns. The most convenient way is to rent a motorcycle (from $ 12) or a bicycle ($ 3-5), as they are rented everywhere: on the beaches, in hotels and at the marinas. But to rent a car, you have to go to the town of Pangkor.
There will be no problems with communication on Pangkor. Firstly, almost all hotels have access to the Internet. There is also a small internet cafe in the main city of Pangkor. And secondly, a fairly large number of telephone booths are installed on the island. They mostly accept local calling cards, which are sold almost everywhere (in shops, kiosks and some hotels). However, sometimes there are also outdated machines that accept coins. You can call abroad from any hotel or from a “card” machine. But cellular communication (GSM) in some areas of the island is rather poor and unstable.
In general, the island of Pangkor is an absolutely safe place, and its inhabitants are distinguished by cordiality and hospitality, but you should not forget about some precautionary rules. First of all, you need to watch your belongings, and you need to beware not only of thieves, but also of local monkeys, who are very brave and sometimes even arrogant here. You should also be careful when crossing the road, as drivers rarely let pedestrians through here. In general, the roads on the island are narrow and with many steep ascents and descents, therefore, if you move by motorcycle or bicycle, you need to be extremely careful.
Prevention of hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever and malaria, as well as medical insurance are recommended before traveling to the island. Local tap water is considered safe to drink, but even locals prefer to use filtered or bottled water.
It is worth noting that in Malaysia, as in most other Asian countries, the distribution and use of drugs is punishable by death.
Traditionally, the economy of Pangkor is based on fishing and the production of fish products, so its inhabitants are mainly sailors and traders who live in small villages. Tourism on the island began to develop in the 70s. and now this area is one of the main sources of income for the island. The conditions for starting your own business in Pangkor are exactly the same as throughout Malaysia. However, in general, only the tourism business promises the most profitable prospects here.
Today, all resorts in Malaysia are experiencing an investment boom, so real estate prices here are gradually increasing, although in general they are quite affordable. Of course, given the small size of Pangkor, one should not expect a wide variety of objects for sale here. Basically, foreigners are only interested in villas and houses on the coast, where you can either come for a vacation or rent it out.
Almost any foreigner can buy local real estate, but its value must be at least 500 thousand ringgit (about $ 161 thousand). Also, foreigners can own more than two objects of any type of real estate.
During the summer months, especially in July and August, there is a small but still risk of contracting malaria on the island. In this regard, in addition to pre-vaccination, it is recommended to try to reduce the possibility of local insect bites. For example, repellents should be worn in the evenings, and thick, long-sleeved clothing should be worn when visiting the jungle. We advise you to close windows and doors at night or use mosquito nets and fumigators.