The tiny island of Pangkor is fast becoming one of Asia’s most popular tourist destinations, and it makes a great base for holidays to Malaysia. Located off the north west of the Malaysian peninsular, the tropical eight sq km island is easily accessible by ferry from the mainland, and has accommodation catering for all, from backpacker to five-star luxury. Pangkor is neighboured by the smaller, privately-owned Pangkor Laut, and the tiny islets of Giam and Mentagor, meaning there are plenty of places to explore.
Pangkor is well known for its fine beaches, and they make for a wonderful place to relax and soak up the sun. The beaches can get very busy during the weekends and holidays, but they are often quieter during the week. Nipah Bay is the most popular area with tourists and locals, and it has two beaches with views of Giam and Mentagor. Most of the resorts on the island are by the beach, so you will never be that far from the golden sands.
For visitors who enjoy swimming and water sports, Pangkor is a great destination. If you want to be a bit more adventurous, Giam and Mentagor are surrounded by corals and shoals of fish, making them a great spot for snorkelling. Other water sports are also available on the island, such as kayaking, jet-skiing and banana boats, so you can make the most of the beautiful location.
Although the island is popular with tourists, it is also home to around 25,000 fishermen, who live mostly on the east coast, with fishing representing the main industry on the island. Their catch consists of mostly anchovies and cuttlefish, and you will be able to sample some of their wares during your stay. Dried seafood is also a local speciality, and can be seen for sale around the island. To see a more traditional side of Malaysia, enjoy some of the locally caught seafood, or watch the world go by as fishermen complete their daily routine.
The interior of Pangkor is rainforest, and visitors can take a trek across this region of the island. If you do take a trip into the jungle, you might be rewarded with a sighting of some rare species, such as hornbills or monitor lizards. Pangkor Hill and Tortoise Hill can both be explored by intrepid visitors, and offer a great panorama of the island.
For those interested in discovering some of the culture and history of this tiny island, there are a few places you must visit. The Fu Lin Kong Chinese Temple is home to many rock paintings, and even has a miniature version of the Great Wall of China. The Lin Je Kong Temple is more eclectic, and houses statues of heroes from Chinese folklore and even some Disney characters! In the south west of the island, there is the Dutch Fort built in 1670 when the Dutch sought to monopolise the local tin trade. Only the stone foundations and some carvings are left, but it is an interesting reminder of the island’s history in controlling trade in the nearby Strait of Malacca.
Pangkor offers something for all budgets, and is a tropical mix of great beaches and traditional Asia, so for exciting and relaxing Malaysia holidays, visit the tiny island that has a lot to offer.