Pangkor Island or Pulau Pangkor is one of the popular tourist destinations in Malaysia. Located along the Straits of Malacca, it is one of island destinations around the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia which belongs to the state of Perak. This resort island is known for its fishing supply as well as tourism where it welcomes thousands of visitors each year.
Facts about Pangkor Island
- Currency: MYR (Malaysian Ringgit)
- Dialling code: As Pangkor Island is part of Perka, it follows the state’s standard prefix of +6015 for calling fixed lines.
- Airport: There is a small airport in Pangkor Island operated by Berjaya Air.
- Airport Tax: applies for flights coming in
- Distance from airport to city centre: about 5km away
- Temperature: Pangkor Island has cooling weather throughout the year that ranges between 23 and 35 degrees Celsius
- Climate and Weather: Tropical with high humidity
- Common languages: Bahasa Malaysia, English Language, Chinese and Tamil
Getting around in Pangkor Island can be quite easy. You can spot the bright pink minivans busing around. They will charge you about RM10 per ride. They are all unmetered. In most cases, you will need to bargain for an agreed fare before embarking. Besides that, there are motorbike for rent as well.
Highlights around Pangkor Island
As an island attraction, you can expect to find a lot of interesting things to do in Pangkor Island. this includes:
- Visit the Fishing villages – Go towards the eastern region of the island and you will find 3 major villages. They are Kampung Teluk Kecil, Sungai Pinang Kecil and Sungai Pinang Besar. You get to experience what the fishing communities are like here.
- Visit the town – Not far from the villages, the town is made up of some shops and one main road. Take some time to bask in the local and rustic lifestyle here which is a total contrast to the towns around the country.
- Temple – There is a very prominent temple here which is the Fu Lin Gong Temple and Mini Greatwall.
- Tiger Rock – known to the locals as Batu Bersurat, the 4.3 meter tall rock is an inscription of a tiger carrying a child away which has its own set of story and myth.
- the Kali Amman Temple – This temple is the largest one in the island located in Sungai Pinang Kecil.
- See how boats are built
- Enjoy the beaches – There are just too many beaches that you can visit around Pangkor to name them. Those that are quite popular include Coral Bay, Pasir Bogak, Teluk Belanga, Teluk Nipah and Tortoise Bay, to name a few.
- Go jungle trekking – There are excellent trails around the island like those in Teluk Segadas Hill and Titi Gantung.
- Tour on your own – Rent a bicycle or a motorbike. Bicycles are available from RM8 per day and motorbikes start from RM25 per day.
- Other activities – Snorkelling, kayaking and parasailing
Foods around Pangkor Island
You will naturally find a lot of seafood around Pangkor Island. Along the beaches, you will find ikan bakar stalls that serve among the best grilled fishes you can ever find. Some of the places that serves great food include:
- Village Seafood Restaurant
- Kedai Kopi Lee Meng Yong
- Nipah Deli Steamboat & Noodle House
Getting to Pangkor Island
Perak is one of the states located in the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is connected via the PLUS North-South Expressway. From Kuala Lumpur, you can drive to Pangkor Island which will take about 3 hours. You will need to reach the town of Lumut to ferry off to Pangkor Island. There are bus services that come to Lumut from major towns like Ipoh and Penang as well.
Once you have reached Lumut, you will need to engage the ferry services. If you are driving here, there are a lot of parking spaces available around the jetty area which are specially catered for travellers to Pangkor Island. The public ferry services are available throughout the day with return trips available at RM10 per person. Services start as early as 7.00am and goes on until about 8.30 in the evenings. Once you reach the jetty in Pangkor, taxi services are readily available and on standby to bring you into the heart of the island.
Besides that, you can fly into Pangkor Island as it houses its own airport here. Berjaya Air provides 3 flights each week coming in from the Sultan Abdul Aziz Airport in Kuala Lumpur.
Best time to visit Pangkor Island
Unlike the islands in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Pangkor Island is very much shielded from strong winds or heavy rainfall brought by the monsoons. This is because it is located between the mainland of Peninsular Malaysia on the east and Sumatra Island on the west. This simply means that visiting Pangkor Island is possible throughout the year without having to worry about extreme weather. It must however be noted that the western side of Peninsular Malaysia experiences heavier rainfall during the year-end than other parts of the year.
Climate in Pangkor Island
Throughout the year, Pangkor Island experiences equatorial climate. Temperature here is usually between 20 to 35 degrees Celsius in which the days are usually quite warm with afternoons experiencing the highest temperatures. In contrast, the nights are usually very cool.
Appropriate and comfort clothing in the island
Casual and light clothing would be most ideal when visiting Pangkor Island. Generally, there are no restrictions when it comes to clothing but visitors must be aware and sensitive to the locals who are mostly Muslims.
What to do in Pangkor Island
There are a myriad of things in Pangkor Island as it is rich with local culture and natural wonders. Below are some of them:
Visit the village and towns
There are several fishing villages located around the eastern side of the island where you can experience and learn about how this industry works here. This is a great place to see if you like to know more about the local traditions and culture. The town meanwhile is around these areas where you can visit the dried seafood shops, enjoy some local dishes and even shop for souvenirs.
History and Culture
There are quite a few places of interests here if you like history and culture. Take some time to visit the Batu Bersurat here which is where you can find the Dutch Fort as well or you can visit the Kali Amman Temple.
Sand and Sea
A visit to Pangkor Island will surely include having some fun in the sand and sea. The beaches here are very well maintained with some parts even having white, fine sand. Depending on which part of the island you are, you could enjoy a lot of sea activities. The Coral Bay is perhaps your best bet if you are looking for an extremely clean and well-maintained beach. Other places that you could check out includes Pasir Bogak and Teluk Belanga.
One of the unique activities you can do here is to rent a bike and explore the island on your own. However, If you are not a motor rider, you can rent a bicycle for about RM10 per day and cycle your way around. If you are a nature-lover, you should head to Teluk Segadas Hill or Titi Gantung where you can go for some jungle-trekking. This however should be done with caution and you should engage a guide before venturing into the forest.
Tasty Ikan Bakar in Pangkor island
Enjoying the local ikan bakar (grilled fish) here is one of the unique experiences you can have in Pangkor Island. Nothing beats having a meal of fresh fish grilled to perfection with the local recipes while listening to the gushing waves hitting onto the beach through a unique experience of dining in a local warong overlooking the beautiful sunset.
Pangkor Geographical Information
Pangkor Island has quite a large number of inhabitants for an island. It houses about 25,000 people who are mostly residing around the villages and resort areas. As it is located along the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the island is shielded from strong monsoon winds which are more common over the opposite coast. Pulau Pangkor, as it is known locally has a full year of tropical weather where you will experience hot and humid temperature averaging around 32 degrees Celsius while rainfall tends to be heavier during the year end.
As such, foreign tourists can be seen here throughout the year with the highest being the mid-year months between May to September as that is when the island is the driest and bright, sunny days. The mainland is located around the eastern side of the island with a main road heading into the town centre and west coast through to places like Teluk Nipah, Teluk Belanga and the very popular Golden Sand Bay, among others.
Complete information about Pangkor Island
Long stretch of sandy, golden beaches, pristine blue waters, swaying coconut trees, sound of seagulls and cool breeze in Pangkor Island will take your breath away. The perfect escapade for families and vacationers who seek to escape the rigors of life, the island is located about 90 kilometres southwest of Ipoh.
Beachgoers can expect a series of exciting and thrilling water sport activities such as windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkeling. And stretch along the coastline of the golden beaches are some traditional Malay villages such as Teluk Kechil, Teluk Gedung, Kampung Masjid, Teluk Dalam and Sungai Pinang Kechil. There are some highlighted attractions in Pangkor Island that you just could not miss.
Pangkor Historical Landmarks
For instance, the historical landmark Pangkor Batu Bersurat (Stone of Inscriptions) where you’ll see sketches of a tiger with a child and some scribbling of Dutch East India Company. Rumour has it that the sketches were the work of a bereaved soldier. Dutch Fort is another historical site that you would not want to miss. Ideally located at Teluk Gedung Village, this 330-year-old stone foundation was built in 1670 as an observation post for the Dutch to protect against pirates and local folks. The fort was left abandoned until 1973 when the National Museum decided to give it a facelift and turned it into an attraction to draw culture seekers to the island.
Hotels and Resorts in Pangkor
The captivating privately owned Pangkor Laut is one of the finest resorts in the country set amidst the calm tranquility of white sandy beaches with pristine clear waters. Think luxury, think Pangkor Laut! The exclusive and sophisticated resort is a tropical paradise highly recommended to honeymooners and vacationers who are willing to spend to enjoy the most luxurious and top-notch services. The scrumptiously stunning resort lies on the western side of island. Treat yourself to a weekend getaway in one of the most wonderful islands in Malaysia. Just relax in splendid surroundings with a pamper escape at Pangkor Laut.
Other concerns you should take note of
Pangkor Island is a great place for vacation if you are looking for the perfect getaway of sun, sea and sand. Coming here is very easy but be prepared so as to make your trip more enjoyable.
- Health – If you are travelling from areas which are high risk for yellow fever, you need to be vaccinated before arriving. Besides that, you can find several health centres around the island in case of minor health conditions like fever or flu.
- Cellular Networks – If you are using any of the major telecommunication services, you can get signal almost anywhere in the island while it can be quite challenging in the forest though. Hence, if you are planning to go for a hike, ensure that you have informed someone beforehand.
- Religion – As per any other places in Malaysia, Pangkor Island practices Islam as the official religion which is mostly applicable to the Malays. Other religions are free to practice but be mindful not to offend the Muslim community through your dressing and mannerisms.
- Language – English is very much understood around the island while the locals here speak the national language, Bahasa Malaysia. Meanwhile, most Chinese people speak mandarin.
- Hygiene – Pangkor Island is quite a clean place. You can get bottled water anywhere. Tap water is quite safe but is not a common practice here.
- Money – You can find banks and money changers around the town centres. ATM machines are available in the banks while most hotels accept major credit and debit cards. The standard currency here is Malaysian Ringgit, so you might want to change foreign currencies before buying anything.
- Electricity – The electricity voltage here uses the 240 volt, 50-cycle system. So, if you are travelling here from western countries, be sure to use a converter.
- Visa – Entering Malaysia need not require any visa application beforehand and this only applies to certain countries like Cuba and North Korea. However, you are advised to carry your passport wherever you go.
What about entertainment and suitable attire?
- Drugs and alcohol – Most major restaurants and pubs serve alcoholic beverages but you should be mindful not to offer to Muslims. Drug trafficking in Malaysia is punishable by death.
- Clothing – Light and simple clothing would be ideal as it can be quite warm during the day. Although you are around the beaches most of the time, be cautious about wearing too revealing clothes as it could be offensive to the locals.
Sports and Tours in Pangkor
Pangkor Island is surrounded by seas which means that you get to mostly enjoy a lot of water sports and activities. The beaches here are outlined by pearly-white sands while you can indulge in a lot of other things to do as well.
- Seaside – The beaches would be the most popular places to go in Pangkor Island. What you get is some of the most spectacular views of the surroundings but there are certain spots which can be quite dirty which means you have to be mindful of where to go.
- Coral Bay – Around the west coastal side of the island, the green-coloured water could well be your main attraction. If you are here for the romance of the island, the sunset would be totally breath-taking and unforgettable.
- Pasir Bogak – Perhaps the most popular beach in Pangkor Island. You will see crowds coming around during the peak season with a lot going into the waters for a dip. It is actually the first developed-beaches here while picnics are quite common too. If there is one place you want to go for the seaside, Pasir Bogak is THE place.
- Teluk Nipah – There are quite a number of places to eat and interest around here. However, a lot of development has been going on around the beach side which means you could well be looking at more buildings than trees.
- Touring – There are many ways to go around Pangkor Island. From as low as RM25, you can rent a motorcycle for a day. There are not many roads here though but the bike should be good for some uneven terrains too. If you are the fitness type, then you can rent a bicycle for RM8 a day. Take your time and cycle away. If you want a more comfortable ride, then take a taxi tour which starts from about RM45 per trip where you get to see the best of everything around the island like the Kota Belanda and the miniature China wall.
- Watersports – As usual, you get a lot of watersports here because of its natural geographical setup. Snorkelling is the most popular where you get to go to Pulau Giam. This will be about RM20 and is quite common. Kayaking is another activity where you can rent one for about RM50 per day.
- Nature – If you like, you can feed the hornbills at Sunset View Chalet. This usually happens after 6.30pm or head out to the Teluk Segadas Hill or Titi Gantung for a short hike.
Resorts and Hotels in the Island
As a top tourist destination, you can be assured to find something for everyone in terms of accommodation. There are a lot of hotels here which are within the range of budget all the way to the high-end world-class resorts to choose from. Let’s start with the more ‘affordable’ ones.
- Pangkor Guesthouse – Quite a decent place if you want a simple and economical spot. From as low as RM70 per night, you get its eco-friendly design with free Wi-Fi and a common hall to just relax.
- Nazri Nipah Camp – Located in Teluk Nipah, the location is quite exciting considering that you are within minutes to the rainforest. Its rate of RM50 can be quite enticing as you get to taste the local living styles.
- Ombak Inn – This is located in Teluk Nipah as well and if you like a place with comfortable bed with breakfast, then this is it! Prices are from rM70 per night and you get free internet or go wandering around with their bicycles or motorcycles available for rent.
- Budget Beach Resort – The name speaks for itself where you get the basics from RM70 per night.
Other places around this range includes the Seagull Beach Village Resort, Delima Chalet and Purnama Beach Resort.
The following are those that are slightly costlier where rates are mostly above RM100 but would not be too over-the-top. Facilities are quite standard here.
- Anjungang Beach Resort and Spa – A great location if you like to be surrounded by water. There are 50 suites here to choose from which are all uniquely designed for your maximum comfort. The private balcony in every unit gives you some of the best sights around Pangkor.
- Pangkor Fish House – A truly exciting place to stay around the SPK Jetty if you like being on stilts. Rates start from around RM120 per night where you get free Wi-Fi and your own hot shower bathroom.
- Pangkor Bay View Resort – Located in Teluk Nipah, the facilities here are decent but the downside if that you do not get any good views from the room.
- Sea View Hotel – A string of facilities and services awaits you here at Pasir Bogak beach. Its Chinese restaurant here is quite popular too.
- Other hotels at these rates include Coral Bay Resort, the Puteri Bayu Beach Resort and Golden Beach Hotel and Resorts.
For the more expensive places, you can choose the Pangkor Laut Resort, known to be one of the most luxurious places in Malaysia and the Pangkor Island Beach Resort.
Pangkor Food and Restaurant Guide
When it comes to food, Pulau Pangkor is very much like anywhere else around Malaysia where you can practically find any type of cuisine around. The fact is that you would be spoilt for choice because there are quite a lot of options to choose from ranging from Chinese to Malay dishes and continental cuisine, all of which are served at affordable prices.
- Uncle Lim’s Kitchen – Located at the Pangkor Laut Resort, the view here is simply breath-taking while you savour the local delights cooked to perfection through their own Nyonya and Hock Chew home-styled dishes.
- Chapman’s Bar – This place has received quite a lot of positive reviews which means it should be quite a nice place. Located in Emerald Bay, they serve a lot of exciting local dishes. The satay here is a must-try while you they have burgers and even chicken rice ball (made popular in Malacca). The view here is amazing which means having a drink here would simply be heavenly.
- The Samudra – What would a seaside vacation be if you are do not dine on stilts? The Samudra is perhaps your ideal choice with affordable prices for the local, Malay cuisine. This restaurant opens as early as 7.00am and goes on till late at night with a great view of the waters from your table.
- Palm Grove Café – If you are one of those early birds who gets up really early in the morning and looking for good breakfast, the Palm Grove Café next to the Frog Pool could well be your ideal choice.
- Oasis Bar – Just beside the Palm Grove Café is the Oasis Bar where you get to enjoy drinks and snacks all through the day while lazing around to appreciate the Frog Pool.
- Dinner On The Rocks – The name speaks for itself. You are practically by the rocks of the seaside while enjoying your dinner amidst the sound of gushing water hitting the coast. The night view here is really ‘to die for’.
- Sunset Dinner At Sea – Perfect for couples who are here for the romance of the island. You are actually dining on the traditional boat made of wood where it stops around Emerald Bay to view the sunset. The thing is, you will pretty much forget about dinner with this.
- Fisherman’s Cove – If you are looking for a more western dining style, Fisherman’ Cove in Spa Village has a lot of variety to offer. Western grill items, fresh from the sea items, Italian dishes and some Chinese cooking would be as sumptuous as it gets.
Transport in Pangkor Island
Pangkor Island is a relatively small island where you can easily get around the main towns and villages. It must be noted though that there are not many roads around the island and that you can very much get around on foot in many locations.
Getting into Pangkor Island is possible via ferry or plane. At the airport and the ferry’s jetty, you will be welcomed by a lot of taxis waiting to send you to your destination. They are basically minivans which can be easily spotted as they are usually pink in colour. What you need to do before taking the taxis is to agree on a price as they are not metered. The rates should be around RM15 to RM20 per trip depending on the distance.
Self-Drive in Pangkor Island
Another option that you can consider to get around in Pangkor Island is to rent your own vehicle. As there are not many roads around, renting a motorcycle could be your best bet. This ranges between RM25 and RM50 per day depending on the operator. Renting a car meanwhile is possible as well although they are not as easily available as motorcycles and would cost about RM100 per day, depending on the model and make. Before renting any vehicle, it would be best to confirm details like duration, insurance and other issues so as to avoid any disputes later.
If you are more adventurous, you can rent a bicycle which is a lot cheaper and gives you more freedom in moving about the island. One thing to note though is to be mindful of where you are going because you could easily get lost and finding your way back might be challenging if you do not speak the local language.
On Foot in Pangkor Island
One of the best ways to experience the local customs and traditions and to see the best of Pangkor Island is actually on foot. Wandering around the fishing villages and by the seaside will give you a lot more pleasure than going around in a vehicle where you can stop by anytime you please or head into the jungle trails for some quality time with nature.
Getting to Pangkor By Land
Pangkor Island is located off the western coast of Perak state in Peninsular Malaysia. Being an island, it is surrounded by seas which means that you will have to either fly or sail in. To get here, you will have to come by road on the mainland before continuing on by sea to the island.
If you are driving or coming here on public land transportation, you will get off at Lumut town in order to catch a ferry across the straits into Pangkor Island. From Kuala Lumpur, you will have to head up north towards Penang through the North-South Expressway. The journey will take roughly 3 hours where you will then need to get into the Simpang Pulai-Lumut highway and then towards the West Coast Expressway. The road signs will then direct you towards Lumut town where you will then find a lot of parking facilities before embarking to the island.
Getting to Pangkor By Sea
At Lumut town, you will not miss the jetty where you can take public ferry services to Pangkor Island. There is a ferry leaving every 20 minute or so which can be taken from various locations like the main Lumut Jetty, Lumut Waterfront and the bus terminal. You can easily catch one for RM10 return at as early as 7.00am and until about 8.30pm at night. Once you are in the ferry, you would stop by on either one of the 2 stops located on the eastern side of the island, one at Sungai Pinang and another at Pangkor Town Jetty. Meanwhile, there is a private service provided that connects Marina Island to Pangkor which takes about 10 minutes. This service however is slightly costlier as compared to the public ferry service.
Getting to Pangkor By Air
Pangkor Island’s air transportation is served by the Pangkor Airport. Only Berjaya Air offers flights between Kuala Lumpur to Pangkor Island where there are services thrice weekly. Meanwhile, it is quite common to fly into Ipoh, the state capital of Perak and then engage an express bus service which will take you directly to the main bus terminal of Lumut where you can then look for your next course of journey.