Holiday in Malaysia, Pangkor Laut Resort
Pangkor Laut Island
Located 1.6km off the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Pangkor Laut is a secluded island which lies in the Straits of Malacca. This paradise island has a 2 million years old rain forest, coupled with rocky outcrops and white sandy beaches. Pangkor Laut is a privately owned island. Hence, you cannot set foot on the island unless you are staying in the resort on the island. The sole resort on this island is Pangkor Laut Resort. One Island One Resort.
I am writing this as my memory is still fresh upon the return from Pangkor Laut Resort 2 days ago.
My holiday in Pangkor Laut started when I arrived at the Lumut Jetty. This busy jetty is the point where mainlanders board ferries to get to Pulau Pangkor (a fishing town and tourist island). I have been to Pulau Pangkor many times but this time I am going to the exclusive Pangkor Laut Island. Woohoo! Upon arrival at Lumut jetty, I could feel the difference as there is a private air conditioned lounge for the guests of Pangkor Laut Resort. Luggage was taken care of. Cool refreshing drinks were served while I read articles on the net on their computer. Something I did not anticipate though is the long wait for the speed boat. I waited for close to an hour for the speed boat. This is the school holiday period and also coincide with a public holiday, so I think it is one of those super peak period. Fortunately the waiting lounge is comfortable.
I expected the speed boat ride to be bumpy and exciting. An uneventful 35 minutes boat ride. The sea was quite calm. I watched the Malaysian Navy ships as the speed boat passed by the Pangkor Navy Base and Shipyard. Shortly after that I could see Pangkor Laut. For afar I can roughly identify the sea villas and the hill villas of the sole resort on this island. Upon reaching Pangkor Laut Resort, I was surprised that the resort blends seamlessly with the island. The hill villas look like tree houses with green lush forest surrounding them. The sea villas look like a small fishermen village. The setting is so natural that I began to feel relaxed.
Guests were given a warm welcome by about 8 of Pangkor Laut Resort uniformed staffs. Each of us was given a cool tower to wipe off that stickiness you get from the sea winds. Attention to comfort. At the resort lobby guests were offered a refreshing welcome drink. A short while later, at the main hall guests were given a briefing on the island overview and the 3 days 2 nights itinerary. This main hall decorated with wood can house about 30 people comfortably. Guest can use the 4 internet terminals for free and there are loads of books here for your reading pleasures (volumes range from travel, food, fiction to politics).
I have a hill villa! It was an upgrade from garden villa. A minute walk from the main hall takes me to the foot of the hill. Located here is a chic Jim Thompson boutique. As I glanced upwards, I noticed the hill villas are about 3 to 4 stories above. Oh! How do I get up there? Climb? To my relief, there is an elevator. So I got in. When I reached the top and the elevator doors opened, I gasped. The view is breathtaking. Through the windows, as if from a bird’s view I saw the sapphire blue sea gleaming under the sun with the backdrop of another island on the horizon. Imagine my mood now.
As I was walking towards my hill villa (alright, alright legally I do not own it) with huge and seasoned trees shading the path, I could feel the cool forest air. Upon entering the villa, I noticed that my luggage was already there. Excellent service. Also decorated with wood, this villa is beautiful. From the spacious balcony, I soak up the magnificent unobstructed view of the resort’s lush tropical gardens below, hills, the sea and the horizon. A view to die for... well almost. Makes me wonder if paradise looks like this? When I am sober again, I know paradise is all in the mind. If we think it, it shall be. At the back of this villa, there is a private courtyard with a huge bathtub. This courtyard opens out to the sky above and the rain forest at the back. Perfect setting. Imagine dipping in the water at your very own private courtyard with open sky above and forest sounds at the background. Calm mental state. The whole villa (about 71sqm) has a romantic feeling to it. Love is in the air.
Things to do in Pangkor Laut Resort
Laze around Swimming Pool, Children Pool and Jacuzzi. This area has a captivating view overlooking the sea villas and surrounded by coconut trees.
Build sandcastle on the beach. The beach in front of the resort is nice but not great. Maybe due to the jetty that is located nearby.
Watch sunset at Emerald Bay. The beach at Emerald Bay is far more alluring with powdery white sand and turquoise blue sea. This stretch of pristine beach is backed by a 2 million years old rain forest and has rocky outcrops at both edges. The waves here are stronger too. All these factors make the scenery at Emerald Bay all the more dramatic.
Watch sunrise at the comfort of my hill villa. I woke up early to greet the sunrise. But instead I was greeted by the chirping of birds around my villa. Sunrise. Imagine you are a bird flying over the island at dawn. That’s the feeling I have when I stood at the balcony of my hill villa and gazed towards the horizon during sunrise.
Jungle Trekking. There are 2 treks namely the Northern Perimeter (525m) and the Southern Perimeter (2400m). I took the Northern Perimeter trek. This is an informative and enjoyable activity. A guide will be feeding you information on the island and its inhabitants as you trek and snap photos. Along the way I spotted many of them such as fruit bats, monitor lizard, chameleon, monkey, toad, grasshopper, beetles, peacock, hornbills, eagles and swallows. Make sure you have a mosquito repellent handy.
Batik Hut. Check out hand printed batik wear (shirts, blouses, pareos and scarves), as well as handbags made from 'mengkuang' leaves here. Daily batik painting classes are conducted in the afternoon.
Spa Village. The Spa Village at Pangkor Laut Resort is a unique retreat that extols the healing cultures of the region. Check out the long list of awards Spa Village has accumulated over the years here.
Water Sports. Pangkor Laut Resort offers daily guided snorkeling tour to get to know the marine and coral life surrounding its shores. Island hopping, fishing, kayaking, wake boarding, sail boarding, water skiing, catamaran and banana boat are available too.
Dining in Pangkor Laut Resort
Uncle Lim’s Kitchen. This restaurant is uniquely built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea. I had Chinese food here. Scrumptious.
The Straits. This restaurant offers fine dining with the waves just a few feet below. The ambience is great with sounds of hanging sea shells caressing each other when the occasional sea breeze passes. Food is mediocre.
Feast Village. Buffet style.
For breakfast it is like any other international buffet standard. The highlight is probably the fruit juices. There are a variety of fruits, celery and cucumber on display and you can select, mix and match them. The service staff will blend it on the spot for you. For instance to get a full glass of orange juice, I need to select 3 oranges. Pure.
For dinner, I feel the selection is short of my expectation. The theme was Western food and my favourite dish that night was Italian – fettuccine carbonara with scallops.
Chapman’s Bar. This is where I ended up after the Northern Perimeter jungle trekking. Chapman’s Bar is located on the beach of Emerald Bay. This restaurant has many tall and huge casuarinas and coconut trees surrounding it, providing ample shade from the sun while you enjoy the sea breeze and the sounds of waves. I had Indian food at Chapman’s Bar. Hot and spicy, yummy! Although the dessert was not to my liking, I feel this is the best meal I had on this private paradise island.
This resort is impeccably beautiful with nature still very much preserved. It’s like living in paradise. I would have rated the service excellent if I were here during non peak period. During this peak period I get the impression that this World class resort is a little shorthanded. Why? The speed boat wait is one factor. Second, during breakfast I was fortunate to be early as those who came later had to queue and waited a while for a table. Breakfast is buffet style and there are not enough staffs to clear used plates on the tables. So my advice is to come during non peak period and you will enjoy this paradise even more. Another tip – bottled mineral water is free here. Request it politely from the reception staffs.
I strongly recommend Pangkor Laut Island for honeymooners! This island is a perfect hideaway paradise for couples.
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Awards accredited to Pangkor Laut Resort:
Best Hotel as Voted by SLH Club Members
Small Luxury Hotels of The World, 2009
One of the World's Top Ten Beaches
Ultratravel ,The Daily Telegraph luxury magazine UK, 2008
Best Destination Spa
Malaysia Spa & Wellness Awards, 2007
Best Spa Resort – International
Cigar Aficionado Magazine, 2006
Top Ten Best Overseas Resorts – The Gold List
Luxury Travel & Style Australia, 2005
Number One in the World in Top 100 List
Condé Nast Traveller UK, 2003
The Best Island in the World – Ranked Second
Condé Nast Traveller UK, 1999
Click here for the full list of awards.
Holiday in Malaysia, Pangkor Laut Resort
Holiday in Malaysia, Pangkor Laut Resort