Sunday, 15 December 2013

Pangkor Island

I love sea, I love the enchanting beaches of Pangkor Island. It is my dreamland. I came here ten years ago. 11 of December 2013, the day I revisited one's old site ...... Again, I stepped relaxedly on this joyful land.

Pangkor Island is located off the coast of Perak state in West Peninsular Malaysia. It is a prominent island among a cluster of small islands. We started our journey from Kuala Lumpur early in the morning. We took the North-South Express way to get there. After three and a half hours, we reached Lumut town. It is a gateway to Pangkor Island. We parked our car at a building called "Medan Letak Kereta" which is a multi-storey covered car park run by the local authority. The parking fee is RM10 for a day (24hours) on weekends, and it would be cheaper on weekdays.

There are no bridges connecting the island to the mainland but we can get there by ferry.  There are two jetties in Lumut. One is called Lumut jetty, the other one is called Marina Island Jetty. It is about 40 minutes ferry ride from Lumut Jetty, and merely 10 minutes ferry ride from Marina Island Jetty. I preferred the 40-minute-long ferry ride since my kids wanted to view the seascape on the ferry.  We bought tickets for the ferry at a counter just next to the Lumut jetty terminal, RM10 for adults and RM5 for children.  All tickets sold are return tickets. Remember to keep your ticket properly for your way back.

Lumut Jetty Terminal & ticket counter

Lumut jetty

ferries at Lumut jetty

sea view of Lumut

The ferry stopped at Sungai Pinang Kecil jetty before we reached Pangkor Island jetty. Normally, the first stop is for local residents and the second stop is for tourists. After 40 minutes, we reached Pangkor Island. Once stepped out from the exit of Pangkor Jetty, we saw many pink color taxi vans parked at the parking lot. These pinky vans available for most part of the day to take visitors around.  Before we checked in to the hotel, we took a round-the-island tour on a pinky van that was about 2 hours for RM80. The van driver was a Chinese uncle,a very nice guy. He told us the histories and stories of each attractions when we passed by or stopped at those places. 

view of Pangkor jetty and pinky vans

Our first destination was the Dutch Fort or "Kota Belanda" in Malay.  According to the information board, this fort was built by the Dutch in 1670 for storage and protection of tin supplies from Perak. This fort was destroyed in 1690 by the Malays who were discontented with the methods used by the Dutch in obtaining the mineral. It was rebuilt by the Dutch in 1743 and a force of 60 soldiers were placed to guard the fort until 1748 when the force was disbanded and the fort abandoned.  It was reconstructed by the museum department in 1973 and was gazetted as an ancient monument and historical site under the antiquities act 1976 No.242 Perak gazette dated 21st March 1978. It is now a  peaceful scenic spot in Pangkor Island. 

Dutch fort in Pangkor Island

surroundings of the Dutch fort

Our next destination was  the"Fu Ling Gong" temple. It is one of the popular Chinese temple in Pangkor Island. The temple is located at the foot of Pangkor Hill. There are many various Buddhist statues inside the temple. Many Chinese tourists like to visit and pray in this temple to get blesses from god.  However, this doesn't mean that only Chinese would come and visit, other races and foreign tourists also love this place because of its exquisite environment. There are many alcoves, big rocks and ponds around. The unique sights of its surroundings is a miniature "Great Wall of China" built beside the temple. Besides, the huge "Destiny" rock on the higher part of the hillside is a prominent feature.

"Fu Lin Gong" temple

miniature "Great Wall of China" and "Destiny" rock

There are ponds and alcoves around "Fu Lin Gong" temple.

We took half an hour's break at a food stall in front of the temple then we continued our journey to Hai Seng Hin fish satay factory. This is a famous seafood snacks manufacturer which located at Sungai Pinang Kecil, Pangkor. As soon as we entered the factory, we noticed a charming "giant octopus" structure above the office door. I think this is the sign of the factory. At the back of the factory, we saw many dried fishes under the sun, this is part of the manufacture process. Besides visiting the factory, it is also a nice place to do seafood snacks shopping at their sales store next door. We bought many fish satay, prawn crackers, dried & shredded cuttlefish and some dried seafood for cooking.

The "giant octopus" and the dried fishes under the sun

Later, we headed to Teluk Nipah (Nipah Bay). This is one of the popular beaches in Pangkor Island which offer sun and sea enthusiasts activities like snorkeling, wind-surfing and kayaking. I like the seascape here especially the photogenic powder white sand and the clean water. What an enchanting beach! Nipah Bay has a view of two small uninhibited islands called Pulau Giam and Pulau Mentagor (Giam Island and Mentagor Island). Viewing from the angle of the northern part of Nipah Bay, the small Giam Island just in front of the Mentagor Island. From the beach, you can take a short boat ride to these nearby islands. 

I heard that Pulau Giam (Giam Island) is popular for snorkeling. The waters are shallow and there are lots of corals and fishes to see. Anyway, we didn't experience it but we saw a lot of visitors over there. I am sure there must be a very attractive place. Our van driver told us that the Giam Island is accessible by foot when the tide goes out. According to the driver, this kind of rarely low- tide phenomena will only happens on the 1st or 2nd of January in Chinese lunar calendar.

view of Teluk Nipah (Nipah Bay)

view of Pulau Giam (Giam Island)

There is a Chinese temple called Lin Je Kong Temple (Goddess of Mercy Temple) located at the north of Teluk Nipah. There are a lot of artistic structures a round the temple. Once we reached the temple, my kids started taking photos crazily with those artistic hut, inscribed Chinese words stones, man-made mini mountain, statues and other designs in cartoon style. It is really a great place for photo shooting. It is said that people who pray and make wishes here will get their wishes answered. Hence, I tried to experience the Chinese Traditional divination. I prayed to the Goddess of Mercy and drew a divination stick by shaking the canister of numbered divination sticks ........ Ha ha! I was making a few wishes. 

view of "Guan Yin" Temple ("Goddess of Mercy" temple)

Pasir Bogak was our last destination. It is located just about a few kilometers from Pangkor town. Pasir Bogak is generally a busy part of the island where you can find a lot of resorts, hotels, chalets, motels, shops and seafood restaurants. If compared it with Nipah Bay, Pasir Bogak is quite developed while Nipah Bay still retains it "village" environment.

Pasir Bogak Beach is the longest beach in Pangkor Island. According to the information from internet, Pasir Bogak Beach has been described as " the biggest swimming pool in the world". This crescent shaped sandy beach with the shallow crystal-clear waters lets people enjoy endless frolic and have fun.There are numerous shady trees along the beach which provide idyllic picnic spots under the canopy of their lush foliage. When you are having fun and frolic, relaxing or strolling at the beach you can also enjoy a good view of Pangkor Laut Island, a world-renowned tropical island which is located on the west side of Pangkor Island. The Pangkor Laut Resort is situated  on this island.

The Coral Bay Resort is one of the resorts in Pasir Bogak. It is the place where we stayed over night. After we checked in to the Coral Bay Resort, we had a short rest. This hotel features an outdoor swimming pool which is my kids' favorite place. After swimming, we headed to Pasir Bogak Beach. It is merely a 5-minute walking distance from Coral Bay Resort. We saw many food stalls selling local mouth-watering delicacies and people promoting boat trips at the beach. Here you can hire an island hopping trip, banana boat ride, snorkeling trip and so many other water-sport activities packages easily as there are many boat-trip advertisement boards can be seen around the beach. The beach was always crowded with visitors, it bustling with excitements and noises of the lively children. If you liked to take pleasure in enjoying the water-sport activities or a lively environment on your holidays, Pasir Bogak Beach would be a great destination. Other than that, you can see many majestic hornbills roosting on the treetops or flying around in the evening.

My kids enjoyed playing beach games, building sandcastle, strolling and beachcombing by the beach. They liked this lively and lovely beach, they also liked the beach in the dark. Me too. After our seafood dinner at the nearby Chinese seafood restaurant,again .... we came to the beach. We enjoyed viewing the night scene from the beach. We could see a glimmer of light on the far shore of Pangkor Laut Island . Yes! that was the light of Pangkor Laut Resort. It made the calm sea no longer lonely in the dark ...... It is said that there are "blue tears" ( some tiny little sea creatures glowed with brilliant blue color) can be seen at the beach or in the sea at night. In fact, I don't know what they are ..... I have been told that people who see it to be very lucky. There were many teenagers looking for the "blue tears" by the beach, so did we. Anyway, we didn't find any "blue tear".

view of Pasir Bogak Beach

view of Pangkor Laut Island

hornbill and sea creature

night view of the surroundings of Pasir Bogak Beach

night view of seafood restaurants and shops

The next morning, after having breakfast in the hotel. We headed to the sea to view the morning scene of Pasir Bogak Beach. My husband and I were just having a relaxing walk on the beach while my kids went for beachcombing for the last time attempt to collect as many sea shells as possible. Later, we checked out from the hotel and got ready to go to the second destination in Perak.

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