About Pangkor Island

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Lumut Jetty Pangkor Ferry Pangkor Watersports

Pangkor Island is located just off the coast of North West Malaysia. This Malaysian island is about 300 km North from the country capital Kuala Lumpur. Pangkor island is about 200 km South of Penang and 70 km South-West of Perak's capital Ipoh.

A brief history of Pulau Pangkor

There is not much known about the origins of the inhabitants of Pangkor. The local inhabitants believed that the island was protected by the spirits, so they called Pulau Pangkor the Spirit Island.Another name for Pulau Pangkor in the old days was Dinding, which means 'screen' or 'partition'. This was in reference to the position of the island as it protects the mainland's estuary.Over the years the island was frequently visited by pirates who were roaming the seas around the island. They robbed boats in the Straits of Malacca and hide themselves on the hills on the island. The names of Batu Lanun meaning Pirates' Cave and Batu Perompak meaning Pirates' Rock echo the memory of the pirates.When the Dutch came in 1670, they build a Fort of which the remains still stand. Dutch records referred to it as the Dindings fort ('Dingdingh') - named after the Dindings River which it faced on the coast of the Peninsula. Read more on the history of the Dutch Fort

Despite the presence of the fort the tin-smuggling continued. In 1690 the Dutch left since local leaders frequently attacked the fort. In 1743 the fort was rebuilt but the Dutch did not stay long. Soon after, early 19th century, the British came. With their arrival, the island was renamed to Pulau Kera meaning Monkey Island. There's still many monkeys on the Pangkor. Later Pulau Kera was renamed into Pulau Aman (Peaceful Island) and then into Pulau Pangkor (Beautiful island).The fort was abandoned after it was attacked by a local warrior, Panglima Kulub, and his followers. Muzium Negara (the National Museum) undertook its reconstruction in 1973. Today, only the stone walls and carvings on a large rock left by the soldiers remain. In front of the ruin there is a little park with a Dutch cannon. Another important event in the history of Pangkor was the so-called Pangkor Treaty of 1874. The Pangkor Treaty of 1874 was a treaty signed between the Sir Andrew Clarke on behalf of the British and Raja Abdullah of Perak. It was signed on January 20, 1874 at Pulau Pangkor off Perak. Thus, the name of the agreement. The treaty is significant in the Malay states history because it signaled the British official involvement in the Malay states' policies.

The first British Resident was J.W.W. Birch and he was not much loved by the Malays. In November 1875 Birch was assassinated. This was the start for the fight for independence that eventually came in 1963. Even today Birch is remember bitterly. In Ipoh you will find a clock tower dedicated to him, erected by the British and more or less hidden. . But it is in Pasir Salak where the full story comes to life. Pasir Salak was the kampong where Birch was killed. In the Pasir Salak complex you will find a memorial for Birch too. In the 1960's and 70's , the name 'Pangkor' was synonymous with salted fish, ikan bilis produce, dried shrimps, shrimp paste etc. Kids grew up on 'Satay Fish', a delicious snack made of barbecued and caramelized fish wafers. Those were the days when the packaging was secondary to the content and hygiene was not of utmost priority.

In Pangkor Town you will find many shops stuffed with all sorts of products from the sea. The supply comes, of course, from the local villages. Nowadays the packages are vacuum sealed but once it was different. The satay fish, dried jellyfish (!) and dried squid are delicious though some find the smell a bit stinky. With the development of Malaysia, and in particular Perak and Pangkor, the tourist industry found its way into Perak and Pangkor too. Perak has nowadays several tourist destinations: Taiping with the Taiping Zoo, Ipoh and Kuala Kangsar are only a few of the tourist centers. If you consider going to one of these cities, you may want to check Perak hotels for a good hotel

"Plenty of attractions at Pangkor: Beaches, Temples, Fishing Villages, Ikan Bilis and many more..." 

The main attractions on Pangkor Island are the beaches. There are several excellent beaches. However, Pulau Pangkor offers more then beaches. On this page you will explore the many other attractions that will make your stay here a real life experience of joy, love and happiness.

PANGKOR TOWN 

Pangkor Town, the main town on Pangkor Island, is located on the east coast. It used to be one street town and it is still not much more. There's a range of souvenir shops and little restaurants. Some of the best food you will find in the local stalls. One of my favorites, for breakfast, is the restaurant opposite of the Kheng Hai Chuan Fishery shop, to be recognised by the birdnests attached to the name board. They serve excellent Ho Kien noodles also known as prawn noodles (mee udang), mostly known from Penang.

FISHING VILLAGE
On the east coast of Pulau Pangkor, fishing is still the main industry of the island On the east side of Pangkor island there are three more fishing villages facing the mainland: Sungai Pinang Kecil, Sungai Pinang Besar and Kampong Teluk Kecil. In fact it's a long strip of villages that continues to Pangkor Town. Although the villages are small they are interesting to visit. Many of the houses are traditional and some are build in the sea on stakes. There are local stalls offering great food. In Sungai Pinang Kecil there's Hai Seng Hin Satay Fish Factory. Most people living in Pangkor do still rely on fishing for living. Local fishermen can be seen building new boats. The villages offers a closer look at life of the average Chinese fisherman and his family. The fishermen's houses are next to the docks. The women are ready with knives and baskets to prepare their catch when their husbands come home with their catch. This includes small and big fish as well as squid. The catch are then dried in the sun and later soaked in a sweet, spicy sauce. Sungai Pinang Kecil Your first glimpse of Sungai Pinang Kecil you will have while you have the ferry from Lumut. Sungai Pinang Kecil is the first stop before the ferry docks at the Pangkor Town Jetty. Other villages There are a few other villages on Pulau Pangkor. Sungai Udang is the village in between Pasir Bogak and Nipah Bay. There is not a lot to do except eating and enjoying the shadow under the palm trees. Teluk Dalam is located on the north side of Pulau Pangkor. It is a small fishing village with the Teluk Dalam Resort nearby.

HISTORICAL SITES

Foo Lin Kong Temple

The Foo Lin Kong Temple is a fairly new Taoist temple. It has been build at the foot of Pangkor Hill in the village of Sungai Pinang Besar. The temple has a nice garden partly build on the hillside. There is a miniature Chang Cheng (Great Wall) of China to admire. On the roof you will see the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac. (a great site about the real Great Wall Of China you can find here). The are turtles and plenty of different fish in the ponds around the temple

Kali Amman Temple

While you are in Sungai Pinang Kecil, you might like to visit the Kali Amman Temple. This is the largest, and the only Indian temple of any significance on the island. It is noted as one of the two Indian temples in Malaysia that have the entrance the shrine of the goddess Kali, facing the sea. The other is located on Penang Island. The temple has a short staircase that descends to the sea where worshippers are required to cleanse themselves before entering the hall for worship.
On the mainland there's also a Kaliaman temple. 

Dutch Fort (Kota Belanda)

Just south of Pangkor Town lies Kampong Teluk Gedung. There is the old Dutch Fort. It is build in 1670 and used for storing tin. The Dutch used to Fort further as a stronghold against local Malays and pirates. Today only some of the foundations are left. The Dutch Fort is located just at the entrance to Tiger Rock of where there is a hotel: Tiger Rock.

Batu Bersurat and Tiger Rock

Just located next to the Dutch fort there is Batu Bersurat. It means literally "the stone of inscriptions". The stone is a large granite boulder and has the inscription ‘1743 I.F.CRALO’ and the initials ‘VOC’ (Veerenigde Oostindische Compagnie - The Dutch East India Company), and the image of a tiger. It's one of the must see things at Pangkor Island. The story behind it is that a child, who played by the rock, disappeared with no trace and was presumed that a tiger had taken the child.

However the villagers at Pangkor Island said that it wasn’t the tiger that had taken the boy, but rather the angry Malays, who wanted to rid Pangkor of the Dutch. The Dutch chiseled this incident on the stone depicting the Malays as a tiger.

The Tombs

Next to the Indian Kali temple, there are four graves. It's only worth a visit if you visit the nearby Indian temple. The tomb is halfway in the ground next to a little altar. The tomb reads: In the loving memory of Patrick de Souza, born 1871, died in 30 April 1911 RIP.

The tomb behind the grave in the foreground reads: Sacred to the memory of Edward G. Howell, Boatswains mate, H.M.S. Ringdove. Died of dysentery on the 28 December 1875, ages 37 years.

Behind Howell's grave is Seaton's grave which has an inscription on its headstone: W.A. Seaton, Died 21.9.17, aged 67, R.I.P.

And behind Seaton's grave there is another grave with worn wooden head'stone'.

Pangkor Suspension Bridge or Jambatan Gantung

Technically not a historical site but the bridge is years old. It's located near Pasir Bogak a few hundred meters in the Pangkor jungle. The shear coolness of the jungle is a great way to escape from the midday heat and a good moment to find some wild animal life, if you take the time.

Motorbike or bicycle?

Motorbike or bicycle, that's the question. I have always preferred the bicycle. However, many people prefer the motorbike. Some think the weather is a little too hot to ride your bicycle. Pangkor island is small enough to cycle around in day and hang out on the beach or visit some of the sights. The roads are in good condition though a bit steep and narrow on the North-West part of the island. 

Cycling or motor-biking around Pangkor island is an adventure in itself. You do not need a lot of luck to see one of the many biawaks or monitor lizard, the slightly smaller cousin of the Komodo dragon  crossing the road.

Jungle Trekking

The highest "peak" on Pangkor island is 800 feet or 266 meter. There is a mountain trail from Pasir Bogak beach to the Sungai Pinang Town. Somewhere half way you can also trek to Tortoise Hill. This hill looks over Tortoise Bay. Do not underestimate the trek, wear decent shoes to avoid the leeches in the rainy season.

By Boat

One of the great attractions of Pangkor Island is the possibility to go around the island by boat. It is possible to go to Pulau Mentangor or Pulau Pelandok. At Pangkor island there is a service to rent boats. You can arrange a speedboat through your hotel. The Coral Bay and Sea View have this service available. Expect to pay about RM180 to RM200.

Canoe around Pulau Pangkor

Canoes at Pulau Giam, in front you see Coral Bay

Not necessarily around Pangkor but to get a canoe and do some canoeing from Teluk Nipah to Pasir Bogak through Teluk Kepatang is quite another experience. You can rent canoes on the beach of Teluk Nipah. Get one and visit Pulau Giam in front of Coral Bay and Teluk Nipah and enjoy yourself for an hour or two in the bay. Recommended!

Fishing

For an island that lives on the fish industry it is obvious there some good fishing areas in the neighborhood. You can arrange a boat with local fishermen for a day and catch some fish. 

Golf

To each his own. There is a golf-course on Pangkor island. The Pan Pacific Resort has its own, a small midi golf course. There is on the mainland: Damai-Laut Golf & Country Club and Royal Teluk Rubiah Country Club. Check here for the details on Pangkor Golf

Shopping at Pangkor Island

Pangkor island is not exactly a shopping paradise, and that may be an euphemism. In Pangkor Town there are some souvenir shops and many local food stalls. They are worth a visit. For some more shopping you can visit Lumut. Seri Manjung and Sitiawan are from Lumut just a 20 minute drive. There are taxi's and public transport available. If you come to Pangkor to shop, you better give either Kuala Lumpur, Penang or Ipoh a visit. However, in this area of Malaysia you can easily buy what you need.

Pangkor Festivals

Pangkor is no different from other parts of the world. It has its own festivals. Since the population of Pangkor is similar build up as in the rest of Malaysia, there are Indian, Chinese and Malay festival. Indian festivals include Thaipusam while the Chinese have there Chinese New Year. The Malays celebrate the Ramadan and the birthday of the prophet Mohammed.

Chinese Cemeteries

Technically it may not be the best place to mention it. However, if you are looking for something really special, Chinese cemeteries are very special in this part of Malaysia.

In fact around Pangkor island is the only place in the whole of Malaysia where the Chinese cemeteries are so spectacular beautiful. At Pangkor itself there are a few nice graves to be seen just outside Sungai Pinang Kecil. However for the "real thing", you have to visit Seri Manjung and especially Sitiawan. The biggest graveyard is a few km out of Lumut.