Pangkor Island, Perak, Malaysia

Author:
Marshall_Mattson
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I finally made my way to the beaches.  Pangkor Island is located northwest of KL.  It took over five hours to get here on the bus, and then caught a short ferry ride.  Even though it is the peak season, you would never know that by being here.  The beaches are almost deserted and there are a lot of empty rooms in the guesthouses.  That always bodes well for me since I like to negotiate hard.  

The island is not that big at all.  It is about 8 square kilometers (5 sq mi) with a local population of about 25,000.  I rented a bike and rode around the island—stopping to take pictures and talk with the locals.  The islanders make most of their living off the sea, and of course tourism has injected additional funds for the local economy.  It was interesting to ride down one rolling hill to be welcomed into Chinatown, and then humping it up another hill to discover Little India.  It is a constant reminder that all three groups of people can live together even though their religious backgrounds are quite different.  I suppose if you get tired of eating chicken curry with roti (baked bread) all the time, you can always go next door and have yourself some stir-fried noodles.  Or, partake in some scrumptious Malay cuisine.

It seems most of the travelers are staying near Nipah and Coral Bay (NW part of the island) where the beaches are the best.  The water is soothing cool and emerald green.  It is a bit murky, so not the idea waters for snorkeling.  But, who is complaining, right?  As long as I am not anywhere near the cold, I am a happy camper.  I will be shoving off soon to head north.  Although Pangkor Island is a nice place, it is not a place that I would probably come back to.  Mainly the cost of lodging is more geared for the weekend warriors out of KL, and the holiday travelers from northern Europe.  Accommodation for backpackers seem to be a little sparse, so not many come through here.  

Also, the price of beer is very expensive on account of the country being a Muslim nation--they tax alcohol very heavily.  So, even a die-hard alcoholic may want to think about getting on the wagon while traveling around Malaysia.  Or, do what the smart ones do and go north and hang out in Thailand where cans of your local brew might set you back a few cents only.  (By the way, I am not an alcoholic.  Honestly!  I have been known to indulge on a few if the prices are right, though.)  Having said that, it is still a good place to check out for a few days.  If you get tired of being a sun worshiper and wished you did not look like a lobster, you can always explore the inland and see the abundance of flora and faun.

Until next time,
Marshall