Malaysia’s Pangkor Island is where stress goes to die. It’s so chilled it’s almost comatose, with empty beaches just waiting to be explored.
However, it’s not all lazing around on Nipah Beach and Coral Bay sipping pina coladas and working on your tan. If you’re up for some adventure, there’s Teluk Nipah and Pantai Pasir Bogak to experience. These Pangkor Island beaches will convince you to get up on a jet-ski, banana boat or kayak and make a fool of yourself.
Pangkor Island is small enough to rent a boat and travel right around in search of the best snorkelling spots both there and on neighbouring Giam Island. Overall, then, Pangkor Island is like a library nerd. If you let the quiet and shy exterior fool you, you’ll never discover the beast within…
Pangkor Island’s Top 10
10. Giam Island Uninhabited, but if you play your cards right you’ll find locals willing to show you around.
5. Dutch Fort (Kota Belanda) See one of the canons used during the Dutch occupation. A little history lesson can’t hurt!
9. Tortoise Hill Take a trek to the highest point of the island and suck up the most amazing views.
4. Kali Amman Temple Culturally significant as the only Indian temple on the island.
8. Pangkor Suspension Bridge (Jambatan Gantung) If you’re scared of heights, this won’t do you any favours!
3. Foo Lin Kong Temple Beautiful gardens and a mini Great Wall of China!
7. The Tombs Next to the Kali Amman Indian Temple are four graves. Ask the locals to tell you the tales behind them.
2. Sungai Pinang Kecil, Sungai Pinang Besar and Kampong Teluk Kecil Fishing villages that are well worth exploring. The houses built in the water are awesome!
6. Batu Bersurat and Tiger Rock A beautiful story is behind this landmark, which means ‘the stone of inscriptions’.
1. Pangkor Town Bursting with culture, stalls, markets and restaurants. Go nuts on street food.
Pangkor Island History
- Dutch Fort – This fort is located at Teluk Gudang and was constructed in the 17th century.
- Batu Bersurat Terengganu – Tiger Rock is an inscribed stone that measures about 10.7m long, 4.6m wide and stands 4.3m tall.
- Kali Amman Temple – The only Indian temple of marked significance on the island.
- Fu Lin Kong Temple – This is the largest Taoist temple on Pangkor Island.
- The Dutch Tombs – These tombs are the final resting place of notable Dutch residents of the island.
Pangkor Island Art & Culture
- Indian-Chinese Festival (Kaliamman-Kuan Yin) – This vibrant celebration on February 19 lasts for approximately five days.
- Moon Festival – This autumn festival on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar offers pastry delights.
- Deepavali – This Indian festival on November 4 is lit with oil lamps hung outside Hindu homes.
- Pangkor Fishing Villages – These small, interesting villages are a window into the heritage of Pangkor Island.
- Hungry Ghost Festival (Kuei Chieh) – This Malay festival occurring in the seventh month of the lunar calendar is a feast for the eyes and stomach.
Pangkor Island Shopping
- Kheng Hai Chuan Fishery – This is the best place to buy Pangkor Island’s famous dried fish.
- Sungai Pinang Kecil – This is where local hawkers set up their stalls to sell a variety of wares to tourists and locals.
- Pangkor Town – Adorable little touristy trinkets can be bought at souvenir shops dotted around town.
- Ikan Bilis (Anchovies) – A Pangkor Island specialty that tourists typically bring home or at least try.
- Sitiawan – Just a short distance from Pangkor Island, this region has lots of local shops and restaurants.
Gay & Lesbian Pangkor Island
- Puteri Bayu Beach Resort – This seaside resort offers a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, and there is virtually no LGBT discrimination.
- City Discovery Island Tours – This private tour company is LGBT friendly.
- Pantai Pasir Bogak Beach – Feel free to be yourself in this little patch of paradise.
- Hornbill Restaurant – Enjoy a romantic beachside dinner at this Pangkor Island restaurant.
- Pangkor Laut Spa Day – Take some time off to enjoy a soothing massage or sauna day at this local resort spa.
Pangkor Island Outdoor
- Teluk Nipah – This picture-perfect beach is the perfect place to sit back and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.
- Bukit Pangkor – Traverse the lush, green jungle of Pangkor Island to get to this high point.
- Pasir Bogak – The first developed beach on the island and a good starting point for water-based activities.
- Pangkor Forest Reserve – A jungle trek through this area offers chances to see local wildlife and plants.
- Jambatan Gantung – A suspension bridge located in the jungle for the daring.
Pangkor Island Sport
- Take a speedboat tour of Coral Bay.
- Hire a bicycle to see the tourist hotspots of Pangkor Island.
- Rent a kayak at Teluk Nipah to paddle around the bay.
- Arrange a boat trip with local fishermen to test your fishing skills.
- Play a round at the Pan Pacific Resort golf course.
Pangkor Island Events
Thaipusam is a movable feast celebrated in the early months of the year. Join the Indian Hindu population for cultural ceremonies and parties.
Chinese New Year brings the island to life around February.
Ching Ming is held on the day of the Third Moon, 105 days after the Winter Solstice. It is also known as the Grave-Sweeping or Spring Remembrance Day.
Ramadan and Hari Raya are celebrated by the Muslim population around September. Late-afternoon and night bazaars are a great opportunity to sample a variety of food specially made for Ramadan.
Early October brings with it the Moon Festival, a Chinese celebration. Head to Penang to really get involved.
When To Go
Although November to February is the monsoon season, Pangkor Island generally escapes the worst of the wet and squally weather.
For the rest of the year, it is quite dry but very humid. Temperatures average balmy 32°C (90°F).
During the rainy season, the surrounding islands such as Genting Highlands can get quite cold. We’re talking 15-20°C (59-68°F), so nothing too extreme!
There is no public transport, so you’ll be using the pink mini-bus taxis. They cost around RM5-10 for an average trip.
If you packed your leather jacket and fancy a ride on the wild side, hire a motorbike or bicycle. Two-wheelers cost around RM15, or RM30 with a motor!
If you take your car (and we wouldn’t recommend it), you’ll need to park on the mainland for around RM10 per day.
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