Located off the coast of Perak in northwestern Malaysia, Pulau Pangkor island historically was a refuge for fishermen, merchants and pirates. In modern days, the island boasts idyllic beaches and a mixture of accommodations for tourists that fit all financial means, making it a popular vacation destination. In addition to relaxing on the beach or in a resort, there are many other outdoor attractions that draw visitors to Pangkor island. The island is small--only a little over four square miles--and is home to approximately 25,0000 residents and a host of wildlife. The major industries of Pangkor are aquaculture, fishing and tourism. No commercial airport is on Pangkor; visitors must take a ferry from Lumut or hire a private jet to reach the island.
Exploring at Fu Lin Gong Temple (Foo Lin Kong)
Fu Lin Gong is a newly built Taoist temple at the foot of Pangkor Hill in Sungai Pinang Besar village along the east coast of Pulau Pangkor.
The structure mirrors some of the characteristics of historical temples and there is a replica of the Great Wall of China on the site. The roof also boasts artwork representing the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac. Turtle and koi ponds are located on the property. Many visitors come to Fu Lin Kong to pray or make wishes; it is also a popular destination for tourists to take photos.
Admission is free to the public, and it is a beautiful location for a casual hike.
Kayaking, Swimming or Snorkeling at Pasir Giam Beach
At one point two miles north of Teluk Nipah, the beautiful beach of Pasir Giam (part of the Nipah Bay Beach) faces the small island of Giam off of Pangkor's western coast in the Nipah Bay. During low tide visitors can walk by foot out to the island through shallow waters. The waters are very warm and nice for swimming. You can also rent a kayak and paddle up and down the coast of Pangkor or out to Giam during high tide.
While there is not much coral to be seen in Nipah Bay, the waters are shallow and considered good for snorkeling, as there are many fish to observe.
Kayaks and snorkel gear are available for rent at most resorts and even on the beaches of Nipah Bay.
Hiking and Jungle Trekking at the Dutch Fort and Tiger Rock
In the southwest corner of Pangkor Island are the ruins of a stronghold built in 1670 by the Dutch East Indian Trading Company as protection against the English, pirates and the local Malays. In 1690, Malays under the leadership of Panglima Kulup attacked the garrison and killed the 59 occupants in a bloody massacre. The fort was then abandoned and lay vacant until 1973 when the National Museum took over the site as a historical landmark; in 1976 it was declared a historical monument under the Antiquities Act.
The Dutch Fort lies at the foot of Tiger Rock, the entrance to 12 acres of virgin jungle. There are beginning and intermediate hikes through this sanctuary on marked trails. Advanced hikers can hire a guide from the Tiger Rock resort to guide them on a more strenuous jungle trek. Regardless of what level of hike you choose, the Tiger Rock jungle is the best place to see Pangkor wildlife: This includes birdwatching and spotting other creatures indigenous to the area.
The Tiger Rock resort is a small, rustic, boutique resort located at the entrance to the Tiger Rock jungle. It is run by Rebbecca and David Wilkinson and staff. It is considered to be the antithesis of the larger "touristy" resorts, as there are only three guesthouses for rent and activities are more low-key. For the outdoor enthusiast looking for a quiet place to get away, the Tiger Rock would be a sensible and enjoyable retreat.
Bicycling Around Pangkor
Pangkor is not known for challenging or strenuous bicycle rides. However, bicycles are available for rental at most major resorts and in tourist areas, making this a great way to see the attractions of the island. As Pangkor is so small, it is not unreasonable to think an adventurous bike enthusiast might plan a day trip biking through or around much of the island.