By Tan Mei Kuan
Follow along as Ipoh Echo takes you on a food and sightseeing tour around Pangkor Island, with some beach hopping in between. It is a fun-filled getaway, to say the least! Pangkor Island, the Jewel of the Straits of Malacca, is located at the west coast of the Peninsular covering an area of 2200 hectares. To reach Pangkor Island, one has to take a 30-minute ferry ride, which is the main source of transport from Lumut on the mainland to the island. While on the island, one can venture by renting a pink van (taxi), car, motorcycle or bicycle. Whether you are travelling solo or in a group, you will feel at home in no time thanks to the heart-warming hospitality from the local residents. Let the journey begin!
Everything You Want for an Island Getaway...and so much more
Pasir Bogak Beach
From Lumut, the ferry stops by Sungai Pinang Kecil Jetty before its final stop at Pangkor Jetty. Once you have exited the jetty, you will find yourself in Pangkor Town (Pekan Pangkor) brimming with hawker fare within walking distance. Signboards galore will guide your way on foot easily.
Have a taste of Siew Keong Handmade Wanton Noodle by heading to Geng Bee Coffee Shop at Jalan Belakang. “The stall was started by my grandfather in 1958. I make the noodles myself with all natural ingredients without any preservative,” 49-year-old Ooi Chee Keong shared with Ipoh Echo. Operating daily from 12pm to 4.30pm (off on Wednesday bimonthly), a bowl (with dark sauce or soup) costs just RM5. One mouthful of the springy noodles with a side of dumplings will show you how they have flourished for six decades.
Do not forget the famous Leong Kee Chicken Rice stall inside Chiang Seng Restaurant visited by food critic Chua Lam himself. “This stall was started about ten years ago but the restaurant probably started in the 1940s,” Hao, the stall owner said. A plate of chicken rice (with roasted or boiled chicken) is priced at RM6.50. It opens daily from 7.30am to 2.30pm.
Those who love the spicy kick in their dinner should put Lot 4004 Café on their list for its signature dried shrimp sambal rice with fried chicken (RM11.50).
Look out for the stall selling Teochew cakes at night at Pangkor Town.
Pangkor Gallery is a single-hall gallery located 3km from the Pangkor Jetty. It displays historical information on the island including a handwritten Quran from Acheh, Indonesia obtained during a rescue mission after the 2005 tsunami.
Nearby is Pasir Bogak Beach, the longest beach of the island.
Nipah Bay (Teluk Nipah)
Established in 2015, Joe Fisherman Inn is a new three-star resort located at Nipah Bay, just a 10-minute drive from the Pangkor Jetty. The boutique accommodation has 32 wood panelled rooms built in a concrete main structure with no chemical based finishing used. It is located at Lot 4452, Teluk Nipah, 32300 Pangkor. “Joe is my nickname. Among the positive feedback we have received to date are the clean rooms, good service and the big and clean pool,” Ragu, the amiable owner who is ever ready to lend a helping hand, explained. For more info, call Ragu at 012 525 1821 or 05 685 1877. Swing by its Facebook page by the same name or its website http://joefishermaninn.com/.
Also with Nipah Bay just across the road, Anjungan Beach Resort is a beach retreat blending modern and tropical design. Its deluxe room features a private balcony to chill out with unobstructed views of the ship-shaped swimming pool and garden. Airy and spacious with plenty of panel windows, the deluxe room can accommodate up to four guests. The resort is located at 6610 Nipah Bay, 32300 Pangkor Island. For more info, call 05 685 1500 or visit www.anjunganresortpangkor.com.
Trekking enthusiasts can have their morning hike in the Hutan Simpanan Hutan Dara (Sungai Pinang Forest Reserve) that has a stream running through it. It is advisable to enter the dense forest with diverging trails with a guide. It is also good practice to inform the staff of your accommodation before embarking on your adrenaline adventure. You will spot hornbills here and there in Nipah Bay which is a favourite spot for over 11 species of hornbills to drop by. You can see the locals feeding the birds perched casually on their fence in the morning (8.30am) and evening (5pm) along the streets.
At the Teluk Nipah street look for Lempeng Warisan (stall number 50) right next to the beach which sells banana pancake with a burst of grated coconut inside, a favourite snack in the olden days. A family recipe, it is enveloped in banana leaf and grilled to impart that smoky sweet flavour. Started in 1989 by selling on a three-wheeled cycle, it is currently run by the third generation owner named Zakaria or fondly known as Z. It opens at 3pm until everything is sold out and the nostalgic snack costs only RM1.50.
Along the same street, you will find plenty of souvenir shops which generally open from 9am till late at night.
Teluk Gedung Village (Kg Teluk Gedung)
A 20-minute foot trail through South Pangkor Forest Reserve that starts in Kampung Teluk Gedung will get you to the undeveloped Segadas Bay Beach at the south of Pangkor. It is rarely visited by tourists as the narrow trail leading to the beach can be quite strenuous without any signboard, accommodation or facilities available. Once you reach the hidden sanctuary, you will be greeted with the most pristine beach complete with jewel-tone water and ultra-fine white sand very likely with no other footprint on it except your own. Dotted with colourful flora, do take note that the unpaved hiking trail is not elderly-friendly.
Swing by the Dutch Fort built by the Dutch in 1670 for storage and protection of tin supplies from Perak. Fronting a small park with a maze-like design, it was reconstructed by the museum’s department in 1973 and was gazetted as an ancient monument and historical site under the Antiquities Act 1976.
Nearby is the floating mosque known as Al Badr Seribu Selawat Mosque. Established in 2017, the name refers to the 1000 prayers that have been carved on the walls and pillars of the mosque, inside and out.
Sungai Pinang Kecil
Located at the foot of a hill at Kampung Sungai Pinang Kecil, the serene Foo Ling Kong Temple is about five minutes drive from the Sungai Pinang Jetty. Besides a well-paved trail up the hill, it has a mini Great Wall of China, fish pond and pavilions for both resting and observation.
A must-visit place is the Hai Seng Hin Satay Fish Factory, the manufacturer of the famous selections of seafood snacks since 1969 under the whale brand and HSH brand. Led by production manager Tan How Poh, Ipoh Echo got a glimpse of the making process which includes the cutting of fresh fishes, drying the fishes in the sun and dipping dried fishes into special made gravy before roasting in the oven. All ingredients used are natural. According to Tan, the family business was started by his father. Besides the satay fish, other crowd favourites are anchovy crisps, spicy cuttlefish, dried fish fillet and salted fish. Ideal for souvenirs, readers can call 05 685 1111 or 05 685 1097 for more info. Open daily from 8.30am to 7pm.
Down the road from Hai Seng Hin Satay Fish Factory is Tukang Bot Hoo Huat (Hoo Huat Shipyard) to pick up a thing or two about the traditional boat-making industry.
For convenience, make Sungai Pinang Kecil as the final stop of your trip as you may then return to Lumut straight from the Sungai Pinang Jetty. Within walking distance from that jetty is Yee J Coffee Shop famous for its handmade grouper fish meat curry noodle (RM17) by a stall named Lao Er Noodle Stall since 1950. Next to the jetty is Restaurant Seng Kee where the famous concoction of tea, coffee, Horlick and Milo named Four Heavenly Kings is made. Don’t forget the Pangkor-style otak-otak (grilled fish cake) and dried fish meat which are Pangkor Island traditional snacks from Little Black Fish Enterprise.
Fish Otak-otak and Dried Fish Meat/Fish Bakua from Little Black Fish Entreprise
Do take note that the morning session hawkers are usually sold out by 11.30am, true to the saying, “the early bird catches the worm”.