Pretty nice waterfront area
My kid brother who didn't want to leave the beach ever
Sunsets by the beach. Gorgeous!
Fresh seafood being prepped for the night market
It’s sort of a waste if you live in a country made famous by its tropical beaches and islands, and you don’t spend enough time at these places. Sun. Sea.Waves.Jellyfish stings. What’s not to love?
A few days back my family and I went to Pangkor Island. It’s a small island located in the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and often forgotten when compared to the much more famous chain of islands in the East Coast. The last time I visited the island was ten years back, and as soon as I stepped foot out of the bright pink local cab, I was glad to see that it has not changed much at all.
We stayed at Nipah Bay, a slightly more crowded corner of the island, but much preferred by tourists due to the variety of resorts, restaurants and night markets. When you walk around the small stretch of street you notice immediately that there are two main groups of people there – the locals and the tourists. The tourists are wide-eyed, excited people walking up and down the beach in the bright sunny day. The locals are laid back motorcycle-riding people who seemed the least bit interested in all the commotion.
The beach in Nipah Bay is a long stretch of white sandy beach with harsh high waves. Along it, there are small modest restaurants, shops selling beachwear, and a number of chalets overlooking the sea. The room rates are pretty reasonable, although one shouldn’t expect a five-star treatment. As the day goes by you’ll see locals sitting by the beach with boats and snorkeling gear, in case any of the tourists would like to go snorkeling at the nearby Coral Island, or simply hire a boat ride to sight see the whole side of the island.
As the evening approaches you’ll see a drastic change in scenery. As the beach settled down (people don’t really swim around this late in the evening) and the tide rises, people sit around and watch the glorious sunset while the street starts hyping up with the stalls for the night market. The West Coast of Malaysia has the best beach sunsets, because the sun sinks directly beyond the horizon of the sea, and one could sit there for hours and watch the sky turns color and the seawater sparkles against the sun.
Nightlife here isn’t really much, and most of it is centered along the street where the night markets and restaurants are. Fresh grilled seafood at cheap prices, local delicacies like fried noodles jumbled up with clams and shrimp, fish satay – you’ll never go hungry. We sat around the hotel café and watched a Japanese guy sing, and although he had a pretty nice strum on his guitar, the same cannot be said for his voice. I saw my Dad wince when the Japanese dude started to yell out those high notes.
PulauPangkor is a great place if you’re looking for a short weekend trip on a budget, just to relax and kick back. You can get to the main jetty through the main highway, exiting into a countryside road with a pretty nice view, and the ferry trip from the mainland jetty to the island costs about RM10 both ways, taking about twenty minutes to get to the island.
Where to Eat: If you’re adventurous you should try the local food at the night market. They’re dead cheap and quite delicious. If you want a proper seafood meal then the local restaurants have a lot to offer. Or, if you’re too damn lazy, most of the resorts have their own café and restaurant too.