I am just back from a longer stay on Pangkor Island. The best thing there is being close to hornbills. Outside of a birdpark I’ve never been closer to them. And these ones live in the wild. Penang Birdpark at Butterworth is a nice place to see hornbills if you can’t go to Pangkor Island.
If you stay at or near Nipah Bay on Pangkor Island, your hotel may get a hornbill as a visitor. Or you may see one at the beach at nearby Coral Beach.
However, every evening for the last 14 years the man at Sunset View Chalet in Nipah Bay town has fed them at 6.30PM. On the main road through the town, find the Nipah Water Front Beach Resort and take the side road next to it. Two or three minutes walk down it you’ll find the Sunset View Chalet. Thirty or more birds will turn up to be fed.
take the side street next to this hotel
walk along for two or three minutes
By the way, the Sunset View Chalet man feeds the birds bananas and doesn’t charge viewers anything. In fact, he helps you feed them yourself. We gave him a small gift in appreciation.
For me – 24 hours was enough. Going to Pangkor Island or to Langkawi by car seems about the same amount of effort from Penang, so if you want to stay somewhere longer, Langkawi has much more to do, a bigger variety of accommodation and food, and is duty free. Nevertheless, I wanted to go to Pangkor to see it. We went mid-February 2014, which is not a tourist season, not school holidays, and not during a weekend, public holiday or festival, so it wasn’t crowded. We have seen photos of it crowded, and I wouldn’t like it.
Around a two hour 40 minute drive from Penang to Lumut, depending on your route.
Around RM11 in road tolls on the E1 motorway going south.
Parking in Lumut cost RM10 per day near the ferry terminal. That’s not for 24 hours, but for each day, so Tuesday and Wednesday would be RM20.
They refused to give a receipt for the payment, which they want when you park – but it wasn’t a problem.
Lumut is quite nice, and has a lot of eating places.
There is a friendly tourist office near the jetty, and they can give you maps etc.
Next to and attached to the tourist office is a nice toilet. It costs 50 sen to enter, and there are also showers included in the price. It is clean and airy, and even has an aviary. It is not at all like typical public toilets in Malaysia.
There is a ferry every half hour or 45 minutes, depending on the time of day.
The ferry takes about half an hour.
A ferry ticket costs RM10 return.
Some people take motorbikes onto the ferry, but generally it’s a passenger ferry.
The first stop on the ferry on Pangkor is Sungai Penang. For the busiest part of town and cheap accommodation you can alight here. Otherwise you should alight at the second stop, the main terminal.
You can rent cars, motorbikes or bicycles from touts at the main Pangkor Island terminal.
There is little traffic, so a motorbike wouldn’t be particularly dangerous, unless you are. A bicycle would be hot. Of course, there are taxis, too.
We paid RM70 for a manual Proton – possibly the worst maintained car in the world.
There was no paperwork for the car – he asks for a contact number and gives you a piece of paper with his number on it and asks you to ring him when you return the car. He doesn’t ask your name, or for a licence etc.
He refused to give a receipt for the payment, which he wants immediately – but again it wasn’t a problem
The guy we used was Mr. Ching: 010-5636954 or 016-5554794
The tank is empty and so he says to put RM20 in the tank immediately from a petrol station which is very close.
Trip Advisor posts condemn pretty much all the hotels, so do your own research. But there are also hostels, possibly in China town.
There is not much to see. The mini-Great Wall of China was fun. We also saw the Dutch Fort.
It takes around 40 minutes to drive around the island.
The best beaches are on the other side of the island to the port – that is, the north-west.
The beaches on the east of the island are not nice.
The north of the island has the Pangkor Island Beach Resort, with its private beach. Even if you are staying there you can’t drive in, but you can park just outside. You can walk in. There is a RM50 charge for non-guests to use the beach, but I hear they usually don’t charge it. However the staff will come around and ask for your drink orders.
We could swim – I didn’t see any jellyfish
I saw some wild hornbills in the evening and in the morning – I love hornbills.
From the jetty to the best beach – Coral Bay – and our hotel was 15 minutes drive
Monkeys rampaged around stealing things, so one had to keep the balcony doors closed and locked at the hotel. My favourite story from the boss at the hotel is that he noticed his mobile had been stolen. He rang his number to see if he could locate it,and heard the phone ringingup in a tree. This so startled the monkey that had stolen the phone that he dropped it, and it fell onto the grass undamaged.
Monkeys will also steal your things from the beach, so don’t leave anything you care about unattended.
Food prices in the little restaurants are very reasonable and cheaper than Langkawi. A similar price to Penang.
Some places and some mini-markets sell beer, and some don’t. It’s around RM6 per can of Tiger.
We stayed at the Anjungan Beach Resort and Spa, which according to Mrs. Tropical Expat is the best mid-range hotel in Pangkor, where most Trip Advisor reviews for almost all hotels are dreadful. We stayed in the larger delux room for RM180 per night, and booked it on the Internet.
It’s about 15 minutes drive from the jetty
It is across the road from a beach – Nipah Bay, and a nicer beach – Coral Bay – is a few minutes walk down the road.
From Nipah Bay you can get a RM20 snorkelling trip – they take you on a boat across to Giam island – a five minute ride. You can stay as long as you like, and when you wish to return you call the guy to pick you up – or ask another boat that is returning to ask him to pick you up.
There is no car parking in the hotel – you can park on the scrub next to the side road, though. They have bike parking.
The hotel is quite new and clean.
But there are a few flies and mosquitoes in the room. They leave a can of insect spray, so spray the room and go out for a while.
There is only one towel each, and poor amenities, so take your own soap, shampoo, etc. if you wish.
I mentioned the monkey problem above – keep the balcony doors closed and locked at the hotel.
Everything worked, including importantly the air-con.
At reception there are notices of charges for various things.
There is no safety box in room.
There is no lift in the hotel.
The hotel has a pleasant pool, which was popular with guests. The water was quite warm in the afternoon.
The hotel was on a tourist stretch, with most shops shut during the day. A couple of mini markets and one restaurant was open. And it was very hot.
Hotel food was expensive, and the coffee awful.
Swimming at the beach at Coral Bay was the best thing. The water in the morning is refreshing, but by the afternoon like a warm bath.
The hotel had Internet in the lobby at a speed so glacial that even a global warmist would renounce his religion. My Yes 4G modem wouldn’t deliver Internet either. But my Maxis phone would provide Internet through tethering. The Maxis speed was good.
Reception staff seemed to have little idea of what they were doing.
If you intend to spend a lot of time in the room during the day don’t accept a room on the south side of the hotel as it will get sun all day and be hot, despite the air-con – at least according to some tourists who were complaining.
The bus station at Lumut – very close to the jetty
jetty at Lumut
a ferry ticket
one of the ferries
on the deck of the ferry
arrival at Pangkor Island main ferry terminal
main street at the beach
a delux room
monkeys hanging around
a nice cat at the hotel
driving clockwise around the island
Chinese temple which has the Great Wall
the Great Wall of China
at the temple
the Dutch Fort
view of Giam Island seen from Nipah Beach – where you can catch a boat to to snorkel
Giam Island zoomed up
Coral Bay beach
fresh fish – ocean caught so reasonable price for the quality