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Cycling in Pulau Pangkor
In the waters of the Straits of Melaka lies Pangkor where nine islands dwell in bliss, and only two of which are inhabited: Pangkor Laut and Pulau Pangkor.
Pulau Pangkor, a name that translates to “Beautiful Island”, is also known as the Malaysian Paradise. We, in this two-wheeled journey, explored its natural authenticity through one of its famous beaches, Teluk Nipah.
The moment we set foot on the island, we were greeted by the calm breeze and the jungle interior that surrounded us was wild, unexplored and isolated. The highlight of this interior was the scenic villages with small roads and cramped shop lots. The main transportation around the villages is bicycles and motorbikes. With Pangkor being a fishermen’s village, the famous local products are ikan bilis (anchovies), satay ikan, salted fish and other dried fish products that are simply irresistible.
Laksa Mee Ketam
Upon arriving, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the local cuisine. For lunch, we devoured Pangkor’s famous food, 1. Laksa Mee Ketam and Laksa Goreng. The bowl made our mouth water and what more when we took the first bite. The crab meat was succulent and every bite was heaven. What a great way to start our adventure!
We headed to 2. The Nipah Guesthouse which is located in Kampung Teluk Nipah. It is a cozy guesthouse with 8 rooms. It is a family run business and focuses on the concept of “home away from home”. This guesthouse is meant to bring out the happiness of the guests and with a 3-feet dipping pool, visitors are bound to have a relaxing holiday. It is important to note that this guesthouse is meant for individuals and couples. A very interesting concept that this guesthouse entails is that visitors are to cook their own food.
At 6pm, we were greeted by Hornbills at the 3. Hornbill Feeding located closely to the guesthouse. We already spotted a few Hornbills the moment we reached the place. The colorful beak and raven black feathers on the birds were eye-catching and got us excited to feed them. The guide taught us simple tricks to feed the Hornbills. All we had to do was hold the food with our fingers and extend our arms up and the hornbills will tactfully grab the food. This was also a great opportunity to capture photos.
The next morning, we started our cycling at 9.20am from Kampung Teluk Nipah. The morning breeze was perfect for a bike ride. Our journey took us to Kampung Teluk Dalam and we had a beautiful view of the ocean, where you can see the clear waves kissing the white sands. On our right, was the Pangkor Airport, greeting the weekend warriors. As we cycled under the sun, we came to an elevation. The distance of the entire elevation was 60m and the height of the elevation was 80m. This was the steepest climb we experienced. We were warned about the dangers of this climb. If you neglect your speed and safety here, it could turn fatal. But what goes up must come down, and the ride down was breezy.
Six kilometer into our ride, we reached Kampung Hujung Kelawai. At this point we were at 4. Menara Tinjau (Lookout Point). It is a cylindrical building with a rooftop with a ladder for stairway. Once on top, you will be greeted by the breathtaking view as it overlooks the mainland of Lumut. The spectacular blue sea was a sight for sore eyes.
An hour and twenty minutes on our bike, we approached the town centre of Pulau Pangkor with the Boat Making Factory first at our sight. If you enter the factory, the strong smell of wood will awaken your senses and you can witness how boats are made from scratch. You can see the skeletons of the boat being built and also frames being built on the boats. We then departed to our next factory visit.
Hai Seng Hin Fish Satay Factory
Dried Fish Pressing Machine
Located 5 minutes away from the boat making factory, is the 5. Kilang Ikan Satay Hai Seng Hin (Hai Seng Hin Fish Satay Factory). Once you enter the premise, a huge yellow Octopus hangs tall, with its tentacles spiraling down to the door to welcome you. In the factory, you can see workers cleaning tons of fishes. Once cleaned, the fishes are racked in rows in a wooden frame to be dried under the sun. Once the fishes are dried and curled to crisp, they are brought in to be pressed on a 6. Pressing machine.
Dried fish products
The machines used are simple yet effective, which shows how factories here still rely on manual labor. The retail shop next door was literally a haven for 7. dried fish products. You can see a plethora of dried fish products on sale. Among those were the gamat emas products. Found in relative abundance in the reef flats of Pulau Pangkor, sea cucumbers (known locally as gamat), have medicinal properties. The raw products are traditionally processed into gamat oil and gamat water, and recently into other medicated products. The highest grade is known as 8. Gamat Emas which possesses high medicinal properties.
Jetty Sungai Penang Kecil
We continued our cycling journey to the 9. Jetty Sungai Penang Kecil. This jetty is commonly used by the locals. Boats used by the local fishermen were docked by the jetty and the houses and the shop lots were attached to one another. The roads were narrow, leaving space only for motorbikes and bicycles. As we cycled on the narrow roads, we saw fish graffiti on an orange wall, which simply proves that Pangkor is a fishermen’s village. We stopped here to rest and join the locals for a drink.
Foo Ling Kong Temple
Departing for our next destination and 9.50km from where we started, we took a turn thru village roads for 10. Foo Ling Kong Temple. This temple has various Buddhist statues inside the temple whereas on the outside, we saw colourful statues. Beautiful ponds with fishes and turtles and alcoves around the temple ultimately gave a peaceful ambience. Many tourists believe that the gods in this temple will grant any wishes made. The most unique thing about this temple is that there is a mini Great Wall of China built behind the temple. After a good look around, we picked up our pace and continued our journey.
The 11. Galeri Pangkor (Pangkor Gallery) that overlooked the jetty storied us on Pulau Pangkor’s history. This gallery was filled with treasures from the olden days, giving us insights and hints on how people lived on this island. As we walked through the quiet place, we were struck by the beauty of the handcrafts of the locals and paintings of Puteri Seri Dewi (Beautiful Princess). The gallery also showcased the important time in Pangkor’s history which is the “Pangkor Treaty of 1874”. The treaty is significant in the history of the Malay States as it legitimized British control over the Malay rulers and paved way for the British domination in Tanah Melayu (Malaysia before independence).
Half a kilometer away from Galeri Pangkor is the 12. Kota Belanda (Dutch Fort) which is a popular tourist site in Pangkor and the ocean is a short distance from this fort. It has a small park and some souvenir shops set up around the area for visitors. The Dutch Fort has an interesting history to it. The story unfolds to the year 1670 where the fort was built by the Dutch for the purpose of storage and protection of the tin supplies from the Sultanate of Perak. It was then destroyed by the Malays in 1690 as they were discontent with the methods used by the Dutch to obtain the minerals. It was rebuilt by the Dutch in 1743 and a force of 60 soldiers was placed to protect the fort until 1748, when the force was disbanded and the fort abandoned. In 1973, the fort was reconstructed by the Malaysia’s Museum Department and was gazette as the ancient monument and historical site.
We then cycled 100 meters further to the 13. Batu Bersurat (Historical Rock). The inscribed stone is also known as Tiger Rock due to the etching found on this 4 meter tall granite boulder. Today a pavilion is built to shelter the 10.7 meter long and 4.6m wide rock. The etching depicts a picture of a tiger carrying away a child. The rock also has two round-shaped leaves and the engravings “If Carlo 1743” and “VOC”. The “VOC” probably refers to the Dutch East India Company. There are many versions to the story of the tiger taking away a child but one sinister version of the tale claimed that in 1743, a Dutch dignitary’s son was murdered by the Malays and Bugis, in revenge of the ill treatment of the Dutch to the locals. When questioned by the Dutch, the locals made up a story that they saw the boy was snatched by the tiger. In memory of the incident, the Dutch soldiers etched the inscription.
Our cycling escapade continued to 14. Pasir Bogak. This destination had a beautiful beach view. We saw fishermen boats about 50 meters from the shore, moving to the curves of the clear turquoise waves. We stood there and enjoyed the picturesque view of the beach. The wind blew and rustled the leaves on the tree and it immediately put us on a calm mood. We then cycled to the last Menara Tinjau (Lookout Point) in Pasir Bogak. The view from the top was also nothing short of spectacular.
We then cycled further north from Pasir Bongak to our last stop, 15. Teluk Ketapang (Turtle Bay). This is where the turtle make an annual pilgrimage to lay their eggs. The best months to observe this amazing nature are between May and July.
Snorkeling at Pulau Giam
Pulau Pangkor definitely gave us beautiful memories to take home. The clear blue beach would lift anyone’s spirits up and put them in a happy, holiday mood. This cycling tour package is more suitable to adults as the narrow, hilly and winding roads at certain stretch of the route are challenging to some cyclists. Nevertheless, the rewards of this package come with 16. Snorkeling at Pulau Giam and a BBQ dinner.
Cycling Route - Cycling in Pulau Pangkor
This cycling tour package is provided by: Battuta Travel Sdn Bhd. Tel: 05 – 6832088
- Pulau Pangkor
- Straits of Melaka
- Laksa Mee Ketam
- Nipah Guesthouse
- Menara Tinjau
- Lookout Point
- Fish Satay Factory
- dried fish products
- gamat emas
- Jetty Sungai Penang Kecil
- Foo Ling Kong Temple
- Galeri Pangkor
- Kota Belanda
- Dutch Fort
- Batu Bersurat
- Pasir Bogak