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Pangkor Island gives you a slice of island life

Pangkor Island is a vibrant, beautiful island off the coast of western Malaysia. Frequented mainly by locals, this wondrous island isn't as explored by tourists but still offers the most beautiful scenery as well as a chance to experience relaxed island life at its finest.

Coming from the Thai phrase 'Pang Ko', which means beautiful island, Pangkor lives up to its name with a diverse landscape. From Pangkor Hill, which stands 1216 metres above sea level, and its mountainous rocky terrain to the sandy beaches and palm trees, this island has something for everyone. Naturally, tourism brings in money to this island but the inhabitants also rely heavily on fishing to earn their daily keep. Thus when you head onto the beach, you will see hundreds of boats parked up on the warm sand, all ready to be used by the locals.

A long time ago, the island was used by pirates, with many ships having been hijacked and robbed around this isle. Long gone now, the Dutch were the next to arrive on the island, taking over there in the 1600s and building an impressive fort called Kota Belanda near the town of Teluk Gedung. This still stands here today and a visit to it will allow you to step back in time and get a feel of what life was like back in the 17th century when the Dutch took over the tin mining industry in this area. Nearby is Batu Bersurat, also known as Tiger Rock, which has inscriptions carved into it that date back to the 18th century. It gets its name because the carvings tell a story of a child and a tiger.

Whilst the island has many beaches, Nipah beach near Teluk Nipah is particularly beautiful. There are clear waters here, perfect for snorkelers. Pulau Giam is also nearby and it is completely surrounded by wonderful coral reefs and their inhabitants.

There are a number of hotels and guesthouses on the island, ranging from five stars all the way to two stars and there is one airliner that offers flights from Malaysia's capital of Kuala Lumpur to the small airport on the island. However, the cheapest way to get to Pangkor Island is a four hour bus trip, which costs RM25 (approximately £4.50) for a single trip.

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