I recently took my mum for a relaxing and rejuvenating mother-daughter trip to the luxurious Pangkor Laut Resort. Located on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the state of Perak, the resort occupies the privately-owned 300 acre island of Pangkor Laut along the Straits of Malacca — 1.5km away from the bigger Pangkor Island. It was initially opened as a small resort in 1985, but soon expanded into what is now Pangkor Laut Resort in 1993. A stay here has been on my ‘places to stay in Malaysia’ list for a long while, and I’m glad I finally made it with my mum.
During our visit to Pangkor Laut Resort, my mum and I stayed at the Garden Villa, set among the pretty gardens in the middle of the resort. We opted for the Residents’ Package (for Malaysian residents and expatriates only) that costs RM857++ per room per night; inclusive of daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, speedboat transfers, and wi-fi access.
We had such a lovely time in our own little paradise for the weekend, and here is a list of reasons why you should not miss a stay in Pangkor Laut Resort!
1) Beautiful Villas
Pangkor Laut Resort houses 140 luxury villas and suites — the Garden Villas (the most basic villa in the resort where we stayed during our trip); the Hill Villas that are perched on the hillside; the Beach Villas that are just a step away from the beach; the Sea Villas and Spa Villas on stilts over the sea; and of course, the suites (including the elegant Pavarotti Suite). Just take your pick!
Each villa type is beautifully furnished with modern amenities and lacquered wood, and I absolutely loved waking up to the pretty views from my Garden Villa. I also spent some evenings walking along the wooden walkways of the Sea Villas to admire the sea, in front and below me.
2) Pool, Jacuzzi, Bathtub
There’s nothing like dipping your body into a warm tub of bubbles. The huge (and I mean real huge) marble bathtub in every villa has got to be my favorite feature of the villas. Soaking in it made me feel like an excited little kid all over again!
But if you prefer swimming to soaking — there’s the beautiful infinity pool in the middle of the resort. Sun chairs and umbrellas are decked out around the pool, and it offers lovely views of the sea and the Sea Villas. The Spa Village has another (more private) infinity pool, specifically for the use of its patrons. Oh, and did I mention there’s a jacuzzi by the main pool too?
3) Breathtaking Views
Pangkor Laut Island is so beautiful, and the views from the resort are extremely picturesque — from the morning views of the sea and Pangkor Island, to the evening views of the setting sky from Emerald Bay; I was constantly clicking away on my camera trying to capture all these Instagram-worthy images. From time to time, I would just stare and get lost in my own thoughts, completely engulfed in the beauty surrounding me.
Being on Pangkor Laut Resort is a retreat for the soul, and definitely, for the eyes too.
4) The Spa Village
I had one of the most wonderful spa experiences at the Spa Village. With its extensive menu, my mum and I were spoiled for choice on which treatment to pick — but we finally decided on a simple 80-minute Tui Na An Mo massage from the Chinese Hut, which cost us RM455 (~US$120) per person.
The treatment began with a consultation with the Chinese doctor; followed by a full-fledged bath session at the bathhouse — foot ponding, Malay fountain bath, herbal steam room, Japanese bath, hot-springs onsen, and ending with a Shanghai scrub. I’ve never felt so clean! I also tossed a coin in the wishing well before heading for my massage session. It was 3 hours of complete bliss for my body.
5) Emerald Bay
I love the beach, and so I loved Emerald Bay. Located on the other side of the island (on the west) from the main portion of the resort; the best way to get to Emerald Bay is either by shuttle, or a hike through the dense forest. The bay is absolutely gorgeous in the afternoon, with the sun shining on its crystal blue waters and white sand. Chapman’s Bar is located here, and there are also water and towel services, as well as snorkeling equipment available. The sea is calm with a sandy bottom and is safe for swimming.
At dusk, the setting sun is not visible from the middle of the bay, but we still got to witness the changing colors of the sky. It was so beautiful.
6) Guided Jungle Walk
A majority of Pangkor Laut is still covered by lush natural rainforests. If you’re up for an adventure into the wilderness, there are two trails into the forest that you can do by yourself — the arduous Southern Trail for the super-fit, or the Northern Trail that is used on the Jungle Walk.
The Jungle Walk is definitely a must-do. It is led by the resort’s experienced nature guide, Aris, who is equipped with not only with his vast knowledge of the island’s ecosystem, but a sense of humor as well. He made the walk educational, interesting, and entertaining. The approximately 2-hour walk starts from the resort library, through the Sea Villas’ wooden walkways, pass the Spa Village, into the rainforest, and ends at Emerald Bay. I learned so much about the flora and fauna of the island during the walk — which brings me to my next point.
7) Interesting Wildlife
The inhabitants of Pangkor Laut Island deserves a point on its own, and is definitely one of the reasons to visit the island. Being a nature lover, I was interested to learn about (and spot) some of the wildlife on the island. The island is filled with the beautiful oriental pied hornbills that can be found perched on a tree in front of your room, or trying to pick on your food by the pool. And mum and I were lucky enough to spot a great hornbill during our visit.
There are also the small ‘flying fox’ bats that have made their home on a sea almond tree in front of the resort, monkeys that can raid your room if you leave it open, large monitor lizards that sunbathe on the rocks; and even a variety of tree snakes, sea eagles and an ant-eater have been spotted on the island. I was so fascinated!
8) Fun Activities
At Pangkor Laut, there is a choice of doing nothing the entire day, or take part in the variety of activities available. I am someone who can hardly sit still for too long; and the resort provided me with a lot of fun things to do to fill my time. I went for the complimentary yoga session at the Spa Village in the morning (they have Tai Chi too), took part in the jungle walk, snorkeled and swam in the sea in the afternoon, and even spent some time at the gym at the end of the day.
For the more sporty, there’s also the tennis court, squash court and games room; for the thrill seekers, there are water sports equipment for hire; and for those who want a more relaxing time, you can read a book in the library, or head for a sunset cruise in the evening.
9) Delicious Food
I really enjoyed my meals at Pangkor Laut Resort — they not only surprised me in terms of quality, but price as well. They’re all pretty high! However, my mum and I were on the Residents’ Package, and that included all our meals at the resort. We had a lovely buffet spread at Feast Village every morning, and had filling lunches of Western and Asian choices at Royal Bay Beach Club by the pool and Chapman’s Bar at Emerald Bay. Special mention goes to the Kampar Golden Pillow (chicken curry in a baked bun) dish. It was awesome.
At night, we had our meals at Feast Village and Uncle Lim’s Kitchen, and the latter serves excellent Nyonya and Chinese dishes. There are 7 dining locations available on the island, from private and fine-dining options to casual, simple meals.
10) Comfort and Convenience
Finally, I have to mention the impeccable service provided by Pangkor Laut Resort. As soon as we stepped foot into the resort, a staff was assigned to help us with the check-in process, resort navigation and tour, and to guide us to our room. We were also provided with a Yes Huddle — my best friend throughout my stay who kept me connected to the outside world.
There is a convenient shuttle service that took us to the various parts of the resort so we didn’t have to walk. Towels and water were provided everywhere we went, and everything was extremely easy and convenient as the staff spoke excellent English and were ever ready to help. It made the whole stay so much more wonderful.
Some quick info on getting to Pangkor Laut Resort:-
By Air: The nearest airport to Pangkor is the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), KLIA2 or Sultan Abdul Aziz Airport (SZB) in Kuala Lumpur; or the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport (IPH) in Ipoh. From there, further transfers are required.
By Road: I drove to the Marina Island Jetty from Kuala Lumpur — heading north on the North-South Express towards Ipoh, and exiting at the Sungkai toll. The journey took me about 3 and a half hours.
By Sea: Upon arrival at the Pangkor Laut Resort Office on Marina Island, I was immediately checked-in and my speedboat transfer arranged. Boat times are fixed at 1pm, 3pm, 4.30pm and 8pm to the island, and 8.45am, 12pm, 1.30pm and 5pm from the island. The ride is approximately 15 minutes.