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Published: February 12th 2008
Due to the winding roads down from the highlands, we had a toast to the wonderful drug dramamine before we left. Took the bus down to Ipoh, then through Lumut, where we hopped on a ferry over to Pulau Pankor, a small island off the west coast of Malaysia. We lucked out at each transfer point and only had about 10-15 minutes between each leg of the journey. Originally we thought we may have to overnight in Ipoh or Lumut so this was a nice surprise. In Lumut we met a Dutch woman by the name of Susan who we ended up hanging with for our time on the island. We had a bit of a hard time finding a room due to the Chinese New Year coming up, but found a decent place for two nights. After that was the official New Year so everything was booked through the weekend.
Our first night night was a late night and consisted of finding a room and then having dinner around 10 pm. The next day we rented scooters and toured around the island with Susan. The sites were mainly a couple small towns, a few beaches, some dutch ruins, and
In Hot Water!
The water here was really warm - pretty darn close to air temp, which was about 95 F. Not quite as refreshing as we were hoping for, but really we're not complaining.
a strange new-looking, but abandoned, condo complex area. This last one involved going to the end of the road and driving the scooters over a tiny wooden plank (about the width of the tire) over a ditch and down a hill. On the return, Trevor was feeling confident and even caught some air, but had a bit of a rough landing. Susan and I were smart enough (or chicken) to get off the bikes for the plank walk. After touring the whole island within an hour or so, we parked the bikes and hit the beach. We just happened to run into Beilla, the party-shoes girl from our Taman Negara trek, who was looking much more at home sunbathing on the beach. We had a really rough afternoon playing in the water and lying on the beach. Then we rented a kayak to play around and explore a little before the sun set. This was no ordinary kayak though...it seemed to be a unique, homemade, and very inefficient design. Even the paddles were homemade! We faired well though and had a good time. We saw some really cool fish and coral (just looking down from our boat), trevor was attacked
by a blood-thirsty barnacle, and we got a bit of exercise! Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with an ice cold beverage as we watched the sun set on the beach...yes, our lives are really tough.
Susan met back up with us and we headed just down the beach to what appeared to be a nice restaurant on the beach. We tried to walk away when we saw the prices, but the owner of the place insisted we stay and told us that our meals would be free, we just had to pay for drinks. We reluctantly agreed and sat down and had our first wine since leaving home. We won't lie, the wine sucked and was relatively expensive. An hour and a half after ordering our food (around 9 pm by this point), we noticed that nobody who was there before us even had food yet, so we asked what the holdup was and we found out that our orders had not even been started. We decided to cut our losses and blow the joint (after paying for our drinks of course), which we did quickly so as to avoid the rather angry and aggressive owner. Fellow travellers beware, Daddy's
Cafe in Teluk Nipah sucks.
We managed to get a good BBQ meal at the cafe where we were staying within about 20 minutes of showing up, for less than what our wine cost at Daddy's. Dinner was good, but we've never seen such small crabs before - about 8 inches from claw to claw! They were a lot of work to eat and did not contain much meat, but Trevor was the most persistent and probably burnt more calories pulling them apart than what he was able to eat, but managed to suck every edible piece out of them! Luckily, we got chicken and fish as well.
Spent the morning soaking up some sun and getting in some more beach time. It was really interesting going to the beach at low tide when the water was much clearer and you could actually walk out to the island that we had kayaked around the evening before!
One of the reasons we went to Pulau Pangkor was that it is reputed to be a small quiet place to hang out and we thought we could wait out the craziness of Chinese New Year (Feb 7 & 8), but no, we were unable to find any rooms and as we made our way off the island, hundreds and hundreds of Malay's were flocking to it for their beach vacation over the long weekend. As we looked at the insane line for the Ferry going over, we were glad to be going the opposite direction.
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