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Kuala Lumpur - Pangkor - Pangkor Laut

This is an old journal, from our trip around the world in 2002, taken from the diary I wrote at the time. Apologies for the poor quality photographs, they are scans of prints taken with a compact camera and images from the scrap book I made afterwards.

rain 30 °C
View Around the World for our Silver Wedding 2002 on Grete Howard's travel map.

American breakfast this morning is included in the price of the room, and very good it is too. There is a choice of freshly cooked omelette and fried eggs, yoghurts and fruits, pastries and bread, cereals and pancakes as well as Oriental hot dishes. In order to replace the good bacteria in my gut I eat some live yoghurt – after the cheese and ham omelette.

Subang was once a great airport when it was the international terminal; now that it simply handles a few domestic flights it is sadly evocative with faded glory. We change some more money before assembling with the other eleven passengers in the small gate area. We are flying on 48-seater Dash 7, sitting right at the front of the plane. From the air we spot the island of Pangkor Laut. The plane lands on the main Pangkor Island, at a very friendly and welcoming little airport lounge.

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I am disappointed at the inferior transport used to take us across the island to the ferry jetty. The mini-bus is cramped and some of the seats are broken. When we pass many vulgar and run-down resorts on the way, I am glad we are continuing to the more exclusive Pangkor Laut Island. I am no snob, but some of these hotels would make Weston-Super-Mare look like upmarket resort.

The jetty is busy and confusing. We are on a private boat, but there is no-one there to guide us to the waiting area or inform us of what is happening. We all just mill around, looking lost. There are nine of us in total travelling to Pangkor Laut Resort, two Italians, us and the rest are Oriental.

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Pangkor Laut is advertised as “One Island – One Resort”. Only 20% of the island is developed, the rest is pure rainforest. On arrival at Pangkor Laut we make our way to the reception area, which is open-sided, bright and airy, and we are given cool welcoming towels. You can tell this is up-market, you are invited to sit down and the receptionist brings the check-in papers to you, rather than you queuing up at the desk. I like that.

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After a welcome drink, one member of staff takes each couple to their room personally. Our over-water bungalow is at the far end of the walkway, and according to our ‘escort’, has the best view of all of them.

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The room is amazing. Outside on the porch there is a seat, an imaginative light and a large urn with umbrellas (of course!).

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The interesting 'door bell'

The room itself is very large with a huge bed and a chase lounge at the foot of it.

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The balcony is almost as large as the room, with a couple of sun loungers looking lost, a coffee table as well as a bench down one end with lights of course.

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The extra large bathroom contains the mini bar, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, hair drier, a toilet that cleverly converts to a bidet, enough towels to dry off an entire family (14 to be exact) and the largest marble bath I’ve even seen.

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My initial disappointment at not having a shower in the bathroom turns to delight when I discover it is set into the ceiling above the bath. Wow! The bath is built as an ‘extension’ to the bathroom itself and has a vast ‘shelf’ alongside it and windows on three sides that open up to the China Sea. The whole effect is very pleasing indeed.

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We unpack and change before wandering down to the pool for lunch. Even the pool snack bar has starched tablecloths and napkins. From the somewhat limited menu we choose crab cakes and bruchettas plus a couple of Tiger Beers.

Then it’s time to explore the surroundings and take some photos. The setting is very natural, with lots of rainforest, meandering paths, peacocks on the lawns, hornbills in the trees and water monitors on the rocks.

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From the library we borrow a book and a couple of CDs (to play in the CD player by the bed) and we buy some post cards from the small, but well-stocked shop. We play about in the pool and rest on a lounger for a while. The sun beds each have two towels on them: one for drying yourself with and one for lying on. I would expect nothing less. There are not many people around – we later learn that the hotel is only running at 30% capacity. This place is created for relaxation, but after four weeks of travelling, it’s proving to be rather difficult to wind down. After enjoying a Pina Colada in the bar, we try out the free internet access before returning to the room for some duty free while listening to the rain outside.

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Fortunately the rain has stopped by the time we walk up the stairs to Uncle Lim’s Restaurant for dinner. We’re not far away should it start to rain again by the time we want to return to the room, the stairs are almost next door. We actually have the nearest bungalow to the bar – they must have heard about us!

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The restaurant is run on a completely different concept to anything I’ve ever come across before. There are no menus. You choose your main ingredient (chicken, beef, fish or seafood – this is a Muslim country so there is no pork) and what vegetables you’d like with it. Then you decide the cooking method and any sauces to include. In other words, the food is totally made to order, anything and anyhow you like. We pick a few dishes: spicy Chezhuan chicken with cashew nuts, beef with chilli and garlic, plain tiger prawns, steamed rice and watercress soup. The food is served with Chinese tea, but we still order some Tiger Beer. Apart from the prawns, everything else is delicious.

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With no menus we are very concerned how much the bill will come to, indeed, how do they calculate the bill? Having anticipated in the region of £60 to £80, we are pleasantly surprised to find it only comes to £38. Heavy rain has really set in now, and we break the journey to the room in the bar, where we are the only people. Boring. The lights on the walkway have gone out and we get very wet on the way back to the room. This is the only hotel I’ve ever stayed in where you can choose the time you want the turn-back service.

Posted by Grete Howard 04:49 Archived in Malaysia

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