Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Pangkor - Day one

It was torturous returning to KL. In the moments before leaving the island, K remarked that I looked like a person on death row.

Honestly, why would anyone willingly leave the clean air, the bright sun and the even brighter surf, and when the biggest decision of the day would be whether to go snorkelling today or tomorrow.

One kilo heavier and two shades darker, trust me to have had a fabulous holiday.

We took a bus from KL Pudu bus station to the port town of Lumut, a 4-hour journey up north. We took the Konsortium Bus which was punctual and comfortable. Definitely recommended. It cost about RM20 one way with a stop in Teluk Intan town. I snored throughout the journey so I can’t tell you much about the highway landscape.

The Lumut bus stop is only a stone’s throw from the jetty. We were accosted by hotel touts but upon hearing that we have booked our place to stay, they quickly lost interest in us. To be honest, I had no clue if my booking was made as the lady who took my reservation, didn’t even ask for my name!

At the jetty we found 3 ferry operators, represented by booths occupied by ticketing ladies with booming voices. Like land octopi, clusters of arms reached out from the dark recesses of the booths, waving through the iron grills calling us hither to award the chosen one with our RM5 patronage.

Seeing we knew nothing about ferries, we opted for one with the loudest voice. Terribly scientific I know. Anyway the ferries leave at half hour intervals.

As we travelled during a Saturday, there was a crowd. The ferry made two stops. The first was at a Chinese fishing village (you can see the red tokongs peeking from between the wooden buildings). But this was not our stop. Only locals who have business here disembarked at this stop.

All other passengers, holidaymakers included, alighted at the second stop, which is the Pulau Pangkor jetty proper. It appears that transport around the island is mainly by taxi-vans or motorcycle.

As none of us can’t manoeuvre a motorised bicycle to save our lives, we took a cab. Taxis here are these bright pink vans and cost the same regardless if you travelled alone or if you brought your entire football club with you.

We stayed at the Hornbill, a hotel located at Teluk Nipah (Nipah Bay). A budget hotel at RM85 per night for a standard room, we did not manage to secure a room with a sea view but seeing that we were practically across the road from the beach, it was just fine.

We had air conditioning, TV with only 2 channels (TV1 and HBO) and hot water. Pretty basic. Breakfast not included. I am sure there were other cheaper places to stay but as this was so close to the beach, we didn’t bother, although the bathroom smelt funny with a staleness I found disturbing. We attributed it to the water. Perhaps it was poor circulation. But then, how much can you ask for, for RM85. Would definitely check the bathrooms again before booking next time.

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