Pangkor Laut Resort is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful holiday destinations that I’ve ever been fortunate enough to visit, and that’s just one of the reasons why this secluded 5-star resort holds a special place in my heart.
Back when I used to live in Malaysia, I put countless hours into promoting and sharing this Malaysian resort with the world. I used to work for the company, which is why I was lucky enough to have been here over a dozen times in my life. It’s also special because I shared it with someone who is no longer here, and he fondly talked about this place until the very end. So, to be invited to return in my new capacity as a travel influencer was a surreal experience for me.
My heart skipped a little as I rode the wave of different emotions and familiarity surging through me when the speedboat approached the flagship property of the YTL Group and an institute of Malaysian hospitality. So many memories came flooding back as I stepped foot on the jetty and listened to the sounds of the virgin rainforest welcoming me back.
Pangkor Laut Resort’s two-million-year-old rainforest reminds me of Jurassic Park whenever I’m in the midst of it. However, rather than terrifying bellows and shrieks, you will hear the jungle sing. The island is alive with insects, birds and monkeys that play to their own music. At this private resort, cawing giant hornbills fly over palm trees, strutting peacocks display their beautiful plums and large monitor lizards bask on prehistoric boulders in the warm sun by the tranquil Sea Villas.
Pavarotti spread the word to the world that the Malaysian island was the most beautiful place on earth and almost every local knows of this idyllic paradise. For the many who have never been, they will still whisper with conviction of its told spellbinding beauty like the island was the setting of a fabled Malaysian tale. The 300-acre tropical island resort is located three miles off of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and has stood the test of time over these past twenty years to maintain its status as one of the best places to stay in Malaysia.
Your relationship with Pangkor Laut Resort begins from the moment you arrive when you receive a warm welcome on the jetty while the ever-helpful staff will do everything they can to help you discover the magic of the island.
Here are some of the things we did at Pangkor Laut Resort:
What Did I Do
There’s so much to do at Pangkor Laut Resort that it’s hard to know just where on this tropical island to begin. You can get more in touch with the lush rainforest with the aid of the resident naturalist who offers a daily Nature Walk and guides you through the abundance of flora and fauna the inhabits the island. The walk begins at the resort’s Library and takes roughly an hour to complete and concludes at the stunning Emerald Bay beach.
Emerald Bay’s private beach was once selected as the world’s most beautiful beach and it’s easy to understand why this island’s secluded alcove is held in such regard. This pristine white sand beach is where you will more than likely spend most of your time lounging on a hammock with a coconut in hand and if you do stay until the sun starts to set you can catch a stunning sunset, either from the beach or out on the bay.
The Sunset Cruise is an intimate way to cap off a memorable day with your partner before settling down to a romantic dinner. Setting off from the pier on certain evenings, the teakwood oriental junk will take you out onto the open water with free-flowing alcoholic drinks and scrumptious canapes being served to you as you cruise around the island to Emerald Bay where you will dock in the middle of the sea so you can watch the sun set fire to the sky.
If you’re a burgeoning chef, interested in getting involved in the preparation of your food, or just want a fun all-day activity to do, then the Chef’s Experience might be right up your alley. You’ll be taken to a fish farm via speedboat so you can catch your own dinner. When you return to the resort, you’ll be shown the ropes of how to make a traditional and scrumptious Malay dish. The best part is, after you’ve done all of your preparation and it’s time to leave your meal to cook, you have a 50-minute spa treatment awaiting you to relax with after all of your hard work before you sit down and eat. The included spa treatment alone makes this an experience worth doing.
The very first luxurious spa treatment and massage that I ever had in my life was at Pangkor Laut Resort, and YTL’s Spa Village brand has long set the bar for pampering spa treatments. Their excellence is based on their four pillars of Rejuvenation and Longevity, Relaxation and Stress Reduction, Detoxification, and, my personal favourite concept, Romance. The Couples Spa Experience is crafted from ancient Malay wedding traditions and is such a romantic and relaxing activity to share with your loved one.
The unique Spa Village retreat within the resort has been carefully designed to exude and convey a range of healing traditions from China, Japan, India, Thailand, Bali and Malaysia. The pre-treatment Bath House rituals bring you on a therapeutic journey that begins with a soothing footbath and an invigorating foot pounding. After comes a cooling and cleansing wade through the traditional Malay ‘circulating’ bath, followed by a Japanese style washing with a ‘goshi-goshi’ cloth and bucket, before then taking a dip in a heated Retenburu rock pool beneath tropical ferns. The final stage of the Bath House rituals is a Shanghai Scrub that exfoliates your skin and prepares you for your massage treatment in your own private spapavilion.
I got the Javanese Lulur treatment, which I nearly dozed off during several times. It’s a traditional treatment that uses herbs and spices. I was nearly put to sleep several times by the relaxing massage treatment before I was rubbed down with yoghurt to nourish my skin until I was ready for my bath.
My Instaeyes went wide when I saw the fragrant milk bath they drew for me. I’m a sucker for a beautiful flower bath and they provided a beautiful one decorated with kefir limes. All I wanted to do when I saw it was soak myself in it and the bath just smelled heavenly with its jasmine and rose flower buds and petals. It was the prettiest bath that I’ve ever seen and certainly that I’ve had the pleasure of dipping into.
On top of all of that, one of the perks that I love about getting a treatment at Pangkor Laut Resort’s Spa Village is that, as a memento, a Butik Sarong is gifted to you after every spa treatment. You could build up quite a collection of these colourful sarongs if you stayed at the resort long enough.
Where Did I Eat
The dining options available at Pangkor Laut Resort are fairly extensive with a range of restaurants specialising in different cuisine, from Malay to Western to Chinese to Japanese.
Breakfast is served at the multi-kitchen concept Feast Village in a buffet style. For lunch, your options are either a buffet spread at Emerald Bay’s Chapman Bar, what I would describe as simple bar style grub at the Royal Bay Beach Club, which is located in the heart of the resort at the public infinity pool, and, for those other Instagrammers who need a healthy option, Jamu Bar, which is located in the peaceful Spa Village. This was my favourite lunch spot.
Dinner is where Pangkor Laut Resort ‘s dining quality really came to the fore.Uncle Lims is a restaurant integrated with a rocky outcrop and overlooks the sea, which is operated by an 80-year-old chef who has spent the decades he’s been at the resort perfecting exotic Nyonya and Hockchew Chinese-style dishes.
You can continue your love affair with Emerald Bay and your partner by requesting a private candlelit Dinner on the Rocks. This was a magical experience as it’s just you and your loved one sharing a meal with an uninterrupted view of the bay while the setting sun bathes the sky with multiple transitioning colours.
My personal favourite restaurant on the island is Fisherman’s Cove, which operate a strict ‘Over 16’s’ policy and a proper dress code is required to dine at the internationally acclaimed restaurant. The seafood from here is so fresh because it is caught and served daily. I recommend you start with the scrumptious Fried Marine White Prawn, which is amazing and very similar to KL’s Shook! restaurant’s famous Dancing Prawns. The Thermidor Lobster that I had for my main meal was massive and succulent. If you’re not big into your seafood, then get the Beef Tenderloin as it is divine. It’s always a tough choice which to choose out of the two, but with either you will not be disappointed as you dine on the restaurant’s terrace as the waves crash on the rocks beneath you.
What Room Did I Stay In?
Integrated into the island’s luscious natural landscapes are a choice of room categories located at different sections of the island, each coming with their own characteristics and perks. I’ve been lucky enough to stay in them all and it really is down to a personal choice of what you prefer.
The Hill Villas boast an amazing view of the island from their lofty perch up in the treetops of the islands virgin rainforest, however, I love drifting off to sleep with the gentle sound of the sea beneath me in the Sea Villas. Anyone with kids would probably prefer the Garden Villas and for those wanting to avail of the tranquil surroundings of Spa Village, I highly recommend you staying at the Spa Villas, which are my favourite. They’re identical in design to the Sea Villas except they’re a little further away from reception and Feast Village, offering more seclusion and closer to the Spa Village.
How Did I Get There?
It’s a three to four-hour car journey from Kuala Lumpur . YTL Hotels provide a private taxi transport, which is equipped with high speed Wi-Fi thanks to the YTL company’s own YES 4G huddle device. The air-conditioned journey is made easy with internet, complimentary water and pamphlets all provided to get you excited for what’s in store. You’ll eventually arrive at the resort’s exclusive check-in harbour office where you will wait until it is time to take the short 15-minute speedboat ride across to the island. Keep an eye out for dolphins on your way to the resort. I’ve only seen a pod jumping through the water once, so they may have moved on, but you never know.
In an effort to preserve the environment’s natural essence, only a fraction of Pangkor island has been developed to create the multi award-winning resort. The owners had a vision when they began with Pangkor Laut Resort to interweave the cultures of the region at each of their hotels and resorts to create an extensive portfolio of stellar properties that promised more than just serene honeymoon destinations or memorable holidays.
They created treasured moments, and when I was back in Ireland and reminiscing about Malaysia, it was this tropical island that I could still hear and will forever cherish.