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Pangkor Laut Resort

© Text & Photo by Amazing Magazines

(Arkivmaterial - Del av reportage publicerat i magasinet Amazing Editions)

 

Our journey to warm, relaxing Malaysia came in the middle of the cold Swedish winter, where after 18 hours of flying with Malaysian Airlines, we landed in Kuala Lumpur. It was a long but pleasant flight, the service was good, and with my own TV screen on the back of the chair in front, I watched a few films too.

We were met by a polite bur rather stressed chauffeur who said that we must hurry to catch the ferry which would take us over to Pangkor Laut Island, a car journey of about three and a half hours. It is also possible to be transported in a small sports aircraft with Berjaya Air, which only takes half an hour. We chose the car trip to see more of Malaysia. It was incredibly restful and rather exciting to sink down in the back seat of the limousine, supplied by Pangkor Laut Resort. We were able to enjoy the Malaysian countryside with palms, mango trees and buffalo which lined the roads, as well as Kuala Lumpur with its many interesting sights.

On the road heading towards our destination, we encountered culture both from the olden days and modern times. They didn´t always blend well together, but it was interesting to see both parts. We passed by a multitude of giant advertising signs, skyscrapers and monorails and a lot more besides, in Kuala Lumpur, only to pass through parts of the country with much lower houses of much lower standard later on during the journey. But this is a safe place to be, and it´s not necessary to lock or even close the doors. Punishment for theft, break-ins and other criminal activities is tough, so people don´t dare commit crimes. Any thoughts I had about being robbed or attacked disappeared rather quickly, which meant I could just relax.

Malaysia has 13 federal states, the capital city is Kuala Lumpur, and the hibiscus is the national flower. There are about 20 million inhabitants in three main ethnic groups which are the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians, plus some minority groups. Islam is the official religion but there are a number of other religions which are practiced because of the cultural mix of people who live here in Malaysia. The national flag has 14 stripes, a sun and a half-moon. The 14 rays of the sun represent the 13 states and the federal territory in Kuala Lumpur and Luban, and the half-moon symbolizes the religion. The temperature varies between 21 and 32 degrees in the lowland, while it can be a little cooler in the highland. When we arrived, it was very hot - about 35 degrees.

Having arrived in Lumut, we cooled off in the hot weather and the high humidity with a very cold drink and a hand towel. We were in the resort's main office, and after registering, we were escorted to where the privately-owned ferry was moored and our baggage was loaded on board. The ferry only sails four times a day. The journey takes just over an hour, so we had plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the coastal strip. The sun stood high in the sky and I was longing to get into my bikini and cool off in the glimmering sea. I was reminded of paradise and this indeed was paradise on earth.

Pangkor Laut is a privately-owned island, three miles off the west coast of Malaysia. Pangkor Laut Resort is situated on this exotic island and despite the fact that the island is only 300 acres, only a fraction of the area is devoted to the resort and its villas, whilst the rest is lush, undisturbed, verdant 2 million year old rain forest. As we approached, I cold hardly believe that we were gong to stay in this beautiful place. The majestic landing stage and the associated yacht marina extended far out into the sea as we tied up, ready to move into the resort and on to the long, silky white beach. We saw wooden Hill Villas, high up on the mountain slopes, beautifully camouflaged by the rain forest. Along the seashore, there were wonderful Sea Villas on stilts, just as one would expect on a small paradise island. Our happiness was complete!

Here on Pangkor Laut, the hospitality is wonderful and the staff are very friendly and service-minded. Wherever you look you are always met with a polite bow. Back at the large open reception we are offered a refreshing Roselle drink and cool towels. We are briefed on the island as a whole and on the facilities belonging to the resort, after which, our butler takes us to our villa.

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There are 148 luxury villas in traditional Malay style, as well as eight separate villas which are more secluded. You can choose between sea villas, mountain villas, spa villas and beach villas. There is a suite villa which lies high up, hidden in the rain forest, which is named after the great tenor, Luciano Pavarotti ,who moreover, inaugurated the resort and often spend time here with his family. The villas are designed for two people, are very spacious, are luxuriously furnished in a style which blends in with the environment, and have private balconies with two sun-loungers. The bathrooms, too, are large and spacious, and have two hand-basins and mirrors, indoor showers, not forgetting a large outdoor bathtub in a private garden which no-one overlooks. The villas are all equipped with the most modern air-conditioning systems, king-size beds, a writing-desk, an electric safe, a hair-dryer, and a coffee and tea-maker. There is also a stereo with a CD player, and records and CDs can be borrowed from the library. Villas are not equipped with TVs, although there is a TV lounge available to all. The concept is build on the idea that visitors are here to relax from their work and stress, which a very sound thought.

The food on offer at the restaurants was magnificent. One could choose anything from classic Malaysian to traditional Chinese. One place to mention is Chapman's bar which gets its name from the famous British colonel, Freddy Spencer Chapman, who sought shelter in Emerald Bay before his dramatic escape by U-boat in 1945. The bar is situated in the bay which lies on the other side of the island, right on the edge of the beach, and you can order whatever you want directly to your sun-bed. Light meals, such as, salads, sandwiches and tasty fish and shell-food dishes are served daily. Dinner on the Rocks is the other restaurant which also lies in Emerald Bay, on an open plateau by a rocky ledge, where you can watch the sun slowly set below the horizon and give the glittering ocean its special light. A romantic four-course meal with live music and singing a the tables makes your evening unforgettable. Fisherman's Cove lies at the heart of the restaurants on Pangkor Laut, and here the dress code is more formal, which means no shorts, T-shirts or sandals. The restaurant lies beside the Spa facility, and they offer a fantastic mixture of western grill dishes, Chinese, Italian, and fresh fish and shell-fish dishes. The dynamic design, with its open kitchen where you can see you´re dish being prepared, together with the sea view, offers guests the ultimate experience of and exciting journey through the Asian cuisine.

My senses were in harmony relatively quickly with the wonderful feeling of waking up rested, jumping into my slippers and going out in the warmth of the morning sunshine. After a hearty breakfast at Palm Grove Café, we took a gentle walk over to the Spa facility for our pre-booked massages. We received lots of useful advice about which food, exercise, and possible some form of yoga or meditations which would best suit our respective personalities. After the consultation, we went our separate ways for foot massage and to wander through the different types of water activities in the pools and waterfall. It was then time for a cup of tea in the library, to relax a while after the bathing before going on to enjoy the massage. The choice of massage is broad and diverse and includes Thai, Japanese and Malay.

The days passed by one by one, and time was running by much too quickly. We at least managed to sunbathe and swim between the massages, the guided tours and the evening activities. On the last evening, we went to the restaurant, Dinner on the Rocks, where we enjoyed a wonderful meal under a starlight sky. The troubadours played and sang, moved from table to table, the atmosphere was at its best and life felt wonderful.

Getting back to our villa, we found an information letter from the Reception which said that Malaysia has a 5-day Hindu festival called Deepavali, also known as the "Festival of Light" in November. During the festival period, everyone cleans their homes really thoroughly, and windows are opened to welcome Lakshmi, the Goddess of health and well-being. Thousands of candles and lights are lit everywhere as a greeting to Lakshmi, gifts are given and splendid meals are prepared during the festival days. The lights are a symbol for learning. The reason for turning on all the lights is to understand and reflect over the important purpose the festival has, and to take this with you into your daily life. We were given presents in the form of small round balls which could be eaten as sweets or taken with coffe. They are called Prasad sweets, where Prasad means "blessed gift".

Unfortunately, our time was running out. Who would want to leave this beautiful, fairytale, idyllic paradise island in south-east Asia, and not least, its wonderful climate?

Inspiring.se - © Text & Photo by Amazing Magazines