The private island resort of Pankgor Laut – all white sands, emerald waters and sea villas on stilts – is a jewel in Malaysia’s crown. Just a 3.5 hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, it’s the perfect resort for those who want to combine escapism with adventure…
Kuala Lumpur – or KL, as everyone seems to call it – is a place that leaves a lasting impression. It’s high-tech, architecturally impressive (check out the iconic Petronas Twin Towers) and glamourous, and one of the best places to experience this in all its glory is Hotel Stripes, a new property complete with rooftop pool and cocktail bar with views of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline.
The luxurious bedrooms are smart but not stark and they serve up a mean hotel breakfast, so it’s a great place to spend a few nights while exploring the city.
I’d love to tell you more about KL, but we had other plans, we were off to one of Malaysia’s most romantic and idyllic private hideaways – Pankgor Laut resort, a YTL Hotels property, on the west coast, which is about a three-and-a-half hour drive from Kuala Lumpur and a 15-minute boat ride from the mainland.
The resort sits on a 300-acre private island of Instagrammable beaches, particularly Emerald Bay, shimmering waters, hillside villas emerging from the rainforest and stilted sea villas reached by wooden walkways.
With an abundance of natural resources and some of the oldest health rituals in the world, spanning Malay, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Indian cultures, this is the perfect place for rejuvenation
Each villa has a large balcony with sun loungers, a bathroom with an oversized tub and a shower that opens to the sea, and you’ll soon find your cares drift away with the sounds of the waves. I’d have been happy to lounge here forever, but do peel yourself away from the villa to check out the rest of Pangkor Laut Resort’s offerings.
The award-winning spa extols Malaysia’s healing cultures. With an abundance of natural resources and some of the oldest health rituals in the world, spanning Malay, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Indian cultures, this is the perfect place for rejuvenation. There are eight treatment pavilions, a deluxe Belian Treatment Pavilion, three Healing Huts (Chinese Herbal, Ayurvedic and Malay), two Bath Houses, three Spa Huts and three Nap Gazebos.
For those who prefer something more active, head off on a jungle trek to discover the secrets of the two-million-year-old rainforest, or try your hand at watersports or alfresco yoga. You can also take a boat ride to the local fish markets with one of the resort chefs to learn about the traditional food cultures, before heading back to the resort to learn how to cook some of the dishes.
The food on the island is fantastic. Breakfast is an impressive affair, with food from all over the world, and Uncle Lim’s Kitchen – a restaurant built around a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea that specialises in Nyonya and Hockchew Chinese-style home cooking – is an incredible experience.
There’s something special about Pangkor Laut Resort. The fact there’s just this one resort on the entire island gives it a Maldivian quality, but the mainland isn’t far away, and nor are the bright lights of Kuala Lumpar, so for those looking for a holiday with everything; look at Malaysia.