Happy New Year

Trip Start Sep 07, 2010
Trip End Mar 01, 2011

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Flag of Malaysia  , Perak,
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our original plan had been to go from Melaka to the Cameron Highlands for New Year but by the time we got around to booking anything everything was fully booked so we decided we would go to Pangkor Island and a few days relaxing on the beach wouldn't do us any harm!

The lady in the guesthouse in Melaka told us to book somewhere as everywhere gets booked up quickly at New Year and recommended a place called the Seagull Resort luckily they had one room left and it was only 40 Ringets much less than we were expecting for New Year.

We left Melaka around 8am to get the bus to the main bus station we then booked a bus straight to Lumut it was really easy to book we just went to counter 6 and got a ticket for the next bus at 9.30am although for some reason we thought it was a 4 hr journey I've no idea why but we pretty alarmed when we were told it was 8 hrs as we knew we had to get a ferry to Pangkor once we got to Lumut!

Well the bus eventually left at 10.00am and after going all over the place and stopping in KL and Ipoh (so much for getting the direct bus) we eventually arrived at Lumut at 7.25pm. We were beginning to worry that we may miss the last ferry but luckily we got talking to a Dutch guy on the bus who by coincidence hosted a website on Pangkor so he told us that they were running until 9.30pm this week which was good as it meant we didn't have to spend a night in Lumut. After a mad dash we made it onto the 7.30pm ferry it was an easy ride and we arrived in Pangkor just after 8pm.

The taxis on Pangkor are all pink minivans and they charge 12 ringets from the jetty to Nipah Bay where most of the guesthouses are regardless of how many people there were although the drivers tend to try and get you in on your own I guess so they can make more journeys and more money.

Pangkor Island is crazy we weren't sure about it at first as its a holiday island purely for Malaysians there are Westerners there but it isn't geared up to them at all. As its mostly run by Malays who legally can't buy or sell alcohol there are no bars and only a couple of restaurants and shops that sell alcohol in Nipah bay and then they only sell beer. The restaurants are mainly food stalls that line the street selling bbq'd fish and rice and noodles. The longer you are there though the more it grows on you its almost like getting to go on someone elses holiday. There were only a couple of other westerners staying in our resort which was really basic but the staff were really helpful and the guy that ran it was crazy in a good way! It was fully booked the whole time we were there we were staying in a cabin at the back of the resort that you had to walk across an old volley ball pitch to get to it. The whole of Pangkor is pretty much jungle and one night when I was walking back to the room there was a huge monitor lizard running back into the jungle it must have been pushing 2mtrs long.

Our first two days were really chilled out and as it rained quite a bit and there was a large covered outdoor section in the resort we sat playing card games and watching the other holiday makers play ping pong and sing karaoke in the little karaoke room there. A lot of the Malaysians staying in our resort seemed to prefer to buy their food from the restaurants to take away and then eat it back at the resort on the outside tables, it was really interesting just watching how other cultures holiday.

Nipah beach is being developed which is a shame they are building 35 shops and restaurants which I think will ruin it but about a 10min walk past Nipah beach is Coral beach which is amazing its white sands with just two beach shacks and its surrounded by jungle. All the Malaysians swim fully clothed which seemed strange at first and there are a few water sports you can hire jet skis and there are boat rides and Kayaks but its so quiet and chilled out its lovely.

On our third day Rein came he couldn't get a room where we were staying but managed to check in just around the corner we knew he might be coming but weren't sure even when Dan heard someone shout his name from a passing minivan we didn't realise it was Rein but he found us about 6o'clock. As we told him to join us for New Year we were a bit worried he would be like "what have you brought me here for" as it didn't look like there would be anything going on for New Year but luckily he loved it too. After a welcome beer at our resort (luckily they sell it although I guess they don't get much call for it on our first night we drank the bar dry and only had two stubby cans!!) we went for a walk which didn't take long as the whole place consists of only two streets. Just down from where we were staying one of the guesthouses feeds the hornbills at 6.30pm so we watched that on the way. The birds are huge with massive yellow bills and they catch the banana as the guy throws it. Dan and Rein then went for a swim at Coral beach and there is an Island that people get boats to its doesn't look to far away and we had heard that you can swim it - Rein bet Dan he could swim it in 5 mins so off he went at quite a pace with Dan timing him well 5 mins later he wasn't half way (although Rein disputes this and reckons he was closer!) and had to have a rest on a floating platorm before admitting defeat and swimming back. I think if you took it slowly and had a rest half way you could quite easily swim it and it would be nice to sun bathe on the island.

Our first full day with Rein was New Years eve and the day before Dan and I had seen an English man with a crate of beer and a bottle of wine we asked him where he had bought it as we hadn't found anywhere. He had found an Off licence in Pangkor town so we decided we would head there and by some alcohol and then worst case scenario we could have a few drinks at the outside area in our resort. We considered hiring push bikes and cycling the 8km into town but decided it might be too much like hard work as its pretty hilly so we tried to hire scooters so we could explore the whole island but no one had any left. We ended up grabbing a taxi into town which was probably the most sensible choice anyway and soon found the off licence. Pangkor Town is just a small functional town there is not much to see so we decided to walk to the Dutch fort about 2kms away on the way we saw a football pitch with a football Dan and Rein were like two excitable school boys they have both being complaining that they haven't had chance to play while they have been away so they had a kick around for around an hour while I watched. Rein had his flip flops on so played bare feet, he was having so much fun he didn't realise until they finished that he had blisters all over his feet that had burst they looked really painfull so we headed back into town and abandoned our walk to the fort. With a small bottle of Thai Whiskey, normal Whiskey, Vodka (in honour of the trans siberian) and a local liquer called Oran Hutan in hand we headed back to the resort.

Having wandered around it didn't look like there would be any sort of celebration for new year, we asked the crazy guy who ran our resort and he looked at us like we were mad and said this isn't a party island we weren't thinking party just maybe a few fireworks on the beach but it didn't seem like we were in luck so we set up our little bar outside and started drinking and playing cards. We also decided that we would have another couple of nights and then head to the Cameron Highlands on the 2nd Jan so as Rein was paying 100MYR a night where he was he asked if our resort had any rooms for the 1st. The crazy guy whose name we still don't know said if he wanted cheap he could find him cheap and showed him a shed with no bathroom or furniture just a pile of around 20 mattresses and said he could have it for 30 Ringets for the night so that was to be Reins bed for the night tomorrow. There was a large group of chinese students staying there who spent the night singing karaoke really badly which entertained us for a while. By 10.30pm we had drank our bar dry and decided we would head to Coral beach to see if there was anything going on. There are two shacks on the beach both sold beer and one also sold cocktails they were quite busy there were maybe 50 people between the two bars and thay had a screen with a countdown so we decided to join them and have a couple of cocktails. Unfortunately we haven't got any photos as the battery ran out on the camera when we got there but it was a great way to see in the New Year and we headed to bed around 2.30am with me already feeling sick and not looking forward to the morning.

Dan and I both woke up on New Years Day officially poisoned after feeling sorry for ourselves for a few hours Rein knocked on our door looking completely fine and having just checked into his "shed" for his last night in Pangkor. We decided we would pull ourselves together and get some food. There are burger stands along the main street which was as close as we were going to get to hangover food and they were so good we were instantly cured and went back to our resort where Dan Rein had a New Years Day game of table tennis there were a few holiday makers watching and it turned into a tournament which Rein won hands down beating anyone they put up against him. Dan on the other hand wasn't so good and came dead last with no wins at all, I have some great photos of him looking like he wanted to kill anything and everything in sight and the ball and his flip flop got kicked around the resort a bit much to the confusion of both Rein and his opponent who both asked me why he was so angry - he doesn't like to lose!!!!!! After one last swim for Dan and I (Rein can still only hobble around) as is New Years day tradition we went to watch the football which was easier said than done given where we were but we found a hostel with a couple of football flags outside which had it on I think mainly because there was a guy from Manchester staying there who coincidently when Dan got talking to him was from a rival school in Altrincham and was a year older and knew a lot of the same people, small world. As the guy who ran the hostel was still drunk from the night before he was letting people watch the football but the bar was closed - it suited us fine as we couldn`t bear the thought of anything but Pepsi. We then headed for an early night ready for an early morning start to the Cameron Highlands in the morning.

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