Water, Water Everywhere ... But The Jungle Has Action Too!

by Rick Gregory
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Anglehead Lizard (Gonocephalus belli)

Anglehead Lizard (Gonocephalus belli)

My first time ever to Pangkor Island ... after nearly 20 years in Malaysia. What a laid back and mellow place. I expected much more neon and trashy tourist shops. What we got was a chance to explore the island's interior terrain. Beaches may be the draw factor, but jungle trekking gets me going.

With a motorbike and a lousy map you can still find several trails to wander and soak in the jungle scenery. And what a contrast to go from sun-filled beaches to the closed canopy rainforest. As a jungle island, Pangkor's forest reserves are some of the oldest in the nation, first gazetted back in 1911. And a 44 hectare patch of hill forest surrounding a narrow stream valley serves as a Virgin Jungle Reserve, to totally protect plant and animal species.

The forests are in good shape and still showoff large dipterocarp timber trees, elegant palms and plenty of jungle life in small doses. Take advantage of the easy access areas before trying to tackle the main hill ridge trails:

Jambatan Gandung (Suspension Bridge) - Located between the Vickry Resort and the turnoff road to town with a signboard pointing the way. Wander around the rocks at the foothills before walking up slope to the short, but scenic, footbridge. A good mixture of habitats to find geckos, snakes and the beautiful anglehead lizard. Enjoy the subtle views and different angles from the bridge and bring your camera to capture a memory.

Waterfall Trail - Located behind the Mizam Hotel and the large telecoms tower off a dirt road near the Forestry Department. Either look for a temporary sign or just listen for the sounds of water. A very picturesque stream flows from the island's high point (Bukit Pangkor) through the VJR. A great place for a few hours hanging out for a cool swim. Not a lot of wildlife besides the frogs. The cross-island trail may pass this way but it's too difficult without a guide due to blocked paths and no signs to follow.

Southern Forest Trail - Go to the end of the road past the Dutch Fort at Teluk Gedung and behind Kampong Gedung to find a nice forest trail. There are no signs but the locals will show you the cement walkway leading into the hill forests. An easy hike along the fringes of coastal vegetation with just a few short hill slopes to tackle. Nothing spectacular, just good jungle scenery with lots of understorey palms, plenty of frog invested water holes and a couple of cool lizard species (earless lizard and frilled gecko). Leeches and mosquitoes too.

Not all the wildlife is in the jungle. With the forest stretching right up to the beach, anything from wild pigs to vipers can cross your path. If you stroll along any of the beach front roads, keep an eye out for these wild species:

Garden lizards sunning on palm tree trunks.
Oriental Pied hornbills perched above eateries.
Gorgeous paradise snakes in the shrubbery.
Poisonous Wagler's viper snakes lingering in roadside trees.
Ubiquitous long-tailed macaques sitting like old men on road guards.

Malaysian beaches are perfect for taking it easy. But remember that these are jungle islands full of wild offerings in disturbed and protected habitats. Get your tan looking good and then take a break in the rainforest .

Comments for Water, Water Everywhere ... But The Jungle Has Action Too!

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Apr 20, 2010
what is this sea creature
by: noinoi

hi - i saw people harvesting this from the sea - a blob about 5inches wide, green/brown with frilly edges n lots of slime which holds lots of shells (not its own shell). the people scrape away the slime, clean it and eat the whitish muscular piece. Any idea what it is? i can sen a pic.

Feb 24, 2010
My First Visit
by: Maurice

My first visit was in 2009, and after reading this review I must go back soon (from Penang).
I cycled around the Island and was impressed with the laid-back atmosphere, but they need to organise better collection and disposal of rubbish. It seemed to have gathered everywhere especially in the River which was almost choked with it at the mouth. It was this which made me stay away for so long but when I return I shall try not to look too hard at this - and enjoy a jungle trek instead.
Thanks for the enlightening story.

Apr 16, 2009
Pangkor Jungle
by: Rosmah

Yes, that jungle is cool for me too!

Hai Peter, Nazlina!

Apr 16, 2009
by: Peter

You see, I come regular at Pangkor but I am not much an expert of animals. I see a lof of animals but further then.. biawak, hornbill etc. I don't come. This is a very enlightening review!


Apr 16, 2009
Another reason to visit Pangkor
by: Nazlina

Great story, Rick.

Just one more different reason to visit Pangkor; for its jungle life. One visit is not enough, you must come back later for more!

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