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Malaysia: Pulau Pangkor

Pasir Bogak beach
Pretty little Pasir Bogak is just one of Pulau Pangkor's pretty beaches

Where better to spend a few days taking it easy than at the beach? Normally I'd be full of smug answers – 'up a mountain', 'in the pub', 'in bed' or maybe even something witty – but the next logical stop after the Cameron Highlands was Pulau Pangkor, a popular little island off the west coast of northern Malaysia, and we took it. It's a tourist spot, sure, but Charlie and I had decided to see the rest of the year out with some real relaxation before the rigours of the New Year's travels. And where better to relax than at a beachside resort?

On the Beach

Island scenery on Pulau Pangkor
Pulau Pangkor is a pretty island surrounded by pretty scenery

Beaches are beaches wherever you are, and Pangkor is no real exception. The water is murky, the sand is lightly dusted with litter, and the jet skis and power boats are as annoying as anywhere else, but there are some interesting differences between the little village of Teluk Nipah and similar hotspots on the Costa del Sol.

A shipbuilding yard on Pulau Pangkor
Pulau Pangkor's small shipbuilding industry peeking through the tropical greenery
Swarms of biting ants on the ground
Swarms of biting ants blocking the path on the way up Bukit Pangkor

1 Charlie used to work for the Ministry of Defence, under contract from GEC Marconi, so we've both signed the Official Secrets Act. As a result he got used to talking about his job at cocktail parties without ever saying what it was he actually did, so his small-talk skills are second to none.