After my third night at that place in the Cameron Highlands, my only thought was to move on as soon as possible. I joined a random guy named Matthew from the guesthouse who had the same thought, and we opted to hop on public transportation rather than take a tourist van directly to Pangkor island, a small island between KL and Penang (I decided last minute to go there rather than explore more of the inland towns).
This resulted in the adventure we were looking for, I guess. A full day of buses, taxis, ferries and confusion when we probably could have gotten from point A to B in half the time. But what do we travel for if it isn’t days like this?
Here’s how we got from Cameron Highlands to Pangkor Island: From Tanah Rata, 11:00 bus to Ipoh, arrive at Ipoh local bus station but think there is no bus to Lumut from there (we were probably wrong), bus to somewhere near the “long distance” bus station, walk there in the rain, book a 3:30 (or 4:45, it’s unclear) bus to Lumut, taxi to Pizza Hut because we’re starving and saw a sign, Pizza Hut is closed, walk to nearby cafe, walk all the way back to bus station, arrive at 3:30, bus actually leaves at 5:15, find ferry in Lumut, 7:30 ferry, arrive in Pangkor after 8.
The funny thing is, after spending a day in Pangkor, I was ready to do it all over again…
Let me clarify. Pangkor wasn’t a bad place! It was beautiful and relaxing, and my guesthouse was friendly and fantastic. But after one day, I had enjoyed the prettiest beach…
seen a bunch of wild hornbills (my favorite thing about Pangkor – who needs a bird park?)
been all the way around the island by motorbike, and seen a gorgeous sunset.
I already had the idea of getting to Koh Lipe, Thailand, from Langkawi, and I knew there would be more to do in a place with snorkeling, diving and beach bars so I decided to just book it there. I even (easily) convinced another random Matthew to join me for the next day’s journey.
From Pangkor to Koh Lipe: 8:00 taxi to Pangkor jetty, 9:30 bus to Butterworth, 1:00 bus to Alor Setar, one hour taxi to Kuala Perlis, just miss the 4:30 ferry and have to wait until 6:00, arrive in Langkawi after 7, taxi to main beach in Langkawi, find accommodation, book trip to Lipe the next day. In the morning, taxi at 7:45, boat at 9:30, arrive in Koh Lipe at 10!!! (Thanks to the time difference – Malaysia is oddly an hour ahead of Thailand).
These travel days weren’t as hellish as they may sound. The first might have been nicer without the rain or the confusion and delay in Ipoh, and the second would have been more pleasant if we didn’t have to wait an extra hour and a half for the ferry. But I had some great books to read both days, and honestly, is there that much of a difference between reading at a bus station and reading on a beach? Um, don’t answer that.