It took close to six hours in total to travel two different buses, a ferry and a taxi to get us 20m from the beach sand on Pulau Pangkor. It was worth every tiring, motion sickness and long winded minute of travel. We have documented this with a video also. See at the end of the post.
The first leg of travel consisted of a bus from the Cameron Highlands (Tanah Rata for us) to Ipoh. As we had already experienced the bus ride from Ipoh to the Cameron Highlands (read here), we knew what to expect. There are actually two bus companies that drive from the Cameron Highlands to Ipoh, we only have the information on one of them, as the other company left at annoying times for us.
Every travel agent in town has a board showing different modes of transport to different places in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. All you have to do is go into a travel agent and choose where you would like to go, preferably the day before or the early morning of the day you want to go as timing is important.
As we were heading to Pulau Pangkor, we already knew that we had to head back to Ipoh first. Neither of us was really looking forward to that part of the journey as we had experienced the windy roads of motion sickness before. To top it off, the travel agents charged an extra RM 3.00 just to get on the bus! The bus from Ipoh to the Cameron Highlands was RM 16.80 per adult, on the return trip from the Cameron Highlands to Ipoh was RM 19.80. This time, we had no choice but to sit in the middle of the bus, the motion sickness hit us both. Although we did not throw up, the trusty bags the bus driver had in the back of the seat in front of us was held in our laps open, just in case.
The bus from the Cameron Highlands to Ipoh took just over 2 hours. Give yourself an extra 30 minutes just in case there is a lot of traffic on the very windy roads back down to Ipoh. The bus stops in Ipoh right in town at a bus station about 500m from the Majestic KTM Train Station.
Once we got back to Ipoh, we walked about 500m to another bus station. On the map to follow it is named the "Express Bus and Taxi" Station. This is where you catch the bus to Lumut. The next leg of the journey to Pulau Pangkor.
Buses leave Ipoh to Lumut often throughout the day. The ride should only take approximately 45 min, but, because it is a local bus, people get on and off on the journey. It took us nearly 2 hours to get from Ipoh to Lumut. In the picture at the top of the post, you can see our one and only air conditioning and fan in the bus. It was the air vent which didn't really provide much cooling unless the bus was traveling. Of course the bus had to stop often, so cooling was short lived. The cost of the bus ride from Ipoh to Lumt was approximately RM 7.00. Cheap as it was on a local bus.
The bus from Ipoh to Lumut was entertaining though. We met the ticket / bus driver - Alex, who collected both coins and notes from travelers from around the world. His collection was really fascinating. Some notes we had not seen before, for example, notes from parts of Africa, Czech Republic the UAE. There were big notes from Australia and Euro notes as well. If people gave him money to put in his collection, he asked them to write something on it, so he or anyone else could not cash it. He really took pride in his notes and coin collection. Was a pleasure to meet him. You never know, you may get on his bus ride, we took the 11:30am or thereabouts bus from Ipoh to Lumut. You can see Alex and his collection in our video at the end of the post.
Next stop... Lumut. Getting from the bus station to the ferry dock was too easy for words. You get off the bus, walk around the corner, and there it is, about 200m away, if that. Never had getting from a bus station to a ferry has been so easy. Well that I have experienced anyhow.
Ferries leave every 30 minutes from Lumut to Pulau Pangkor from 7am to 7:30pm or thereabouts. The times change when the seasons change. The cost of the ferry ticket from Lumut to Pulau Pangkor is RM 10.00 return. Yes, return. Don't lose your ticket as you will have to hand it in to get on the ferry back to Lumut when you are finished playing on the beach.
The ferry was lovely, air conditioned, took about 30 minutes to reach the second drop off on Pulau Pangkor. The first stop on the island is mainly for the local islanders who live near the fishing boat harbour.
Reaching Pulau Pangkor was quite exciting. Taxi hounds to your left, to your right, and yes, even in front of you. The difference that these taxi hounds had was that not only were they friendly, but their taxis were bright pink! Silly us, we didn't get a picture of the taxis. Use your imagination or google image "taxi pulau pangkor". The cost of the taxi to Teluk Nipah which is the main tourist hub on Pulau Pangkor was RM 15.00 for two people. This is the price they have set. For three to four people it was RM 20.00 for the lot. Fair price really. You can also hire scooters / motorbikes at the jetty, although we are unsure how much they were charging.
The taxi ride was lovely, we got to see a lot of Pulau Pangkor without setting foot on the southern end or some of the western side of Pulau Pangkor. We also got to experience the windy thin roads of Pangkor for the first time. Seeing the beaches excited us!
We had now been on the road (and ocean) for over 6 hours, we were now at the beach 🙂
Cameron Highlands to Ipoh
Leave Cameron Highlands at 8am, arrive in Ipoh 10:15am (ish)
Cost: $19.80 per adult
Ipoh to Lumut
Walk over to the other bus station and just buy a ticket worth RM 7.00 each
Time on bus - about 2 hours
Lumut to Pulau Pangkor
Walk over to ferry port, buy a ticket, and hop on the next ferry
Cost: RM 10.00 return (don't lose your ticket)
Time: 30 minutes
Pulau Pangkor Jetty to Teluk Nipah
Get in a hot pink taxi at a cost of RM 15.00 for two people.