Simple pleasures in life are a joy to come by. It can be anything from a lime paddle pop, to the warmth of a golden sunset, or the sounds of waves crashing on stilts beneath you when you rouse in the wee hours of day. It can also be a hearty meal at the end of the day or the satisfaction felt upon completing a fulfilling hike. So you can only imagine how I felt on the private island of Pangkor Laut Resort—a humble remote retreat three miles off the West Coast of Malaysia, which has granted me with all of the above and more.
The wondrous feeling is universal for most it seems, after a couple of brushes with the resort’s numerous returning visitors; some, who remember the island better than their staff ever will. They’ll whip out stories of the old Uncle Lim’s Kitchen or how monkeys once attempted a raid on their villa’s snacks because they had absent-mindedly left their windows unlocked. Many of them, I discover to be older couples who would spend weeks on end on this treasured gem—an extended summer for those who come from more temperate climes, if you will.
My people-watching hours clue me into some of their favourite spots on Pangkor; Emerald Bay, where a stretch of pristine white sand skims the crystal blue waters; the indefatigable Uncle Lim’s Kitchen for some solid Nyonya fare; and of course the resort’s crowning jewel, its enchanting Spa Village.
It is where you will find yourself ensconced in absolute tranquillity—your mobile devices and such rendered obsolete once your therapist collects you from the Spa Village’s lobby. After all, you’ll soon find that you already have all you need for the afternoon: yourself, and all the time to disconnect from the outside world completely. It’s something I found myself realising as I was walking through the Spa Village’s plethora of infrastructure designed for healing and relaxation: think dedicated treatment pavilions, beautiful bath houses, gazebos for napping and spa boutiques peppered all throughout. Each one, meant to facilitate a considerable range of treatments that spotlights the region’s healing cultures—from Thailand to Malaysia, China and India.
Naturally, to truly engulf myself in Pangkor’s wellness programme, a full afternoon became the subject of my adoration on a particular midweek afternoon. Perhaps, it was also an added bonus that the pamper felt well-deserved, considering I had just emerged triumphant from an uninterrupted hike through the jungle that morning.
Wellness, from inside out
A personalised treatment is par for the course when you find yourself in Pangkor Laut’s Spa Village. Whilst the full comprehensive range of treatments run the gamut from Lapis-Lapis, a Malay herbal wrap to a Mian Bu Hu Liao or Chinese herbal facial, the one I had been prescribed with was a full Ayurvedic treatment. Although the full course usually kicks off with a yoga class, I opted to go without, since my exercise for the day had already been ticked off earlier with my jungle trek.
Before I was left to more genteel hands, what came first was a welcome shock to the system: my consultation with a well-versed Ayurvedic doctor. His questions, whilst easy, were things I found difficult to process; again, it required me to leave all thoughts of urban life behind and focus on myself in the present. I found myself revealing more than I thought I would—from how I felt about my body to my injudicious lifestyle habits like my 3am bedtime.
Whilst I did wonder why I had to go into such detail, the answers were given to me soon after; everything from dietary prescriptions to the sort of exercise I should be adopting was recommended to me and swiftly annotated on a helpful sheet of paper. The spoonfuls of cinnamon he advised me to consume in the morning is a practice I still try to keep to, with notable effects on my present gut health. He also prescribed an appropriate treatment plan for my body, which the therapist would go on to utilise in my massage, facial and hair treatment later.
Recharge and reset
After a relaxing foot bath, the treatment first begins with a unique bath house experience—that extols upon various bath practices in Asia; a splendid way that affords you some minutes of quiet time whilst getting your skin moist and prepped for what’s to come.
Once I reached the hands of my therapist, the repose was near-instant. An Abhyanga massage was a prime showcase of well-trained hands for the ultimate healing of the self. A herbal concoction meant to expel toxins, improve blood circulation and open the body’s sensory channels was prescribed by my doctor and massaged into every crevice. Precise, gliding movements alleviated the muscle fatigue I had been feeling prior. Where I advised to go in with deeper strokes, the ask was swiftly rewarded and I could feel the tension leaving my body.
Following the massage, a nourishing Siro Lepam hair treatment proved to be the true pamper. My tresses were drenched in an oil mixed with eucalyptus leaves and worked into my scalp. The effects of this were particularly long-lasting; days after I had returned from Pangkor, I still found my mane nourished and hydrated—a far cry from the usual state of my dry, bleached hair. A ten-minute session in a steam sauna bag right before I had to wash off for my facial left me feeling giggly and in utter bliss. By this point, my body was devoid of any qualms and my mind at peace.
Food for the soul
Emerging from the Spa Village, my droopy eyes were a good sign of a restful afternoon. Yet one thing was clear: my tummy had to be filled. It was pleasant knowledge then, that an evening at Fisherman’s Cove would be awaiting me. Directly adjacent to the Spa Village, the seafood pod is a splendid spot situated above the beautiful waters—primed to provide a delectable evening that features sustainable seafood practices in its dishes, no matter the cuisine. Delectable pastas, fresh barramundi and spicier Asian curries were all for the having, depending on your preference. The immense satisfaction and delight toward the end of the meal was plain to see, though I suspect it had something to do with knowing how deep my slumber would be that night.
Book a stay at YTL Hotels Pangkor Laut Resort here.