Pangkor Island

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Pangkor island in Malaysia is not merely a fishing island. It is renowned for its blue sea and sandy beaches. Besides being a popular holiday resort, it is also a haven for those who have the time for something beyond their routines. There are a number of shops selling catches fresh from the sea and numerous souvenirs outlets offering everything from seashells to T-shirts. Among the more popular ones are shops that sell batik paintings, straw hats, carvings, batik cloth and household ornaments made from corals and seashells.

For those interested in photography, there is a Chinese temple with a beautiful artificial garden. This unique temple is located in quite a remote spot, away from the tourist route. To reach there, one has to break off from the usual tourist itinerary and pass through narrow village streets before the temple comes into view. Any local resident is willing to lead you there. The temple is set against a backdrop of evergreen forest. The little enchanting garden in the temple is the contribution of the villagers as a means of attracting tourists to their island. Building the garden was a co-operation affair and everybody, young and old, chipped in to help. It has therefore become the pride of the islanders.

The whole garden was built from scratch. The enthusiastic villagers used materials like bricks and wood, most of which were salvaged from demolished buildings. The garden is now the favorite spot for local people, especially young couples. The number of tourists to the garden is rapidly increasing. According to its caretaker, about 30,000 local as well as foreign tourists visited the garden in a year. Admission to the temple is free. The garden is maintained by the sale of photographs and donations from tourists and some local businessmen.

The main attraction in the temple is the 170-meter long miniature ‘Great Wall’ that twists and turns within the compound of the garden. The tiny structure was fashioned after the Great Wall of China. To most tourists who have not been to China, this replica is a good reminder of the great work of Shih Huang Ti. Other attractions of the garden include a variety of common tropical plants, flowering shrubs of various colors, ponds filled with fish, rock garden and brightly painted rocks. Clusters of bamboo and willow trees provide some greenery as well as shade.

Another popular tourist attraction on Pangkor island is a huge boulder of historical interest in Kampung Teluk Gedung. Inscribed on the rock is the year 1743 and a drawing of a tiger preying on a little boy. It is believed that during the Dutch occupation of the island, a little Dutch boy disappeared while playing near the boulder. The Dutch believed that the boy was eaten by a tiger. As a reminder of the tragedy, someone engraved the picture on the stone.


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