Tiger Rock

Pangkor Island, Penang & Pangkor, Malaysia Book from Book from £251 per night

A private jungle hideaway on Pangkor Island with infinity pool, artistic flair and exceptional home-cooked cuisine near beautiful beaches
A small fishing island with great beaches off the coast of northwest Malaysia, Pangkor is reached by an easy 2.5-hour drive from Penang, then a short boat ride. Formerly the family home of Malaysians David and Rebecca Wilkinson, Tiger Rock is a unique collection of airy timber houses cocooned in Pangkor's jungle, and it's a very special set-up altogether. There's a relaxed, welcoming and lived-in vibe throughout: walls are adorned with Rebecca’s colourful artwork, and, like an exotic Gauguin painting, the shimmering greenery dominates the landscape, exploding into view through every door and window.

There are four houses with eight large rooms altogether, so you can book a room or rent a couple of houses or the whole place as preferred. Open-air communal spaces and comfortable interiors encourage a convivial house-party ambiance, and at the heart of the property is a stunning infinity pool, fringed by tropical plants and loungers. Come dusk, guests convene in the Pool House with its glowing lanterns to enjoy balmy evenings. Talented cook Bavanni rustles up an abundance of fine Malay cuisine - think fish curries, nasi lemak, chicken in pandan leaves - while husband and manager Mohan ensures the smooth running of the whole show. About as far as you can get from a bland 5-star hotel experience.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.

Highs

  • Living in close quarters with nature, surrounded by giant butterflies, great hornbills, flying lemurs and wild boars
  • Bavanni’s menu is absolutely mouth-watering, and can be tailored to your requirements. Prices include all meals and a delicious help-yourself afternoon tea
  • Supremely tranquil both poolside and amongst the trees; there's also a tennis court for more active types
  • Mr Mohan's interesting Pangkor island and local culture tour (included in the rates) is a must: boat yards and fish factories, ornate Chinese and Indian temples, authentic markets
  • Great for families and couples alike; excellent service

Lows

  • Some steep slopes and steps to navigate. If you've mobility issues we recommend staying in the Pool House
  • The nearest beach is a 25-minute walk through forest trails, Mohan can also drive you to the best beaches on the island
  • Jungle living means mosquitoes, ants and crawlies so be prepared with repellent
  • More homely than hip decor, and we felt some interiors could do with a refresh on our most recent visit, but we adored the artful mix of bright fabrics, furniture, hanging lanterns, vintage toys...

Best time to go

Although there is no rainy season as such, April to July has less rain on Pangkor Island. The busiest time is mid October to mid Feb so guests should book well in advance over these periods. Note it is steamy most of the year.

Our top tips

Bring tools for relaxation such as books, iPods and speakers, and lots of loose informal clothing such sarongs as it is hot and humid. Binoculars would be useful for bird and monkey watching, and insect repellent is a must. If you'll want to play tennis, bring trainers.

Watch Bavanni at work and learn the secrets of her fantastic cooking, including her addictive sweet chilli sauce and tomato chutney.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Jungle Hotel
  • 8
  • All-inclusive
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
Room: The Studio

Rooms

There are 8 bedrooms divided between 4 houses; groups can book multiple rooms in order to request exclusive use of a particular building.

The Main House, our home on our most recent visit, is originally David and Rebecca’s house: a 2-storey wooden building set on a grassy slope. Accessed via stone steps winding up from the pool through the separate wooden lounge, there’s a colourful twin room and a master double bedroom - each is ensuite. A small covered terrace faces the dense undergrowth. Below, the kitchen and living space are filled with cookbooks, decorative crockery and wooden ornaments.

The impossibly romantic Studio was our favourite hideout. A self-contained double room, it has a large bed in the centre of the room and all around are vivid jungle scenes swathed on large canvases. Beautiful wooden French folding doors engulf the room with light, revealing a stunning jungle panorama.

Slightly smaller, but just as romantic, is another self-contained option the Pool House. Despite being the closest to the dining area, it still felt very private. Its small veranda provides a beautiful view onto the jungle and pool.

For maximum seclusion (away from the other houses up a steep slope and across a bridge) Hill House consists of two separate houses, each with 2 double bedrooms (all ensuite with terraces). Both buildings share a communal outdoor pavilion, a swimming pool, and an outdoor dining area with long views to the sea.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Bavanni reigns Queen of the Kitchen. Her food is fantastic! All meals are served in the Pool House, beautifully lit by lanterns in the evenings. There's no menu so plates of utterly delicious food will arrive; simply help yourselves and enjoy the conversation.

At lunch and dinner, expect mainly Malay dishes, with Indian and Chinese influences. Seafood and fish feature often, sometimes a whole mackerel in a dry, aromatic paste or prawns nestling in an omelette. Vegetables come either stir-fried or lightly battered in tempura with a chilli sauce. Asian staples such as rice and vermicelli noodles are all perfectly seasoned. Lunchtime puddings are usually fresh fruit, in the evenings you'll get luscious desserts such as sautéed mango with coconut and Tia Maria ice cream.

Informal breakfast tables are laden with muesli, cornflakes and yoghurt plus bowls of papaya, oranges and bananas. Baskets brim with breads and croissants. Strong cafetiere and cooked eggs are prepared to order - we recommend the buttery scrambled eggs. Earl Grey, Darjeeling and scented rose petal tea are also available

If you'd prefer to have meals served in your house, just ask. The in-house kitchens aren't for self-catering, but parents may find them useful.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Communal dining
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take the must-do free island tour with Mohan and see historic sites including the nearby Dutch fort, ornate temples, traditional boat building yards, local markets
  • Birders will be busy: keep your binoculars handy to spot hornbills, bulbuls and mynas around the grounds; listen out for the rare argus pheasant
  • Laze by the pool, read in the library, or play tennis - there are floodlights for evening knockabouts
  • Get a ride to one of the unspoilt beaches or walk 25 minutes through the South Pangkor Forest Reserve to beautiful Teluk Segadas (only reachable by boat or on foot); Mohan will provide a beach bag, water and picnic
  • A local lady can decorate your hands and feet with beautiful henna designs. Massages can be had from a local Chinese couple, who work in tandem to release knots
  • Take a boat trip to the Sembilian Islands for great snorkelling. The beaches offer kayaking, jetskiing and waterskiing
  • Ask Mohan to show you how to tap a rubber tree, a traditional art
  • Go on a fishing trip with a local

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Jet skiing
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Waterskiing
  • Wildlife

Kids

Tiger Rock has an ethos that makes many parents very happy: "Our main aim, is to keep kids well catered for so their parents can relax." You can't argue with a bolthole that is parent-friendly as well as child-friendly, can you? The small team will discuss activities with you on arrival and offer free beach transfers. It's good for all ages - as long as your children are outdoorsy and good travellers (the airport is 4 hours away).

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Most rooms sleep parents plus a baby. The Main House is good for a large family (up to 4-5 kids). In the Hill House, the purple and yellow rooms can interconnect

Babysitting:

An English-speaking babysitter is available

Baby listening:

You can borrow their plug-in monitor (although it doesn't work throughout the whole of the property).

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • Baby bedding
  • High chair
  • Pushchair
  • Baby backpack/rucksack
  • Potty
  • Night light
  • Baby bath
  • Bottle warming

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Although they don't have a specific kids menu, food is available all day and an early dinner can be served if needed. Bavanni is happy to accommodate any meal requirements. You can also use their blender

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool with shallow end
  • Children's DVDs
  • Farm animals nearby
  • A selection of toys
  • Tennis court
  • Library
  • Various cultural/farming activities to see like rubber tapping, sari weaving

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches nearby (free transfer from hotel) for swimming, watersports, snorkelling, picnics etc
  • Jungle trekking
  • Kayaking
  • Birding

Families Should Know:

There are steep slopes and steps here as well as potentially dangerous jungle. You will get a safety talk on arrival which among other things cautions against running around barefoot. Sunburn and insects are two of the biggest hazards overall

Distances:

  • Airport: 4 hours (Kuala Lumpur International)
  • Hospital: 15 minutes (boat ride plus a short drive)
  • Doctor: 5 minutes (by car)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Tiger Rock is set in the jungle on Pangkor Island, on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. It is reached by ferry from the small coastal town of Lumut (ferry runs every 45 minutes, travel time 30 minutes). Lumut is 3.5 hours' drive north of Kuala Lumpur and 2.5 hours' drive south of Penang.

By Air:
Ipoh (90km) is the closest airport (about 1.5 hours' drive from Lumut, on the mainland). Due to Kuala Lumpur airport regulations, private cars cannot pick up from the airport (although they can drop off). If you are a group, Tiger Rock can send a van to pick you up. Couples or solo travellers will have to take a taxi to Lumut, but on return, Tiger Rock can arrange a car transfer.

By Bus:
A comprehensive network of comfortable air-conditioned buses traverses Malaysia and there are various good value operators which ply their trade between Penang (Butterworth) and KL and Lumut.

By Train:
There's a fast train service from Kuala Lumpur airport to Ipoh (quicker than driving), from here it's a 1.5 hour transfer.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Malaysia and getting around

Airports:

  • Ipoh Airport 90.0 km IPH
  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport 300.0 km KUL

Other:

  • Beach 1.0 km
  • Shops 5.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

7/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

The pool, setting, food and Mohan and his team cannot be faulted. I felt our room (the studio) needed an update. That aside we really enjoyed it and the company of the other guests who were an eclectic bunch.

8/10,

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