Although we live mere hours away from gorgeous islands dotted with white sand and turquoise, cerulean shaded waters, the embarrassing truth is we often take them for granted. After years of living in Malaysia, our holidays are most frequently spent visiting far-flung family and friends or immersing ourselves in new cultural experiences.
After a couple of back to back months in hot, dreary Kuala Lumpur, we were bursting at the seams to escape to the islands. We were dreaming of salty sunshine days drenched in waves of shifting blue and infinite shades of green. The overwhelming desire for green to literally seep out of our pores.
We knew there was only one artsy jungle hideaway that would fit all our needs for a weekend getaway perfectly - a short drive from KL, a quick ferry ride, and enough nature to make the heart sing - Tiger Rock in Pangkor Island!
We'd heard so much about this hidden gem in the jungle, from the way the art-infused boutique resort was set softly into nature and to how fantastic Ms. Bavanni, the resident chef was. After a speedy confirmation, it was only a couple days later that Mr. Mohan, the gregarious manager of the resort, was warmly greeting us at the Pangkor ferry landing!
He picked us up in this adorable, sea-salted red jeep that instantly made our trip feel island-rugged.
I have a super soft spot for jeeps. It's definitely my transportation of choice for island living - perfect for throwing surf & boogie boards, snorkeling gear, sandy towels and water coolers in the back.
As we climbed up the curving hill, Tiger Rock opened her arms in a lush green embrace. We were greeted by a simple, traditional Indian style ceremony with a sprinkle of water and a red vermilion dot on our forehands, along with a chilled tamarind drink and lunch.
The first bites were my litmus test for this getaway - when you're in an all inclusive resort, the importance of knowing the quality of your meals is paramount.
Irrespective of how gorgeous a resort is, I'm a 'live to eat' sort of gal - so when my husband caught me grinning with all those eye crinkles between massive bites, he knew we hit the jackpot!
Everything was so darn delicious - fresh local produce and tender bites of goodness plus healthy servings of spicy sambal that made my tastebuds absolutely joyful. That's the kind of chef you want to marry and apparently Mr. Mohan agrees, since it turns out that talented whiz is his wife - lucky fella!
After the important business of the filling our hearts, I mean our bellies, we set off to discover which of the artsy bungalow rooms were ours.
While you can't pre-book a specific room, you can certainly request one and if it's possible Mr. Mohan will try his best to accommodate but frankly, they are all so individually interesting that the luck of the draw is a bit more fun.
Well, except there is one that is has an extra special appeal, as it opens to a quiet little meadow all on ones own but more on that later! Each room has an artsy theme and if you're lucky enough to peek into a few of them, you get the sense of the loving thoughtfulness that went into making each space radiate an uniquely artsy islandy vibe.
While the rooms were bright, airy and colorful, we spent about 15 seconds there - essentially long enough to throw off our travel clothes, wiggle into our bathing suits and the darling batik robes they provide.
Then with sunscreen, shades and books in hand, we went straight into a private pool nestled in the forest just outside our bungalow.
For some folks, pools are meant for swimming. For me, they serve as a cool dip in betwixt reading and preferably, sipping pina coladas. In fact, I've been known to sit in the shallows of the ocean with a book and umbrella to beat the hottest rays of the sun, much to the bemusement of fellow beach-goers.
After lounging a few hours, just decompressing, our curiosity was piqued enough to explore the grounds of Tiger Rock before dinner.
Along with the duplex bungalows on the right hilside of the resort, there are a couple of larger buildings that used to serve as the owners dwellings. These are big open living spaces chock full of interesting artifacts and furniture that beckon you for a wee sit and a round of cards.
There's a certain amount of pleasure in gathering your massive torch, steel circle room keys and walking down into the forest towards a freshly prepared meal, a light walk to work up the appetite that hadn't quite sparked after an afternoon of essentially lazing around.
Perfectly acceptable behavior on a holiday methinks.
We found our table tucked away in the corner glowing with candle light and as each steaming dish came out, we felt properly pampered. KL felt like a million miles away, as the sounds of the jungle buzzed around us with the promise of a full weekend of sun, sand, and hikes to the ocean awaiting us.
Part two - ie. island beaches galore coming soon!
- Learn more about Tiger Rock at http://tigerrock.info/ - I'm sure if you tell Mr. Mohan that you've come across Tiger Rock via Yiga at Batik&Bubbles, there will be an extra warm welcome :) Then again, I get the impression they are pretty fabulous with all their guests!
- If you are looking for a bit of Malaysian island fashion - we suggest you check out two of our favorite Malaysian brands - gorgeous silk batik designs by FERN - the New Batik https://www.fern.gallery/ and these to die for clutches and shoulder bags by Frankitas at www.frankitas.com