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Pulau Pemanggil

"Pulau Pemanggil is another island within the Johor Marine Park which is famous for its rocky cliffs and rich sea life (haven for fishing!). It is located at around 56km off Mersing Jetty, which translates to approximately 1.5-hour speedboat ride journey from Mersing."


Pulau Pemanggil is located in the South China Sea south of Tioman island. Pemanggil Island is actually a part of an island that is made up with itself and four others. They are Pulau Aur, Pulau Lang and finally Pulau Dayang. This remote island is also famed for the beauty and abundance of marine life within its clear emerald waters. Its other magnetic charms include endless stretches of white sandy beaches and awesome snorkelling spots. The pristine island is surrounded by colourful coral reefs and marine life.

Pemanggil Island is well known as one of the best fishing spot in Malaysia. It is famous among those fishermen as it is the ideal spot for deep sea fishing and good hunting grounds for marlins and mackerels. Besides that, it is too, well known for the right spot for water activities, such as snorkelling and scuba diving.
As with most inhabited islands in Malaysian waters, Pemanggil has its fair share of history, mystery and spooky tales. The island is fishermen's best-kept secret.

On the north-eastern coast of Pemanggil Island is Teluk Lancang, an isolated bay where coconut trees grow in abundance amidst the tropical vegetation. At the heart of the island, there is a huge hill outcrop, known locally as Batu Buau (The Buau Rock), which locals regard as sacred.

The story: "Almost a century ago, a boat carrying an Indonesian family came by these waters. One night, the father had a dream and in this dream he heard a voice beckoning him to settle on the island. The voice as was believed, belonged to the guardian of the island."


This rock is for the adventurous people. It offers an exciting and challenging hiking experience to the hilltop. You can climb to the top to experience the scenic view of the island with a bird's view.
The trek starts from Kampung Buau. An opening through the thicket behind and across a bridge takes you through the island jungle and up bare rock to the peak. Duration of trek is about 45min - 1 hour, moderate pace. It is advisable to bring with, a pair of trekking shoes with a good grip as it may get slippery up the slopes ; a large bottle of mineral water and binoculars for birdwatching. Your resort will be able to provide you with a guide for the trek up if so desired.

Batu Buau

For a breather, there is a protruding flat rock that faces an opening in the canopy, roughly halfway up the trek. This is a great place for bird watching. There are jungle mynas mimicking the calls of other birds, imperial pigeons preening themselves, wild pigeons cooing, doves flitting by, and parrots hanging off tips of branches. Other forms of wildlife are more difficult to spot. Macaques abound on the island and porcupines (or so I've been told), squirrels, flying foxes roam the island after dusk. Snakes, monitor lizards and scorpions are also common. The large reticulated python is a common visitor to the villages and are often decapitated on the spot by villagers for fear that their cats, children and livestock may be taken by these great snakes.


If the weather is clear your can have a wonderful view for an amazing view of South China Sea and the surrounding islands. You can even see Tioman island (50 km). This is definitely the best getaway for those who seek tranquility and serenity.
A word of caution to trekkers, Batu Buau is regarded as sacred to the locals, it is best to observe decent conduct on the rock. For instance, if you need to, do go to the bathroom before climbing the rock; if you find offerings left on the rock- do not remove them. Also, this trek is certainly not to be considered for young children. The last climb to the peak is a little bit unnerving especially having to climb up the vertical wall dangling on a rope.
Tourists can even visit the local villages, like kampung Buau, kampung Pak Kaleh

Lanting Beach Resort

Lanting Beach Resort is one of the best resorts in Pemanggil Island. This beautiful resort offers excellent services and nice food. This resort is built against a hill, where you can enjoy a birdís eye view of the beach and sparkling clear water from your room. A lot of activities offered by the resort itself such as jungle trekking, canoeing, beach volley ball and also some other indoor games.


Kampung Buau
This is the main kampung (village) where the first settlers made home. A clinic, a mosque, a police outpost and a school form the backbone of the community. The school is made up of only 15 students with ages ranging from 5 to 12 years. One of the reasons many families have moved away from the island is the need to pursue further education for their children. The population of the island has now dwindled to a mere 60villagers and continues to drop as younger folk leave in search of their own destinies where bright lights, big cities lure them.

Teluk Kador
A 20 minute ride round to the back of the island brings you to this secluded bay. Close to Temiang beach in 20 feet of water lies a cargo wreck. On its way back to Thailand, the boat laden with maize and tamarind smashed into the rocky bay one stormy November day in 1966 and sunk instantly, taking with her one unfortunate sailor. Today, it's brimming with a new lease of life as an artificial reef. Barnacles adorn the twisted metal and reef fishes dart in and out of portholes. Visitors such as the hump head wrasse and the rock cods can be found grazing around the wreck.

Kampung Pontianak
In the early days, there lived a 'Pontianak', a banshee who fed on newborn babies. This particular breed of banshee, the one found on the island, is also known as 'Hantu Langsuir'. The Langsuir can detach her head from the body in times of attacks. What is normally reported of the Langsuir is a flying head with entrails attached and of course the ear piercing screeches and wails.
This resident banshee had a palatable fancy for male babies- waiting eagerly for new-borns but only attacking at night. One night, she heared the groans of a villager in labour, in the nearby village. Having been waiting for months now for a newborn, her thirst for young blood was insatiable. She hastily detached her head from her body and flew off to the house unaware of the villagers lying in wait to ambush her. On arrival at the house, she noticed that all the doors and windows to the house were barred from within. In desperation, she decided to enter from under the house, through the cracks of the floorboards. The villagers, in position for the attack, threw a net over her.
Her wails from the surprise of the ambush alerted her body but before the body could be reunited with the head, another group of villagers infiltrated the Pontianak's house and put flames to body. Without a body to return to, the Pontianak was finally destroyed. The village has still retained the name 'pontianak' but is now a quiet, serene beach. The villagers there go about their daily chores of salting fish, repairing nets and taking coffee breaks. And there's a great snorkelling patch just in front of the jetty.

Kampung Pak Kaleh

The village is where Pak Mazlan and a few other families settled after moving from Pulau Aur. Now, the village houses only a few families. In the old days, the village was situated up on the hill. As villagers started moving out, the remaining ones moved down to the beachfront. If you're interested, ask the local boys to take you up to the old settlement.
However, only foundations of the settlement and graves of their loved ones remain as milestones of the living history on the island.


You have to drive to Mersing. It takes about 3 hours if you come from Singapore. In Mersing you take the boat at the jetty to take you to the island. From there it takes another 4-5 hours to reach the island of Pemanggil.
To get to Mersing from Kuala Lumpur, it takes 4Ĺ hours by car or about 6 hours by bus.

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   Ben van Wijnen


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