Impressive first view of Pulau Pangkil from the boat
Our good friends recently organised a surprise 40th birthday getaway at Pulau Pangkil – an idyllic private island off the coast of Pulau Bintan in Indonesia. How lucky are we to be in a region where hiring an entire island is at our disposal ?
It’s a bit of a trek to get there – ferry from Singapore to Bintan, then an hour on a dodgy bus along some very offroad terrain, then another boat to the island. But once you get there, you forget all of that.
Cooking one of the many dishes for dinner – barbeque satay and chicken wings
The island has running water and electricity, and for the 10 adults we had on the island, there were 15 staff – most invisible, but they tended the “driftwood palaces”, the kitchen, the play areas, and most importantly, lit the mosquito coils. The entire island does not have airconditioning, but the cool sea breezes and fans in your rooms are adequate and the beds are snuggly wrapped in mosquito netting.
Prawn and bean curry
The food we ate there was spectacular. Each night there was a different meat being barbequed over hot coals, lots of vegetables and a nice mix of traditional Indonesian cuisine and, I guess more western cuisine. So it was things like baked hot potatoes and stir-fried tempeh, which gave the entire group good choice of what took their fancy on the day.
Tomato and avocado “salad”
A few favourites during our four day stay was a curry with green snake beans and prawns, a delicious avocado and tomato “salad” that was generously dressed with lime and fish sauce with coriander and mint, amazingly tender snapper fillets – how they managed to cook it and serve it whole, even with a fish basket, is incredible – and satay.
The portions were generous – think we all came back a few pounds heavier, but we left happy, tanned and relaxed (I would have said “chilled” but we were all grateful for the airconditioning in the ferry on the way back).
I didn’t organise it – their site is not the easiest to navigate but here are the contact details: