Thursday, January 21, 2016

Selangor : Klang to Pulau Ketam - Brompton Malaysia Crabby Ride

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Selangor: Klang to Pulau Ketam - Brompton Malaysia Crabby Ride
Klang to Pulau Ketam : 17th January 2016
Medium Group Ride - Klang>Port Klang>Pulau Ketam (by ferry)>Port Klang>Klang (by train).
Cycling Distance  : Klang to Port Klang - 8.66km / Around Pulau Ketam - 4.76km      Level: Easy
Time : From Klang & back to Klang - 8:00am to 2:15pm
Time Taken :  6hrs 15mins (inclusive of breakfast, time at Pulau Ketam, lunch and photo opps).

Route Recommendations :
1. From Klang start off with the Istana Shah Alam route, it is a shady and nice route.
2. The road leading from Klang to Port Klang is along Persiaran Raja Muda Musa. It is a busy thoroughfare, fortunately there is a secondary road that runs parallel to it for most of the way. This secondary feeder road has light traffic as it serves the neighbourhood..
3. The route for most part is unshaded so do cover up in the afternoon.
4. Most lanes on Pulau Ketam are narrow concrete slabs sitting on stilt/pile. On the outlying areas the lanes are planks, do cycle with care.
5. The main streets criss-crossed at right angles. However further away they zig-zag through houses, and does get complicated. There is a possibility of getting lost; if that happens ask the friendly locals for directions back to the jetty.
6. Pulau Ketam used to be a laid back island without any motorized vehicles. Of late (these past couple of years) electric motor-cycles have been introduced. These run silently, so do watch out for them.
7. The island has a few sea-food restaurants, choose one that you are comfortable with. Other than that, the fruity ice floss stall serves good, cooling thirst quenchers for a hot day.
8. Chong Kok Kopitiam is a favourite place for breakfast in Klang, and a good place for lunch would be Yap Kee Banana Leaf Rice.


PRELUDE

The My Brompton Malaysia group regularly hold cycling events for Brompton owners in Malaysia to get together and enjoy a ride with each others company. On and off I had managed to join them; the last time I joined them was at a ride where we tried out the Cycling Lanes of Shah Alam riding from Bukit Cahaya to and around part the city centre. We even managed to view the street art at Section 2 of Shah Alam. Yup, that's us above "chasing down" a street art mini-bus during that ride in May 2014. Looks fun isn't it?
Well we are up for more fun, this time round we have an event going to Crabby Island..... no, it's not Krabi in Thailand but Pulau Ketam off the coast of Selangor. In English it is called Crab Island, so that's why the group called the event "It's Crabby Time". Some mis-read it as Crappy Time... No, we did not crap there or had a crappy time; in fact we had a wonderful time enjoying the the island with our cycling buddies.
OK... LET'S GET CRAPPY..... OOPS... I MEAN CRABBY!


THE RIDE


Cycling Route - Klang>Port Klang>Pulau Ketam (by ferry)>Port Klang>Klang (by train).
This is a mini bike-packing adventure. From Klang we rode to Port Klang then onto to a ferry to & fro Pulau Ketam. Back in Port Klang we took a train to Klang for some eats before each going our way back (some drove, some took the train home).


We met at Chong Kok Kopitiam in Klang, that's a regular meet up place for us as it served very good coffee, and quite decent Nasi LemakSome drove here and some took the train from their homes.


8:00am - We rolled off, riding through the shady streets near the Istana Shah Alam, and then at the Bulatan Simpang Lima we turned into Persiaran Raja Muda Musa. This road is a busy major thoroughfare, but fortunately there is a quiet residential service road running parallel to it for most of the way.
Along the way my thoughts went back to the last time I went to Pulau Ketam, it was another bike-packing trip in May 2014. Back then I had noticed that the electric motor-bikes had been introduced to the islands, prior to that the only motorised vehicle were the push-carts for transporting goods (... see 2012 World Car-free Day blog).


After a casual nine kilometre ride we reached the Port Klang-Pulau Ketam Jetty. There is a long narrow corridor from the jetty to the boarding platform; when it's not too crowded it's possible to cycle along this corridor. Cycling there we then carried our bikes down to the boarding platform which is large enough for all of us to fold our bikes.


For those interested, I append here the ferry schedule, the fare each way is RM7-00. We took the 8:45am ferry; the fare is collected while on board. Oddly, the ticket issuer charged us each an additional RM3-00 for our bikes; no receipts were issued for this (on our return trip, there was no charge for our bikes).
The ferry is air-conditioned with comfortable seats. Not wanting our bikes to be exposed to spraying sea water as the ferry moved, most of us managed to bring our folded bikes into the ferry.


While on board Sin (of the hApPy HaPpY blogs) and Chew were fiddling with their new Xiaomi YI Action Camera. Sin having got it a few days earlier was teaching Chew the finer points of video-graphing.
(... see Sin's blog on this)
(... see Chew's video presentation on our ride)


9:15am - We arrive at the island, disembarked and quickly carried our bikes up to the jetty's top platform. After unfolding our bikes, we were ready to ride. But first let's have a look at life on the island:
This is one happy tourist who had rented a bike, stock himself with some food and was ready to explore the island. Bicycles are available for rental at the jetty.


Further, in front of one of the shop-lots at main street, this group of old men had cycled to meet each other. Seems to be their regular routine, meeting up, chatting and catching up with each other. One fine day we will just be like them, meeting up and talking of our past - this trip to the island included.


Nearer the village centre, colourful houses sitting on stilts lined the elevated concrete lanes. The whole island's infrastructure sits atop the mangrove swamp of which this island is mainly compose off. The lanes nearer the village centre are more regulated, running parallel and perpendicular to each other.


At the outlying areas the concrete slab make way for timber board-walk that zig-zagged in between and in front of houses. At some areas this zig-zagging does get a bit confusing, especially if one runs into a dead-end. Either trace one's steps back or as some helpful local for directions back to the jetty.


Pulau Ketam is predominantly occupied by Chinese, there are lots of temples dedicated to different gods. The difference is that many of this temples are to sea gods, hence on the roof often there will be statues of fishes, prawns. There is even one temple with just crabs!
Other than the temples, there is a mosque, a couple of schools, a post-office and even a bank with an ATM machine.


The older locals cycle around, like this man who is probably on the way to meet the group of old men shown in one of the earlier photos. He looks old but is still sprightly and hale, probably the slow pace and idyllist life here helps.


Others, like this lady, used electrical motor-cycles to get around - sending their children to school, delivering goods or doing some shopping. The only thing is that these electric machines are quite so one have to be on the look out for them.


A moped parked at the front of a sundry shop. The lady rider having gone in to do some shopping. Most of these machines are from China.


A couple making "kueh kapit' (love letters) in preparation for the coming Chinese New Year. They are selling it to the locals and also to tourists. The islanders try to be as self sufficient as possible; but being a mangrove island, Pulau Ketam can't sustain much planting. We also did not see any large farms; so other than seafood, most of the vegetables and meat are brought in from the mainland. Probably the economics of scale makes it cheaper to import.


Foreign workers relaxing and having lunch. These workers assist in the fishing industry here.


At many of the coves and inlets, trawler boats are parked or could be seen sailing in. This photo show how the houses and lanes sit on concrete or bakau piles.

Okay, back to our ride now:
We rode a loop around the inner section of the island, visiting a few temples, dropped by the bank (it's a Maybank), just to see it.


But most of all we rode to view the colourful houses; Jason here seems to have adapted to life here, making himself look like he was coming home.


... and stopped by the water's edge just to relax.


We even rode out to a more remote area where lanes have been constructed but on both sides were just mangrove trees. These are new areas waiting to be populated or developed.


At the busier areas, we walked out on the planked jetties to take beautiful photos of the houses, the boats, etc.


Here's a shot of us at one of the wooden bridges. Things are so colourful here, even the bridges!


Back at the village centre, some of us saw this barber shop. The barber here provides ear-cleaning services and a few of us lined up for a good and relaxing cleaning. There's only one barber at this shop, so together with us the locals formed a quiet queue to wait their turn.


Back at main street, we stopped for some cooling desserts at a stall in front of one of the sundry shops. It sells fruity ice floss, i.e. fruit flavoured, slightly creamy ice shaved into fine ice floss and topped up with yummy ingredients.

Here's a mango flavoured one. Looks good doesn't it? It was, especially on a hot day.
(... see more at Fruity Ice Flog blog)

12:15pm - It's lunch time, but wanting to try something else than the seafood at Pulau Ketam, we left earlier. Here's a memorable photo of us in the ferry for keepsake.


From Port Klang, most of us could have just taken the train straight back home; but we made a stop at Klang again... just to try out the renown Yap Kee Banana Leaf Rice. It was a satisfactory close to a good ride day.

We did have a mighty good time at Crab Island, it was a memorable ride for many of us.

NEXT: My Brompton Malaysia will be having another back-packing adventure up to Ipoh, stay tuned for my field report :)

(For more photos of the ride, Click Here)

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