Friday, October 7, 2016

Perak : Parit Buntar Fishing Villages 2016 : Day 2-2 Kuala Gula To Parit Buntar

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Perak : Parit Buntar Fishing Villages 2016 : Day 2-2 Kuala Gula To Parit Buntar
Kuala Sepetang to Parit Buntar : Day 2 - 25th September 2016
Medium Group Bike Packing - Taiping>Kuala Sepetang>by boat>Kuala Gula>Kuala Kurau>the Bund>Tanjung Piandang>Parit Buntar.
Cycling Distance : 60.06 km     |     Boating Distance : 28.70km     |    Level: Medium
Time : 7:30am to 5:30pm
Time Taken : 10 hours (including stops for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, visits to temple, salted duck egg factory; rest, regroup, and lots of photo ops). Boat ride time was an hour and fifteen minutes which included a short stop at Kuala Sangga.

This is page 3 of a 3-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
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Route Recommendations :
1. The route is relatively flat.
2. Most of the route is unshaded, so do cover up. Along the bund, the road is un-tarred, so do ride with care.
3. Points of Interest:
    - The Hua Seng Keng Temple at Kuala Gula; there are very nice and colourful statues here (GPS: 4.95628, 100.47927).
    - The Salted Duck Egg Factory at Kuala Kurau, where the production and packing of salted duck eggs are shown (GPS: 5.02041, 100.43174).
   - The Bund stretch between Kampung Empat-Belas and Tanjung Piandang is very scenic, with the jigsaw-like bund on one side and padi fields on the other (GPS: 5.01795, 100.39991 to 5.06199, 100.37978).
4. Food:
    - Pre-lunch was the famous Kuala Kurau Cucur Udang (prawn fritters) (Tel: +6012-5835139 / +605-7278171) (GPS: 5.00726, 100.42804).
    - Lunch were Mee Ketam & Mee Udang noodles at the Mee Ketam Parit 30 (GPS: 5.00943, 100.40727).
    - We stopped for a coffee-break at the Tanjung Piandang Tua Pek Kong Temple (GPS: 5.07603, 100.38483).
5. Accommodations:
    - The night before we stayed Kuala Sepetang Inn (Tel: +6012-5169909) (GPS: 4.83573, 100.62958) at approx. MYR40-00 pax.


PRELUDE

Early in the morning we had boarded a boat large enough to accomodate all of us and our bikes. Disembarking at Kuala Gula, we started our tide with a visit to the Hua Seng Keng teimple in Kuala Gula. The temple has a fairly large grounds with many beautiful statues and we stayed a while exploring it. Finished with the temple, we are now ready to continue onwards to Kuala Kurau.



THE RIDE

 

Ride Route Taiping>Kuala Sepetang>by boat>Kuala Gula>Kuala Kurau>the Bund>Tanjung Piandang>Parit Buntar.
The route is a multi-mode one with a boat ride from Kuala Sepetang to Kuala Gula, Cycling from there to Parit Buntar,and a train ride back to Taiping or Kuala Lumpur. This time round, instead of several motorised sampans, we took one larger tour boat that could fit all of us and our bikes in.


Saying goodbye to the temple, we rode a short off-road distance on the private estate road till the Jalan Gula junction. Some of our buddies were eager-beavers and road ahead quite fast and missed turning right at the juction that leads to Bagan Seberang of Kuala Kurau. We managed to get most of them to U-turn back, but a few were beyond contact and rode through Kuala Kurau town. Fortunately, they were able to find their way Bagan Seberang.



At Bagan Seberang, it was prawn fritters time at the Kuala Kurau famous cucur udang stall. Business has grown leaps and bounds for this stall, and a long queue had formed at the stall. Tip: it is better to queue at the stall and self-deliver to the nearby Seng Lee Coffee Shop to eat, there are no tables at the stall.
Chris and me had to wait half-an-hour for our order of thirty pieces. I had tried to "bribed" the lady operators by stating that I had blogged on their stall much early on, and had also brought the 8TV production crew to make a documentary on their stall the year before when we rode here during the "Let's Cycle" filming. But my sweet pleadings fell on deaf ears, just take your queue the lady said, no jumping. Hah!



Cucur Udang in a take-away box.
Part of the reason why there is a long wait is that many had orders (up to fifty pieces) and they form part of the same queue. Here's a tip from them, call up to order first.
There contact numbers are: +6012-5835139 and +605-7278171.


After thirty minutes, a long awaited delivery - a trayful of the cucur udang completed with some boiled yellow noodles. Unfortunately, some friends could not wait and had ordered cucur udang from a stall operating at an adjacent food stall.



But I must say, the original is still much, much better. It was worthwhile the wait. See, how fresh the vegetables are even when fried. The prawns are small ones that are fried together with their soft shell. which were easy to chew on and also added more flavour to the fritters.



As for the yellow noodles, here's a tip from the vendor. Eat a quarter piece of the fritter without the noodles; and then eat another piece with the noodles and then see the difference.
(... read more of Kuala Kurau Cucur Udang)



We continued our ride by cycling across the pedestrian bridge over the Sungai Kurau. With it's gentle slope it was easy to cycle up and down. Note, this bridge does not appear on Google Maps yet; so if you look at our route map above, don't be shocked if we seem to fly over the river.



On the other side we were in the town itself already and with a couple of turns was our next destination - the Joo Hong Chan Salted Duck Egg Factory.



Salted duck eggs production here is semi-mechanized. Filtered local clay is mixed with salt water in this electric giant stirrer. The clay is then mixed with some black wood ash and sent to the following equipment.



... a long tilted tube about 600mm across and thirty feet long. The salted black clay-ash mix is fed into this tube at a top end and fresh duck eggs are manually inserted there. As the ash and eggs roll down, the tube spins and coat the eggs with the ash. Any excess ash falls out of the tube through those holes onto a collection tray below for re-use.
The eggs are then packed and sent to wholesalers, by the time they are put out for sale at markets (about two weeks later) the eggs are adequately cured.
(... read more of Kuala Kurau Salted Duck Eggs)



We cycled out from down onto a coastal hugging road. Here the neighbourhood was more rural and tied in with the fishing industries. Salted fish and shrimps could be seen being left out on large wooden trays for drying in the sun.



Our next destination, a place with an odd name - Mee Udang Parit 30, (i.e. in English - Prawn Mee Canal #30); which is not so odd if one consider that it is located next to the irrigation canal #30.



The crab noodle came with a whole flower crab, looking like a fierce looking alien sitting atop the noodles. This came with a poached egg, deep fried shallots, green garnishing and a cut of calamansi. The gravy was well flavour, sweet but could be improved on.



This is their Prawn Noodles Special which came with more prawns (six). The mee is rebus style (boiled) and came with a generous amount of gravy topped with a poached egg, deep-fried shallots and green garnishing. A small, cut limau kasturi (Calamansi lime) is also provided, squeeze the juice in for that extra sour oomph.
The fairly large sized prawns are of the white-shell variety, with soft, easy to peel shell and tender, sweet meat AND these were definitely very fresh as it is obtained daily from the nearby fishing jetty.


Dining here was fun, there was that rustic atmosphere with friendly locals. And there were bonus views too, like this seaward view of fishing boats on the canal. At the far end was the sea with its coastal edges lined with mangrove swamps. On the landward side, a view of calm coconut trees with their fronds billowing in the light breeze. All these just make our eating there more wholesome.



If our eating experience was wholesome, ahead was another memorable location - the bund of Tanjung Piandang! This bund almost six kilometre long was put in on the coast to prevent erosion by the sea. It was constructed of L-shaped concrete sections that fit into each other like a jigsaw puzzle. With the ends sticking out, they make quite a unique scenery!



The bund hugs the coastline which bends like a large bay towards the far end. There is a local tale behind this bund called the story of the Broken Bung (Ban Pecah in Malay). It seems that an uncle had betrayed two young orphans of a land heritage that was endowed to them by their parent. He took the land and drove the children out. Before leaving the children prayed to God for justice. The waves came washed away the bund (it was made of earth then) and flooded the surrounding houses and padi fields. Such is the vengeance of God.
Today, these concrete structures prevent the sea from coming in; let's pray that it remains that way and that God's vengeance has been placated.



At some stretches, it was almost perfect: with green padi fields on one side and fishing boats floating in the calm sea on the other side and all below a bright blue sky.



Although it was not a very long stretch, riding there was not easy. On the one hand, the road is sandy made it difficult to cycle on, and we had to avoid deeper sandy stretches as much as possible. On the other hand Mr. Sun was at his strongest, happily shining down on us, zapping us with his heat. But we did not complain, just love the place too much irrespective.
At the far end, just after the bund - a reprieve of some shady trees where we stopped for a short rest.



Further ahead at the Tanjung Piandang Tua Pek Kong Temple at an adjacent, connecting coffee-shop, we stopped to regroup and had a longer break before taking on the 13 kilometre stretch to our final destination, the Parit Buntar railway station.
There is a mural at the temple wall that shows the bund.


Riding around Parit Buntar, at the town's famous clock tower.
At Parit Buntar we split into two groups. A larger group boarded the next KTM Northern Commuter Train for Taiping, and our smaller group who would be taking a later ETS train to Kuala Lumpur. With time to spare, Kimmie who originated from here, took us on a ride to show us around here home-town. We also went looking for the local favourite, Heong Peng biscuits; unfortunately it was a Sunday and all the biscuit shops were closed.



Parit Buntar is an unique town, it straddles three states. Here we were at the Kerian riverside park, on the Perak side. On the other side of the river is Kedah and just slightly further down stream is Penang.



We still had time to spare, so might as well had dinner at a nearby food court. Siew Yung had managed to buy some durians eventhough these were off-season and soon my lucky friends were wolfing them down. 


I don't eat durians as I cannot stand their odor and musky taste. Luckily for me, here they had my favourite food - Penang Char KoayTeow and soon I was wolfing down too.

And here comes our train!
Goodbye TaipingKuala SepetangKuala Kurau and Parit Buntar; we hope to be back soon!


This is page 3 of a 3-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
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Related Blogs:


Salted Duck Egg Factory @ Kuala Kurau, Perak : September 2014
A look at how the humble salted duck egg is made at a cottage industry.







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