Friday, September 19, 2014

Perak : Parit Buntar Fishing Villages Day 2 Pt.3

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Perak : Parit Buntar Fishing Villages Day 2 Pt.3
Parit Buntar, Perak : 6th September 2014
Distance: 90.44 km. (Cycling distance= 59.64 km. & Boat Ride distance=30.84 km.)
Time : 5:45 am - 5:25 pm
Time Taken : 11 hrs. 40 mins. (including boat rides, stops for breakfast, 2 lunches, visits to cottage industries, rest, regrouping and photo opps.)

This is page 4 of a 6-page blog, on our journey from Kuala Sangga to Kuala Sepetang. Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to 2-2 Kuala Sangga      |      Go to Other Days         |          Go to 3-1 Taiping >

Route Recommendations :
1. Not much cycling for this part of our journey, we took the boats from Kuala Gula to Kuala Sangga and then onwards to Kuala Sepetang where we did a bit of cycling around the village.
2. Kuala Sangga, a small fishing village can only be accessed by the sea and is rumoured to be a former pirate's haunt.
3. The river mouth at Kuala Sepetang is good for photos of colourful fishing boats. A good place to take photos is a the mid-span of the new bridge over the Sungai Reba river.
4. Kuala Sepetang offers good tours to see nesting eagles, wading cranes and night time fire-flies.
5. Though there are several reasonably priced home-stays at Kuala Sepetang; we stayed at the Happy 8 Retreat. It's a quiet hotel, cosily done up and is suitable for taking a good rest from the rat race.
6. At Kuala Sepetang, do try out the curry mee noodles & the seafood at Makan Laut Kang Kao is pretty good.
7. Taking up our bicycles onto boats speeding across the open sea is an experience not to be missed.

Having had a good time & good food at Kuala Kurau, we rode to Kuala Gula and hopped onto four boats to head to our next destination - Kuala Sangga.
As we approached, Kuala Sangga, a thought passed through my mind - this place is reputed as a former pirates' haunt, are they still there, will it be safe? Oops, that's three thoughts... but you get what I feel.
From the map below, it is easy to see how this place was suitable for those "Yo..Ho..Ho" fellas. It's situated at the mouth of the river, in a cove so that it's sheltered from the storms but still has easy access to the open seas. Today as in the past, Kuala Sangga has no roads leading to it - it can only be reached by boats.
Okay.... enough mumblings... let's get on with our story.


View Perak Parit Buntar Fishing Villages Ride (90.44 km) in a larger map 
Ride Route : Parit Buntar>Bagan Tiang>Tanjung Piandang>Kuala Kurau>Kuala Gula>Kuala Sangga>Kuala Sepetang
This REALLY is a multi-mode expedition. From Kuala Lumpur we took a night train up to Parit Buntar to start cycling. From Kuala Gula to Kuala Sangga and then onwards to Kuala Sepetang we were in boats. The following day, after cycling from Kuala Sepetang to Taiping we took a bus over to Ipoh for some riding there too. We then took the ETS train back to Tanjung Malim and then a taxi back to Kuala Lumpur.
Why not take the ETS all the way to Kuala Lumpur? Well, that's part of the story which you will find out about later.

4:15 pm - These days, the Straits of Malacca is very safe, it is one of the busiest sea channels in the world.... so now worries about pirates on this island. I scrub them from my thoughts and prepared to get down.
Kim was even more eager, jumping out from the boat, she helped pull the boat in and secure it to the moors.

Present days Kuala Sangga is a serene and quiet place, there are no taverns for a bottle of rum, but there are some stalls selling drinks and food. It's a settlement of a couple of rows or so of timber houses at the seaside with a small hill behind it. There are no pirates here these day, but perhaps there could be pirate's treasures buried in the hills, who know?

Prawns left out to be sun-dried to make salted dried prawns.
Industry on the island is fishing, catering to the occasional tourists (like us) and some swallow bird nest culture & harvesting.
The fishermen's catch are sent to the mainland with some balance (of poorer catch) retained to make salted fish & prawns.

On a wall of one of the coffee-shops here hags a sketch by a Taiwanese tourist, it show how small a community this village is.

As the geography of this locality is mainly mangrove swarms, the whole village sits on stilts. A central concrete walkway spans the length of the village with timber houses lining both sides.

Some of the houses seems to have been abandoned; I do hope that this is will not be a continuing trend, it will be a pity to see this village disappear.

There are a couple of small Chinese temples, a small school and I was surprised to find a small catholic church here to. It's the St. Anne's Church, a single storey one that can seat about fifty, and is one of the few concrete buildings on these island. Curiously, there are now no Catholics on the island and yet the residents maintain the church, light candles and make offerings. They believe that St. Anne protects them and this most evident during Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. The approaching tsunami waves suddenly diverted away from the village and it was saved.

We met this man walking around barefooted, delivering mail to the residents while on one hand he was holding on to a couple of crabs. Huh? He deliver crabs too?

This cute little girl was playing Peek-a-Boo with us. With few children her age her, she was probably feeling bored. Happy to see new faces but at the same time shy; she lingered around us, covered her face, gave us smiles and then covered her face again.

4:50 pm - Leaving Kuala Sangga we sailed onwards, away from the open sea and into the Sungai Sangga Besar river to head to Kuala Sepetang. We are into the mangrove swamps area. Most of the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia is covered by mangrove swamps. This was a good thing as these swamps slowed down the approaching waves during the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 and buffered the inland from it's devastating effect.

The Larut Matang District here is one of the most well known area for mangroves; perhaps the large deltas with its islands is a boon for the mangroves to grow. Much of the mangroves are harvested for the manufacturing of charcoal at the many charcoal factories. These factories still use centuries-old methods.
With the constant harvesting of the trees for charcoal, new mangroves have to be replanted and it takes thirty years for the trees to mature. As we sailed inland we passed by several replanted areas, virgin mangrove forests with younger trees growing sparsely. As the trees mature it will have many branches spreading out and also many roots digging into the swamp, the it will look dense.

5:25 pm - After half an hour of sailing in the river, we approached Kuala Sepetang. The place don't seem to have changed much except for this ebony black building next to the jetty.
When my buddy Tailim (of the hApPy HaPpY blogs) & me did a cycle strolling here a year back, two more floors were being added to this building. Now it is completed with the new floors housing the Happy 8 Retreat, the place that some of us will be staying for the night.

Getting down at the jetty, I was most glad to see Khee & Nellie. Locals to the area, they had been waiting to greet us when we arrived.
We had got to know each other through my blogs and have first met up during the Taiping Heritage Fun Ride about six months ago. We have been friends since then.

While Khee & Nellie patiently waited; we went to check into the hotel.
Happy 8 Retreat Hotel is an odd place, the entrance at the ground floor is through a fishing cold room warehouse; a place slightly wet and with the smell of the sea. It's not an easy place to find as at the ground floor there are no signages, in fact Khee had some difficulty finding it.
I guess that's part of it's concept as a retreat to ensure the privacy of it's patrons.

The industrial look entrance camouflage and belie a classy and cosy interior.
At the waiting lobby, large armchairs carved from timber trunks sit on timber strip flooring.
All around the hotel are painted murals in blue theme, a colour that add to the soothing and calming setting of this retreat hotel.

The bedrooms are on the 2nd & 3rd floors with corridors leading to them painted with wild life.

The bedrooms with comfortable beds have a similar calming theme. The entrance door for each room has a painted icon of marine-life or bird-life to identify them. Mine had a cute yellow puffer fish (... more of Happy 8 Retreat here).
Okay, enough admiring of the hotel; better get back to my waiting friends.

Cyclists friends at the mid-span of the bridge over Sungai Reba.
Another friend, Winson had also arrived at Kuala Sepetang earlier today. Together with his wife and son, they have drove down to join our group for the ride to Taiping the following day.
Khee was eager to show us the new bridge over the nearby Sungai Reba, and led the six of us on a ride over there.

From the mid-span of the bridge, the view of colourful trawler boats lining both sides of the river is very scenic; one of post-card quality. Now, I can understand why Khee was eager to bring us here.

Khee also took us over to the renown Kuala Sepetang Curry Noodles stall, the one opposite the famous "Port Weld" sign.
Although I would be having dinner again soon, I could not help trying it out. It's similar to the Penang style - one with thin coconut milk AND cubes of coagulated pig's blood.
Back at the hotel, Khee and his missus left us to have time with our other friends. Many thanks Khee, we will see you tomorrow.

After a badly needed bath, I joined my friends for dinner at the Kang Kao Seafood Restaurant. It's conveniently located at the first floor of our hotel building and shares the same ground floor entrance.

We are at a fishing village, so naturally at this restaurant we ordered seafood to take advantage of the pricing and freshness.

Among the dishes we had was this interesting prawn curry served in a large bun which is shaped as a large gourd. The large prawns in the excellent curry made a few of us go for second round of rice.
Oh... by the way, the bread-shaped gourd can be eaten, tear pieces from it a dip it into the curry.

This ferocious looking grouper made was steamed with a oil-soy sauce poured over. The fish was fresh and the simply sauce just enhance it without overpowering it's good taste (... read more at Makanan Laut Kang Kao here).

The fire-ly watching tour boat is as colourful and bright as the fireflies.
After dinner we went for a walk hoping to do some shopping at the local night market. Unfortunately past 9:00 pm the traders had already packed up and the market was already closed.
Some of us were tempted to go for the firefly watching boat tour; but then we had had a tiring day and tomorrow we will be riding again. So let's call it a night.

From my bedroom balcony I looked at the river, took in its serene calmness before popping into bed.

This is page 4 of a 6-page blog, on our journey from Kuala Sangga to Kuala Sepetang. Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to 2-2 Kuala Sangga      |      Go to Other Days         |          Go to 3-1 Taiping >

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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Malaysia - Street Art of Gopeng, Perak : July 2014 
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Gaharu Tea Valley, Gopeng, Perak : July 2014
A 22-year old plantation of the precious agarwood, now only becoming renown through eco-tourism.

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Perak / Parit Buntar 2014 / Day 2 Pt.3    | Go to Day 1 / Day 2 Pt.1 / Day 2 Pt.2 / Day 3 Pt.1 / Day 3 Pt.2
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