The ferry from Port Klang to Pulau Ketam
Last week the Girlfriend of Chindi and the girls from the Kuantan Rescue Rangers and I decided to head to the tiny mangrove island of Pulau Ketam just off Port Klang.
Pulau Ketam is infamous for being a dirty shithole as garbage disposal on the island reflects many of the forgotten pockets of Malaysian communities forgotten by politicians simply because they probably didnt make up a large voting block to make a difference.
Here, a very rare sight to many susburban KL-ites is seeing Chinese fishermen toiling a hard day at sea. We head here only with the thought of getting fresh sea food and with no other expectations besides a 30 minute ferry ride from Port Klang to the island.
The interior of the ferry
One of the 'fancier' buildings on the island
The GFofC attempting to surf up a slope... (notice the Fire Department building is sponsored by Carlsberg)
The main market and restaurant street
Pulau Ketam is made up of two main villages - Kampung Sungei Lima and Kampung Pulau Ketam itself. The moment you get off the ferry you're transported by to the past of Malaysia. When many Chinese lived in new villages in wooden little homes and very very narrow roads.
A part of the charm and yes even the rubbish strewn waist high in some places is the rustic 'realness' of the place. Its a place where the work is hard the life is simple. Its about a community seperated from the rest of the state which has kept the face of it's past by virtue of its isolation.
The basic facts oft repeated in the yearly newspaper articles about the quaint island:
1. Because of the mangrove and soft soil on the island there are no road. All the homes are built on stilts and elevated above the sea.
2. The ONLY mode of transportation on the island are bicycles.
3. The fire department is made up of volunteers.
4. The island is home to mainly Chinese fishermen while a tiny group of mainly Malays work at the goverment facilities - the police station and clinic.
5. And yes, the sea food is great!
6. And cheap!
Across this little canal was where some of the 'boat workshops' were based
The largest of the few temples on the island.
One of the cleaner parts of the village - trust me its worse in many parts.
Surprisingly though many of the houses are very very quaint with many renovations done in the interior. The colors are bright and chirpy and many of the owners have put their traditional touches onto their homes.
Recycling your kids toys
Foosball thats seen better days
Crab with salted egg yoke, steamed crab, butter prawns and cockels
in Chinese wine.
Kim Hoe restaurant - the only restaurant that was packed to the brim. They have a halal branch just opposite. The food here is recommended
1. Steamed Crab
2. Slated egg yoke crab
3. Kailan vegetables for 5
4. Meehoon for 5
5. Butter prawns
6. Mantis prawns
7. About 8 canned drinks
Total Bill RM225.50 (USD80 bucks plus)
Life here is a different world away from what we wake up to every day. The sea is their livelihood but the young of Kampung Ketam are leaving for jobs on the mainland. Will this little remainder of our past remain forever? Of course not. Even with the few weekend tourists who make their way here to sample to great food and cam whore in the old world charm of the village, its not enough to keep the young blood interested in a hard life in fishing for a living.
But in the meantime, if you have half a weekend to yourself why not take that ferry over to the island of the crabs. The food is good and that cold beer in the Chinese coffee shop will taste that much better as the sea wind flows along the village in the heat of the afternoon sun.
For more information on Pulau Ketam including it's history, profile, ferry schedules and even some places to stay go to www.pulauketam.com .
Train : Its kinda fun to take KTM commuter from KL Sentral to PELABUHAN KELANG (DONT get off at Klang town like some grumpy fucker I know - Thanks for the reminder Josie)- the journey will take about 60 -65 minutes. And the ferry terminal is just across from the train station.
Driving there depends a little on the traffic in Klang town and/or if you know your way around - 45 minutes.
Port Klang to Pulau Ketam Ferry:
RM7 bucks one way and RM14 for Return. (jouney takes about 30 minutes but 45 minutes if the ferry makes a stop at Kampung Sungei Lima.