Road Trip: The Crab Island Adventure
Driving to Port Klang in search of a jetty.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never been to the popular Pulau Ketam until today. To say that it’s located far, far away from where I live is an understatement as there are highways that is able to take me to the bustling Klang town in just an hour. Yes, that’s how far it is from Kuala Lumpur, yet it still fell off my places-to-go radar. And so one fine weekend, we drove to Klang, following the road signs which led us to Pulau Ketams’ designated jetty near Port Klang. It wasn’t hard to follow the signs but we also had to watch out for split fork roads and turnings after roundabouts as it can make one confused. Also, there’s always Waze or Google map that can direct you there as well if you’re not keen on getting lost in this town with its one way streets.
Getting on the boat to the island.
We found the jetty and the designated parking spot inside the compound area but because it was full, we decided to park outside near the road where everyone parked. No doubt there is a ‘No Parking & Clamping Zone’ signage but since it was the weekend and normally there’s less risk . Don’t take my full word for it though *wink*. If you’re not sure where the jetty is, just look out for the huge sign that says ‘JETI PENUMPANG PULAU KETAM’ and head in. On the right side are boatmen with tickets to the island. We got our tickets at RM 7 each and decided to buy the tickets to and fro. You could also just get a one way ticket there and after touring the island, get another ticket back from there if you’re not sure how long you’ll be spending there. We took the covered up long ferry which was going at a slow pace, and arrived there 45 minutes later. Apparently there’s another type of boat that can take you there in 30 minutes and it’s an opened boat (which I would have preferred) that allows you to feel the breezy wind as you travel to the island.
Experiencing the island like a local.
Pulau Ketam, literally translated, means “Crab Island” was founded circa 1880. Currently the island consists of Chinese families (majority) who have been there for generations. However I did spot a Malay teacher cycling as a local waved and said hello to him, “Cikgu apa khabar?” (How are you Teacher?). There are bicycle for rents available throughout the island with the new bikes going for RM 8 per day while the older bikes go for RM 5 per day. Even with the new bicycle and the seat lowered to the max, I felt it was still high as my feet barely touched the ground. It was shaky but I managed to cycled a distance before the minor accident happened (story below). After that we returned the bicycled and walked instead, touring around the school, bank, fire station, police station and temple, enjoying the scenery of the self sustaining island. From what I understand, Pulau Ketam used to be a smuggling centre but is now a happy island producing small food items such as dried squid or fish paste. The seafood restaurants here are also popular as seafood are caught fresh from the ocean with most locals working as fishermen. As we continued walking, we saw the locals painting their homes in time for the Chinese New Year celebrations. It was nice to see the charming island turn colourful shades of pink, purple and green while we were there.
Meet friendly locals.
Everywhere you go on the island, you’ll be greeted with warm smiles, hellos’ and a raise of hands from the locals. The hospitality there towards visitors are very warming and it made me smile to people everywhere we went. I experienced this personally when I had a minor accident on the island. It happened when two girls were cycling towards me, one was chatting on her phone and moved closer to the girl next to her, who in turn inched closer to me. I had sensed that we were about to collide so I avoided her and swerved to the left, falling and scraping my arm on the flower pots. My partner who was cycling ahead, stopped when he heard my screams (it was embarrassing really). While he was looking at my wound, an elderly man cycled to us and stopped to ask if I was okay.
He insisted to bring us to the Clinic and we followed only to find out that it was closed that day. He apologized and offered to buy medicine from the local medicine shop but we didn’t want to trouble him. We thanked him for his kindness and searched for the shop on our own; it was easy to find it too. As it turns out, the man was from Kuala Lumpur and was staying at his friends’ house on the island! Kindness does rub off on people here and we were grateful to be able to personally experience it. If you happen to be lost, you could ask any of the locals and they would gladly point you the way, treating you as if you’re part of the family (on the island). I do feel though that it could do with a major clean up to keep up with the charm of the place and attract more tourists. Otherwise it is still an interesting place to go to if you want to experience the simple life of the locals.
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.