A day at Pulau Ketam, Klang, Selangor

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Just about 35 minutes on a boat ride (approximately 12 nautical miles) away from the hustle and bustle of busy Port Klang, lies the small fishing hamlet of Pulau Ketam. There are numerous high speed ferries/ speed boat that brings passengers to and from this somewhat quaint and yet charming little fishing village built on stilts over the mudflats… I was on the Eat, Travel, Write excursion with Gaya Travel magazine, Klang City Council and Tourism Selangor and was given this opportunity to visit it…and we took the Alibaba Cruises from Port Klang Jetty to Pulau Ketam.  Yup, 35 minutes to ‘kind of’ time -travel from a modern town to the serene ambiance found in a humble kind of old fashion fisherman’s village.

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The Alibaba Cruises ferry can ferry about 107 passengers in airconditioned seating, and you can either enjoy the view or enjoy the music videos being played… and it also comes with an open-air viewing deck which allows passengers to enjoy sunshine and natural breeze if you are the more adventurous type….

Along the way you will pass by mangrove swamps, boats, kelongs /fish farms, and see lots of Pulau Ketam wooden houses on stilts.

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We arrived at a nice jetty area with wooden fish, squid, prawn cut outs hung and which clunked whenever the wind blew…

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Then what comes to view would be the huge colourful word ‘KETAM’ and behind it, the Sea Lion Hotel. Being just a few steps away from Pulau Ketam’s Main Jetty, it is impossible to miss it, since the Sea Lion Hotel happens to be the biggest hotel there too… with the best choice of sea view rooms.

For your info, the Sea Lion Hotel is actually a simple and small hotel/motel that can accommodates up to 300 people at any one time, it is big but do not expect a 3 star , 4 star or 5 star style accommodations – it is basic but I was surprised to find it comfortable enough… We left our bags at the reception and headed to some sight seeing which was meant to allow visitors like us experience the unique lifestyle of fishermen.

Just so you know, Pulau Ketam means Crab Island. The population consists of mostly Chinese (Teochew, Hokkien and Hainanese) people, but you can also find a few Malays and people of other races around…

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So we went on a short tour and ended up at a small dried shrimp ‘factory’ where we saw and smelled shrimps being dried in the sun and some being hand sorted out for quality and size….

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Our little trip which involved a trek around the fishing village also took us to a processing place where we saw fishing boats returning with their catch of the day, and how they sorted out the sea food and eventually packed it with the ice that was produced in the factory as well to be taken to town as well as other places and other countries…

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We then headed back to the Sea Lion hotel for some sumptuous lunch consisting of Nestum Prawns, Assam Pedas fish, Clams and some mixed seafood/ fishcake dish which was just mouthwatering…

The seafood was just so fresh and the dishes well cooked… However, we did find the prawns or shrimps here a little hard to eat… as the shell was really harder then the normal ones…

Once lunch was over, we headed out on a little boat excursion that brought us through several villages and kelongs/fish farms where we got to see some huge fishes that were bred there…

When we got back, we checked into the Hotel Sea Lion, and was shown to our rooms, which was just heavenly… well, after gallivanting around in the scorching hot day, nothing can be more heavenly then a comfortable bed and nice cool air conditioning right…. It was so heavenly and comfortable and I was kind of knackered that before I know it, I knocked myself out on my bed…

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I woke up just when my room mate came back and immediately followed her out… There’s not much to do other than wander around the wooden buildings of the village, snap pictures at interesting points or pretty wall murals.

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I however got excited finding a lot of interesting finds in the little sundry stores that peppered the village…inclusive little things that reminded me of my childhood memories, like marbles, pick up stick games and snacks from yester years rarely found in the city nowadays.…

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We also took the opportunity to observe locals as they went about their work and walk past a brightly-colored Chinese temple…there is even a Islamic Centre which teach the Islam religion in Chinese to those Chinese people who converted to the Islam religion…

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It was just so blissful watching the sun set at Pulau Ketam as well… Life here at Pulau Ketam is pretty idyllic and you cannot find any cars, motorcycles or so… you can walk to all the places or cycle there and have a good exercise… For the lazy bones, there are electric bicycles you can actually rent that does not cost too much.

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Pulau Ketam is famous for its seafood, particularly crab. So for dinner, we had some crabs which were just so fresh and succulent, cooked the Kam Heong style, Tom Yam soup, sweet and sour Garoupa fish and some lovely tempura squid…

By the time dinner was over, I was all I python mode…too full, and so lazy to move… and I need sleep, so we headed back to the hotel and called it a night….

Next day, we woke up to wind howling outside my window and rain pattering on my glass window..

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We headed for breakfast, which was a simple fare of nasi lemak and packaged bread and tea….. From there, we boarded the boat to head back to life….

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Come to Pulau Ketam and enjoy it for what it is; a sleepy fishing village with somewhat friendly people who work hard for their money. And do not look down on fishermen as some of them are very rich… as you can come across beautiful brick bungalows in between some of the wooden ones, which we are told belong to fishermen….

And if you decide to come to Pulau Ketam be sure to check put the Hotel Sea Lion’s packages which are simply unbelievably affordable…

Packages start from as low as RM50 per person for day trip, which includes return boat transfer, Pulau Ketam traveling information, a little boat ride around the kelong’s/fish farms and 1 set of sea food lunch -which includes crabs, fish, etc…

Even the most expensive package is still affordable at RM115 per person , inclusive of accommodation – 4 people to a room, Pulau Ketam traveling information, a little boat ride around the kelong’s/fish farms and 1 set of sea food lunch -which includes crabs, fish, etc… a seafood steamboat dinner, and simple breakfast which consist of nasi lemak / noodles, cakes, bread, coffee …

I don’t know about you but I believe this is super good value for money, and the food here at Hotel Sea Lion is just delicious…

Rooms here cost just about RM48 – RM98 and they may be basic, but still comfortable, with a good clean bed, air conditioning, hot water shower, and even Astro cable TV…and not to worry, for Muslim visitors, there are halal food around whereas other restaurants around here are all pork-free…

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We got back to the mainland on a high speed speedboat ferry which also took about 40 minutes.. it was slightly more cramped then the Alibaba ferry, but airconditioned. I think the tickets cost about RM7 or 8 one way..

So what are you waiting for, we all need a little change in our life sometimes, so take the chance to get away from the humdrum or hustle and bustle of everyday life, and go for an idyllic and very affordable retreat in a little fishermen’s village at Pulau Ketam, bring the kids and let them learn about how the seafood appeared on our table..

Thank you Gaya Travel magazine, Klang City Council, Tourism Selangor as well as Hotel Sea Lion for the hospitality and opportunity…. although the trip was sponsored, this was all written with my own thoughts….

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