Kuala Sepetang

By November 16, 2020 No Comments

Kuala Sepetang

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Also known by english speaking locals as ‘Port Weld’
Kuala Sepetang, Taiping is a century-old fishing harbour with a rich heritage. Over the years, the place has transformed into a flourishing fishing village. Even though it has passed its prime, it is endowed with a unique geographical environment. Not only does it have the largest mangrove ecosystem in West Malaysia, it also abounds in seafood, traditional charcoal kilns which are becoming rare these days, and it is a historical site of the first railway in Malaysia.

Ecotourism in Kuala Sepetang

Kuala Sepetang is best known for its sustainable mangrove forests that help thrive the charcoal industry. Besides that Kuala Sepetang ecotourism is driven by nature-based recreations like eagle and dolphin show, bird watching and fireflies sighting.


Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve

The Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve is the largest mangrove forest reserve in Malaysia. Covering an area of more than 40,000 hectares, Matang Mangrove has been under systematic management since 1904 and is recognized as one of the best managed mangroves in the world. It has maintained a balanced ecosystem and continues to serve multiple ecological functions.

Mangrove forests are one of Earth’s most rapidly disappearing ecosystems. These coastal forests, with trees adapted to growing in salty soil and water, protect coastlines from erosion and are a natural barrier to strong coastal storms and tsunamis. The tangled root systems are a nursery for shrimp and many species of fish that go on to live their adult lives in the open ocean, while also acting as a home for many types of birds and often a resting place for migratory flocks.

The establishment of the Matang Mangrove Eco-Educational Centre (MMEC) offers an opportunity to access Matang Mangrove’s unique and rich biodiversity. Due to its unique habitats and ecosystem, and reputation as a sustainable forest management, Matang Mangrove is not only a renowned destination for ecotourism but also a centre for research and education activities.

One of the sustainable byproducts of Matang Mangrove is the charcoal production, holding the yet unchallenged record for almost eight decades being the best charcoal in Asia. The process of producing charcoal has several stages: first, the trees are harvested taking only those which are 30 years old or more where they will be replaced with new young trees.  Then at high tide they are loaded into small boats and shipped to the factory where they are stripped of their bark by hand and carried to the kilns for slow burning.

Port Weld

Port Weld was one of the main harbour ports in Malaya during the mid 1800s. It was bustling with trading activities between Taiping and Pulau Pinang, Ulu Perak, Kinta as well as Teluk Anson (Teluk Intan).

Port Weld is also known for its railway track. Completed in 1885, it has great significance in history because the railway track of 8 1/4 miles connecting Taiping and Port Weld (Kuala Sepetang) was the very first set of tracks built in peninsular Malaysia.

There is a peaceful fishing village known as Kuala Sangga in Port Weld. The village has the largest cockle breeding ground in Malaysia. Besides cockles, the dried prawn processing is also popular and of high quality.

Today the railway tracks have been dismantled, leaving only the sign that has all four languages written on it – Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil.

Mesmerizing Fireflies
In the vicinity of nearby villages by the banks of the Sepetang River, there is a mesmerizing attraction with twinkling fireflies lighting up for an evening of primal seduction. These bio-luminescent beetles perform on increasingly rare berembang trees. The males will synchronize their light flashing in a rhythmic manner until all trees spark brightly like a Christmas tree.
Dolphin Tour

Dolphin tours are popular amongst tourists. The tours help create greater awareness of the need to protect marine life. It presents a valuable opportunity to promote conservation efforts especially in protecting their natural habitats like ensuring the cleanliness of the waters and maintaining healthy ecosystems for the dolphins to survive.


Eagles Sighting & Birds Watching

There are plenty of eagles that are roaming above the mangrove forests of Kuala Sepetang. To entice the eagles to come a little closer, the boatsmen will pour chicken oil into the river as bait . Bird watching is another favourite recreation amongst the tourists. Armed with binoculars, the entire day could pass unnoticed.


Matang Museum

Built in 1855, the house and the fort was once the residence of Ngah Ibrahim, a minister who fought against the British administration. Throughout the years, the Museum underwent many roles such as British Administration Centre, the Malay Teaching College, the Malay School, the Military Base during the occupation period by the Japanese and finally the Matang Museum. The original furnitures are still maintained and exhibited at the Museum.
What To Eat?
Kuala Sepetang is a treasure trove of seafood! From the sumptuous spread that includes the famous Mee Udang Mak Jah (Mak Jah Prawn Mee), the Chinese Seafood Restaurants like Xin Restaurant that serves softly poached cockles, deep-fried mini crabs, the signature curry prawns and teo-chew styled Sea Bass – just to tease some tastebuds, this is certainly not the place for the weight watchers!
Where To Stay?
Since Kuala Sepetang is only about 40km from Taiping, you can either choose to spend the night in Taiping or choose to stay at the Happy 8 Retreat @ Kuala Sepetang or nearby hotels which are central enough for you to move around the fishing village.
How To Get There?
Take a flight to Penang and from there have a scenic drive down to Kuala Sepetang by exiting the North-South Expressway at the Changkat Jering Interchange. Electric Train Service (ETS) is also a popular choice amongst locals and tourists. From the Taiping Station hop on a bus or hire a car.