A visit to Kuala Gula and the North West Coast of Perak

A visit to Kuala Gula and the North West Coast of Perak

On this trip, we visited Kuala Sepetang, Kuala Gula and Tanjung Piandang on the north west coast of Perak. We had stayed at Kuala Gula on a previous trip and decided to also visit the surrounding towns along the coast this time.

Tanjung Piandang is a small fishing town close to the Perak – Penang border in the north of Malaysia. It is currently the state’s largest ‘Rice Bowl’. Life in the town is quiet with a number of tourists visiting for the scenic spots. One particular spot that we came to visit was Ban Pecah.

Ban Pecah is located in Tanjung Piandang in the Kerian District. Its location is at GPS Coordinates GPS coordinates: N 5o 2’39.77844” E 100o 23’1.82832”

This place has a legend attached to it. As the story goes, in the 1960’s there lived two brothers at a stretch of padi fields at Tanjung Piandang. Between them, they owned two-thirds of the fields here. One day the elder brother was dying and called his sibling to ask him to look after his two sons. He entrusted his younger brother to hold the land until his sons come of age and then to pass the land to them.

The nephews worked hard on the land but were barely given enough to survive. One day they heard from the locals that their uncle had betrayed them and sold the land left to them by their father. When they confronted the uncle, he chased them off the land. Before leaving, the brothers cursed the land, asking God to do to it as he saw fit.

Soon after, the sea next to the padi field turned rough and began to rise. The bund protecting the land was washed away and the sea water flooded the fields. All efforts to repair the bund after that failed and the sea water took over the land. And that is how Ban Pecah got its name. ‘Ban Pecah’ literally means broken bund.

This place is really beautiful and a paradise for anglers. The fishing here is good, and you can see many fishermen with their rods and catches in the mornings and evenings.

Ban Pecah is also popular with visitors coming to watch the sunsets. The view is not blocked by any hills and you can see far out to sea. Unfortunately, there are days where you may not be able to catch the sunset due to weather or thick clouds. If you are into photography, you will love the scenery here.

Moving south, we come to a place called Kuala Gula or ‘Sugar Estuary’ in English. The Kuala Gula Wildlife Conservation Centre (Migratory Birds) was set up in 1980 for the protection and monitoring of the migratory birds coming here. You will definitely see the majestic eagles flying around and sometimes swooping down to catch fish from the river.

Kuala Gula is also a fishing village. There are lots of boats travelling up and down the river on their fishing trips.

We had come here to spend a night at one of the fishing resorts next to the bird sanctuary. The chalets are built with the back part of them over the river. You can sit on the veranda to fish, view the boats passing by or to watch the eagles flying around. If you are lucky, you can see other animals that inhabit the area. On our second visit there, we were visited by a number of river otters. Fortunately, we had some fish that we had caught and fed them to the otters. We were also visited by some monkeys that came to see if they could grab any food wastes lying around the resort. The day was nice and peaceful. But at night, the sand-flies were plentiful, and you need to have lots of insect repellent at hand.

If you venture out at night, there are a few restaurants that serve good food. Seafood here is cheap and delicious. But, if you love coffee, the whole area is a coffee lover’s paradise. One glass each will not be enough. When we ordered our second order of the coffees, the staff were looking at us in a strange way. I guess that if you are used to the coffee there, you may wonder why others think the coffee is extraordinary.

We checked out the next morning and headed to a seaside village at Kuala Kurau. We were very impressed by the friendliness of the people here. We had heard of the famous prawn fritters sold in the village but didn’t know where. The stall owner took the trouble to show us where the place was. It was the back of one of the houses where the owner was preparing and frying the fritters. The stall owner told us we could enjoy the fritters at her stall. So, we ordered our coffee drinks and a few other dishes and enjoyed our meal while gazing at the scenery.

Further south, about 15 Km from Taiping, we visited Kuala Sepetang. Our purpose here was to visit the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve. We found out later that this mangrove forest reserve was also connected to Kuala Gula in the north. It was just opposite the river our chalet was on.

A boardwalk was built to let visitors explore part of the mangrove forest without getting their feet wet and muddy. You can see the types of trees as well as some of the birds and animals that inhabit this forest. The authorities have even built a few chalets along the riverbank. At the time of our visit, none of these chalets were taken up. The boardwalk ended just next to the river where visitors could take a boat tour to watch the eagles feeding as well as to get a better look at the mangrove forest from the river. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the Chinese White Dolphin, or Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin as they are also known as.

This area is famous for the Maggi Ketam or crab cooked in instant noodles. After trying a bowl of this local delicacy, we headed for Kuala Lumpur and home.

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