Pic­ture-per­fect vil­lage

New Straits Times - - Comics -

The fish­er­men’s jetty. The build­ing on the left houses their meeting area.

BA­GAN Sun­gai Sem­bi­lang is a small sparsely pop­u­lated coastal fish­ing vil­lage a kilo­me­tre south of the more pop­u­lar Pan­tai Remis on the west coast of Se­lan­gor, near Kuala Se­lan­gor. It is ac­ces­si­ble via Klang from the south or the Latar high­way from the north, off the coastal Ka­par-Kuala Se­lan­gor trunk road.

I found this up-and-com­ing hol­i­day spot quite by chance while ex­plor­ing the area. The clus­ter of casuarina trees that were planted years ago on this stretch were a sight to be­hold the morn­ing I was there. Their sil­hou­ette cast on the white sandy beach made the scenery pic­ture-per­fect.

Ba­gan (or Kam­pung) Sun­gai Sem­bi­lang got its name from the river that runs through the area, which is also used by fish­er­men to ad­vance in­land by water. Ac­cord­ing to my friend Radzi, the coastal wa­ters used to be teem­ing with the ma­rine cat­fish known in Malay as sem­bi­lang. They are still found here but not as many as in years past.

While paint­ing this scenery, I no­ticed that many of the casuarina trees had been up­rooted. Their trunks had been sawn off and the stumps left to rot. Ac­cord­ing to an army vet­eran (who watched me paint), the water-line was far­ther out at sea.

“There were even more trees those days but over the years, the sea claimed more land,” he ex­plained as he pointed to a line Ba­gan Sun­gai Sem­bi­lang lies south of Pan­tai Remis. Casuarina trees cover the stretch of about 500 me­tres mak­ing it a good pic­nic spot.

of rocks that ran par­al­lel to the beach, 50 me­tres away. “Those are what re­main of a sea wall built many years ago to pre­vent ero­sion and they are now sub­merged in mud. Who knows, one day, the area where we are stand­ing now might be un­der water.”

This stretch of beach is rel­a­tively un­known and is usu­ally de­serted on week­days though there are some makeshift huts built some time ago. Come week­ends or hol­i­days, the shady stretch un­der the casu-

ari­nas will be oc­cu­pied by cars. The beach is rel­a­tively clean, thanks to “No Lit­ter­ing” re­minders nailed onto the trees by the lo­cals, a troop of macaques were at the beach the day I was there. I saw about 10 of them scour­ing the ground for food scraps.

The tide goes far out in the morn­ings, I was told, and the ex­posed mud­flat is of­ten filled with wad­ing birds. The day I was there, a huge flock of painted storks and a cou­ple of Lesser Ad­ju­tants were spot­ted for­ag­ing in the shal­lows, pick­ing at morsels of food stuck be­tween the bar­na­cle-rid­den rocks.

Sev­eral week­enders were also seen look­ing for ger­imis, a small yel­low-brown coloured bi­valve that gave the neigh­bour­ing Pan­tai Remis its name. Oys­ters have also been found here. But if you are not keen on look­ing for your own fresh seafood, you may want to check out the two eat­ing stalls nearby.

There are sev­eral hol­i­day homes here, in­clud­ing a bou­tique re­sort.

A shout’s dis­tance away is the wet mar­ket run by the fish­er­men of Ba­gan Sun­gai Sem­bi­lang. There are two or three fish and veg­etable stalls at this mar­ket, which sits on the banks of the Sun­gai Sem­bi­lang.

If you are look­ing for fresh fish or bi­valves, this is a good place to visit. The prices are not much of a bar­gain if com­pared to else­where along the coast but the fresh­ness of the sea pro­duce is un­doubt­edly very good as tes­ti­fied by the num­ber of cars wait­ing for fish­er­men to land their catch.

The boats moored along both sides of the river­banks also make for good photography, es­pe­cially in the evenings. Just a stone’s throw from the mar­ket is a ma­rine fish­ing pay-pond. If you are itch­ing to wet your lines and want to score some brag­ging rights, you can try your luck here for a fee.

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