The Malaysian government recently announced that interstate travel is allowed again. After months of isolation, many of us are understandably excited to finally be able to be out and about for leisure. Even so, we should still be vigilant – so here are seven off-the-beaten path experiences you can get in Selangor that are away from the crowds.
LEMON MYRTLE TEA PLANTATION, SEKINCHAN
Lemon myrtle is a flowering plant endemic to Australia, where it is grown in abundance and used to make essential oils and tea. What you probably didn’t know, however, is that Malaysia has its own lemon myrtle plantation. Organic Lemon Myrtle Plantations has been around since 2010, and is touted as the first of its kind outside Australia. It has several nurseries, including one in Sekinchan.
The farm is usually open to the public, but is now indefinitely closed to visitors pending further updates from local tourism bodies and the government. That doesn’t mean you can’t make plans in advance, though: and visitors can expect experiences such a relaxing nap in hammocks, shopping for products made from myrtle tea at their on-site stall, and more, when the plantation reopens to the public.
PS: Prior to closure, the entrance fee was RM3 for adults and RM1 for children below 7 years of age. The plantation is usually open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 9am to 5pm. Stay tuned to their social media for more updates.
Address: Lot 16281, Jalan Tali Air 6 Sekinchan,Selangor Darul Ehsan
Paddy fields are not something city folk get to see very often, which is what makes a visit to Sekinchan a must for day trippers from Kuala Lumpur. Come during the September to November months to admire vast blankets of green as far as the eye can see, or in December for a sea of rippling gold. Learn more about how paddy is planted, harvested and processed at the Paddy Gallery, where you can also buy sacks of rice (pearl, basmathi, brown, you name it, they got it!)
Aside from paddy fields, the enterprising folk of this small agricultural and fishing town have also turned their traditional livelihoods into tourist draws. Stop by Ah Ma House, a quaint wooden shop at the edge of the fields which sells traditional Chinese snacks like biscuits, crackers, snacks and baked goodies the likes of pineapple tarts, kuih kapit and kuih bangkit.
For a detailed guide, check out my blog post on 7 things to do in Sekinchan.
Address: Sekinchan Paddy Fields, Sekinchan, Sabak Bernam, Selangor
THE NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDENS, SHAH ALAM
You don’t have to travel far for a quick, green respite: just head to Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam (The National Botanic Gardens), a green lung located in the middle of Selangor’s bustling capital. The agro tourism park covers an area of over 817 hectares, part of it designated for leisure, the rest for research.
Go for a spot of forest bathing underneath the Seraya and Meranti trees which are found in abundance within the reserve, or go hiking along the paved trail to reach Bukit Sapu Tangan(200 metres above sea level), which offers panoramic views of Shah Alam. There are also cactus, orchid and spice gardens to explore, as well as an animal park and fruit gardens. The park’s famous attraction, the four season house, where visitors can experience spring, summer, autumn and winter,is currently closed and will reopen in early 2021.
The entrance fee is RM3 for adults,and RM1 for children (6 to 11 years old) and seniors above 55. Disabled visitors enter for free. Opening hours are from 7.30AM – 4.30PM, Tuesdays to Sundays.
Address: Taman Botani Negara, Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor
SELANGOR RIVER DAM, HULU SELANGOR
A dam might seem like an unlikely place to visit, but the Sungai Selangor Dam makes for an interesting destination, especially for nature lovers and photographers. The crystal-clear man-made lake is surrounded by picturesque hills, and visitors can also take part in fishing and cycling activities along the way. Night time sees a sky filled with stars, as the area is far from city lights and pollution.
Address: Lookout Point Sungai Selangor Dam, 55, 44000 Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor
PAYA INDAH DISCOVERY WETLANDS, KUALA LANGAT
For those who like peace and quiet, Paya Indah Discovery Wetlands in Kuala Langat makes for the perfect retreat. Filled with trees, large fields and natural plants such as waterlilies, the wetlands are home to over 300 species of animals, and is also a great spot for bird watching.
Family-friendly fun awaits, with various activities such as feeding rhinos, crocodiles and fish in their enclosures, as well as fishing, kayaking, jungle trekking and more. There’s also a Safari Insta Tour: a 45-minute ride on a truck to three scenic locations within the Wetlands, namely the Bamboo Trail, Lake Sendayan and Rumah Melayu, a traditional kampung(village) house on stilts.
Entrance fee is RM35 on weekdays and RM45 on weekends. MyKad holders enjoy a 20% discount. The Paya Indah Discovery Wetlands is open daily from 8.30am – 4.30pm.
Address: KM 4, Jalan Dengkil, Banting, 43800 Dengkil, Selangor
SELANGOR FRUIT VALLEY, KUALA SELANGOR
If you like local fruits, then a trip to Selangor Fruit Valley should be on your list. The agricultural attraction offers many types of local fruits such as rambutan, papaya, starfruit and guava, which you can enjoy for free (it’s included in your entrance fee!). Aside from the fruit orchards, there are also other attractions such as a mini petting zoo, agricultural centre, traditional houses, and deer and kelulut honey farms.
Don’t feel like walking? Hop on a tram service which takes you around the park, no hassle. When you’re thirsty, drop by the coconut stall to quench your thirst with fresh coconut water. Entrance is RM15 for adults and RM10 for seniors (above 60), children (4 – 12 years old) and the disabled.
Address: Selangor Fruits Valley SFV, Rawang, Berjuntai Bestari, Selangor, Malaysia
PULAU KETAM, KLANG
Although the name means ‘crab island’, Pulau Ketam is not an actual island; more an amalgamation of homes and buildings built over water. Located off the coast of Port Klang, the place was originally founded by Chinese fishermen in the 1880s and has since become a thriving community. To reach Pulau Ketam, visitors take a ferry (RM14, two-way) or speed boat (RM20 two-way).
While the ‘island’ itself is not very big, there are plenty of things to do. Being a fishing village, there are many seafood restaurant where you can take your pick of freshly caught seafood prepared in a variety of ways (salted egg, chilli, kam heong, etc.). Another popular activity is to rent a bike and cycle around the village, which has roads just wide enough for bikes and scooters (there are no cars in the settlement). Aside from colourful murals (a rather recent addition to attract tourists), visitors will also find small but beautiful old Chinese temples and quaint self-built homes made from wood and concrete.
For a more detailed guide, check out my blog post about Things To Do in Pulau Ketam.
Address: Jalan Foreshore, Kawasan 20, 42000 Pelabuhan Klang, Selangor
So there you have it! Which place in Selangor are you looking to travel to next? Remember to always maintain social distancing and adhere to standard operating procedures during your visit.
More information at selangor.travel.
**Photos courtesy of Tourism Selangor.
If you enjoyed reading this, please consider supporting my website. Contrary to popular belief, I do not make big moolah from writing – and this will go towards hosting fees and ensuring that I can continue to deliver authentic content for your reading pleasure. Thanks for stopping by!
Just off the coast of Port Klang in Selangor lies a fishing village called Pulau Ketam, or Crab Island. It was founded by Chinese fishermen of the Teochew and Hokkien clans, who settled in the area as far back as the 1880s. Today,visitors to Pulau Ketam will find a thriving community of floating villages, with well-paved roads and houses on stilts, community centers, hotels, restaurants and more.
Fishing was, and still is, a major source of income for the fishermen of Pulau Ketam – but they also supplement it with tourist dollars. Locals flock to the place for day tours and to tuck into fresh seafood.
Visitors depart from the Port Klang jetty via ferry, which costs RM7 per pax. The ferries are small and air-conditioned, though it can get stuffy in there after some time. The ride takes less than an hour.
Things To Do
1 ) Crab spotting
Once on the island, visitors are greeted by….you guessed it – tiny crabs! They crawl by the hundreds across the muddy ground, which is exposed during low tide. Houses and walkways are built on stilts so that water does not reach them in high tide.
A good spot to watch these little critters scurry about is from the pier. Sometimes the local dogs will climb down into the mud, frolicking about in packs as they hunt for crabs. The crabs are non-edible for humans though.
2) Tuck into scrumptious seafood
One does not simply come to Pulau Ketam and miss out on a seafood lunch! Upon exiting from the pier, visitors tend to flock to the main restaurant facing the waterfront. When you’re disembarking with dozens of other hungry passengers, this can turn into a battle to get your orders in first; so we decided to walk a bit further in to a less crowded place called Restoran Po Seng.
Here, the friendly lady boss introduced some of their signature dishes, which included fried squid with and flower crabs. The squid did not disappoint – crunchy and well-seasoned, fresh and great with the chilli dip.
Being used to eating mud crabs, we were initially skeptical about ordering flower crabs, because they have less ‘meat’ (flower crabs die once they leave the water, unlike mud crabs) – but the lady boss said these were special ones reared in tanks. So we got a plate: 1kg yields about 3-4 medium sized crabs – and were pleasantly surprised at how meaty they were.
Steamed with ginger and red chillies, the clear broth was packed with the flavour of crab, albeit a little spicy. Crab itself was fresh, and because they were small, the shell was easier to crack open for easy eating.
My favourite part of the crab is the head. The creamy roe is heavenly. brainnns.
There was a tiny mistake with my order of bamboo clams. Wanted them curried but they came in a Kam Heong style. The resto changed it for me, but it was obvious they re-used the kam heong instead of recooking it – so the result was a kamheong with curry flavour lol. Taste was decent, and the clams were humongous.
Meals can be pricey since it is a tourist place after all, but the lunch was below RM100 which was reasonable for us.
3) Rent a bike
Now that we’re all fed and watered, time to go explore! Visitors can rent a bike, which is the main mode of transport around the village – either electric or the regular pedal-types. Roads are narrow so be careful not to bump into anyone or fall off the walkway!
4) Visit landmarks
The island is made up of some 1,000 houses with 6,000 villagers, and features a few landmarks. For Pokemon Go hunters, most of these spots are Pokestops and gyms, so you can kill two birds with one stone – sightsee and catch Pokemons at the same time.
Yes, I am part of the zombie-clan currently playing Pokemon.
An archway, commemorating the birthday of the Selangor Sultan.
Pulau Ketam has its own small but quaint looking police station.
The main area houses a Taoist temple with a grand-looking archway topped with lotus flowers.
5) Snack and souvenir hunt
As you explore the ‘commercial’ area, you’ll be beset by shops selling snacks and souvenirs on both sides. The smell of seafood-related snacks (oyster pancakes, fried prawn crullers, etc) wafted to our nostrils, stirring our appetites (nevermind that we just had lunch!). One can also find loads of snacks and souvenirs to take home.
Dried fish, crunchy snacks, pickled items, etc.
6) Explore the streets
It is refreshing to see the laid-back pace of life and neighbourly spirit in small communities.Unlike in cities where we’d never imagine not locking our apartments, almost every house here had their doors wide open. And while some homes had small compounds, none had the tall steel gates characteristic of city terrace homes.
Most homes are made from wood, or a combination of concrete and wood.
One thing to note though – Pulau Ketam has no plumbing system, so waste goes straight into the water. While the roads are clean and well-paved, the same can’t be said of the area underneath, which is often clogged with garbage and waste. If you’re easily grossed out, don’t look down.
From the Port Klang Southport jetty, take a ferry which departs roughly every 30 minutes. Last ferry is at 5.30pm on weekdays and 6pm on weekends.
**Bring some sunscreen + a hat because it gets crazy hot.