Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Enchanting Kuala Sepetang - 4 June 2012

We went to Matang on our next leg of the journey from Penang to Ipoh. Matang is a swampy coastal land with many fishing villages near the coast. One of the main attractions is the Kuala Sepetang Wetlands (Matang Mangrove Eco-Educational Centre), which is part of the over 40,000-hectare Matang Mangrove Forest.

Kuala Sepetang was previously known as Port Weld, and this was the place of the first railway line in the Peninsular, from here to Taiping. It's dismantled, and it's now a Chinese coffee shop but the shopowner still maintains the railway signboard and the ticketing booth.

Today, the mangrove forest is recognised as the best-managed sustainable mangrove ecosystem in the world. The best part about the place is that you can stroll along the wooden boardwalk to see the inside of the mangrove forest. 

These roots act as natural barrier against tsunamis!

So cool under the shade of trees in the forest....

The young plant actually grows within the seed while still attached to the parent plant! The seedlings will float away and can firmly root themselves in the water within days and grow rapidly.

We were so fascinated by the rich and diverse wildlife in the forest. Low tide is the best time to view the wildlife and migratory birds in the muddy coastal floor of the mangrove forest. If you want to stay longer, there are chalets available for rental in the forest....

Beware of the high tide, we removed our car here just in time before the tide came in...... we have to wash our car as soon as we got to town because of the salinity of the sea water.

The mangrove swamps in Matang produce timber and charcoal. There are a few kilns in the nearby village which still produce charcoal in the traditional way. While we were outside the charcoal factory, we saw 6 Brahminy Kites eagles flying in the sky. So awesome!

Inside a charcoal factory. See the stacks of cut mangrove timber waiting to be fed into the kilns.

A Made-in Malaysia "Darlie-man" as he stepped out of the charcoal factory......

The charcoal is not the usual BBQ charcoal we use at home. It's very expensive, mainly exported to Japan and made into many different kinds of high value medical and skincare products. 

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