Saturday 4 March 2017

A Day Out At Carey Island

Carey Island has been gazetted for mega development with an estimated cost of RM200billion. If the plans go through it will be transformed into a deep sea port and industrial city in time to come. Before that happens and before Carey Island metamorphoses beyond recognition, I thought I should explore the island a little more by making another trip there. The island may not boast of that many attractions but a day trip like this is always an effective way to kick the doldrums.
To make the journey more worthwhile, I'd planned a simple itinerary which includes a seafood meal at a popular restaurant, a visit to an Orang Asli Cultural and Handcraft Centre, leisure time at the beach and finally shopping for fresh seafood before driving home.
Carey Island or Pulau Carey doesn't feel like an island because it is so close to the mainland. This island which is part of Selangor is located south of Port Klang and is quite near to small township like Telok Panglima Garang, Jenjarom and Banting. Almost half the island is bordered by Langat River while the remaining part is bordered by the Strait of Malacca.
A meal of seafood is deemed quintessential whenever we visit Carey Island.There are two seafood restaurants, one on the LHS and one on the RHS of the bridge that goes into island. The more popular one is Kang Guan Restaurant (LHS) and that was where we first headed upon arrival. 
This restaurant has been in existence for many years and has made a name for itself among the locals living in the Klang Valley. For seafood lovers living around here, Kang Guan is synonymous with Carrie Island so it would not be exaggerating to say visiting Carrie Island is incomplete without dining here. This restaurant serves a variety of seafood and non- seafood dishes cooked in an array of Chinese style but is 'halal' and you do see a number of Muslim patrons here. The seafood is fresh and reasonably priced.
A meal of crabs (there were 3 average sized ones), butter prawns (quite large prawns), vegetables, rice and a pot of Chinese tea for two came to a little over RM100 which is much cheaper than in the city. 
From the restaurant, you can get a good view of the bridge that links the mainland to the island. The bridge is just a short one which can easily be crossed on foot.
Many Malaysians are actually unaware that Carey Island exists as it is not even half as famous as Pulau Langkawi or Pulau Pangkor. Among those who know, few bother to find out how the island got its name. Edward Valentine John Carey, an English man who came to Malaya as a rubber planter in the early 1900s acquired the island to start a rubber plantation and the island was actually named after him. Today Sime Darby owns most of Carey Island and a major part of the land is cultivated with oil palms.
The island is however home to an aboriginal tribe known as Mah Meri. There are 5 Mah Meri villages in Carey Island with an approximate population of 1500.
We drove around to see a few Mah Meri villages.
As seen here the tribal community is now exposed to modern technology. 
Among the few attractions in the island is the Orang Asli Cultural and Handicraft Centre which is specially set up for tourists and visitors to peep into the lifestyle of the tribe. I thought I should visit this place to find out what they have.
Visitors are charged an entrance fee of RM7 and for that they get to see a display of handicrafts made by the villagers. There is a gallery which exhibits more handicraft together with a write-up about the culture and history of the tribe.
The Mah Meri are skilled at wood carving but you will have to be here at the right time to see the artisans at work. This tribe also observes a few festivals which centers around animism but during the time of my visit it was very quiet with hardly anyone around.

Driving along Jalan Pulau Carey which is the main trunk road in the island, (represented by the red line on the map above), you'll end up at the beach. The distance from the bridge (starting point) to the beach is approximately 10 km. Just like most beaches on the west coast of Malaysia, the beach in Carey Island is far from a swimmer's or a snorkeler's ideal. Even though you see the sandy part on the shore, beyond that, it is muddy.  Ever since a previous trip to the beach I had always marveled at how gentle the gradient is as I saw a group of people far out in the open sea, standing with water still at ankle's depth. I came all prepared this time to wade into the sea to get a feel of the gentle gradient.
We were a couple of 100 metres into the sea and the water was just ankle deep. The beach is really muddy or else it would have been a great place to play. Far out in the sea we still saw a group of people who appeared to be searching for something...What could that be??
This clam or 'Mentarang' in Malay is what the people came for. It is a smaller version of duck clam and can be dug out from the muddy seabeds. It is collected and sold for RM10 per kg in a nearby town so the mystery was finally solved. The people that we so often see walking far out into the sea have come to search for shellfish like this which they take home to sell.
We decided to buy the harvest collected by this group of women as they were cheap and we have never tasted this type of clams before. We have come prepared with a styrofoam box as one of the listed items in our itinerary was to buy some seafood home.
It is nice to see the happy faces of these diligent women who'd come to collect clams for some extra income. They were equally excited to be photographed with their customer. 
By the way you will pass by Amverton Cove Golf & Island Resort while driving along Jalan Pulau Carey. This resort offers accommodation and golfing facilities (just in case you are an avid golfer who do not know about this place).

Last Stop-Buy Fish
We exited the island and made our last stop to buy some fish home. 
These open air stall is located about 1 km from Kang Guan Restaurant along Jalan Bandar Lama. It is opposite Surau Darul Islam and beside a car wash. This stall sells very fresh seafood caught from the nearby seas. 

The price is reasonable and you can get the fish cut the way you want it. Crabs, prawns and clams are also available.

★ If you are planning to wade in the sea or to collect clams do check out the sea    
    tide. Come only when the tide is low.
★ The clams that we bought were very sandy even after 10 washes, hours of soaking   
    and scalding in boiling water and we threw them away, 😭 😭😭😭😭, so don't    
    bother to pine for them. However there are other types of  'more eatable clams' 
    on the seabeds that can be dug out.


essay best said...

When I have read your journey of the sea port, I got inspired from it. The sea port is a good place containing sea food, bridges and wood carvings. I am also keen of visiting this island as a journey.

James Charles said...

My father used to work in Carey Island. We would spend our vacations there. A truly wonderful place.

Lily... said...

Great to hear that James.

Sophie Grace said...

This is a very well written post, my compliments. Keep sharing the posts like this. Have a great day!! tik tok video

Phil said...

Thanks for sharing! It was an enjoyable as well as informative read and I look forward to following in your footsteps! :-)

PPDASKI said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. It gives me an idea, how to spend a day in Carey Island. By the way, I am planning one soon. Thank you

Lily... said...

Glad u find it useful.

Lily... said...

great to hear my article inspired u.

Clarence Anthony Louis said...

it's 3.50am and im actually Googling where to go for a day trip in Selangor later in the morning and i ended up here reading ur post and it definitely inspired me and so that's where im going later... thanks for the inspiration... cheers!

Lily... said...

So happy my post inspired you.

Mal said...

I just moved to telok panglima garang. Ppl here keep telling me there is nothing in pulau carey....but after reading your post i feel i should explore as well. btw i tried the food in kang guan. The food is really good but i would like to suggest another place which is the iSuka restaurant. The seafood here is also good and its not too far from kang guan restaurant.

Lily... said...

TQ, I'll try iSuka next time.

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