Vibrant yet laid-back pace are two words to describe the quaint Kuala Sepetang, a fishing village about 16 kilometers away from Taiping in northern Perak.
Spending a day at the river mouth town, formerly known as Port Weld, offers visitors plenty of good seafood, an eco-tour as well as a throwback in history.
It is a picture of tranquillity as fishing boats dot along the jetty by the river, and for those who seek a refuge away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, Kuala Sepetang is an ideal option to unwind.
Kang Kao seafood restaurant catches attention with a giant eagle mounted to its rooftop at the facade, and Xin Kuala Sepetang restaurant are the two main outlets patronised by visitors.
Lunch at the jetty-side Xin Kuala Sepetang seafood restaurant is a must, not just to savour the mouth-watering ‘catch of the day’ dishes but to enjoy the scene watching eagles circling the estuary from the sky waiting to pounce on their preys. The vantage point is next to the pier.
Granted, the eagles would swoop down to grab fishes near the water surface in a swift singular motion. After all, Kampung Sepetang is a place renowned for eagle watching and bird lovers do not have to venture out to the sea to watch the majestic sight on land surrounded by mangrove swamp.
Several river cruise package tours are offered to shuttle visitors to top attractions such as pink dolphin watching, firefly sighting and sunset tours.
Head to the one-and-only overhead bridge that connects the riverbanks to catch the breath-taking view of trawlers docking at the pier on both sides.
Buckets of fresh fish, dried fish, anchovies and shrimp hauled up are being sold each day so it is best to be there early to get the best deal; where the prices are 20 per cent cheaper than the nearest wet market in Taiping.
The Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve is an excellent exploit to learn a thing or two about its ecology behind thick shrubs overgrown at the swamp along the river. The 40,000 hectare wetlands are home to a diverse mix of migratory birds.
A trip to Kuala Sepetang is not complete without checking out The Charcoal Factory nearby.
Visitors get to see mangrove logs being chopped out in long pieces before they are burnt in kilns.
The trip to any town is unfulfilling without delving into its past, so make a pit stop at the Matang Museum before leaving for home.
Check out the chronological events that shaped the history in the Matang district at the Che Ngah Ibrahim Museum, which was the administrative centre in the area for the Malays, British and Japanese.
The museum, used to be the residence of Ngah Ibrahim, houses about 300 collections comprising artefacts and a gallery.
Ngah Ibrahim was found guilty for the murder of the first British resident in Perak, James W. Birch, back in the 19th century and was banished to Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. He died in Singapore on 1887 and was buried there. The remains were brought back to Perak in 2006 for a re-burial.