ExpatGo will be bringing you a regular series of features on the unsung heroes of Malaysia’s countryside and rural towns, called ‘A place in Malaysia you’ve probably never heard of‘. Here is this month’s feature, on the West Malaysian coastal town of Tanjung Sepat.
Located two hours’ drive from Kuala Lumpur, Tanjung Sepat’s conservative village folks cling to traditional ways like running cottage industries and displaying their family surnames in Chinese gold lettering above the main door of their homes.
The population of the village is about 10,000, and more than 60% are over the age of 55 as most of the younger residents have moved to the cities. Tanjung Sepat made national headlines on June 2, 1972, when a fifty-foot whale beached on its nearby mudflats.
What to do there?
Visit Lovers’ Bridge
The original Lovers’ Bridge was made of wood and has been replaced by a concrete structure. Basically, a pier jutting out to sea, it harbours a romantic story.
Decades ago, a young maiden escorted her lover to the bridge every morning as he set off in his fishing boat. Every evening, she would await for his return. One evening, the man’s fishing boat did not return, but the maiden kept vigil at the bridge for the rest of her life and died an old spinster.
Eat Seafood and visit a fishball factory
All seafood restaurants are built on stilts facing the sea, so you eat with breezes blowing in your face. Menus are usually not supplied but a waitress will rattle off a list of dishes available. Don’t expect posh settings as the restaurants are wooden structures with zinc roofs but expect economical prices.
Another seafood experience is to visit Yek Loong Enterprise, a mom-and-pop fish ball factory at Jalan Bawal 1. Visitors can enter to see the processing of various kinds of fresh seafood products. Thong Hsin and New Hwa Hin are two other similar factories.
Visit a mushroom farm
At Ganofarm in Taman Pelangi, you can see how mushroom is cultivated. Among the species grown are abalone mushroom, monkey-head mushroom, black jelly mushroom and ling-zhi mushroom. A massive store sells all kinds of mushroom-related products.
Learn how coffee is processed
At Joo Fa Trading and Kwo Zhab Coffee, you can see the roasting and grinding of coffee seeds. The moment you step into these two shops, the bitter aroma of local coffee tickles your nostrils. Various grades of coffee are available at extremely economical prices.
Buy seashell handicrafts and souvenirs
Facing the sea, Qingren Qiao Local Products Shop overflows with all manner of bric-a-brac and local food products such as candy, dried sea cucumber, prawn crackers and salted fish. One section of the store is devoted to curios such as traditional Chinese costumes.
Buy dragon fruit at farm prices
Do you know that the plant of the dragon fruit resembles a cactus? You can see it for yourself at Multi-Rich Pitaya and Wanly Dragon Fruit, two popular farms in the outskirt of Tanjung Sepat. They also sell this fruit at dirt-cheap prices.
Buy pau (Chinese buns)
Hai Yew Heng is a famous Chinese bun or pau bakery. Its buns are noted for their fluffy texture and its best-seller is salted mustard pau. You can buy them either frozen or steaming hot. Believe it or not: a limit is imposed on the number of purchases per customer.
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