Kuala Sepetang, Perak

In December 2016, I went to Kuala Sepetang with my dad, mum and brother. I did not select the fishing village photos till a few weeks ago for uploading. For this series, I chose to have the village and boat photos in black and white.

My dad loves to draw watercolour paintings of fishing villages, which is why we visit various fishing villages throughout Malaysia quite often, and you can see some of his paintings at his blog, Colours of Heritage.

Kuala Sepetang  is a coastal town located in Perak, Malaysia. It was formerly known as Port Weld, named after a former governor, Frederick Weld. It is located approximately 72 km to the north-west of Ipoh city, the capital of Perak state.


Part of the Larut, Matang and Selama Districts, Kuala Sepetang is a thriving fishing village, and the place where you can board a boat to Pulau Sangga, and visit the fish cage culture sites, which float on the river. There is a thriving Chinese fishing community at the river mouth which specializes in fish farming in cages.


Historically, Kuala Sepetang was well-known because it was part of the first railway line of Malaya. The railway line was 12.8km long and was mainly used to carry tin from mines from Taiping to Kuala Sepetang, so that they could be transported overseas through the port.


The old Taiping railway station was built at the location where the King Edward VII Primary School is presently located, while the Kuala Sepetang railway station was constructed in Port Weld. The railway was launched in 1885 and served for 70 years before being terminated and dismantled by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM). To read more about the history and legends of the railway, click here.


The Port Weld railway station was located at the centre of town. Now, only the ticketing booth and the Port Weld railway signboard remain to remind us of the golden age of tin mining in the little town.


Today, Kuala Sepetang is a thriving tourist attraction. In fact, it is one of must-visit places in Perak. There are lots of things to do and see, and they can be summarised as follows:

  • Visit Khay Hor Charcoal Factory
  • Visit the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, the largest mangrove forest reserve in Malaysia
  • Visit the 131-year-old train station sign
  • Eat prawn noodles
  • Eat curry noodles
  • Eat seafood
  • Take a boat ride
  • Visit Pulau Sangga
  • Visit a fish farm
  • Go eagle watching
  • Go dolphin watching
  • See the fireflies
Assam laksa sold in the yard of one of the small houses in the fishing village across the bridge
Hawker deep-frying nian gao sandwiched with slices of yam and sweet potato, and various other snacks in the town
Traditional tau sah pea biscuits on sale in the town

Although Kuala Sepetang is no longer the important port town where tin was transported from Taiping via the first railway, and then shipped overseas, it thrives today because of its various cottage industries, fish farming and tourism. I hope the place will maintain its old fishing village charm for many decades to come. 🙂

❤ Kuala Sepetang ❤ – view from the bridge


#atozchallenge: One day at the market

Happy Labour Day! 🙂

This morning, I engaged in a bit of street photography at the SPPK Market in Ipoh. I did a walkabout and snapped photos fast to capture the essence of the moment in the peak hours of the market’s operations, which was a bit hard to do because my bulky camera was sort of obvious and people tend to notice it.

My favourite stall of the day was the dumpling stall, because the dumplings were photogenic. 😉

Dumpling stall
The dumplings were made fresh at the stall, with sengkuang filling
Dumplings with sengkuang filling, waiting to be steamed

Here are some snapshots from the other market stalls:

Cake stall
Noodle stall
Glutinous rice dumpling and nyonya kuih stall
Potato stall
Fruit stall
Vegetable stall
Stall selling dried condiments and other dried foodstuff
Vegetable stall
Stall selling buns and snacks
Fruit stall
Three types of mangoes
Beancurd stall
Dried seafood stall, selling dried anchovies and cuttlefish
Vegetable stall
Lady selling fishballs right outside the market entrance
Man promoting a kitchen appliance – a sort of chopper device
At a stall selling floor mats outside the market
At a vegetable stall
At a fish stall. The man asked me why I did not take his photo. 😉
IMG_0474a At a plant stall outside the market


#atozchallenge: New short story published

I am delighted to announce that the third short story I have ever written, entitled LOST AND FOUND, was selected for publication in the May 2016 issue of Eastlit. Interestingly, my short story was categorised as creative non-fiction. Hope you enjoy reading it.

Eastlit May 2016 Cover Picture: Apocalypse by Graham Lawrence. Cover design by Graham Lawrence. Copyright photographer, Eastlit and Graham Lawrence.

Launched on October 26th 2012, Eastlit is an electronic English Literature Journal focused on creative writing, English literature and art specifically from or connected to East and South East Asia.

Eastlit Contents May 2016.png

You can read my short story by clicking here. You can also click on the following screenshot to read it:

Lost and Found.png

Zipper lamp

In my 26th and final post for the  Blogging A to Z Challenge 2015, I thought for a long time about what to write on the letter ‘Z’. Undecided, I came home and scrolled through my scattered photo folders, and finally settled on a zipper lamp. Yes, there is such a thing! 😉

Z is for Zipper Lamp

Burps & Giggles in Ipoh Old Town has an assortment of artistic lamps, and the lamp headlining our finale photo essay is the strange zipper lamp.

Zipper lamp
Zipper lamp

Can you count the number of zippers sewn onto this lamp shade?

Zipper lamp
Zipper lamp

You can sew them on straight, vertically or horizontally. You can also twirl them, and swirl them.

Zipper lamp
Zipper lamp

The zipper lamp is a definite conversation starter. 😉

Zipper lamp
Zipper lamp
Burps & Giggles, Ipoh Old Town. Open daily from 8.30am to 9.00pm.
Burps & Giggles, Ipoh Old Town. Open daily from 8.30am to 9.00pm.

Here are some of the other lamps found in the cafe…

Lace lamp
Lace lamp
Button lamp
Button lamp
Ribbon lamp
Ribbon lamp
Lace lamp
Lace lamp

The menu on the wall…


The outside of the shop…

Outside the shop
Outside the shop

Once upon a time in Ipoh

The capital of Perak State, Ipoh, is the third largest city in Malaysia, with an estimated population of 710,000. Ipoh is known for many things, but historically, it was instrumental in the tin mining industry, which led to an economic boom in the region around the turn of the 19th century. Some people remembered the city fondly as the town built on tin, and even the city of millionaires – which alludes to the riches excavated from the mines of Kinta Valley. Ipoh is also known as Paloh, which refers to the gigantic mining pumps used in the process of tin ore extraction in the early days. On 27 May 1988, Ipoh town was granted city status by the much-loved Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah.

At the pinnacle of production, 75% of the world’s supply of tin came from Malaya where the mines were open cast and excavated by monitor pumps. However, as with most finite resources extracted from the earth, the mines eventually ran out of the precious metal everybody wanted. The machines and implements used for tin mining were slowly but surely reduced to relics of the good old days.

Tin ore on display at the Heritage House, Gopeng Museum, Perak.
Tin ore on display at the Heritage House, Gopeng Museum, Perak.

It is quite hard these days to find an actual tin mining dredge in good condition, as most had been in disuse and eventually fell into disrepair. However, there is one such dredge in Chendrong, which can be seen along the Batu Gajah-Tanjung Tualang Road. The dredge has now been hailed as a heritage icon and proposed to be turned into a museum. It is managed by Osborne & Chapel, and visitors may enter the place to view the dredge during opening hours.

The last tin mine dredge in Chendrong, Perak
The last tin mine dredge in Chendrong, Perak (side view)

It is undeniable that the mining dredge is a very impressive and gigantic structure, easily visible to the casual onlooker from the main road. The first thought that came to my mind when I saw it from afar was that it reminded me of a huge steam ship. But that’s just me. 🙂

The last tin mine dredge in Chendrong, Perak
The last tin mine dredge in Chendrong, Perak (front view)

Some people have found creative ways to utilise the mining equipment. For example, in 1997, the artist Yeoh Jin Leng built a sculpture called ‘Goodbye Tin-Mining’ that stands over 30 feet high. She used dredge steel buckets, a drive wheel and steel girds to depict the closure of the tin-mining industry in the Kinta Valley.

Sculpture entitled 'Goodbye Tin-Mining'. The sculpture is located inside Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
Sculpture entitled ‘Goodbye Tin-Mining’. The sculpture is located inside Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.

Here’s the side view of the sculpture:

Sculpture entitled 'Goodbye Tin-Mining'. The sculpture is located inside Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
Side view of the sculpture entitled ‘Goodbye Tin-Mining’.

The plaque in front of the sculpture:

Plaque in front of a sculpture entitled 'Goodbye Tin-Mining'. The sculpture is located inside Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
Plaque in front of the sculpture.

Dredge steel buckets have also been converted into decorative objects. They weigh over a ton each, so the decorators probably needed a crane of some sort to move them around.

Dredge steel buckets used as decoration at a small roundabout in Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
Dredge steel buckets used as decorations at a small roundabout in Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
Dredge steel bucket on display next to the main entrance of the Tourism Centre in Ipoh Old Town.
A dredge steel bucket on display next to the main entrance of the Tourism Centre in Ipoh Old Town.

When I looked at this raincoat in the Heritage House @ Gopeng Museum (see below), I envisioned the workers in the tin mine wearing this type of raincoat when they worked in the rain.

Old fashioned raincoat from the olden days.
Old fashioned raincoat from the olden days.

To see old black and white photos from the days of the tin mines, visit the Kinta Tin Mining page.

To read more about the last dredge in Chendrong, Perak, see the Ipoh Echo article on ‘Saving the Last of the Giant Tin Dredges‘.

To find out more about Ipoh, visit the Ipoh Tourism Board page and the Ipoh page on Wikipedia.