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Kuala Sepetang is a coastal town located in Perak, Malaysia. Just about 60 minutes or 72 km/45 miles to the north-west of Ipoh city to Kuala Sepetang. It is a thriving fishing village, and the main jumping-off point to the river mouth community of Kuala Sangga, which is a Chinese fishing community at the river mouth which specializes in fish breeding in cages. The Port Weld railway station was located at the centre of town. The whole railway line from here to Taiping, which was the first railway line in the Peninsular, is now dismantled, and now only the ticketing booth and the Port Weld railway signboard remain.
World acclaimed best managed coastal wetlands
The 40,000-hectare Matang Mangrove Forest was gazetted as a Permanent Forest Reserve in 1906. Today, it is recognized as the best managed sustainable mangrove ecosystem in the world. This mangrove reserve contains rich and diverse wildlife that provide nature lovers to visit and explore its wetlands and resources. Near to this reserve are silvicultural programmes of the Rhizophora, Lenggadai and Seaward berus forests carried out professionally by the Perak State Forestry Department. This is also regarded as the breeding grounds for numerous species of marine crustaceans including crabs, shrimps, lobsters, horseshoe crabs and prawns as well as fishes and shellfishes.
The Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve has been proven to act as a natural barrier against tsunamis. Undoubtedly, it is an important site for coastal migratory water birds and a portion of migrant forest birds. As many as 43,000 to 85,000 birds may be seen using the forest during the migration. According to some ornithologists, there is a small population of rare and shy Great Argus Pheasant (Argusianus argus), known locally by the Malays as Kuang, that stays close to the ground and makes short flights to low hanging branches of the mangrove trees.
The charcoal factory in Matang (Kuala Sepetang) is located right in the middle of a spectacular mangrove forest since 1940. Mangrove forest is an important part of the ecosystems around the world and in Malaysia there is fortunately quite some left. It all start with harvesting the mangrove trees. The trees need a certain size which is reached after 30 years. When an area is harvested, new trees are planted and that area is not touched then for 30 years.
Do you ever wonder how and what are needed to make charcoal? It is a good time for you to learn additional knowledge. The charcoal factory is owned by Mr. Chuah, who obtained a very good feedback on internet because of his ability to share his story and passion on charcoal. Every single process in a charcoal factory is manually done by human power. Charcoal production is a long process and involved lots of man power.
The Charcoal Factory (Charcoal Factory processes)
Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary
A few kilometres at the northern tip of the Matang mangrove forest lies a large wetland swamp where local and migratory birds flourish. Go see the endangered storks, egrets, herons, kingfishers, bulbuls, doves, woodpeckers, magpies, sunbirds, tailorbirds, swifts, sparrows, kites and migratory birds from the northern hemisphere.
The Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary is among the well-established bird sanctuaries in the Asian region. It was established in the early 1970’s with the main objective is to protect and conserve the migratory as well as resident bird species.
There are more than 160 species of birds found in the Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary comprising at least 48 species of migratory birds and 118 species of resident or local birds. The migratory birds such as the Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata), Common Redshank (Tringa totanus), Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), Mongolian Plovers (Charadrius mongolus), Pacific Goldenplover (Pluvialis fulva), Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Great Egret (Ardea alba), Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus), Black-naped Tern (Sterna sumatrana) come from Siberia, Japan and China during the migratory season from September until April each year. They usually come in large flocks, numbering from several hundreds to several thousands, individuals.
Chinese White Dolphin, Sousa Chinensis
Visit the mangrove forest and charcoal kiln sites which are found more inland. Bird watching and fishing are the primary activities in the morning while at night get a boat ride to see synchronized blinking lights of fireflies of Pteroptyx species on Berembang trees or Sonneratia caseolaris. Occasionally, the Chinese White Dolphin (Sousa chinensis), also known as the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin, can be spotted swimming along the river-mouths. This dolphin is one of the 2 known species of pink freshwater dolphins found in the world. A native of Southeast Asia, the dolphin is either white or pink-skinned and can grow to the length of 3.5 metres. Out to the sea, visitors on boats may also be fortunate enough to see dugongs (Dugong dugon) swimming near the river deltas.
Fireflies River Tour
Nearby communities offer night time boat rides to see the fireflies. One of the simple natural wonders of mangrove forests, these flashing insects amaze visitors with their sparkling displays. Kampung Dew is one of the many coastal villages that offer such tours with guides. For more information, call Khairul (012-5145023), Azman (019-5788982) or Zul (013-5256508).
For nature guides and tours, contact the Larut Matang District Forestry Department (Tel: 05-8072762) to organize tours with local guides for ecology or bird-watching and book groups to use the camping and information centre facilities.
For More Information & Tour Package: www.kualasepetang.com