Route 5 is the main road that runs along the coastal edge of Selangor, connecting Kuala Selangor and Sabak Bernam with major towns of the state and the neighbouring state of Perak……
Text/Photos : Jessica Chan/Helen Lee
Route 5 is the main road that runs along the coastal edge of Selangor, connecting Kuala Selangor and Sabak Bernam with major towns of the state and the neighbouring state of Perak. Travelling on Route 5 gave us the impression of driving through the corridor between the rice fields and the sea. The green sprouts of rice seedlings paved the plains on one side while the fishing villages and the occasional sea breeze pop up on the other side. Depending on when you are travelling, the green plains could be a mass of golden stalks when the rice ripens near the harvesting seasons of June and December. Driving along Route 5, you will find many excuses to stop for a short break. There are many fruit stalls that attract your view with colourful mangoes, jambu air, papaya, corn (jagung) and seasonal fruits. There are stalls that offer local cookies and cakes. There stalls that entice you with their grilled mentarang (a type of mollusc).
Sabak Bernam, the northern district in the state of Selangor at the border with Perak state. It is mainly made up of the flat plains of rice fields that stretched as far as the horizon. Besides the rice fields, it also has a long coastal line that brings in tons of catch from the Straits of Melaka. Sabak Bernam is the place rich in resources from the land and the sea.
Though Kuala Selangor is also a major agricultural resource district, it has some small hill contours apart from rice fields and coastal areas. Just like Sabak Bernam, Kuala Selangor district is also rich in sea produce from the Straits of Melaka.
This seaside spot is a popular place for seafood especially grilled fish (ikan bakar) in the evening. For day trip, try to explore along the seaside and you may be rewarded with some unusual photography subjects or an occasional migratory bird.
Bukit Malawati, Kuala Selangor
This is the only high point along Route 5. About 500m after turning in from the main road, there is an arch that welcomes you to Bukit Malawati. There is a tram service that takes visitors up the hill. Bukit Malawati is a historical place as well as a recreational park. Starting the hill top, there is a museum in the vicinity of the light house and the cannons. The museum has many interesting information about Bukit Malawati and the history of the Sultanate of Selangor. It is good to visit the museum first so you will know the history of various spots as you explore.
Other than this, Bukit Malawati is also a good place for panoramic view of the Straits of Melaka and Kuala Selangor. If you think you want to stop for a picnic, you will find that you have company. The Silverleaf monkeys are ready to welcome you and join you for a picnic. The Silverleaf is a unique species where the babies are born with golden fur and it will turn into a black coat when they become adult monkeys.
Going downhill, you will discover more relics of the fort. And a few meters away from the foothill is the Kuala Selangor Nature Park or Taman Alam. It is a nature park in the mangroves with many types of flora and fauna. Across the river mouth of Kuala Selangor, the small enclave of Pasir Penambang is a place famous for seafood and local delicacies like biscuits, dried seafood, prawn crackers, etc. This place is convenient and easily reachable but could be a bit crowded at times.
Tanjong Karang is a relatively big town in the countryside with its fair share of traffic jams on the main road. This is the only part that is the bottle neck when there is mass exodus of people from the city. Otherwise it would be another laid back agricultural town. Once you get through the town centre, look out for the traffic light junction where the signage points you to Homestay Sungai Sireh which about 7km from here, at the far end of Jalan Parit Satu.
This is the homestay that organizes many activities for their guests. If you are a guest of this homestay, you may get to experience rice planting, harvesting oil palm fruit, vegetable farming, making local cakes, land (eel) fishing, boat trip and some cultural activities. Availability of activities depends on the season.
Even without activities to occupy your time, if you have a camera in hand, the picturesque nature and its rustic ambience are captivating enough to have you busy exploring the village. It is easy to explore as the roads are straight and cutting the rice fields into plots of greenery. The irrigation canal, tractors, rice fields, reflections of the village houses, the migratory birds, the occasional fish or frog that pops out of the water….. they are all so fascinating.
Homestay Sg. Sireh
Tel: +6019 346 7372 — Abu Bakar Moin
+6013 305 1470 — Selamat Surib
+6013 258 8825 — Maruwan Ahmad
Address: Kampung PT 1, Sungai Sireh, 45500
Tanjung Karang, Kuala Selangor, Selangor
Sekinchan is the well-known rice bowl of Selangor and also a popular place for fresh seafood. On one side of Route 5, plots of rice fields make up a large pattern of patch-work. During the planting season, it is interspersed with green and brownish plots of rice sprouts and water. During the harvesting season, it is filled with patches of golden colours of ripen rice and stripes of brown harvested stalks.
Once you enter the town, follow the signage to Bagan where the fishingvillage is. Follow your sense of smell and sniff out the fresh seafood. There are city folks who flock here to buy the fresh seafood when the land their catch. A casual visitor like me would look for a simple place to savour the succulent sautéed prawns, fried squids or steam fish. Sekinchan is less crowded and you can take your own sweet time to nibble till the last bit of the prawn shell.
For better control of the irrigation system, the rice planting process is timed accordingly. In this way, farmers of every region have a fair chance of receiving water from the irrigation system. So if you miss the harvesting season at the southern fields, try moving to other areas like Pasir Panjang or Sungai Besar. If it is not too far off, you may have a chance of seeing and photographing the rice stalks bowing humbly low. Even if you are well out of the season, fret not, for you are not here to meet a challenge. It is the beauty of the natural surroundings that brought you here. So sit back and relax.
Look out on both sides of the road, you will most likely find stalls loaded with colourful tropical fruits, local cakes or “Mentarang Bakar”. Mentarang Bakar is a popular local delicacy of grilled shellfish. Mentarang is a type of mollusc with thick succulent meat in elongated shell. You may stop-by one of the stalls to enjoy the freshly grilled Mentarang and wash down with sweet fresh sugarcane juice.
Pantai Bagan Nakhoda Omar
Drive further north on Route 5, the signage at the junction with state road B55 directs you to Pusat Rekreasi BNO. (BNO is the abbreviated name for Bagan Nakhoda Omar, do not mistaken this for any political agenda ;)) . This is our final destination before the Route 5 leaves Selangor and enters Perak.
Bagan Nakhoda Omar is a beautiful and windy seaside ideal for a relaxed evening. Many visitors come in droves to savour the freshness of the prawn noodle (mee udang). After a satisfying meal, then it could be a fun time flying kites with the kids. There are many types of kites on sale here, in various shapes, sizes and attractive colours. Alternatively, just lean on the bench in one of the gazebos and watch the warm golden sunset as the sea breeze brushed against your cheeks.
Bagan Nakhoda Omar is also a haven for anglers. There is a Kelong Resort built in the sea where anglers could drop their lines and spend the night there. This resort has its jetty located here where guests could take a 20 minutes boat ride to the Kelong.
As this place is also a fishing village, visitors can buy fresh harvests from the sea brought back by the fishermen in the evening. It is a hive of activities with the cars stopping by the roadside stalls and the crowd hovering over heaps of fresh fish, prawns, crabs, etc.
For seafood and fresh air, embark on Route 5 to Kuala Selangor and Sabak Bernam for a day of indulgence.