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Islands of Malaysia

Islands of Malaysia

There are hundreds of beautiful islands within Malaysia, most of them can be visited during your travels but not all offer a place to stay overnight. The islands of Malaysia are divided in the islands at the western peninsula, the eastern peninsula and the islands around Borneo. All are equally stunning, though there enough differences between each island. Most popular islands are Langkawi, Penang, Perhentian, Redang and Tioman. Around Borneo you have Lankayan, Selingan, Mataking and of course Sipadan.

Tropical island of Langkawi

Tropical Gem Langkawi

The tropical island of Langkawi is one of the most popular destinations within Malaysia. Though the island is recognised as one of the most beautiful islands in the world; you will never feel you're visiting a crowded tourist overrun island. Visit Langkawi for wonderful jungle, fantastic sightseeing and beautiful beaches. There is an abundance of accommodation available for every type of traveler, ranging from basic B&B's to luxurious 5-star resorts.

Georgetown capital of Penang

Georgetown; capital of Penang Island

In 2008 UNESCO listed Georgetown as World Heritage Site because of the many original colonial (Chinese style) shophouses. Besides the many beautiful historical buildings; Georgetown also has many modern highrise buildings that often contains big shopping malls. In and around Georgetown there are many fun attractions that are absolutely worthy of a visit.

Kuching in Sarawak

Kuching; gateway to Sarawak

Kuching is the biggest Malaysian city on Borneo and also the capital city of the state of Sarawak. Kuching is a very popular tourist destination as it serves as entry point to numerous great attractions within the heart of Sarawak. The city has enough to offer to keep tourists occupied for at least a couple of days. Popular attractions around Kuching are among others Semenggoh Rehabilitation Centre and Bako National Park. There are daily flights to Kuching from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bharu.

Kota Bharu

Kota Bharu

Kota Bharu is the capital of the northern state of Kelantan. The city serves as main gateway to visitors that are on their way to visit the tropical island of Perhentian. The are daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu, but you can also opt to take the bus or even the adventurous jungle train. Main attractions in the city are the many islamic museums, and also the day and night markets. Though tourist usually pass through the conservative city; there is enough available accommodation in Kota Bharu.

Ketam Island

Map Ketam Island

The island of Ketam is, like almost all islands in this area, well known for fishery. The catch of crabs is what the island is renowned for, the name Ketam does mean crab after all. If you love fresh seafood, then this island is the place to visit. Tourists can, next to having a delicious meal, experience the fishery from close here. Around 6,000 people live permanently on the island. Numbers used to be higher; but in recent years many people moved to the mainland (mostly youth/youngsters). There are two villages on Ketam Island; Kampung Pulau Ketam and Kampung Sungai Lima. Tourists usually visit Kampung Pulau Ketam. The village consists of two main streets with many small shops and restaurants; there is even a bank with ATM. Here you can also find the daily wet market; a great place to enjoy some of the local delicacies. There are no cars or motorcycles on the island, everybody walks or uses their bicycle.

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Perfect day trip from Kuala Lumpur

Restaurant at Ketam Island

Many citizens of Kuala Lumpur visit this island to escape the daily hectic life. It is about everyday people; the island itself has some basic lodges for people who want to stay longer. We once stayed at Pulau Ketam Inn (03-3110 5206) where they have WIFI; we paid RM60 per night. Another time we stayed at Hotel Sea Lion (012-264 8052). There we stayed in their VIP room; we paid RM98 per night. There also are cheaper rooms (basic no air-con: RM25, basic with air-con: RM45) but when we visited the island a group stayed over so they were out of cheap rooms. Normally there is no need to make reservations up front as there is almost always something available. Worst case scenario; you take the last boat back to Port Klang.

Ketam Island Malaysia 1  

Especially great for seafood lovers

Typical Ketam dishes

The island is characterized by the houses built on stilts; it is a so-called water village. They are built in such a way that it almost looks like the houses float. Next to this island is Pulau Tengah, not to confuse with the diver's paradise Pulau Lang Tengah on the east side of the peninsula. Next to Port Klang there is also the island Pulau Indah, an island which has been built into an industrial zone. Main reason why tourists visit Ketam is of course to enjoy a fantastic meal at one of the many great seafood restaurants. Usually you will find a big bucket full with live crabs in front of every restaurant during lunch time. If you're staying over for the night; make sure you head over to the restaurants in time as all the fresh seafood is often already finished later in the evening. The islands' specialty is crab, but when we arrived all restaurants were already out. The owners told us crabs are mostly served during the day as lunch. Next day we had a fantastic 'Chili Crab' (RM20), Sweet & Sour Crab (RM15), Butter Prawn (RM10), Bamboo Shell (RM8) accompanied by tea (RM1), coke (RM2,50) and some beer (500ml Heineken RM17). We paid RM3 for the extras like Kaya Pau and Cha Sieuw Pau.

Ketam Island Malaysia 2  

Activities on Ketam

Houses at Ketam Island

Ketam Island only consists of two small villages on stilts and not much more. The biggest part of the island is only accessible by boat because of the swampland and mangroves. Main activities are walking around in the village, or biking through the village on a rental bicycle (RM5 per day). We did the latter and had great fun. The village is not that big, but it still takes over an hour to explore the whole area. During the trip you can take stops to enjoy the scenery, views or a snack that is sold at every corner of the village. You can also visit the fish farm, but we didn't think it was that special (might be because it was raining that day). During our bicycle trip we drove past a wooden fishing boat factory; the owner builds these wooden boats (almost solely) by hand. There also are two Chinese temples; Nang Thiam Keng Temple and Hock Leng Keng Temple and many small altars scattered throughout the village. Most other activities involve eating at the many seafood restaurants (where regular dishes are also being served).

Below a few nice panoramic pictures of Ketam Island. Click on the image to see a bigger version of the image.

Ketam Island Panorama 1 Ketam Island Panorama 2 Ketam Island Panorama 3  

How to get to Ketam Island

Ferry to Ketam

The island lies at the coast nearby Kuala Lumpur, about 20 kilometers from Port Klang, and is accessible in 35 minutes with a fast ferry. If you take the KTM Komuter train (Sentul-Port Klang line) from KL Sentral, you'll arrive at Port Klang in one hour. The train ticket costs RM4.30 for a single trip. Upon arrival at Port Klang Komuter station you will spot signs to the Jetty. After a 10 minute walk you will arrive at the Jetty Point. The ferry leaves every 45 minutes to one hour, from 7 in the morning until around 7 in the evening. A single trip costs RM7 per person and tickets are sold on the boat only. If you are driving by (rental ) car, get onto the Federal Highway, and follow the signs to Port Klang (South Port). There are car parks available at Port Klang Komuter station. There is no best time to visit the island though it can get really crowded during public holidays.


Map of Ketam Island in Malaysia

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