Pulau Ketam for a Day

We’ve been talking about Pulau Ketam (Crab Island) for the longest, longest time. For more than a year. Every month had its share of distractions, but during one Sunday lunch we finally decided to set a date during the long Labour Day weekend.

After some logistics that went like clockwork, we picked up my MIL at 9am who just came down from Ipoh with my BIL. Off straight to the Cheahs’ across the highway. Packing everyone in one car (6 adults and 3 kids), we drove on the Federal Highway all the way to Port Klang. Getting to the jetty is a cinch, just go to end, past Port Klang town and turn right.

There’s a new jetty complex, and limited parking. At 10am cars were already lining up both sides of the road outside. Just follow the sign to the jetty queue, you will see the ticket counter eventually.

port klang

all set to go

ferry schedule
(I hope I get Ah Boy’s boat!!!)

Ferries run hourly, but on weekends and public holidays, they run continuously as long as there are customers. we waited about 45 minutes and the queue was pretty long. If you take the smaller speedboat, the queue and travel time is shorter.

Via air-conditioned ferry, it takes about 45 minutes.


(all aboard!)

Land ho! Upon alighting, first thing you notice is that all that although that Pulau Ketam is quite far out in the river mouth, the water surrounding the island is shallow and much of the ‘beach’ is exposed at low tides.

line to board

At low tide you can see millions of tiny crabs and giant mudskippers. Them mudskippers are almost double in size of the ones I used to see in Ujong Pasir Melaka as a kid near my grandmother’s house. I guess generations of diesel and rubbish contaminated water has help mutated the species to what they are now. And also, I wondered WHO discovered that the mudskippers and these small crabs are NOT edible? Poor guy had to be the guinea pig to eat them first, and discover they tasted horrible.

mini crabs

Folks on this island stay in houses on stilts, exposed to harsh waves especially during storms.

homes on stilts

Once you clear the long jetty, you are greeted by the largest restaurant on the island. Reviews show that this is probably also the best on the island. But we decided to walk around a bit first. It was also at this point that my MIL mentioned that that she just realized she HAS BEEN HERE TEN YEARS AGO. Umm okaaay.


There’s only one main walking path through the islands, crammed with pedestrian tourists and cyclists. Along the way you’ll see a few stalls selling snacks, knick knacks and well, not much else.


fried ice cream
(FRIED ice cream. As if ICE CREAM wasn’t unhealthy enough)

the centre of the island is where most of the restaurants are concentrated (which is to say maybe 5 of them). it gets crowded very fast, so make sure you arrive early or wait a long time. We chose a restaurant can Remember Me but didn’t really expect much of the food, since reviews said that the seafood here is nothing spectacular. Bill came up to RM80 for all of us. Didn’t take any good pics.

After lunch we walked to the other end of the island. there’s a huge temple with a open square of some sort, and mostly houses.

big temple



snapping photos

view from jetty

Since got not much else to do, we walked back to jetty, stopping to buy some keropok and ice cream. Then we waited for the boat.

I guess Pulau Ketam is good for maybe half a day visit. There’s really nothing much to see, so you really need to manage your expectations. The smell of sewage (it drops straight into the sea) wasn’t as bad as I expected, but the rubbish is really overwhelming. I really feel they should organize a massive cleanup (granted, most of the rubbish has been there for generations) if they want to capitalize more on tourism.

So anyway, by the time we got back to Port Klang it was only 4pm, so we decided to join the mad crowds in this place I’ve heard SO much about – GM Klang.

After jostling for 2 hours with what seemed like half the Klang population, we left for dinner. Since it was so early, I thought we could take a slow drive back to PJ. But someone pointed out that since we were ALREADY here, why not stick to the original plan of eating dinner at Port Klang. I thought well okay, but its kinda early.

By the time we got to Bagan Hailam, I realize that 6pm is apparently NOT too early for dinner. the carpark was nearly full.

the view from bagan hailam

Bagan Hailam is just across the Klang river from the Port Klang jetty to Pulau Ketam, but it was a great ambience. “More Pulau Ketam than Pulau Ketam” was an apt description.

our bagan hailam restaurant

the gang
(waiting for food)

Ive been here for dinner a few times before, but the last time was probably about 14 years ago.

dinner at bagan hailam

fish slice

Dinner was really good, compared to the bland lunch today. I should come back here more often. Can’t remember what the bill came up to, but the delicious fried fish slice above cost RM75.

It was still early when we got back to PJ, so we drop by Softsrve in Uptown.


softsrve fluffy

the dry ice thing is really gimmicky, the ice cream is nothing to shout about. I’d pick Inside Scoop over this place any day. But the décor is nice though.

So ended our long day out. Too bad Patrick and Mei Yan couldn’t join us. Maybe next time.

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