An island build on stilts

There are so many different worlds out there which are very different from your daily life surroundings.

The worlds where you have no parking place or ticket issues because you cannot use the car. Not because one cannot afford it but because there is no room for cars. And imagine- people can and they do live in such places.

There is a place, which you may not choose as your first travel destination. Normally you may not even know it exists. It does not have miles long beaches with white sand and baywathcers worth to be watched.

The purpose of estraveler is to tell you sometimes about of the places people may  normally overlook. Let’s see what place it is.

If you happen to be in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it is definitely worth to reserve half day for visiting this very different place:
Pulau Ketam or in more understandable form – Crab Island. Or Ketam Island.

First, You have to get to Port Klang, which locates here:

There are different boats you can choose for your trip to Pulau Ketam. You can take the very modern ferry to get to Pulau Ketam but the half opened boat offers way more fun. The boats may look old fashioned but just pay attention on the engines. Engines, in plural. Attach one of these even on wooden raft makes you fly above the waters.

Speedboats at Port Klang, Malaysia

Some boats have closed cabin, some are opened from the front for the passengers. Locals are smarter so they stay inside and rather in the back of the boat. Tourist want to be in the first part of the boat. You may airborne during that ride several times since the nose has the biggest amplitude. No need to worry about the safety. It seems they have plenty safe vests for each passenger.

Life west is under above your seat

Of course, if you had no time for the hairdresser or you run out of your hair styling gel but you still want to look cool, sit outside and let the nature do its job with you hair. Here are some samples:

Pulau Ketami speedboat styles

The ferry route goes throught Pulau Klang island and scenery is breath taking. You can spot monkeys wondering on the waterline and eagles hoovering above. All around you- mangroves. Fabulous.



On the way to Pualu Ketami you see fish farms – kelongs- on the open water. “Farmers” are farming fishes there and they also live in these farms.  You see, you can be a farmer without cowboy boots and million acres farmland.

Fish farm on the way to Pulau Ketami

Unusual procedure is that when the boat arrives, they do not bother to use any ropes to dock the boat. Driver just keep the engines running, pushing gently the island. It works perfectly because the island is big enough.

Passengers must use fore for landing

The place you will arrive is called village in several materials but in smaller countries in the world six thousands inhabitants makes already a town. If not a city. Ok, let’s stick to the town.

City sign

What makes Pulau Ketam special is the fact that actually you cannot step on the solid soil. The whole island is either bog or mangrove forest. So the only way to live on that island is really live ON the island. Everything is built on stilts (pillars). Everything. Every road, every house, every square. The main street can be around 3 meters wide but all other roads are much narrower. Since I named the place town, I call these narrow paths also streets. The whole town is kind of “floating”. With its six thousands inhabitants and one thousand houses. They have police station, voluntary based fire department, temples, restaurants, shops – all you need for decent life.

What to do on Pulau Ketam? Do not expect much activities or tourist traps with overpriced items. Rather just wonder and look around. Try to understand and realize that people can live and work in such places too. Moreover, as I heard from a local guy who helped us to visit the place- locals are doing money wise great!

For the locals, there are not many places they can waist their money. The whole transportation on the island are organized by bicycles, so no need to worry about car. Well, on the other hand, they all must have boats. Money, by the way,  comes from fishing and crab industry.

You may thing you are far from the mainland. And from the justice. Think again…

At the port and on the main streets you walk on concrete. But the sideways are often made of wood. Crazy, ah?

No step dance on that place!
A side “street”
For daredevils
Backyard of an average household 
Chinese temple
Chinese temple
The most coolest and relaxed guy on the island
He smokes…something

The amplitude of the tide is remarkable. Within some hours, you can see very different picture.



Local population are mostly Chinese who have moved here quite some while ago. Therefore you can see lot of Chinese letters in most places. As common in Malaysia, everybody is very friendly.

The garbage handling is remarkable. Due to very small space on the street, they use utility poles for collecting garbage. And it does not require special driving licence for being “garbage truck driver” at Pulau Ketam.

If you have not enough land, you go to highs. With everything.
Garbage “truck”

Of course, you must eat on Pulau Ketam. There are many seafood restaurants and they all offer fresh delicious seafood. Especially crabs. Since crab is the trademark of the island.

Chef at Restoran Kuai Lok Hian

Very cool drink is a fresh coconut from the fridge. It is available in several places in Malaysia but they told they import them from …Thailand. Strange because they have plenty of coconut trees around…

You can drink coco milk and eat the soft shell
Price tag reveal the origin

To spend half day in such different environment is very useful. Especially if you are bit tired from the metropolitan noise you may experience in Kuala Lumpur.

Finally, you may wonder if there are any crabs after all? Yes!


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