The Fishing Village of Bukit Malut
Since we were living on a budget, we did not have a pool at the hotel. The hotel could, via appropriate contacts, arrange for us to use the pool on one of the fancier resorts, which I had no interest in. So after leaving the wife and kids at said resort, I took the opportunity to just drive around the island on my own, trying to find something interesting, something off the beaten track, something more genuine and not so fantasy land, that many of the tourist packed places seem to be now a days.
When driving on the southern coastal road, federal route 167, heading to Kuah, I decided to exit at the next exit, just for the fun of it. It turned out that the road I took lead to a typical Malay fishing village. Really basic, really simple and so genuine in what it was. I guess that fishing villages in Malaysia have looked in this way for many hundreds of years, and that there are not many ways to improve something that is upholding its purpose. When trying to enter the village by car, I realised that the roads and alleys were too small and narrow, so I decided to park the car and make the excursion into the village by foot.
The first sign of life when entering were some goats that stared at me, in that stupid way that only goats can. I continued and the further in I came the more signs of a settlement I saw, and heard. The first persons to greet me were some children. They wanted to practice their skills in English, and one can say that they were pretty baffled when I answered in Malay. With the narrow alleys one is really just one step away from someone’s kitchen, livingroom or bathroom. They also hung out their washing out on the street. It was an interesting feeling, getting immersed in the daily lives of the inhabitants of this adorable village, opposed to the secluded and very private lives we live in the west.
As I walked I saw two neighbours having a chat across the road. They sat in their own respective living quarters, with their doors and windows wide open, allowing for easy conversation, and as I came along, interrupting their conversation, they greeted and smiled and asked where I came from. I chatted with them for a while until I continued exploring. I guess that they now had a new topic to chat about.
After some walking and picture taking I passed the local eatery. The patrons there were really curious about me and insisted that I join them for some tea. After being convinced I sat down and ordered a teh tarik. After the fishermen had told me some stories from the sea and asked about me, they all dispersed, heading to their boats, to prepare for the night fishing. I learnt that 60 percent of the fishermen were fishing for squid, 30 for fish and 10 for prawns. To fish squid they use powerful green lamps during the night. The light from these lamps lure the squid up to the surface. Apparently you can see the light from the squid fishers from space, which at first made NASA really perplex.
Now I was ready to go, and when trying to get the bill the lady in charge said that it was on the house, and she said that next time I should bring my family. She said that they hardly get any visits from tourists, due to that the village is not marked on the touristmaps. A fact that I can very well live with.