8 Activities, 1 Day: Sungai Lima, the Authentic Fishing Village

Against the backdrop of mangrove swamps, a cluster of colorful houses rest on wooden stilts. There is no traffic on this island, only bicycles rolling down the narrow concrete pathways.

Literally translating to “fifth river”, Kampung Bagan Sungai Lima is located on the fifth river from the main village. While it is a far cry from the popular, neighbouring Pulau Ketam, this island village has a rustic charm that stems from its well-preserved fishing traditions and simple lifestyle.

This hidden gem is worth putting on your list for those who want to experience an authentic Chinese fishing village. If you only have one day to spare, here are 8 things you must try at Sungai Lima!

The Beautiful Life Festival: Hey! Sungai Lima is a once-in-a-lifetime event with performances, delicious food, exhibitions and other activities, along with a chance to spend the night under a starry sky in the village. Find out more.

Book an experience in Sungai Lima.

1. Watch locals dry shrimps
Sungai Lima Pulau Ketam

You’ll know you are in Sungai Lima by the sight and smell of dried shrimps. Fishing is the main industry here, and the village is known for dried shrimps, salted fish and other seafood products. The villagers dry their catch across the island, which makes for postcard-perfect photos.

Be sure to buy some too! If you are thinking of getting “xia mi” (or minced shrimp paste), we recommend the kind you can eat with regular meals or sprinkle over nasi lemak like what the islanders do.

2. Visit the Chinese temple
Sungai Lima Pulau Ketam

Hock Leng Keng Temple is a vibrant and ornate temple in Sungai Lima, which has been around for centuries. Take a closer look at the architecture and you will notice the statues of sea creatures like fishes, crabs and prawns. Not typical for a Chinese temple, but this is the villager’s tribute to their source of livelihood.

3. Snap, snap, snap away with street art!
Sungai Lima Pulau Ketam

It seems that everywhere in Malaysia, there are street art which tell stories about the area. Sungai Lima has its share of murals depicting locals, sea creatures and maritime traditions.

Book an experience in Sungai Lima.

4. Feed on fresh seafood
Sungai Lima Pulau Ketam

When at a fishing village, do as the locals do – eat seafood. Seafood is cheap and abundant in Sungai Lima. Crab, fish and prawn dishes arrive at your table fresh, piping hot and yummy. The only thing is that since the village is small and does not see too many tourists yet, the food is usually made to order.
Sungai Lima Pulau Ketam

Sungai Lima Pulau Ketam

 5. Take home traditional pastries
Sungai Lima Pulau Ketam

Most villagers on the island would know the Liu Family Brown Sugar Bakery (刘家莊黑糖碰糕), run by Madam Ng. The local bakery specializes in “fatt gau”, or prosperity cakes, baked using her family’s traditional recipes. The signature ingredient in these cakes is brown sugar, which infuses them with a mellow, caramelized sweetness.

Place your order early and the owner can bring them to the dock before you leave the village in the evening.

6. See fish feeding at the fish farm
Sungai Lima Pulau Ketam

Along the Klang River, there is a floating fish farm accessible only by boat. Like a paddy field, the narrow walkways criss-cross around the ponds, each containing schools of huge fishes. There are many fish feeding demonstrations throughout the day, so you can see how locals tend to their livestock in the island village.

Book your ticket to the Beautiful Life Festival: Hey! Sungai Lima.

Book an experience in Sungai Lima.

7. Take a boat to Pulau Ketam
Sungai Lima Pulau Ketam

After a day in the serene Sungai Lima, you can travel by boat to Pulau Ketam. Livelier and well known as a weekend getaway destination, Pulau Ketam is filled with restaurants and shops that are bustling with visitors. It can get crowded over the weekend and during public holidays!

Some activities to do there include visiting the two Chinese temples, eating oyster omelette and fried ice cream, as well as exploring the little shops for local products.

8. Watch eagles soar over you
Sungai Lima Pulau Ketam

Towards the evening, you can take a boat out to an eagle feeding site. A boatman will scatter chicken guts into the sea to attract wild eagles from the mangrove swamps. Seeing eagles circling so close to you is quite a spectacular experience, and a great way to end your day in a traditional fishing village.

How to Visit Sungai Lima

From Port Klang, it takes 30 minutes by ferry, or 15 minutes by speedboat to Sungai Lima. As the village is still relatively untouched by tourism for now, it is best to have someone who can bring you around and help arrange your meals.

Sungai Lima’s village chief, Mr Chuee, was our guide for the day. If you want someone who can share the history and local culture of the village, he is the person to look for.

Interested in seeing an authentic fishing village? Join this experience in Sungai Lima with Mr Chuee.

The Beautiful Life Festival: Hey! Sungai Lima is a once-in-a-lifetime event with performances, delicious food, exhibitions and other activities, along with a chance to spend the night under a starry sky in the village. Find out more


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