Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Down the Sepat Highway : Part 1

Back in October I was invited to the wedding kenduri of a colleague's sister near the royal city of Pekan.  Since I had never been down that stretch of highway before, I decided to take the leisurely route, passing through small Malay kampung along the way as opposed to the highway.  Unfortunately, that day did not go well.  I did get to the kenduri, but the camera battery died, my motorcycle quit three times due to failing carburetor diaphragms, and finally, I ran out of petrol.  Still, I liked what I saw for scenery, and decided it was worth another trip, but this time with no time constraint (no kenduri), full tank of petrol, and a fully-charged camera battery.

Down the Sepat Highway
I chose to go on a rare mid-week vacation day, Hari Raya Korban (aka Hari Raya Haji and Hari Raya Aidl-adha).  No, vacation days are NOT rare in Malaysia (that topic for another time), but having one on a day other than Friday or Monday is rare.  Most families are busy at home preparing for the korban in the morning on this day, thus, traffic was light, except for the usual traffic.

Traffic Along Sepat Highway
The first kampung along the Sepat Highway is Kampung Sungai Soi, where several of my college colleagues live.  Kg. Sg. Soi is home to the Royal Pahang Tenun factory.  Tenun is a special loom-woven textile that integrates gold and silver thread with multi-colored cotton threads.  (Topic for another post.)

Royal Pahang Textile Factory
The distance between Kuantan and Pekan along the Sepat Highway is 51 kilometers.  Kilometer markers, therefore, show both the distance to Pekan (going in that direction) and the distance to Kuantan (on the back side, in the opposite direction).  Thus, once one gets to around Km38-Pekan (Km13-Kuantan), the road swings up next to the beach and parallels the beautiful Pantai Sepat (Sepat Beach) for several kilometres.
Sepat Beach Looking North
Of course, once you are there, at the beach, you have to share with the local "beach bums".

Local Beach Bums
And other, normal folks, were having their breakfast under the majestic penaga laut trees. (See:

Breakfast Time

Penaga Laut
Continuing beyond Kampung Sepat, I came to a fork in the road at Kampung Kuala Penor.  I took the left branch, towards the beach, and continued to the mouth (kuala) of the Penor River, where it meets the ocean.  Just upstream of the mouth was a prawn farm with a sign that indicated I was not to enter.

Do Not Enter - You Will Be Shot

So, instead of getting shot, I looked at monsoon clouds out over the South China Sea instead.  This is a beautiful time of the year for me, a cloud person.

Monsoon Clouds Over South China Sea
Backtracking, I met a man who invited me to the korban (sacrifice) of a lembu.  He had seen me photographing another cow and invited me to the house of a friend.
Berkorban Lembu pd Hari Raya Haji

Children Watching the Day's Entertainment
His friend, named Mat Isa, invited me to stay for tea and cake despite my being an uninvited stranger.  The Malays are one of the most polite and hospitable peoples that I have ever known, and they have time and again proven that hospitality.  We chatted a while over the tea and blueberry cake prepared by his wife and then I took my leave since family members were arriving for their Hari Raya Korban day together.

To Be Continued...


  1. dear teak,please email me the photoes during korban at kampung kuala penor last year.i really need the photoes because its have memories about my email is name is nurul wahidah live in kg kuala father is the one asked you to watch the korban.please..really need it.thank you