FROM a converted bus cafe in a paddy field to a wishing tree on a beach, there are certainly plenty of interesting sights in Sabak Bernam.
While it is rightly famous for its beaches, fishing coves and padi fields, there is much more to explore in that north-west district of Selangor.
Be mindful though that tourism activities here are weekend-centric, so those who visit on weekdays may find many of the shops closed.
Visitors are encouraged to check into a homestay to really soak up the atmosphere.
StarMetro highlights several attractions to look out for in Sabak Bernam, which is a two-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur.
Locations featured here follow a south-to-north direction.
Sekinchan paddy fields
Sekinchan is known as Selangor’s rice bowl and the lush padi fields make an ideal backdrop for photographs.
Look out for an old Hino bus which has been converted into a cafe just beside the fields.
To enjoy the experience, the minimum spend per customer is RM15 and dining time is no more than 45 minutes.
There is a padi gallery and mini museum where visitors can try their hand at planting padi and learn about the process of rice production.
A clever example of how agricultural land can be used to generate additional revenue can be found at the Sekinchan coconut plantation in Jalan Tali Air 4.
Visitors come here to take a breather under the shady fronds while enjoying coconut shake, keropok lekor and nasi lemak.
This beach in Sekinchan is not to be mistaken for the similarly named Pulau Redang in Terengganu.
On the way to the beach, visitors will see many outlets offering fresh seafood for sale along Jalan Besar.
Over the years, these outlets have become increasingly creative in their branding.
One such outlet has named itself “Men in Fish” with images of its owners donning suits and sunglasses following the lead characters in the Men in Black film franchise.
At the beach, look for a huge tree draped with red ribbons. Locals call this the “Wishing Tree”.
If you have a personal intention that needs some encouragement, go to the nearby temple to obtain the red ribbons weighted with metal rings.
Apparently, one should aim for the highest branch to loop this ribbon on.
A successful throw is supposed to indicate a greater likelihood that one’s wish will be fulfilled.
StarMetro was told that these ribbons would be removed periodically once they weigh too heavily on the tree. They are then burnt at the temple.
There are plenty of food stalls here while vendors selling kites are popular with children.
Unique to this beach are its treehouses. There are about five, complete with hammocks and swings.
This spot became a tourist draw after Hong Kong stars Ruco Chan and Aimee Chan came to Sekinchan to shoot a TVB series, Outbound Love, which was broadcast in 2014.
Bazar Dorani Perdana
Built just a year ago, this wet market houses some 48 stalls selling seafood, vegetables and salted fish, among others.
We are told that the traders were from the local fishing community so it is likely that the bream, mackerel and golden snapper found here are fresh off the boat.
The market is located within Kampung Sungai Limau and is just a few minutes away from Kampung Sungai Haji Dorani.
This traditional Malay village setting is filled with homestays where savvy visitors stay overnight so they can do some sightseeing first before making purchases at the market and heading home the following day.
There are also many stalls selling grilled duck bill clams and horseshoe crab.
Bagan Sungai Besar
In the Chinese fishing village of Bagan Sungai Besar is an old, rickety wooden jetty which is a favourite spot for taking photographs.
Said to be built in the 1960s and accessible through Jalan 6, village head Sia Chock Sung told of how “parking problems” made the jetty grow even further out into the Straits of Malacca.
There are three seafood restaurants and one hawker centre here.
During the dry season, visitors can see salted fish and shrimp for sale being dried right in front of villagers’ homes.
For a glimpse into the life of a fishing community, take a stroll along Jalan 5 where you will find boats right in front of fishermen’s homes.
Sungai Panjang Firefly AttractionTo get to this hidden spot, type “Pusat Konservasi Kelip Kelip Sungai Panjang, Sungai Besar Selangor” in Google Maps to get to the jetty in Jalan Utama Belia 1.
Located in Kampung Rancangan Tanah Belia 1 Sungai Panjang, village head Kharul Nizam Mohd Jais said the best time for river trips was between 8pm and 10pm.
Due to the conditional movement control order, visitors are advised to book beforehand.
Commercialised 10 years ago, trips down a 1km stretch of Sungai Bernam will take about 45 minutes in a sampan powered by outboard motors of 15horsepower.
There are six operators with charges starting from RM50 per boat. Passenger capacity is according to boat size.
For bookings, call 013-674 4802 (Din Muhammad).
Kelong Kupang Sabak BernamThis offshore platform fishing facility offers just the bare necessities.
Kelong Kupang Sabak Bernam, however, offers a 360-degree view of the sunset and sunrise on open sea.
Among the sights reported are eagles and seagulls dipping and diving into the water to catch fish.
On good days, dolphins have also been sighted.
There are a series of four chalets perched 3.5m above the surface of the Straits of Malacca.
The kelong started as a mussel farming project by the Sungai Besar Fisheries Department in 2005.
It is now managed by Mohd Zulhaidi Mohd Anuar and two of his brothers.
It is located about two nautical miles from Kampung Banting 2.
Facilities are available for rent.
Visitors must bring their own fishing equipment, food and drinks.
Electricity and fresh water are provided. Check-in is at 5pm during high tide.
Pick-up will be at the fishermen’s jetty located in Jalan Bumi Hijau.
For bookings, call 017-339 7120 (Mohd Zulhaidi).
Sabak Bernam District MuseumLocated along Jalan Raja Chulan in Pekan Sabak Bernam, entrance to the Sabak Bernam District Museum is free.
Artefacts revolve around the fishing and agriculture industries, including traditional equipment such as bait boxes, different types of fish netting and farming tools.
There is also a section on the history of Sabak Bernam, including information on its founding fathers and how the district got its name.
A watchtower behind the museum gives visitors an aerial view of Sungai Bernam.
Hutan Melintang in Perak is located across the river which is split between Selangor and Perak.