Sleepy town comes alive for Friday market

Out and about: Visitors in traditional outfits checking out the fresh produce found at the Pekan Jumaat Sungai Bayor morning market in Perak. — Bernama

LARUT: Every Friday, sleepy Kampung Sungai Bayor, which lies in the shadow of the Lata Rambong hills in northeastern Perak is transformed into a jam-packed trading hub, thanks to a 2km market that attracts merchants and shoppers from three states.

The Pekan Jumaat Sungai Bayor morning market, which has been around for more than 60 years, has become a weekly draw for consumers and traders from Perak, Kedah and Penang due to the variety of goods on offer, from fresh produce to cooked food to toys to antique parang and keris.

Besides ulam and vegetables mostly sourced from the surrounding farms and jungles, visitors can find merchants selling rare freshwater fish such as ikan tengas (copper masheer) and wild honey from the tualang tree.

Despite only being open from 7am to noon, the market, which stalls occupy a stretch along Jalan Kampung Sungai Bedarah gets about 2,000 visitors per week says Selama District Hawkers Association chairman Mohamad Ezaiyuhan Awang.

“But the number will double during school holidays,” he told Bernama, adding that he has come across visitors from Johor and Selangor as well.

Business is so brisk during school holidays, that some merchants such as Mohd Nazril Salleh, who sells kacang rebus (boiled nuts), sell out their goods within two hours.

Nazril in fact, is one of those merchants who is willing to travel all the way from outside of Perak to take advantage of the market’s crowd.

For the past six years, he has been driving 50km from Kulim, Kedah, to make between RM300 to RM450 from the sale of his steamed peanuts and chickpeas at the market.

“Even though the trading time is short, at around five hours, and only one trading day in a week, I earn a very satisfying income. It’s better during school holidays when I sell out my kacang rebus by 9am,” he said, adding that the Selama District Council (MDS) only charges RM4 for each lot.

To keep things vibrant, the district hawkers association, residents group and a local photography studio also organise several competitions as side activities, added Mohamad Ezaiyuhan.

A visitor, Normala Sidek, who drove nearly two hours from Ipoh to shop at the market, said she comes for the market’s rustic atmosphere and the variety of ulam and fresh produce at lower prices compared to the city.

“I am confident that the uniqueness of this market can become another tourist attraction”.

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