A trip to Crab Island or Pulau Ketam makes for an enjoyable family outing from Kuala Lumpur.
Pulau Ketam itself is low-lying, muddy and fringed with mangrove forests which is an ideal habitat for crabs and other marine crustaceans that inhabit these waters.
The first settlers of this island was a group of fishermen from Hainan in southern China in the 1870s.
Today it is home to a community of about 8,000 people, the majority of who are Chinese, who have built mostly wooden homes on stilts over the soft tidal mudflats.
Services such as schools, a clinic, police station and electricity have been added over the years.
There are two settlements on the island, Pulau Ketam Village and Sungai Lima Village. There are no roads or cars and the only way to get around is either by boat or walking and cycling on the narrow wooden or concrete boardwalks within the village.
Once you arrive at the Pulau Ketam ferry jetty you can walk through the busy main street of the village lined with shops selling dried fish and groceries.
Here too is where the island’s many seafood restaurants are located.
If you have ever been to Lamma Island in Hong Kong you will have an idea of the sights and smells that you can encounter here.
The meals are similar too (perhaps slightly better in Lamma?) with typical dishes containing crab, prawns and fish. Oyster omelette seems to be a popular dish here.
After your meal you can wander around the village. It is possible to rent bicycles but children and inexperienced cyclists should be careful on the narrow paths. You cannot go too far anyway – the pathways peter out at the edges of the village.
There are no beaches on this island but there are plenty of sampans and fishing boats that rest on mud when the tide goes out.
There are some Chinese temples in the village and a couple of hotels if you miss the last ferry home.
It is best to avoid public and school holidays if you can as this place can get busy. On normal weekdays you probably will not need to join a long queue for the ferries and the service in the restaurants will be better too.
As for souvenirs, most locals would buy dried seafood. There are also lots of pretty T-shirts bearing the Pulau Ketam name that you can choose.
Unless you have your own boat you will have to take the ferry that departs from the terminal at Port Klang (Terminal Penumpang South Port).
If you come by KTM Commuter train from Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station you get off at Port Klang station which is the final stop.
The rail journey now takes one hour 23 minutes with the slow train stopping at 18 stations along the way. On arrival at Port Klang you just have to cross the street to the Pulau Ketam ferry terminal.
This article first appeared in Malaysia Traveller.