The pavements are highlighted with light yellow paint signaling space allotment and the directional flow of organized traffic lanes the same as civil road systems, just narrow versions – think Venice except Malaysia not Italy. Signs around sharp curves warn cyclists to caution around the bends. I would urge visitors to heed those warnings especially around the bridges as the downward descent can give your bicycle the velocity kick and the sharp bend will leave you less appreciated by the oncoming traffic as you’re occupying both lanes. With no cars or motorbikes permitted on the island, this may give you a false sense of security relaxing you from thoughtful vigilance concerning road safety precautions. Don’t be fooled by the silence of no motor traffic on these roads, you still must exercise extreme caution with cycling your way around the narrow streets or risk disastrous collision with the 10 year old local speed demon carrying groceries on one side and a 4 year old little brother on the other who ferociously speeds past you on an electric bike probably thinking, “dang tourists, learn to ride a bicycle.” Haha, just kidding however true.
In searching to understand and learn about different cultures and ways of life, I had become discouraged previously with visiting other villages primarily in Malaysia’s northern neighbor Thailand with expectations of seeing just life as it goes on but then experiencing what is comparable to a human zoo. Pulau Ketam helped reinvigorate visiting village life with not providing an authentic feel, but by being just authentic giving me a refreshed view. As I made my way around, stopping to take photos of tiny shrimp prawns drying in the sun or watching a group of four people laughing as they deshell some recent catches, I was admiring one of the fishing boats that lay among the rest on the channel as one local man walks up and says to me “welcome to my island and thank you for visiting my home.” As the pleasant conversation ensues, he shares with me the history of how the community came to be knowing it quite well as he was born and raised in Pulau Ketam and has spent his whole life there. I feel the sense of pride radiate from him too when I share I came from America and wanted to see Pulau Ketam.
SIGHTS TO SEE