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Isnin, 1 Februari 2010

Escape to Sekinchan


By ALICIA MUN

The small yet beautiful town of Sekinchan is the perfect getaway for those searching to escape the busy city life.

Tucked in the district of Sabak Bernam, 30km away from Kuala Selangor, Sekinchan boasts six main attractions — mangoes, migratory birds, orchards, padi fields, seafood, and swiftlet nests.

The ride to Sekinchan is scenic with oil palm trees along the coastal road, stalls selling handmade cotton pillows, eateries offering a wide variety of local delicacies, and suddenly, almost in the middle of nowhere, vast expanses of padi fields bordering a stretch of fishing villages.

Sekinchan, which literally means “village suitable for plantation” in Chinese, lives up to its name as the town is the rice bowl of Selangor.

Large plots of land are cultivated to produce the staple food of Malaysians. This area is well-known for its high yield of rice and mechanised farming methods.
The place is also famous for its many fruit orchards with mangoes being one of the main attractions of Sekinchan.

Ciku and jambu air, too, are popular among both the residents of the town as well as visitors because these sweet and juicy fruits are simply mouth-watering especially on a hot day. The size of the fruits grown in Sekinchan is also something that must be noted as well.

Seafood is another one of the many charms of the quaint town.

The row of restaurants right in front of the fishing jetties is the reason why people are willing to travel all the way to Sekinchan just to satisfy their cravings for fresh seafood.

Many including both locals and foreigners believe that birds’ nests are luxurious food that contain many health benefits.

Sekinchan also upholds its reputation as the town with the swiftlet nests. Swiftlet nests are also better known or more commonly known in the food industry as birds’ nests.

The padi fields is dotted with many customised building structures that are the homes of the swiftlets. Visitors can take a look inside these structures that have been specially constructed for the swiftlets to build their nests.

With padi fields covering almost the entire landscape of Sekinchan, this also means that there are many opportunities for the exciting activity of eel-fishing.

When the padi fields are being harvested, the water level is lowered. This is the best time to fish for eels as they will be trapped in their nests. The eels will be all hungry waiting for the water level to increase again.

Eel-fishing is a common activity among the locals in Sekinchan during the padi harvesting season.

The residents said they had experimented with and seen different types of innovation in fishing rods.

According to an avid group of residents who love eel-fishing, you can even use your finger as a fishing rod if you want.

However, it is actually simple to make your own fishing rod.

All you need is a fairly long and straight stick, preferably with an uneven end to prevent the nylon string from slipping off the pole.

Then, after you have tied one end of the nylon string to the stick, carefully attach a hook to the other end of the nylon string. Finally, hook on a small piece of chicken intestine as bait and you are all set to go eel-fishing.

You can also use any other items that are suitable to be substituted as bait.

All that is left to be done now is to search for holes in the mud along the water irrigation of the padi fields.

If there is an eel in the hole, there will be tiny bubbles around the hole or the water around the hole will turn murky, signalling the presence of an eel in the hole.

Besides looking out for these signs, you must also be patient and continuously dangle the bait slightly above or below the water level of the hole.

If you feel that there is a tension of something pulling at your stick, then pull your stick out of the hole as hard and as quickly as you can. That is how you catch an eel. It may seem like an easy task but eel-fishing actually requires a great amount of patience.

There is no hidden secret to it but eel-fishing is exciting as it gives you that rush of adrenaline while you are waiting to catch an eel.

With so much to offer, Sekinchan is a relaxing place that allows people to fully appreciate the charms of a small yet interesting town.

The picturesque landscape of Sekinchan especially when the sun sets against the vast padi fields and stretch of fishing villages is the one of the many reasons why people also call this town “a photographer’s haven”.

Watch YNN’s exploits in Sekinchan on Thestaronline.tv/Switchup