Cruise Write-Up

If you are adventurous to explore what new tourism attraction Penang can offer you beside its famous heritage, multi-cultures, hawker food and beaches, then you may like to explore this river cruise. The “river cruise cum open sea” tour is newly being introduced and operated by EcoPenang Tour Sdn Bhd to promote eco-tourism and aquatic-tourism and it has received endorsements from various Government and NGO tourism related agencies.

The departure time for the morning and/or evening cruise will depend on the daily sea tide which you will be advised when you make your booking. When you arrive at the jetty, you will be briefed on the safety aspects of the cruise. You get on board a 30-foot long boat with other tourists. Your boat and boat master are both licensed by the Marine Department (Jabatan Laut) of Malaysia in order for you to be insured on accidental and medical coverage.

You start your cruise from the Penang Port Swettenham Pier, cruising along the island  breathtaking coastline, passing by the Ferry Terminal, Chew Jetty and other clan jetties, the floating temple, historical buildings, the Light projects till the base of the Penang Bridge.

Far in front, you will see Pulau Jerejak.  Cruise out to the Penang Channel, enjoying the cool breeze.  Proceed to the famous mid span of the Penang Bridge.  Cruise beneath the mid span of the Bridge and the boat will stop for you to take your memorable photographs of the Asia Longest Cable Bridge as souvenirs.

Observe and watch sea activities, birds, eagles flying above, fishermen in actions hauling up their fishing nets of live catches of shrimps, prawns, pomfrets, crabs, fishes, prawn mantis, cuttlefish, squid etc. according to seasonal catches. Different fishing boats will use different types of nets and techniques to catch fishes or prawns. Depending on the season and weather condition, the fishermen may get good catch.

EcoPenang Tour also offers its optional package of prawn mantis catching in the open sea, depending on its season. About 30 prawn mantis cage nets with attached baits will be dropped into the sea.  These cage nets will be hauled up about an hour later. You may experience hauling up the cage nets yourself and feel the thrill when you manage to catch some prawn mantis, crabs, fish, shrimps or prawns. Factors like the weather condition, sea tide and sea current will determine your volumn of catches if any.

Meanwhile, be alert and keep a look out for dolphins and flying fish.  If you are lucky, you may catch them leaping and frolicking in the waters in the open sea depending on weather conditions, sea current & tide between the 1st Penang Bridge to as far as the 2nd Penang Bridge.

Next, we proceed to the Fish Farm. Penang has the biggest fish farming in the sea. Each farm has many floating fish cages which rear different types of fishes and the popular types being grouper, red snapper, sea bass (siakap) and jenahak. When you reach the fish farm, you have to be careful as you walk along the wooden platforms. If you like to experience feeding the fishes, you can purchase some fish food. It is fun watching, playing and feeding the fishes, some of which are about 3 to 4 feet long.

At the fish farm, you can also see the splendid 2nd Penang Bridge in the distance.  It link the island to the mainland, connecting Batu Kawan on the mainland and Batu Maung on the Island.  The total length of the RM5 billion bridge is 24km (15ml) and it is the longest bridge in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

Depending on time and weather condition, the cruise can proceed to Pulau Aman which means peaceful island, an idyllic peaceful malay village (optional tour). In Pulau Aman,  which is well known for its peaceful village life style, you can walk around and visit the Golden Well (Telaga Mas) and the country oldest Sukun Tree which bears its edible sukun fruits. You may like to buy the local handicrafts and dried food products, namely homemade shrimp paste (belacan) and fried sukun fruit chips which tasted like potato chips.  You may also try the island floating restaurant local malay prawn noodle “mee udang” with fresh seafood, with your own purchases of live prawn mantis, crabs and prawns from the restaurant live seafood market.

After spending sometime at Pulau Aman, it’s time to return back to the boat which will take you to the Juru River. As the boat enters the river mouth, it will slow down. Look out for sea otters. If timing and sea tide is right, you may observe the fishermen unique technique of catching cockles near the Juru river mouth which is one of the largest open sea cockle farming in Malaysia. Juru is famous for its export of cockles and there is a cockle processing factory by the river.

Then, slowly cruise along the 30 minutes meandering 4 km Juru River which is flanked on both sides by lush mangrove trees, nipah palm trees and gedabu trees. The nipah palm trees bear white edible fruits which can be tapped for its healthy juice whereas the fruits of the gedabu trees can be eaten as preserved fruit (jeruk). As you relax and enjoy the cool breeze, you may see the water monitor lizards of various sizes swimming in the river and their natural habitat which is also home for the mud crabs which live in little pot holes in the muddy river bank underneath the roots of the mangrove trees. You can also see various types of birds including eagles, king fishers and white cranes preying on the river fish. Hopefully catch glimpses of the rare wild black monkeys with their long tails hanging onto the tree branches and brown monkeys too. Depending on season, different species of dragon flies can be seen flying around. Observe fishermen livelihood, with their stilt houses along the river bank.  In the eveing, you can usually see many swiftlets flying in the sky.

Soon you will reach the Juru Jetty.  Disembark and board a coach/van to Auto-City passing by villages, dragon fruit farms etc.

In Auto-City, you can have your lunch or dinner at any of the 30 restaurants and cafes which offer international or local cuisines. In the evening, you can also browse around the Shop-In D’Park which is a night park shopping area with 120 little shops, offering fashion, clothing, accessories, bags, shoes, beauty products, souvenirs and others. And if you like night entertainment, Auto-City is the place as it had many types of entertainment outlets to hang and chilled out.

Thereafter, return to Penang by coach/van across the Penang Bridge.  Enjoy sight-seeing the beautiful heritage sites of Penang before reaching your hotel.