KNOWN as the ‘Island of Peace’, Pulau Aman is home to a traditional Malay village with a population of less than 300 and is considered as one of the hidden gems in Seberang Perai.
Located in Simpang Ampat, south Seberang Perai district, the island can be reached by taking a 10-minute boat ride from the Batu Musang jetty in Batu Kawan.
It is a popular destination for local and foreign tourists mainly because of its signature prawn noodles and a variety of fresh seafood such as mantis, shrimps, oysters, prawns and fish.
Besides savouring the delicious seafood, other attractive activities on the island include a boat ride to the fish farms nearby, kayaking, fishing activities, team building activities, jungle trekking, camping and many more.
Surrounded by beautiful beaches, the island also has attracted quite a number of film companies to shoot some important scenes there for their drama productions such as ‘Operasi X’, ‘Seribu Kali Cinta’ and ‘Camelia.’
In a recent visit to Pulau Aman, the Buletin Mutiara team was impressed by its uniqueness and attractions.
During our half-day tour, we were accompanied by Bukit Tambun assemblyman Goh Choon Aik and Pulau Aman Village Community Management Council (MPKK) chairman Saibi Abdul Majid.
The first attraction on the island that we visited is known as Telaga Emas (Well of Gold).
It was built in 1789 and is a historic well in Pulau Aman.
The interesting part about the well is that even though it is located close to the seashore, yet it still provides fresh water!
The visitors can also draw the water from the well for bathing and drinking as well.
Next was Masjid Ar-Rahman, which is the only mosque on the island and the main place of worship for the Muslim community. It has been there since 1817.
Another main highlight is the country’s oldest breadfruit (buah sukun) tree dating back to 1890.
Some of the villagers here could be seen slicing the breadfruit, which is round and green in colour, and then deep frying it before selling the chips to tourists.
After that, we tried our luck to harvest some mussels (kepah) along a stretch of beach. Surprisingly, we managed to collect many of them.
Other local tourists were spotted harvesting mussels on the beach as well.
Local tourist Lip Sun Wong, 45, said this was his first time harvesting mussels on the beach.
“I never did this before but after trying it myself, I enjoyed the new experience.
“I will bring all the mussels that I have collected to one of the nearby restaurants on the island and ask them to cook it for me,” said Lip, who managed to collect about 3kg to 4kg of mussels with his friends.
Later on, we went to the Warung Kak Timah to have our lunch because we know that our journey would not be complete without trying its famous ‘mee udang’ (prawn noodles). And it was worth it!
The mee udang was served with big sized prawns which were supplied fresh by fishermen after their catch from the sea.
Asked what makes her mee udang so irresistible, Fatimah Din attributes it to the fresh seafood and nothing else.
“There’s nothing much to share here because as soon as the prawns arrive at the jetty, they go directly into the pot and I think that’s what makes the noodles tasty,” said Fatimah, who’s already in the business for 15 years.
Besides prawn noodles, Fatimah said the restaurant also serves prawn fried rice, roti canai, nasi lemak and others at reasonable prices.
Goh said many upgrading works on the island are underway to further spruce up Pulau Aman.
“The Penang Economic Planning Unit (BPEN) has received an allocation of RM100,000 from the Federal Government to upgrade the jetty of Pulau Aman.
“Prior to that, I have also helped to improve the existing infrastructure on the island such as upgrading the public hall and jetty roof, building a new toilet and repairing some of the chalets.
“At the same time, the state government, through Penang Development Corporation (PDC), is also planning to upgrade the Batu Musang jetty in Batu Kawan and other relevant infrastructures to make the island more appealing to the locals and tourists,” he said.
According to Goh, more than 70,000 local and foreign tourists visited Pulau Aman last year.
“So, this figure shows that Pulau Aman has the potential to be a popular tourist destination and the state government will be doing its best to boost tourism on the island.
“On my part, I will work closely with state Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage (PETACH) Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin to organise more programmes in the near future. We were supposed to hold the ‘Fiesta Pulau Aman’ on Oct 19 this year but it has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Hopefully, we can organise it next year.
“I also urge the residents of Pulau Aman to work together with the state government to develop the island as an eco-tourism destination to attract more visitors here,” he added.
Meanwhile, Saibi expressed hopes that the name of the jetty to Pulau Aman would be standardised to make it easier for the tourists to find the jetty location.
“Currently on the nearby road signboards, it is written as ‘Jetty to Pulau Aman’. But, when we arrived at the jetty itself, it is written as the Batu Musang jetty.
“Meanwhile, locals have been using different names for the jetty such as Batu Kawan jetty, Bukit Tambun jetty and a few others. So, this could bring some confusion to the visitors because of the different names when they actually refer to the same place.
“Thus, I hope the authority will consider our request to standardise the name of the jetty,” he said.
Saibi also hopes that the state government together with relevant organisations will continue their good works of developing Pulau Aman as a tourist attraction.
Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Darwina Mohd Daud