The ferry boat that I board heading towards Pulau Aman. (23 May, 2005)
Pulau Aman is an island off the coast of Bukit Tambun, Seberang Perai. Located on the southeast of Penang Island, Pulau Aman covers 288 acres. An idyllic Malay fishing village, Pulau Aman is known for having the oldest Sukun (breadfruit) tree in Malaysia. Pulau Aman is reachable by ferry boat from the pier at Bukit Tambun. Park your car in the open space in front of the pier. There is a big signboard pointing to the jetty for Pulau Aman, but apart from you, I guess you need to ask around for directions.
I explored Pulau Aman out of curiosity. I arrived at the Bukit Tambun Jetty just before 9am one Saturday morning, and had to wait over an hour for the ferry, as it only leaves at 10am. The fare is RM4 (and RM2.50 for children) per way. The journey took over thirty minutes (over because the ferry did not depart on time), very slow considering the distance is only 2.5 nautical miles. It first negotiated a curve on the Sungai Jawi before reaching open sea.
The inside of the ferry boat. (23 May, 2005)
Homestay on Pulau AmanPulau Aman is one of the location identified for Homestay programme in Penang. This is where the pace of life slows down considerably. Visitors here can view the fish farms around the island, as well as the fruit orchards maintained by the villagers.
While at Pulau Aman, visitors can also visit some of the historical sites or canoe in the sea around the island.
For more details on Homestay in Pulau Aman, contact the Koperasi Pelancongan Pulau Pinang at 6 Jalan Kampung Kaka, 10200 George Town, Penang, at 04-250 5500.
Approaching the jetty of Pulau Aman. (23 May, 2005)
How to reach Pulau AmanThe most cost effective way to reach Pulau Aman is to take a ferry from the jetty at Bukit Tambun, on Penang Mainland. The journey takes 30 minutes. Boats can also be hired from Batu Maung or Batu Uban on Penang Island. The journey from there takes 45 minutes. Boat hires can be quite expensive, and run to a few hundred ringgit, as you are chartering the whole boat, and it also depends on availability of fishing boat to take you there.
Update 14 Jan 2012
You can now go to Pulau Aman by taking the ferry boats from the Batu Musang Jetty.
Selamat Datang ke Pulau Aman! Welcome to Pulau Aman! (23 May, 2005)
Sights on Pulau Aman
Little boy with horseshoe crab for lunch. (23 May, 2005)
My Pulau Aman ExperienceI shared the ferry with aunties and little kids, and middle men on their way to the kampung. I was the only non-Malay on board the ferry, and later, found that I was the only non-Malay on Pulau Aman on that day.
The ferry boat dropped us at the Pulau Aman jetty. This is the old jetty. When I was writing this, the new jetty is completed, but not open yet (I learn in the newspaper that it will open in September 2006).
The kampung of Pulau Aman is located on the northeast side of the island. There are paths around the kampung, and since it isn't a very big place, you are unlikely to get lost. What I noticed about the kampung is that it has a lot of sukun (breadfruit) trees. I can imagine what a simple life it must be over here. But for an urbanite like me, it would be dreadfully dull.
Kayaks for hire ... but the caretaker is absent. (23 May, 2005)
On the north tip of the island, I discovered a stretch of beach. The sand was white, but coarse, and on closer inspection, I discovered that it's really cockle shells on the ground. Over here, I saw kayaks and a hut. I suppose someone has set this up for the purpose of watersports activities. But when I was there, there was nobody looking after the kayaks.
From this part of Pulau Aman, I can get a good view of Pulau Gedung. Pulau Gedung is like a sister island to Pulau Aman, visited mostly by fishermen and anglers. I shall write about Pulau Gedung separately.
Continuing my exploration of Pulau Aman, I followed the cement path as it wound its way along the west side of the island. Many of the trees are labelled with their local and scientific names, turning Pulau Aman into a botanic gardens. I come across the buah keriang tree, which brought back childhood memories, because there used to be a buah keriang tree near the primary school I went to (but the tree is long gone now). Throughout my growing up years, I have wondered how to spell buah keriang, and was in a way delighted to come across it in Pulau Aman.
A shed is built to shelter the Telaga Emas (Golden Well). (23 May, 2005)
At the end of the cement path, there was an old well, Telaga Emas (Golden Well) located right next to the sea. This well is said to have been dug in 1879 (that's just a few years after Captain Francis Light opened the trading post on). Today, a shed is built over the well, to provide a bit of shelter.
I turned back after Telaga Emas. The path appears to have been swallowed by the forest, and the number of mosquitoes around there is reaching the unbearable level. So I returned to the kampung, and looked for the oldest sukun tree. I finally found it in front of one of the kampung houses. According to the noticeboard in front of the tree, it was planted by someone by the name of Tok Awang bin Akib in 1891, over a hundred years ago. Nothing particularly spectacular about it.
I explored the other side of the island, where the cement pathway continues, to as far as the new jetty, where somebody was hanging their laundry on its railings. I finished exploring Pulau Aman within an hour, and had to sit at the jetty for another hour to wait for the ferry boat to take me back to Bukit Tambun.
Buah keriang, a fruit that looks like grapes, but frightfully sour. (23 May, 2005)
Is Pulau Aman worth exploring? If you're a true blue explorer like myself, then yes. But I have to say it is an extremely dull place for me. Nevertheless, if you want to go there, for your information, the ferry departs Bukit Tambun for Pulau Aman at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm. The trip from Pulau Aman for Bukit Tambun at 8am, 12noon, 3pm and 6pm. For enquiries, you can contact the Seberang Perai Fishermen Association at +604 397 9796 or +604 530 7185.
Updates13 January 2012: The ferry to Pulau Aman now runs from Batu Musang in Batu Kawan. The pier on Pulau Gedung, where the two British 1905 magazines are located, is now in a bad state due to poor maintenance. Similarly, poor maintenance resulted in the collapse of the canopy at Batu Payong.
Return to Pulau AmanMy friend Michael paid a visit to Pulau Aman in Jan 2012, providing me with some recent photos which I am now displaying at Pulau Aman Revisited.
An abundance of jackfruits in Pulau Aman. (23 May, 2005)
Malaysia's oldest sukun (breadfruit) tree, planted in 1891. (23 May, 2005)
The new Pulau Aman Jetty doubles as a dhoby ghaut. (23 May, 2005)
View Pulau Aman in a larger map
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