Last Saturday Michael and I decided to take a little day trip to check out Sekinchan, a quaint beachside fishing village North of KL known for its expansive rice paddies. The plan was simple: catch a direct bus from the city center in the morning, spend a few hours exploring the paddies, check out the Wishing Tree, and be back in KL by early afternoon. But one thing we failed to take into consideration is that nothing is ever that simple in Malaysia.
The adventure started with an Uber driver who had no idea where he was taking us (typical), finding out the bus we were suppose to catch actually stops several blocks away from the bus station (why??), running to catch said bus, only for it to arrive 45 minutes late (also typical). The bus ride itself was an adventure, with a shoeless bus driver chain smoking cigs and speeding along the two-lane highway that snaked through rainforests and dilapidated old villages. Besides Langkawi, this was the first time since we moved that we had been outside of KL, and it was really eye-opening to see a different, more rural side of Malaysia.
Although we only traveled about 50 miles, it took us nearly 3 hours to reach the final bus stop- which we quickly discovered was nowhere near where we were trying to go. We also discovered that English is not widely spoken outside of KL, but we somehow managed to find a cab driver who kinda-sorta knew what we were talking about when we said “rice paddies”. Another 45 minute drive and we arrived at the rice processing factory in Sekinchan, with the sun beating down hotter than ever. After unsuccessfully trying to find a place to rent bikes or a moped to explore the paddies, we resorted to asking a random family at a food stall if they had an extra bike we could borrow. They let us rent their 9-year-old son’s mini motorbike for 50rm (about $10), and off we went!
The Sekinchan rice paddies were unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Every direction I looked was just an endless sea of green and golden yellow. Among the paddies is Nan Tian Temple, a stunning Chinese temple that even had a tower you could climb for a panoramic view of the paddies. My favorite part of the experience was walking along the irrigation system, totally immersed in the breathtaking scenery.
After returning the motorbike, we realized we were were literally stuck in the middle of nowhere with no access to Uber or cabs. We ended up having to knock on a car window, and luckily a young couple who spoke English were kind enough to give us a lift to our next stop: the Wishing Tree. Situated on Sekinchan’s hidden Redang Beach, the iconic Wishing Tree is part of a temple where tourists come to write a wish on a red piece of cloth that is then tossed into the tree. Michael and I took turns throwing our wish into the tree, and somehow we both failed the first try (hopefully this is not a bad omen).
Getting back to KL was not easy. We had to pay a random guy to drive us 45 minutes back to the bus station, hop on the bus for another 3+ hours (this time getting caught in a crazy lightning storm), finally making it home a good six hours later than we intended. The day was definitely an adventure but sometimes the inconveniences and unexpected hurdles are what make travel fun. I wouldn’t have it any other way.