KualaGula is a small fishing village which located in the district of Kerian, about45 km from Taiping, in the state of Perak Darul Ridzuan. It is also known as acoastal mangrove area. A long time ago, during the earlier days, sugarcane wasthe main agricultural crop that supported the local sugar industry in KualaGula. So, from that situation, the name of the village was established as ”KualaGula”, which means a coastal village that produces sugar.
Kuala Gula alsolocated towards the north of the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, which is thelargest tract of mangrove forest in Peninsular Malaysia that covers about40,000 hectars. In 1906, the Matang Mangrove Forest was first protected andbecome the best managed mangrove forests in the world. Next, Kuala Gulaconsists of mudflats, mangroves, rivers and estuaries area that are importantfor fisheries activities since a majority of the local community at Kuala Gulainvolved in this growing business. According to Global Environment Centre,nowadays, it is estimated that a total of 7,188 people live in Kuala Gula andits proximity. From that number in population, approximately 35% or 2450 of thepopulation are involved in the fishing industries through activities like fishand prawn catching directly.
Furthermore, they also involved with trickled-downfishing activities such as fish, dried shrimp and shrimp paste. Other than that, Kuala Gulamangroves become a perching and feeding site for migratory water birdsincluding the Little Egret (Egrettagarzetta) and Great Egret (Casmerodiusalbus), and many waders like Common Redshank (Tringa totanus), Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) and Mongolian Plover (Charadrius mongolus). In 1970, Kuala Gula was established as a birdsanctuary by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN).
Themain purpose of forming the sanctuary is to protect migratory and resident birdspecies which have been stayed or came to the wetland area for many years. Approximately,about 5,000 visitors came to Kuala Gula every year for bird watching since thousandsof birds can be seen in Kuala Gula wetlands during the migratory and winteringseason. In addition, Kuala Gula stays closeto Pulau Kelumpang and Pulau Trong Bird Sanctuary that have been reserved asBird Sanctuaries within the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve.
Both islands arereserved port that might be the only viable population of the globallyendangered Milky Storks in Malaysia. Besides, due to its strategic location andrich with natural resources, Kuala Gula becomes a popular eco-tourism site. Duringthe Visit Malaysia 2007, Kuala Gula became most suitable place to be promotedas a national eco-tourism destination since it is strategically located betweenthe industrial area of the Northern Peninsular and the North-South Highway corridorwhich links the tourist destinations in Perak. Next, other than Kuala Gula, KualaSepetang also known as a fishing village and a place for spot of fresh seafood.It is located about 14 km away from Taiping and lies around an estuary thatconnects to the Straits of Malacca. In earlier days, Kuala Sepetang is known asPort Weld, which derived from a governor’s name, Frederick Weld. After that,the name is changed to Kuala Sepetang, where it is derived from the time ittakes to reach that place from Taiping by bicycle, which is one evening inMalay. Kuala Sepetang is a popular town which becomes a famous touristattraction with an abundance of mangrove area that sustained a local charcoalindustry and a houses a nature park.
The charcoal factory in Kuala Sepetang wasestablished since 1930’s. Since there are abundance of material from the localmangrove forest, the charcoal industry is well progress in Kuala Sepetang. Inaddition, the Perak State Government has planned a 30-year work incollaboration with charcoal factories. Besides, there are numerous of seafoodrestaurants and hawker stalls around the town and distant villages in thecountryside which serves many local dishes including seafood. Lastly, KualaSepetang is specializes in crustaceans since it is located near to the MatangMangrove Forest Reserve and mudflat region which is a hotspot for crabs,shrimps, lobsters and others.