The Clan Jetties in Penang Weld Quay (Complete Guide)

Posted by shloke 01 September 2012
My latest trip to Penang Island aka The Pearl of Orient - it was a spontaneous decision, made on the spur of the moment. I boarded an express bus (Konsortium Bus Express) from Pudu Sentral (formerly Puduraya terminal) all the way to Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal in Penang. Bus travel is usually a lot cheaper than plane travel, but takes longer. I paid RM35 for a four and a half hours ride. Luckily, it was a comfortable ride - spacious seat with air con. The bus was SO COLD, I was almost shivering. BRRRRR!

This is my second trip to Penang Island (Malay: Pulau Penang). To be perfectly honest, I'm not familiar with the roads and places up here. So I boarded a Rapid Penang Public Bus (No: 401 at Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal) and requested the driver to inform me when the bus reached Lebuh Chulia (translation: Chulia Street). Chulia Street is Penang's backpacker haven, similar to Khao San Road in Bangkok. Most of the main tourist attractions, restaurants, food courts and hawker stalls in Georgetown are within walking distance. By the time I arrived at Lebuh Chulia (around 2 p.m.) I was pretty tired. It was awful and to make matter worse I was having bouts diarrhea. ARGH!

Nevertheless, I made my way to Crystal Guesthouse in Lebuh Chulia. There are plenty of cheap guesthouses in Lebuh Chulia. I highly recommend Crystal and Old Penang Guesthouse - friendly staff, laid back atmosphere, free internet access (in house or Penang FREE WIFI from Redtone) and clean shared bathrooms. OK, let me clarified something; I'm NOT PAID to write my blog articles. All expenses out form my own pocket. No hanky-panky :)

Later in the afternoon, I walked all the way to the famous Clan Jetties in Weld Quay, Penang (Malay: Pengkalan Weld Quay, Penang). I had ridiculously high expectations for this attraction - the CLAN JETTIES! People have been raving and talking about the place. So before I proceed with more ranting, please take a look at some historical facts about the Clan Jetties of Penang:

  • A clan is a group of close-knit families; in this case they are all of Chinese origin. A clan jetty is a community village, consisting of houses built on stilts over the water. 
  • When the jetties were established in the mid-19th century everybody who lived on the same jetty had the same surname because they all came from the same fishing village in China’s Fujian Province. When they arrived they did not have money to buy land and so decided to build their own villages: the jetties.
  • The families were used to living close to the water and most men who lived on the jetties worked as fishermen or as coolies in the port.
  • After Penang lost its free port status in 1974 the port became very quiet and the people who lived on the jetties had to find other ways to make a living. Many of them returned to fishing and prawn farming.
  • Nowadays the Chew Jetty is the largest clan jetty and has the most active community. On the Chew Jetty about 80% of the remaining residents are still ‘real’ Chews. The families here are the descendants from Xin Lin She village, Tong Aun District, Quan Zhou Prefecture of Fujian Province. Many children of the earlier inhabitants have left the jetty to go and live in permanent houses instead of the wooden ones on the jetty. 
  • The UNESCO World Heritage status saved the jetties from planned demolition. The fact that the jetties now have heritage status guarantees that they will stay.
  • The residents, however, have found new ways to survive: there are souvenir shops, a hairdresser, a couple of houses offering home-stays and the boats which are now in use as water taxis. Heritage status has also resulted in an increase in cruise ships and leisure boats arriving at the renovated Swettenham Pier, which results in more visitors for the jetties. One might say that UNESCO status has given the jetties a bright future. 
  • The jetties can be entered and visited from Weld Quay (Jalan Pengkalan Weld).
  • To this day none of the families pay any tax as they are not living on land.
  • There are still six clan jetties along the waterfront, and they are as follows, from North to South. Refer to GOOGLE MAPS:

  1. Seh Lim Keo (Lim Jetty)
  2. Seh Chew Keo (Chew Jetty)
  3. Seh Tan Keo (Tan Jetty)
  4. Seh Lee Keo (Lee Jetty)
  5. Chap Seh Keo (Mixed Clan Jetty)
  6. Seh Yeoh Keo (Yeoh Jetty)

Facts are obtained from Singapore Friends of the Museums and Penang Travel Tips.

I brought along my newly purchased Nikon D3200 with 18-105mm VR kit. I HEART photography and the Clan Jetties should be a great place to take pictures. OK, here's my honest review of the clan jetties:

  • Below my expectations. The place feels and looks familiar to me - it reminds me of Pulau Ketam in Pelabuhan Kelang, Selangor (translation: Crab Island in Port Klang, Selangor). Nothing new to me. BUT, to my surprise, most of the clan jetties are very clean as I hardly spotted any litter on the wooden walkways. Stinky smell during low tide was previosuly reported at this area. But somehow when I was there, the air did not smell unpleasant. 
  • A sleepy and quiet place. I chatted with an uncle. He aked me to visit Chew Jetty. Chew Jetty, um....let me put it this way, a vibrant and lively jetty with grocery and souvenir shops, salon, and mini cafe. Sigh, I was expecting more, perhaps some kind of small industry (e.g. the making of salted fish, prawn crackers ++)
  • Overall, I've seen it all in Pulau Ketam - similar shops and traditional houses. A nice day out, nothing impressive. I was hoping to see the celebration of Hungry Ghost Festival (鬼月), but I will have to wait until sometime next week (early September 2012).

Despite all that, I had a great time photographing the Clan Jetties in Penang Weld Quay. Please enjoy looking at my pictures and visit my blog frequently. I will try to update it regularly.


Title: Clan Jetties in Penang Weld Quay
About: Most of Georgetown, Penang major tourist attractions are within walking distance. I've just arrived in Penang probably around 3 p.m. in the afternoon. Tired, hot and humid. Nonetheless, I walked all the way to the legendary Clan Jetties of Penang Island.
Did you notice? An uncle was throwing a fishing net into the ocean. I was sitting on one of the wooden walkways. What happened next? Scroll down for more :)
VIEW HI-RES

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/320 s
ISO: 100
F-STOP: f/9
FOCAL LENGTH: 18mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: Shops in Chew Jetty
About: Chew Jetty is a favorite tourist spot in Penang, you can even find a souvenir shop in it, alongside with a grocery shop and a dessert cafe. The Chew Jetty in Weld Quay (Malay: Pengkalan Weld) is a traditional settlement of wooden houses built on silts and the name “Chew” is the surname (the first name) of the residences. Migrant’s families with this surname would live together in this area.
VIEW HI-RES

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/60 s
ISO: 100
F-STOP: f/5
FOCAL LENGTH: 62mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: The mailbox
About: Mail delivery as usual.
Did you know? Each jetty comprises of row houses on stilts joined by wooden walkways over the water.
VIEW HI-RES

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200 s
ISO: 100
F-STOP: f/7.1
FOCAL LENGTH: 21mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: Make me beautiful (1)
About: These traditional jetties in Penang Weld Quay are the settlement built by Chinese immmigrants who share common historical, geographical and lineage origin. Today there are still six clan jetties along the waterfront. The most CREATIVE, VIBRANT and LARGEST waterfront jetty is undoubtedly the Chew Jetty with the Hokkien community. In this small community, I spotted a grocery shop, a souvenir shop and Shereen's hair saloon.
In this picture: A woman gets her hair colored and trimmed at the jetty salon.
VIEW HI-RES

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/60 s
ISO: 400
F-STOP: f/5.3
FOCAL LENGTH: 62mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: Make me beautiful (2)
About: The hairdresser...she speaks fluent Cantonese. What a relief! Most Penangites speak Mandarin, I was struggling to communicate verbally.

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/80 s
ISO: 400
F-STOP: f/4.5
FOCAL LENGTH: 35mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: Make me beautiful (3)
About: I like this angle :)

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/100 s
ISO: 400
F-STOP: f/5
FOCAL LENGTH: 52mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: Make me beautiful (4)
About: My mom was a hairdresser (now retired). Looking at this picture makes me smile and brings the good old memories back :)

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/80 s
ISO: 400
F-STOP: f/4.5
FOCAL LENGTH: 24mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: A boat, a boy, a girl and a cat
About: That's Ernest Zacharevic's mural at Chew Jetty. He is a young Lithuania-born artist who is "making a scene" on the streets of George Town, Penang. This comes in the form of amazing hand drawn wall paintings aka murals, at selected streets in Penang. The project, known as Mirrors George Town, is part of George Town Festival 2012.
VIEW HI-RES

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125 s
ISO: 250
F-STOP: f/5.6
FOCAL LENGTH: 38mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: Fishing with net (1)
About: This is the uncle I mentioned earlier in Picture 1. I was scouting around for a perfect photo shoot. Halfway, I noticed a middle aged man. He throws a net into the ocean. When the net was full he would pull it up to the wooden walkways and collect the fish. COWABUNGA! Ain't it AMAZING!

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/160 s
ISO: 100
F-STOP: f/6.3
FOCAL LENGTH: 105mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: Fishing with net (2)
About: YES! It's getting heavier!

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/160 s
ISO: 100
F-STOP: f/6.3
FOCAL LENGTH: 105mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: Fishing with net (3)
About: I GOT IT! I GOT IT!!!

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/160 s
ISO: 100
F-STOP: f/6.3
FOCAL LENGTH: 80mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: Fishing with net (4)
About: WHOA! That's a bountiful catch!

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/160 s
ISO: 100
F-STOP: f/6.3
FOCAL LENGTH: 75mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: Fishing with net (5)
About: So I ran as fast I could, all the way to the uncle. He released the fishes into a red bucket.

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200 s
ISO: 100
F-STOP: f/7.1
FOCAL LENGTH: 24mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: A bucket full of live fish
About: Uncle is AWESOME :)
VIEW HI-RES

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125 s
ISO: 100
F-STOP: f/5.6
FOCAL LENGTH: 50mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: A rusty mailbox
About: I LOVE the stark contrast in this picture. Rusty red vs fading green :)
VIEW HI-RES

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125 s
ISO: 160
F-STOP: f/5.6
FOCAL LENGTH: 52mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: Sunshine with L.O.V.E.
About: One of the many lovely graffiti visible in Chew Jetty. Spread the LOVE peeps =)
VIEW HI-RES

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/100 s
ISO: 400
F-STOP: f/5
FOCAL LENGTH: 42mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200


Title: It's time to say goodbye
About: A fishing boat lying idle at Chew Jetty. It was getting late.

Photo Technical Details:
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125 s
ISO: 400
F-STOP: f/5.6
FOCAL LENGTH: 26mm
CAMERA: Nikon D3200

Blog last updated September 1st, 2012 (11:10 p.m.)

Penang Weld Quay Clan Jetties - Getting There, Directions:

By walking

The clan jetties are located along Weld Quay (Malay: Pengkalan Weld Quay), just a few hundreds meters away from Penang ferry terminal and Weld Quay Rapid Penang Bus Terminal, with the entrance to the jetties located through the temple on the quayside.

Google Maps


View Clan Jetties of George Town in a larger map

Penang Weld Quay Clan Jetties - Things to See and Do:

  1. Penang Chew Jetty Homestay
  2. Worship of Jade Emperor (aka Sky God) on the eight day of the Chinese New Year.
  3. Exploring the jetties
  4. Taking pictures
  5. Discover Ernest Zacharevic's mural 

Address of Chew Jetty Home Stay:
59A, Chew Jetty, Weld Quay
10300 George Town
Penang, Malaysia

Website:
http://discoverpenang.evomediatech.com/chewjetty/

Contact Numbers:  
Chew Siew Pheng +6013-4381217
Chew Lay Pheng +6016-4020411
Chew Yong  Seng +6016-4561884

Penang Weld Quay Clan Jetties - 360° Panorama View:



Penang Weld Quay Clan Jetties - The History



Penang Weld Quay Clan Jetties - Read More and Useful Links:

  1. The Clan Jetties of Penang by Francine Linssen (PDF file, 943 kb)
  2. Chew Jetty Reviews by TripAdvisor (website)
  3. Chew Jetty 360° Panorama View by Peter Cloud (Flash 360° view)
  4. Ernest Zacharevic Murals of George Town by Penang-Traveltips (website)
  5. Chew Jetty – A Stroll Down A Living Heritage Community by Penang Gov (website)
  6. Penang Calendar of Events 2012/2013 by Penang Gov (Zip folder with PDF File)
  7. Penang UNESCO Heritage Brochure by Penang Gov (PDF file, 1.3 MB)
  8. Penang Guesthouse Reviews by Travellerspoint Community (Website)
  9. Penang Budget Hotel and Gueshouse Review by Penang-Traveltips (Website)
  10. Northbound Coaches from Pudu Sentral to Penang by Journey Malaysia (Website)

2 comments

  1. melvin Says:
  2. I'd love to visit this place.I find it interesting that there's an entire community on stilts.There are places like this in the southern philippines that i havent visited yet.

     
  3. Mr Lonely Says:
  4. looks nice~

     
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shloke
Traveling & photography are the most rewarding & enriching experiences in my life. Photography is all about discovery, enjoying myself, having adventure, learning people & nature. The greatest experience for me is the connection I felt with NATURE. If you haven’t seen Malaysia, you haven’t seen the world! My photography works are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.
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