Penarikan recce – part 2

In an earlier post I have reported about my friend Chadel’s plan to paddle in his canoe from Muar to Pekan, using the Muar, Jempol, Serting, Bera and Pahang rivers with a portage (penarikan) at Bahau. In that post I described our recce from Bahau to Muar.

This time we started again in Bahau, but now we followed the Serting river as closely as possible. The Serting river is a small one, running through palm oil plantations and Felda land. Chadel had bought topo maps of the region.

Topo maps

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADuring our traditional breakfast in a mamak near my condo, we studied the maps and found a meandering route that would cross the Serting river as many times as possible.

Here is the Google Earth map of our route (in red). The rivers are marked in blue


In Bahau we first checked the two locations chosen by Chadel for the Pull Out and Put In. The original penarikan was from the Jempol river to the Serting river, a distance of about 500 meter. Chadel is considering to take the canoe out a bit earlier, from the Muar river. Considerably longer distance, about 2.5 km, but he could then use existing roads, which would make the portage a lot easier. Here are the Pull Out and Put In places.


Pull Out , Muar river


Put In, Serting river






After lunch in Bahau we started the actual recce. Altogether we crossed the Serting river seven times. We took pictures at each crossing; when you click on a marker in the map below, you will see the correspondig picture. All the way, Serting remains a small stream, at least in this time of the year.  Often trees have fallen in the river, a potential risk of puncture when you are paddling over them.

View the  Recce in a larger map

The confluence of the Serting river with the Bera river is located in the middle of plantations and not accessible by road. The Bera river is a real river, draining the Tasik Bera, about 10 km south of the confluence. The Bera river flows into the mighty Pahang river, the longest and biggest river of the Malay Peninsula.


The mighty Pahang river

We arrived late in Pekan, wanted to stay overnight in the scenic Rest House, but that was fully booked, so we found suitable accommodation in the Melati Inn. Pekan is a sleepy hollow, but, driving around, we found a good Chinese restaurant and after our dinner we had coffee at a lively Malay stall near the Pekan riverfront.


The next morning after breakfast we looked for a suitable pull out point. An easy decision, what could be a better location that the Pekan riverfront itself! When Chadel finishes his heroic expedition here, the Sultan of Pahang and the Prime MInister (Pekan is his constituency) can welcome him…:-)

Pekan has a few nice mosques and an interesting museum: the Pekan Water Craft Gallery . It is an open-air museum, FOC, with an interesting collection of various types of boats. They even had information about the Bahau Penarikan! Not completely correct, they take the portage distance as 300 yards, which is not true. And it is suggested that the Penarikan route was discovered by the Malays, while it was actually already used by the Chinese before the Malays came to the Peninsula. A sensitive issue…:-)

Here are some pictures of Pekan

On our way back we visited the Pandan waterfall near Kuantan. Many visitors as it was school holidays.


Chadel is planning to do the real expedition around March next year. I wish him good luck!

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