One of the things my friend really wanted to do in Malaysia was go to the beach, the only problem was despite being near Beach Street there wasn’t really a beach. Not one within walking distance like she had hoped. Instead there were the Clan Jetties.
The Clan Jetties are homes, traditional homes on stilts on the water where people still live. It’s a bit like the Ihwa Mural village in Korea, a residential area with a unique or historical air that draws a huge crowd of tourists constantly. For the Clan Jetties it’s not art and murals (though there are some) but the UNESCO heritage draw. There are six different clan jetties out on the water, each for a different Chinese clan. There are some shops and restaurants on the Jetties but it is mostly homes. We went to one of the more popular ones, the Chew Jetty. Since they are residences the area is open to tourists from 9am until 9pm, plenty of time to get a photo or to enjoy sunset.
It was really beautiful to see on the water. But the main walkway got crowded easily, especially if a tourist tried to stop and take a photo.
There were various little areas to stop and take photos out of the way, including near a temple at the end of the Jetty.
The Chew Jetty is in two parts, the second pier (you have to go back onto land and walk further down the street to find the entrance) has less homes and eventually just becomes a pier with an outhouse and a large building to one side. It’s a great spot to take pictures of the houses without any worry of bothering people.
You may be noticing the clouds over the pictures getting darker as my pictures go on. That’s because we picked (arguably) the worst time to go out on the pier. We reached the empty part of the pier right as it began to rain. We figured we’d already walked through the rain once that day, what would it hurt to keep walking? Well, walking downtown George Town while it’s raining is one thing, walking on the Jetties over the ocean in a downpour is a complete other. Everyone else quickly ran off the Jetties or for cover yet we persevered as everything disappeared in high winds, heavy clouds, and choppy seas.
Until eventually we took shelter in one of the toilets on the pier that didn’t have a door but the men in the toilet made plenty of room for us to get out of the rain.
(Saved from Snapchat, no sound)
We waited until the wind died down and then quickly got off the Jetty, on our own, leaving our bathroom buddies behind. We didn’t want to spend all evening in the bathroom waiting out the storm. There was still a festival we wanted to go to…though like disappointing magic, as soon as it rained it all disappeared. Of course the day we didn’t carry our ponchos on us it poured. Despite the rain we had fun. There was something invigorating about being out on the Jetties during a big storm. It was scary but we survived it. And since we were already soaked we were entertaining to everyone hiding in awnings as we hurried back downtown in search of dinner.
I highly do not suggest being on the Jetties during a storm. Especially not in flip flops like we were, it wasn’t safe, but we made the best of a situation by moving slowly and carefully off the Jetties, with all of our stuff stored in my friends water proof bag. Be careful if you go, especially in inclement weather. Even my friend who is a certified life guard was uneasy making our way back to the mainland with how slippery everything was. If my friend wasn’t a life guard I’m not sure we would’ve left when we did.