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Kuala
Gula is a small fishing village which located in the district of Kerian, about
45 km from Taiping, in the state of Perak Darul Ridzuan. It is also known as a
coastal mangrove area. A long time ago, during the earlier days, sugarcane was
the main agricultural crop that supported the local sugar industry in Kuala
Gula. So, from that situation, the name of the village was established as ”Kuala
Gula”, which means a coastal village that produces sugar. Kuala Gula also
located towards the north of the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, which is the
largest tract of mangrove forest in Peninsular Malaysia that covers about
40,000 hectars. In 1906, the Matang Mangrove Forest was first protected and
become the best managed mangrove forests in the world. Next, Kuala Gula
consists of mudflats, mangroves, rivers and estuaries area that are important
for fisheries activities since a majority of the local community at Kuala Gula
involved in this growing business. According to Global Environment Centre,
nowadays, it is estimated that a total of 7,188 people live in Kuala Gula and
its proximity. From that number in population, approximately 35% or 2450 of the
population are involved in the fishing industries through activities like fish
and prawn catching directly. Furthermore, they also involved with trickled-down
fishing activities such as fish, dried shrimp and shrimp paste.

            Other than that, Kuala Gula
mangroves become a perching and feeding site for migratory water birds
including the Little Egret (Egretta
garzetta) and Great Egret (Casmerodius
albus), 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 bird
sanctuary by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN). The
main purpose of forming the sanctuary is to protect migratory and resident bird
species 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 thousands
of birds can be seen in Kuala Gula wetlands during the migratory and wintering
season.

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            In addition, Kuala Gula stays close
to Pulau Kelumpang and Pulau Trong Bird Sanctuary that have been reserved as
Bird Sanctuaries within the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve. Both islands are
reserved port that might be the only viable population of the globally
endangered Milky Storks in Malaysia. Besides, due to its strategic location and
rich with natural resources, Kuala Gula becomes a popular eco-tourism site. During
the Visit Malaysia 2007, Kuala Gula became most suitable place to be promoted
as a national eco-tourism destination since it is strategically located between
the industrial area of the Northern Peninsular and the North-South Highway corridor
which links the tourist destinations in Perak.

            Next, other than Kuala Gula, Kuala
Sepetang 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 that
connects to the Straits of Malacca. In earlier days, Kuala Sepetang is known as
Port 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 it
takes to reach that place from Taiping by bicycle, which is one evening in
Malay. Kuala Sepetang is a popular town which becomes a famous tourist
attraction with an abundance of mangrove area that sustained a local charcoal
industry and a houses a nature park. The charcoal factory in Kuala Sepetang was
established since 1930’s. Since there are abundance of material from the local
mangrove forest, the charcoal industry is well progress in Kuala Sepetang. In
addition, the Perak State Government has planned a 30-year work in
collaboration with charcoal factories. Besides, there are numerous of seafood
restaurants and hawker stalls around the town and distant villages in the
countryside which serves many local dishes including seafood. Lastly, Kuala
Sepetang is specializes in crustaceans since it is located near to the Matang
Mangrove Forest Reserve and mudflat region which is a hotspot for crabs,
shrimps, lobsters and others.

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