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Kampung Sabak: A Fishing Village With A Living History

May 17, 2014 Destination ASEAN No Comments Email Email


The place is not Pearl Harbour but the turn of event on 8 December 1941 in this quaint village was a stark reminder of the bitter World War Two. It is known as Kampung Sabak or Sabak Village.
Kampung Sabak is not like any other fishing villages. This is the village with a living past where the Japanese armies landed – exactly on 12.25am, only 90 minutes before the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbour in the United States.

According to the Research Officer of Kelantan State Museum Corporation, Datuk Salleh Mohd Akib (2010), “Kampung Sabak is the first point of Japanese invasion in Malaysia.”

The attack became bitter memories for the people of Malaya especially residents of Kampung Sabak. As the attack took place about 90 minutes before the attack of Pearl Harbour, and thus, making Kampung Sabak as early witness to the war history of World War II in the Asia Pacific region.

Rustic village with good old charm

Kampung Sabak is now a picturesque, serene fishing village. Although the community is 99% Malay, the village still maintains its sense of mutual respect and tolerance with other ethnic groups.

Whenever there is an event like weddings, all communities will get together and celebrate friendship and goodwill with one another.

Kampung Sabak is a major fishing centre in Kelantan before Tok Bali, another fishing port in Kelantan was developed. In recent years, Tok Bali has served as an alternative departure point for tourists to the enchanting Perhentian Islands. However, Kampung Sabak landing centre is still the choice of Kota Bharu residents due to its easy accessibility.

The place was hit by severe erosion that occurred since 20 years ago, forcing the landing site in Kampung Sabak to move to the neighbouring area known locally as „Padang Jepun’ or known by its commercial name of Kampung Tanjung Kuala. There is a bridge known as Jambatan Krai which was used by the Japanese to cycle down South and eventually occupying Malaya and Singapore. Remnants of Japanese and British warplanes can be found at Tanah Merah.

Kampung Sabak is only a mere 13 kilometres from Kota Bharu. Visitors will come across the development of roads, school, government clinic, not far to the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, hypermarket, Simpang 3 Pengkalan Chepa market, Express Bus Station, Orchid Garden, Kelantan Police Headquarters and Fire Station.

Boosting tourism

With a rich historical past, Kampung Sabak is ideal as a tourist attraction for those who appreciate history and the rustic fishing village atmosphere. Visitors do not have to worry about accommodation because they can choose to participate in comfortable homestay programme. Homestay is the best way to experience the lifestyle of the villagers.

Here, visitors can participate in traditional games, such as „wau? (kite), „sepak takraw?, „congkak?, „selambut? or „batu seremban?, palm leaves pulling or stork and beach games such as racing ducks.

Apart from it, they can indulge in fun-filled moments at the white sandy Sabak Beach or Pantai Sabak. Pantai Sabak is a perfect getaway from the ills of the city. It boasts fine pearly sands and palm-fringed beaches. Capture the allure of fishing boats against the golden horizon at dawn or enjoy a cool, refreshing dip on the azure water.

Visitors can also have the opportunity to experience at first hand how to make seafood crackers in the cracker factory. Interestingly, visitors can rent a boat to be driven by the owner for sightseeing or squid-fishing.

For those who want to explore more about the World War II incident in Kampung Sabak, head over to the War Museum (Bank Kerapu) which occupies the oldest brick building in Kelantan, dating back to 1911. This museum houses memorabilia and artefacts on the World War II.

After a tiring day, visitors can rejuvenate their mind, body and soul with traditional Malay massage.

All in all, Kampung Sabak makes a perfect destination for visitors who want to get away from the hassle and tussle of the city and experience a rustic fishing village lifestyle and rich historical charms.

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