Located about 30km from Kuching city, Buntal Esplanade is a hidden gem waiting to be explored more by the locals and tourists alike.
The esplanade is inside Kampung Buntal, a traditional Malay fishing village situated at the mouth of Sarawak river leading to South China Sea.
The village is named after ikan buntal or the puffer fish which commonly found near the area.
If you are looking for fresh air on a Saturday afternoon, here are five things to do at Buntal Esplanade:
1.Enjoy the beach view
First of all, just enjoy the view of South China Sea at Buntal Esplanade. Do you know that Buntal beach offers a mesmerising scenic view of the sunrise? (Just make sure you’re there before 6 am).
Plus, the best part is that the walkway of Buntal Esplanade is wheelchair-friendly.
2.Buy some seafood
Being a fishing village right next to the ocean, it is no surprise that Buntal provides a variety of fresh marine resources at its market.
Some of their seafood on offer are seasonal catch, so you only get to buy them during certain periods of the year.
These include jelly fish (March-April), swimmer crab (July-August), eng-ngoyang (October-February), sea anemone (December-January) and ambal (December-January).
Additionally, the non-seasonal catches are hard clams, mangrove clams, cockles, mud crabs and obtuse horn shell.
3. Do some bird-watching activities
Did you know that Bako Buntal Bay is the wandering site for 27 migratory bird species in their annual migration between Southeast Asia and Australasia?
Completed on March 2015, Buntal Esplanade was designed as a walkaway with an observation point for bird-watching activities.
According to the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, the Bako Buntal Bay area welcomes more 25,000 migratory birds between October and April every year.
Most of them are threatened species such as Nordmann’s Greenshank, Asian Dowitcher and Far Eastern Curlew.
Meanwhile in 2009, two rare birds – the Pied Avocet and Eurasian Oystercatcher were caught on sight near the bay.
The habitat in the coastal area is mud and mangrove forest, making it attractive for migratory birds in search of food.
If you notice unique wooden structure near the beach while bird-watching, it could be an engian. It is a traditional trapping method used by the local fishermen to catch anchovies and small shrimps.
4.Taste the local food
Visitors should not miss the chance to buy local delicacies. These include kuih keria (fried dough similar to doughnuts but covered in palm sugar or gula apong), pais ikan (grilled smashed fish) and bahulu.
Other local favourite are belacan (shrimp paste), madu kelulut (stingless bee honey), jeruk buah (pickled fruits) and cencaluk (preserved shrimp).
5.Eat some seafood
Kampung Buntal is one of the favourite local places for Kuchingites to go to enjoy some seafood.
While visiting Buntal Esplanade, why not drop by one of the seafood restaurants like Teo Seafood?
Besides Kampung Buntal, other famous local seafood cuisine spots are at Telaga Air and Muara Tebas.