Waterways fringed by mangrove trees snake out from the little town of Kuala Sepetang towards Penang. Mangrove forests, at the intersection of land and sea, support teeming ecosystems and are now understood to be crucial breakwaters, natural shields against tsunamis and flooding.
Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve near Kuala Sepetang is considered a shining example of environmental preservation. It is best known for fireflies, which sparkle like fairy lights each evening. The town itself – still shown on some maps under its old name of Port Weld – is unexciting, though it has a bank and a couple of restaurants.