Kawal Kelong

I got to know about Kawal kelong during my trip to Elly some years ago, on that trip I manage to see the length of the jetty or walkway to the kelong and that stirred my interest to visit it some day. On June 2015 I finally manage to make a trip there. Kawal Kelong is run by a senior Singaporean couple, and it's situated on the eastern coast of Bintan (Trikora). The kelong or I should say house on stilts is constructed in a channel within the coastal flat which stretches far out from the shore, that's the reason for the long (800meters) jetty. ( You can see it on google map @ location 1.001155, 104.654580 )
To get to Kawal, we took a ferry from Singapore's Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Pinang (Bintan). At Tanjung Pinang, we were pick up by (driver) the transport arranged by the resort owner Mr Lim. The land journey took about 45 minutes to an hour, and along the way we drop by some mini-mart to pick up some snacks and stuff. It happen to be durian season when we took the trip but back to that later.

On reaching the jetty, it hits me that I have not fully comprehend how long 800m is, until it's time to actually walk it. The last time I saw this jetty, it was made of wooden planks and it didn't really look very sturdy. Looks like they have rebuilt it with concrete. The water along the whole stretch of the jetty isn't very deep, from 1 feet near the entrance to probably 4 to 5 feet near the main structure during high tide. Under the housing structure itself it's probably 3 or 6 feet more. So we were basically fishing in 12 feet of water at the highest point of the tide.

The entrance to the jetty, shown in the image below is not visible from the road, therefore it might be a bit hard to find if you're looking for the place on your own and not guided by someone where knows the location.

The structure of the resort is constructed in shape of a rectangle, in the center of the structure is pool where visitor can take a dip. The size of the pool is about 2 basketball court and they even have a slide for the kids and the young at heart. The water isn't too deep probably 4~5 meters at the highest tide. There is suppose to be a net surround this pool, but from what I can see, some part of the net is missing and that's to say larger fishes could actually still swim in if they wanted to. I seen many anglers fishing inside this pool, personally I wouldn't do it because it's unlikely you'll get anything larger then 3~4" and since it's designated for swimming it would be inconsiderate and dangerous if your rig gets entangle on the concrete stilts and you have to snap them off and leave the broken rigs (with hooks) there.

Surrounding 3 sides of the pool are the rooms of the kelong resort. The fourth sides houses the dinning area, kitchen, service counter (where you can order your food) and where the owner and workers stays. The image below shows the dinning (not in use) area, service counter (at the right ) and some section where visitor can sit around and relax.

The images above shows the corridor to the rooms. There are 2 pool tables when I visited, but their condition of the table surface is quite bad. There are some ball and sticks where the kids can have a go at it but I really don't think that you can have a serious game on it. The corridors are rather wide and the whole place is pretty neat and clean, probably because they don't really take in a lot of guest I assume.
Above is one of the platform that is use to tie and launch their boat. When we were there, they might have remove a plank or walkway so you can't really get across to fish on this platform. The dog is there to warn the owner if anyone tries to board the kelong from here. Image below is the other platform they have, you can go on it to fish if you want. And as you can see they also have kayaks and canoes available. The more interesting thing here is their makeshift boat, they use this boat to transport our luggage, ice box and other heavy stuff when we have to walk the jetty when we arrive and when we return.
Target practise anyone? The owner has an air rifle that you can borrow, as long as they have the pellets.
You can fish almost anywhere around the resort but this is the main area where most of the fishing gets done. A short jetty which is stable and clean. As you can see from the image below, the jetty has no shade so when it gets too hot everyone just fish along the outer corridor besides their rooms.

The seabed here is rather rocky, so it's either you target the surface fishes or bring more sinkers. Current isn't very strong so your sinkers need not be big. The fishes caught here are, half beaks, todaks, fusiliers, mono argentus, rabbit fish, trevallies, barracudas, emperor, fingermarks, taskfish, kunning, groupers, seabass, and the whole range of coral species. From my conversion with the owners, he told of huge stingrays, sharks and large snappers caught on the resort as recent as 10 years ago but he did mention that catch around the area hasn't been good for awhile now.

A US size 10.5 squid captured in the image below. One thing predictable about Kawal is there there will always be squid around throughout the year.


The food they serve in Kawal is among one of the best that I have tasted across so many kelongs i have visited. Dishes are all different for each meal and the taste is very good. We even have shovelnose ray curry for one of our meal. We had 4 meals a day and free flow of mineral water.

Below are some shots of the kelong for your enjoyment.
Remember in the beginning of this page, I mentioned that it just happens to be during season on our trip? Well on the way back from Kawal to Tanjung Pinang jetty, we stop by a durian store and had our fill of their local durians which is cheap and good. It just doesn't get any better then this. :) Thanks for reading!
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