For the Shutter Asia 2nd Anniversary we decided to head down to Penang, with a stop on the way at Kuala Sepetang to visit a charcoal factory.
We arrived there at about 10am, leaving KL about 7.45am – not too bad. We were met with some majestic scenes with lightrays, dust and a lot of hard walking folks.
There was quite a group with members converging in Kuala Sepetang from both KL and Penang, just under 30 I think.
This is Mr Tan our gracious guide who took some time to explain to us each step in the charcoal making process and the timescales and temperatures involved.
There was wood everywhere as you can imagine.
Part of the job is stripping the bark from the logs (in the hot sun!), these fellas were hard at work.
Can you guess how old this fella is?
He’s 62 – yes that’s right! He used to be a fisherman but due to fuel prices he’s just joined the factory recently.
I had a go too, of course they make it look much easier than it is. I didn’t do too bad though 🙂
We then checked out the packing and loading processes.
The guys were quite into having their pictures taken haha.
This is how they get rid of the bark.
And this lady has the excellent job of sorting out all the small charcoal chips into usable pieces and discarding the dust.
We went for a walk into the forest at the back to see where the wood was bought in, behind the factory there is a lot of mangrove trees but they are protected – so they fell the trees further down the river and bring them in by boat.
Unfortunately it was low tide so we didn’t manage to see that.
A shot from behind the factory.
We wondered around outside for a while, with some people cam-hoing of course.
Then we spotted this cute puppy, a member of a recent litter of 6. We could take him home if we wanted.
Then we bade farewell to the factory, you can see the kilns here where they ‘bake’ the charcoal in different stages.
And goodbye to the hard working fellas, one of which had been working there for 40 years!
A very interesting visit.
The location of the charcoal factory is here, if you wish to arrange a tour you can call Mr Chuah at 012-573 9563.