White Sand Dunes @ Pantai Klebang, Melaka

Located approximately 20 minutes outside of Bandar Hilir (depending on traffic), Pantai Klebang is popular stretch of Melaka beach, known for its delicious coconut shakes and food truck businesses. It is also the site of some extensive, albeit photogenic, land reclamation.

An expensive exercise meant to provide swathes of beach front to property developers and hoteliers, 10 years on these vast tracts of land still remain empty, the very businesses it was aimed at resistant to build due to concerns over stability of the soil, or rather, shifting sands, ahem.

Kid’s sand box, giant kitty litter, movie location for films whose setting is a desert or the moon, or disastrous land reclamation project, which is the correct answer?

Angry and frustrated existing home owners, who were promised sea views lost value on their properties, while businesses, particularly fisherfolk, lost their livelihoods.

I attended secondary school in Melaka, and remember coastal scenes of fishermen up to their armpits in the sea, casting large triangular nets for krill, the key ingredient in traditional Melakan delicacies like cincaluk and belacan.

As for the environmental impact, with mangrove forest fish nurseries removed, fish stocks diminished and are no longer financially viable. Reclaiming activities have also deterred turtles from coming ashore to historical nesting grounds now too far inland to reach. Tanjung Bidara Turtle Sanctuary further north provides some hope, but is this enough?

If there’s one superficial silver lining to come out of this debacle it’s the creation of a series of picturesque, pristine white sand dunes.

Piled up 10 to 20 meters high, this strange foreign landscape is situated at the end of the Klebang peninsula. On Google Maps its location still appears in the Straits of Melaka, yet it has has been there long enough for Casuarina trees to have sprouted, long weedy grass to grow, and still pools of algae covered water to have formed.

Its photogenic nature has made the location popular amongst Instagrammers and wedding couples, with the undulating dunes providing amazing photo opportunities, especially on a clear day when the sky is a vivid blue.

The only concession is having to edit out the rubbish. Indiscriminate littering particularly of plastic bottles in some of the pools and at the bottom of the dunes has created an unnecessary eye sore. Perhaps the state motto, “Don’t mess with Melaka” should apply to the trash situation.

Fun to climb, 30+ of us from KL Hiking paid a visit and found enough peaks for every person to be king of his or her own mountain.

Tip There’s no shade so get there in the early morning or evening and don’t over do it. Sunblock, a hat (or umbrella) and lots of water are a must. Hiking sandals are recommended. And if you fancy some sand surfing, hit up the toy store in advance and bring a plastic sled.

Facilities Pantai Klebang has ample parking particularly in the morning. You’ll find public toilets (0.30 sen), a surau and a drinks vending machine at the MBMB Building, and stalls and food trucks begin to operate mid-morning on the weekends.

Getting there Park up at Pantai Klebang (coordinates below). At the end of the road, turn right and continue on the pavement, past the hoarding, and over the barrier. You should be able to spot the dunes up ahead and slightly left.

At the end of the road parallel to the water on the right and the park on the left, where the MBMB building is located, take a right and walk down this road.
Hoarding advertising exciting property developments takes over where the pavement ends.
Once you cross this barrier its a straight road to the sane dunes.
Of course KL Hiking would decide to take the long route and take a detour to the right at this signs before cutting back when we had reached the sea.

Distance From the parking lot to the dunes, it takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes if you take the direct route, 30 minutes if you detoured to the right as we did.

GPS coordinates 2.216384, 102.194318

Did we go for a swim? Nope. That’s just how much land has been reclaimed.

Do go if … you love taking pictures.

Don’t go if … you’re training for Rinjani. The sand here is heavy and coarse and doesn’t come close to how dusty and fine the volcanic sand on Gunung Rinjani is, so the level of slippage and sinking won’t compare. Moreover the dunes aren’t very tall and don’t come close to the long intense uphill section of the final ascent to Rinjani’s peak.

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