MIRI: Tanjong Lobang, or Brighton Beach, is a favourite with the people of Miri for its location and food options at Taman Selera.
The place manages to retain its natural charm despite seeing modern development in its vicinity.
Tanjong Lobang is named after a cliff with a cave – lobang, which means hole in the local language – located on one end of the beachfront.
The beachfront is the first public beach and recreational park in Miri.
It is often crowded on weekends as families head to the beach for a picnic or barbecue.
Although not as popular on weekdays, regular visitors often take a stroll in the evenings to watch the sun set on the horizon.
When the sky is cloudless, visitors get a spectacular view of the sky bursting into a mix of yellow, orange, pink and even purple.
On any given day, one can always spot people jogging on the beach, some with their canine companions in tow.
Fair weather and cool temperatures usually draw out even more people, with some leisurely walking along the beach while parents keep a watchful eye on their children frolicking on the seashore.
Young children also enjoy playing with friends at the playground near the beach and grabbing an ice cream treat from a nearby stall.
Two piers extend out to the sea and people used to walk to the very end to fish or just enjoy the scenery.
However, these piers are no longer open to the public as it has been damaged by strong waves and harsh winds.
The beach is easily accessible by car as it is a 15-minute drive to Tanjong Lobang from the city centre.
It is also a stone’s throw away from the newly developed Marina Bay area, where the seahorse lighthouse is located at Coco Cabana, another tourist spot worth visiting.
Tanjung Lobang turns into a food paradise at night, with many restaurants and a wide selection of cuisines set up a short distance from the beach.
Sushi lovers head to Excapade Sushi, which serves up a variety of sushi made with fresh and authentic ingredients along with other Japanese delicacies.
Those in the mood for something closer to home make a beeline for Madam Choo, an Asian kitchen and bar which serves dim sum.
Sajian Warisan also has a selection of familiar local delicacies with a long list of wholesome Malay-inspired dishes.
For those wanting to grab a quick bite, there is a KFC and Pizza Hut drive-through.
Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating options as there is a Food Bazaar in addition to the many restaurants in the area.
Here, visitors can sample ikan bakar along with fresh clams and prawns and cool down with local desserts offered by the cold drinks stall.
The hawkers here are well-established, operating from makeshift wooden stalls in the area well before the Food Bazaar building was built to house them.
The beachfront is equipped with basic amenities such as public toilets, benches and barbecue pits.
Visitors are encouraged to keep the beach clean by throwing their litter into one of the many rubbish bins situated near the beach, including the recreational area and carpark.
The constant influx of visitors poses a challenge to those tasked with keeping Tanjong Lobang clean as rubbish can be seen scattered everywhere after big events or public holidays.
It is thus necessary that those visiting the beach help to ensure the beach remains litter-free for a pleasant and relaxing visit.
A man-made island in the shape of a seahorse has been planned for Tanjong Lobang’s redevelopment masterplan. The island will be located some 800m from the coast and have recreational, commercial and residential areas.
It will be connected by a bridge walkway to Tanjong Lobang beach and feature chalets in the style of water villages.
A breakwater will also be incorporated at the side of the island which faces the South China Sea.
Tanjong Lobang will no doubt see further development in the coming years, but its natural beauty will always be a draw for its regulars.