JOHOR BARU: More people are choosing to go on holidays closer to home now that the Covid-19 pandemic has put a stop to overseas travel.
To their surprise, they are finding out that there are many interesting things to do and see right here in their midst.
Shop assistant Sandy Peter, 25, said she and her colleagues had been exploring several places of interest in Johor since the recovery movement control order (MCO) was implemented on June 10.
“We had planned a vacation in Langkawi in April but had to cancel it due to the interstate travel restrictions put in place then, because of the virus.
“Although interstate travel is now allowed, we have decided to visit and explore interesting places in Johor,” she said when met at the Kota Tinggi Waterfall.
The waterfall is 15km from Kota Tinggi town and 60km away from Johor Baru.
She said Kluang, Mersing, Batu Pahat and Kota Tinggi districts were some of the places she had visited with her friends so far.
“Since these places are near, we need not take too many days of leave from work.
“Sometimes we go on day trips or visit places over the weekend,” said Sandy who lives in Pasir Gudang.
For businessman Edward Tan, 52, the travel restriction has led to spending quality time with his family while on local holidays.
“We usually vacation abroad at least once a year, mostly to countries in South-East Asia.
“Due to the pandemic, we have been visiting attractions in Johor and other places recently.
“My family and I are planning to visit Cameron Highlands next.
“It is near and we are looking forward to spending time together and enjoying the cool climate, see the tea plantations, waterfalls and scenic sights,” he said, admitting that holidaying locally was much simpler.
“When travelling abroad, we have to see to plane tickets, make ground tour arrangement and other necessary details.
“For local holidays, there is not that much to prepare before going,” said Tan.
Pasir Gudang Estuarine Crocodile Sanctuary assistant manager S. Danaraj said the number of visitors here had increased.
“Over the past two months, we have recorded more visitors, compared to even before the pandemic.”
However, he said there were fewer people who visited in the early part of this year.
“This was partly due to the Sungai Kim Kim incident last year.
“The pollution scare kept people away and when Covid-19 struck, the situation was made worse.
“However, after we reopened during the conditional MCO implemented on May 4, we saw an increase in the number of visitors.“More people have become aware of its existence and are coming here,” said Danaraj.
Putuo Village assistant manager Alston Lim said the number of visitors had increased over the past two months, especially during weekends.
“Some days, we get as many as 1,000 people visiting.
“We adhere to the standard operating procedures strictly and the public are cooperating with us.
“The pandemic has turned our lives upside down but the good part is that local tourist sites are gaining popularity among Malaysians,” said Lim.
Located in Kulai, the Putuo Village is popular for the scenic view of its bamboo forest.