Folk go for picnics and hiking to relax their minds

Picnickers enjoying family time at Pantai Bersih in Butterworth, Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

FORESTS and beaches remain an attraction among locals for outdoor activities such as picnic, jungle trekking and hiking over the weekend.

From as early as 6am, droves of cars were seen coming to Cherok To’kun Forest Reserve in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, which is a popular recreational area among hikers.

Many cars were found parked along both sides of Jalan Kolam outside the park gate.

The hikers, armed with sticks and backpacks, marched up the hill from several trails in the oil palm estate.

Some of the trails could lead to the park’s perimeter while several spots near the peak offer hikers scenic views of Mengkuang Dam and a bird’s eye view of the town.

Avid hiker Anthony Chua, 45, said the regular walks through the jungle could help ease his mind.

“I come here almost every week for the fresh air, calmness and greenery.

“Although there can be large crowds during weekends, there are fewer people along deeper sections of the trails.

“There are several trails to traverse in the jungle, some leading to Berapit, Machang Bubok and even to the hill’s peak with telecommunication towers at about 550m above sea level,” he said.

Over in Butterworth, several families braved the scorching sun to enjoy the beach in Pantai Bersih as the Bagan Ajam rest area that allows proper access to the beach is still closed to the public.

There were some who put up tents to spend the day while some laid out picnic mats to enjoy the breeze.

University administrator Abdul Sabul Ismail, 37, said such an outdoor outing would provide better experience for his four children to play and learn.

“Children get to interact and improve social skills through outdoor activities which will eventually help in their development.

“We do not encourage children to be glued to digital gadgets at home,” said Sabul, whose children are aged between two and six.

He said it had been some time since they last went out together to spend precious family time.

“We chose a spot further away from the crowds. We are avoiding tourist attractions that may draw large crowds.

“We have always been wary of the surrounding, hence all our outings are solely confined to family members within the same household,” he said.

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