Families surrounded by nature, not crowds


Chance to catch up: Cycling enthusiasts enjoying a BBQ at a picnic table in Lubuk Timah hot spring. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

IPOH: For some families, it was time to sit back and relax at the Lubuk Timah Hot Springs near Simpang Pulai, since the government has given the nod to some tourism activities.

Those present at the picnic spot were seated inside small huts far away from other families, as they were mindful of physical distancing.

“My family just wanted some fresh air, and a different environment, and the waterfall area is really cool,” said policeman Iqmal Firdaus Fazrin, 24, who was there with his parents, brother, wife and his month-old daughter.

And he picked a weekday to avoid crowds.

His family sat away from the rest of the picnickers.

“We have our hand sanitisers with us at all times, and we make sure not to mingle with the rest of the people,” he said yesterday.

Over at another hut was a group of teachers who cycled some 30km from Ipoh to the hot spring.

Muhammad Habil Azman, 31, said his group of nine decided to cycle there as a way to keep fit.

“We are teachers at a full boarding school, fully vaccinated, and we decided to get some fresh air.

“We packed our own food and drinks, and picked a spot away from the rest,” he said, adding that they would be cycling back to Ipoh after lunch.

“Since it rained heavily, we were unable to go swimming,” he said.

His friend Nazifi Shamsudin, 29, said they decided on the outing since they could not return to their respective hometown.

“We spend most of the time inside the school hostel. So we are actually living within a bubble,” he added.

Businessman Wan Zulkarnain Wan Mohd Hatta, 32, was at the hot spring with his wife, sister and nephew.

“We decided to come on a Monday, as most people are at work and we would have the place to ourselves.

“The only disappointing thing was that it rained the whole day so we could not swim at the waterfall pool,” he added.

When contacted, state Housing, Local Government and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi said the state government was excited about the reopening of certain sectors in the tourism industry.

“We would like to advise both visitors and operators to remain vigilant in adhering to the SOP to keep the people and the state safe,” she added.

In SIBU, residents here have been sweating it out at public parks ever since the town moved into Phase Three under the National Recovery Plan on Aug 4.

“I am fully vaccinated and I don’t wear a mask when I am in the park.

“But I avoid getting close to other joggers,” said insurance agent Pang Chui Hua, 63.

Pang, who was at the Kutien Park in Sibu, said he always takes extra precaution when exercising.

Pang, who lives near the park, never misses his 6.30am routine.

He said the park was closed to the public during Phase One and Two.

“When Sibu entered Phase Three last month, the council reopened the park by removing the barricade line,” he said.

(Sarawak is categorised Phase Three except for eight districts such as Kuching which are under Phase Two. This means that public parks in the southern region which includes Kuching, Samarahan, Serian, Tebedu and Bau are still closed to the people.)

Retiree Marcus Tan, regularly jogs along Jalan Awang Ramli Amit here in Sibu.

“With the Covid-19 situation turning bad lately, I have cut down on going to public parks.

“But if the weather is good, I will jog around the place here near St Mary’s Church along Jalan Awang Ramli Amit,” he said.

Sibu Municipal Council chairman, Clarence Ting advised people to observe physical distancing. “Keep a distance, do not exercise in groups and do not stop to gather for a chat,” he said.

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