Monday, March 16, 2009

Segari - The Unknown Part of Malaysia

Last week, my husband's customer came all the way from Lekir, off Setiawan (a coastal village about 2 hours drive south of Penang) just to personally invite us to attend his sister's wedding. Since he took the time to drive all the way to invite us, it was hard for my hubby to say no. So yesterday, we packed up to attend a Malay wedding. It wasn't our first Malay wedding, so we knew more or less about their bersanding customs. The journey back home took us 6 hours instead. Previously, I've blogged about our one day trip at Pangkor Island. Setiawan is just south of Lumut (a port town and military base) with the only ferry jetty available to Pangkor Island. So from Setiawan, we drove back to Lumut in search of a quiet beach and the turtle hatchery which we saw its' signboard previously but could not locate the place.
When we were passing by Lumut, we saw a pretty signboard saying "Taman Paya Bakau" or in English Mangrove Park. Since entrance is FREE (people just love free things), we parked our car at the designated car park and took a walk on the man-made path with plenty of benches and spacious observation deck. Somewhere along the middle there was a hanging bridge which many kids having fun running up and down like there's no tomorrow ... and not to forget the tailing mothers shrieking in fear!
Mangrove Park The local council has indeed done quite a nice job when constructing this park. They not only provide rubbish bins, but also information points about animals we are expected to see at a mangrove forest. But since it was high tide, creatures like mud skipper, king fishers and occasionally stork and the only creatures we saw was some mangrove crabs and some monkeys.

Despite our government's good thoughts of building a public park and educate the people about the significance and importance of the mangrove ecology, the people doesn't know the basics of cleanliness or even the use of rubbish bins. Or perhaps it was because of those monkeys who are 'learned' enough till they even know how to pick rubbish from rubbish bins. After all, those monkeys at my alma mater are so good they even know how to find their way into the girls dorm (specifically) just to get some food thrown at them!Rubbish in Mangrove Park It was 4pm and the sun was scorching hot but the place was quite cooling. The light that pierce through the mangrove make the place a nice scene for some photos. However the only disadvantage was the swarms of mosquitoes circling my husband who was wearing dark colors forcing us to forget about taking pictures and just walk, FAST! Mangrove ParkA walk though the park took us less than 30 minutes and then we were back on the road heading back north towards Penang. This time we decided to drive a little slower in hopes to spot this -
Signboard to Turtle Hatchery Center, Segari, Perak The only sign that let us know that there is a turtle hatchery center along the way. The weird thing is that if we were to come to this place from the north (like this morning) there is no signboard at all! It's only drivers from the south that would be able to see this sign board and the next sign is not visible until some 20km down the road! What's worse, our friend at Lekir didn't even know of it's existence!
Anyway by the time we arrived, the turtle hatchery center was closed. According to it's signboard, its operating hours is everyday from 10am-5pm.
Turtle Management CenterAnd right next to the hatchery, we found 'paradise'. True that the sea water is not very clean nor crystal clear but we finally found a stretch of sandy beach. To get to this little beach with very little people was really difficult! We had to pass by plantations and chicken farms and rarely any signboards indicating there is such beauty hidden in the middle of nowhere.
Pasir Panjang Beach,Segari,PerakWhen we were at the Mangrove park, I can put the rubbish blame on those street-smart monkeys. But here on the beach, there we no monkeys in sight - so the blame is obviously on the humans. If that's not bad enough, the rubbish on this beach is specifically 2 main items - medication bottles and whiskey bottles! It's obvious that whoever is here on a regular basis is definitely up to no good. Individuals who are on substance abuse and obvious alcoholics are nothing more but the trash of society. At least when we were there, these addicts were no where to be seen so other visitors may not feel so offended. On the beach, there was only a few families and we were the only couple around. So we took a nice slow walk along the beach while trying to cover those crab holes. Along the way, we noticed (other than rubbish) there were plenty of empty shells lying around - most were small but I picked up 4 large ones. I guess it is possible to find a coral reef not too far from this beach. After walking for a few meters we began to realize that this stretch of beach is actually quite long. A check on Google Earth shows this beach stretch for a few kilometers long. So Dan suggested that we return again next time, perhaps a picnic or some form of planned activities with friends. We went there empty handed but returned home with a whiskey bottle full of sand.
Pasir Panjang in a whiskey bottle
Our expenses for this one day trip -
Diesel - MYR100 (with a balance of MYR20 worth of diesel upon return home)
Toll - MYR20 (round up figure)
Breakfast - MYR10 (luncheon meat and bread for 2 persons)
Lunch - Free (Wedding lunch by the Bride and Groom)
Dinner - MYR70 (dinner at Sushi King... we could have settled for something cheaper but it's been a long time since we had sushi)
Total spent MYR200 or approx USD54

Getting to Segari Turtle Hatchery and Pasir Panjang Beach- If you are from Setiawan, head northwards towards Lumut town. Before entering Lumut town, there will be a cross junction with a giant man-made sea shell on the left side of the road. Going straight will lead you to Lumut town. Turning right will lead you to Ipoh - you take this route. Head straight for about 25km (go pass the intersection to Swiss Garden Resort Damai Laut). Along the way you'll only see 4 (yes only four) signboards that points to the Hatchery. After driving northwards for 25km, you'll see a sign on the left that points to some electrical plant (Logi Penjanakuasa Electrik) - turn left. Go straight for another 10km before you come to another (final) hatchery signboard that calls you to turn left. It's an off beaten track (like Kampung roads) and you'll see the hatchery at the end of the road.
However if you are from the north (Ipoh/Penang), the only signboard you'll see is the electrical plant signboard on the right hand side of the road junction. For those coming from Penang, take the Changkat Jering Exit at the toll plaza and turn right towards Terong. From Terong, follow the signboard to Lumut and you won't go wrong. But do look out for the Electrical Plant signboard when you are approximately 25km from Lumut - check the stone markers as reference.


  1. Wonderful post, after so long! I was just getting online, after 4 hours of light out to find this post here in my excitement. Let me tell you that I could see myself among the shrieking mothers ;p. It is such a shame that people throw away rubbish like that. That's definitely not all the monkeys fault. Too bad that you haven't seen any hatching turtles. That would be great... The beach seems nice and quiet. I prefer it that way :). Btw, you could start a sand bottle collection or have you already?

  2. Well, we've shown the picture of the beach to a few friends and they are keen in joining us the next time. Hopefully we'll all be able to see some turtles by then. About the sand bottle, it was an impromptu decision because there were so many whiskey bottles lying about! So we just filled up one bottle of whiskey and took it home as a souvenir - cheap and free.


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