beaches of malaysia: no touching!

02Feb07

an excerpt of my february 2007 article in traverama magazine is available online.

The Talang Satang National Park is probably one of the country’s best kept secret where eco-education and conservation is concerned. For one thing, permits to the park are necessary but not difficult to obtain. The park falls under the direct jurisdiction of the Sarawak State Government and the state’s Forestry Department, for another, and is governed by a colourful number of rules, laws, regulations and acts. In a nutshell, the island is protected for good reason, and the authorities here are determined to keep it that way.

After having my documentations settled, I embarked to Satang Besar Island from Permai Rainforest Resort. Other places one can take the boat to the park are Damai Beach, the Sarawak Boat Club Jetty and Telaga Air Jetty, all located along the Damai – Santubong coastline. The 30-minute boat ride is breezy but slap on some sunscreen anyway!

Talang Satang is the first National Park in Sarawak to comprise primarily of a marine area. There are four islands within the park. They are Satang Besar, Satang Kecil, Talang-Talang Besar and Talang-Talang Kecil, of which, only a portion of Satang Besar allows any sort of visitors. The stretch of beach here is called the Public Appreciation Zone, where visitors may look (but certainly not touch!) a cordoned turtle hatchery – all under the watchful hawk eyes of the park rangers, of course! The other islands are strictly conservation and research zones and are off limits to visitors.

Our boatman turned off his engines as we approached the half nautical mile mark, obviously a park requirement. Even from the boat, I could peer over into the water and see a collection of thriving hard corals, tiny reef fish and sea cucumbers. Paddling up to the beach, all we could see was a jade green marble blanket of water gently rising upon a beautiful stretch of golden sand. There is really no use using any form of footwear on the beach, the sand here is so fine, they would immediately find their way between your toes regardless…

* The complete article can be read in this month’s issue of Traverama.

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