Sitiawan is about 1.5-2 hours drive from Ipoh eastward towards the sea. Not by the sea but close enough. My one day visit to Sitiawan was not leisure but was thankful that I briefly saw 1-2 popular spots in the area. Our friend from Sitiawan drove us out to visit the popular Batik Beach. This is different from Pulau Balik in Penang! I was told that it gets crowded in the weekends. Arriving at around 6.00pm, the Thursday evening was perfect for us with only a few local Malay families and couples enjoying this short stretch of beach cove.
The sun set to the right of the sea behind the forrest trees. The sounds of the gentle waves washing up the shores were music to the ears. The natural scene was rather crudely interrupted by the presence of the steel factory that extended all the way out few hundred metres into the sea. I was told that the locals are concerned about lead content in the waters from the steel factory. Even so, the beach is scattered with lots of sea shells. So many that the finely broken sea shells were blended in as part of the sand.
The sea shells on Batik beach are generally quite small. We spent our time walking the beach towards the sunset and picking up sea shells.
There is a new jetty near Batik beach called Marina Bay where 15-min boat rides will bring us to Pangkor Island. We could not do it as it was getting dark but I saw this signboard that makes me want to go back for a vacation! Price is reasonable too!
Lumut is possibly the more known beach, as it is much older, and it is the waterfront and jetty to Pangkor island. The boat ride to Pangkor from Lumut takes about an hour, slower than from Marina Bay because of the distance and a slower boat. The Lumut Waterfront had lots of shops and highly commercialised. We drove past the Lumut Waterfront as it was evening and many shops were closed. The Lumut river mouth into the sea by the Lumut Waterfront is gorgeous. There is a serenity unspoken even in a moving car. The small fishing boats add so much characteristic to this still yet flowing river.
I got to Sitiawan on a friend’s car but I had to make my way back to Ipoh airport on my own. I boarded the bus at Manjung bus station. It was a simple bus station with only 4-5 berth for boarding, which were usually empty. It was orderly and pleasant. Perhaps the slower pace of life and less congestion equate to more smiles! I boarded Bus Kesatuan with all the seats turned forward, indicating that it just went through a thorough cleaning. It was impressively clean and neat! A 2hour bus journey on a fresh and clean bus is more than I would expect for a RM9 ride. The journey to Ipoh Amanjaya Bus Station took about 2 hours 15min, with the bus stopping once at Lumut Bus Station and another station to pick up passengers.
The new Ipoh Amanjaya Bus Station is a privately owned bus station. This spiffy new 2-level building with ticketing counters, cafes, shops selling nick-nacks somehow reminded me of Batam’s Ferry Terminal, a smaller version. Amanjaya Bus Station location is off town, by taxi to Ipoh town, it took me about 20min for RM25. Direct to airport from Amanjaya will be 25min taxi journey at the price of RM35.