A nature-lover’s paradise. Kuantan in the state of Pahang, Malaysia, is a perfect gateway for those who want nothing more than to sit back and admire nature’s creation. Kuantan’s white sandy beaches are certainly gorgeous, but part of its charm is also because it makes a great starting point for other related journeys and adventures.
Cultural Pot Pourri
Kuantan is a bustling town with its own list of attractions, the typical Malaysian town with centuries of different cultures blending together to form a cultural kaleidoscope. Its attractions include the State Mosque as well as Hindu and Chinese temples, all with their own unique, distinctive architecture. The Heroes Museum is also worth visiting as it has more than a little about Malaysian history through the various characters that contributed to it.
Night markets, with their array of mouth-watering food and colour, are typical of Malaysian life which you will find in Kuantan as well. Also, be it night or day, take a cruise along the river or hail a trishaw and view the town at a relaxed pace. And while you’re at it, why not take a stroll along its parks- the Gelora Park, Teruntum Mini Zoo and Agriculture Park- and enjoy the greenery.
Experiencing Kampong Life
Kuantan’s most famous beach is arguably in Teluk Cempedak, its best feature being a gorgeous sunrise. Sit on the beach with a cup of coffee and just enjoy the pre-dawn moments before the sun peeks out of the horizon and onto the wide-open sea. It really is worth sacrificing some sleep to see.
For a feel of kampong life, visit the fisherman’s village of Beserah where you will see fishermen using water buffaloes to pull in their catch from the sea, pretty unique since these animals are usually used in paddy fields. Balok beach is also an ideal spot to relax in and is popular among windsurfers especially.
And then of course there is the famous Cherating, a popular destination for local and foreign tourists alike. Cherating even has a turtle sanctuary in Chendor Beach. You can join in and watch the turtles when they land between April to August, or see how hatchlings are conserved, then sent back to sea.
Take Your Pick: Island-Hopping Or Jungle-Trekking
You should also take a trip to any of the other nearby islands if you have the time. Off the coast of Pahang is Pulau Tioman, which has been hailed as one of the most beautiful islands in the world. To get there, take a scenic 3-hour trip to Mersing to get on the jetty. Other islands not far from Kuantan are Pulau Kapas and Pulau Redang and you could either take a bus or rent a car to drive to the jetties in Marang and Kuala Terengganu respectively. The drive should take about 3 hours although Marang is slightly nearer, being on the fringes of Kuala Terengganu.
Remember also that you can get to the National Park from Kuantan. Check at the Tourist Information Centre in town for a choice of packages available for tourists. On the other hand, if history is what interests you, take a trip to the former tin mining village of Sungai Lembing, with the remnants of what used to be the largest subterranean mine in the world. You might also want to go to one of the many waterfalls Kuantan has to offer, namely the Sungai Pandan and Berkelah waterfalls.
And why not visit Malaysia’s very own water horse? Tasik Chini, Malaysia’s second largest natural lake is just under two hours’ drive from Kuantan. A dragon is said to live there too and some would swear that they’ve seen it. Another legend claims that the spot is a now-submerged ancient Khmer government.
All in All… Perfect
There is food aplenty in Kuantan and you should try as much as you can. Much of it is seafood-based, Kuantan being so close to the coastline. Besides keropok (crackers which can be fish, prawn or cuttlefish), otak-otak, satay and ikan masin (dry salted fish which tastes good deep-fried and eaten as a condiment) are available just about everywhere. Make sure you taste everything or maybe even bring back some raw keropok as yummy souvenirs. One thing’s for sure, you’ll definitely go home fully-satisfied.