The East Coast of Malaysia


Global Mark : 13.50

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Market Relax Fiesta 


2 3 1 2 2 5 2 5 11.00

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
11 100% 73% (8) 82% (9) 9 to 20 16.00

Description : A small rather dull town with a great guesthouse

Comments : To relax at Awi's Yellow House is the main reason to bother coming here but it is an excellent reason...

What to do ? 
- In town : Store on snacks, bread or whatever food you wish to cook before heading to the GH / Walk tiny Chinatown / Explore the lively market / Get up a few stairs to an hill for a great panorama and old cannons / Buy (expensive) art from Chang Fee Ming, an internationally famous local painter / Cultivate yourself at the beautiful State Museum Complex : Main Museum (crafts, arts, Royal, nature,...), Maritime Museum or Fisheries Museum / At the same place, walk botanic & herbs gardens / Have a look at the white "floating" Masjid Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque (4.5km on way to Marang) / Spot fish eagles / 
- At Pulau Duyung : Meet Awi (if around) or whoever is running the GH at the moment / Fell in love with the place / Tea or coffee in hand, discuss the road with fellow (momentarily) retired backpackers / Wake up with nothing to do and go to bed with only half the things done / Wander around the village : lots of boats being built to see and lots of kids to say "Hi !" to
- In the surroundings : Visit the Handicraft Centre of Chendering (6km) : silk manufacturing (Sutera Semai Centre), batiks, basket weaving, etc / Explore fishing villages / Relax by Kenyir Lake (55km) / Splash at waterfalls : Sekayu Waterfall (56km, R1 entrance, bus to Kuala Berang then bus to Sekayu) or Sungai Ceralak Waterfalls (an expedition to reach them) / Explore fishing villages

What you may not like ? Waiting too long for a boat or bus to the island / Finding the GH full / Not fitting in the place (quiet & respectful travelers only) / The few attractions around town which make you feel bad about not leaving the GH / The only once a week night market on the island / The limited English of the locals / The very dirty villages /

How long ? Once there, it is always difficult to leave...

Where to stay ? 

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online & save money !

There are a few options in town (incl. Ping Anchorage at 77A Jalan Dato Isaac w. dorm at R6 and rooms at R12-18) but none have half the charm and a third of the atmosphere of the following :

Awi's Yellow House, on Pulau Duyung / Dorm (3) 5, Rooms 15 (discount possible if Sgl) / Mosquito nets / Free tea or coffee all day long / Free use of kitchen / A very original & atmospheric wooden GH built on stilts over the river. Awi and his French wife keep a low profile and actually leave the guests run the place / Go there to experience what is arguably one of the best (if not the best) GH in Asia : beautiful, relaxing and friendly. This is a great place to cool off from the road and make new friends / What you may not like : not being able to reserve a room (if full, you may sleep on a table), the limited transports to or from town (30mn walk away), the rubbish colored water, the very natural toilets (a hole upon the river), the lack of locker for the rooms and, off course, having to leave...

How to reach Awi's heaven ? 
- By ferry from the south of Chinatown (opposite crossing) or from the east of the market in the north of town for R0.5. They operate very irregularly on Friday and are best avoided at that time.
- By pink minibus No16 or No20 from the Bus Station (R0.6, 10mn). Friday is again a bad day as only No16 is on duty and not too often. You will be dropped below the bridge and will have to walk 5-10mn : take the road on your right and turn right again at the small paved road. The house is a bit hidden and there are no clear signs but everyone around know about the place...
- You can also walk (30-40mn on a rather unpleasant road), hitch (before the bridge) or take a taxi (no more than R4)
- If coming from Merang, Kuala Besut or Kota Bharu, ask the driver to let you off before crossing the bridge.

Where to eat ? On Friday evening (from 16:00 to 21:00), Pulau Duyung houses a great night market. At other times, most guests cook their own food. A few shops & food stalls are also available but choice is usually limited to the nasi or mee goreng, with sometimes some roti chanai. Going to town is off course always an option.

Internet ? Couple of places around town. The cheapest place is Creative (open 9 to 21 daily), just opposite the Bus Station on Jalan Syed Hussin : R2.5 per hour and minimum charge of R0.4 for 10mn.

 << Discover two reasons to visit

Bus Schedules ? 

To  Price Class D. Time Nb Freq.
Kuala Dungun 4 ac 2 6:45 to 18 a lot 30mn
Kuantan 9 ac 4 12:30/15:30 2 na
Mersing 19 ac 7 12:30,22 2 na
Singapore 27/31 ac/vip 10 9,20:30/20:30 2/1 na
KL 22/35 ac/vip 8 9:30,12,17,21,21:30,22/10,22 6/2 na
Kuala Besut 6 ac 2 7,10,14,16 4 na
Kota Bharu 8 ac 3 8:30,10,12:15,13:45,16,17:30 6 na

Notes : To Kuala Dungun via Marang (R1, 30mn) & Rantau Abang (R3, 1.5 hrs) / To Mersing via Cherating (R9.6, 4 hrs) / To KL, a few companies / To Kota Bharu also at 19:30 on Thurs, Frid & Sat

The trip to Marang : SSS / L / Free / 20mn / Awi's car
It took us some "Malay" time to leave the GH but I caught it up as Awi nicely drove us all the way to Marang.
The short trip was pleasant on both side but sitting on the left will let you spot a palace followed by the white "floating" Mosque.

See also the trip from Kota Bharu