The East Coast of Malaysia

KUANTAN

Global Mark : 12.33

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
2 2 2 2 4 2 4 2 10.00

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
3 100% 100% 100% 12 to 17 14.67


Description : A developed but relaxed city

Comments : Most people use Kuantan as a transit place and, indeed, the sights aren't too numerous in appearance. In appearance only ? 

What to do ? Visit the Tourist Office near the taxi station for maps & tips on how to reach the nearby attractions / Point your camera at the impressive blue mosque / Walk the huge department stores or the big market / Get a new cheap software for your computer / Play video games / Watch the latest movies at a cinema or a (fake) VCD shop / Get a few kilos : plenty of food stalls, bakeries and restaurants ! / If heading to the North, change money & check your email : the next developed town is Kemaman / Use the bins : Kuantan is reputed to be the cleanest city in Malaysia ! / And in the surroundings : beaches, fishing villages, waterfalls and caves to explore !

What you may not like ? The lack of sights in the town center / The traffic on the streets (jaywalkers beware !) / The far between bus stations (20mn walk) / The cost of accomodation / The noisy prayers' calls from the Mosque

How long ? Half a day for the town center, another day for the surroundings


Where to stay ? 

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

Numerous hotels (mostly Chinese) in town. A few selection :

- Near the local bus station (south) :

  • Hotel Baru Raya (5139746), a red & white building opp. the station / Dbl w. shower 25 / Correct size but not too exciting as a bit grotty 
  • Oriental Evergreen Hotel (09 5130168), 157 Jalan Haji Abdul Rahman, a small street off Jalan Mahkota / Tiny Sgl w. AC 20, w. TV 25, Dbl w. AC, HW bathtub & TV 33.33 / Go there for the spotless & comfortable rooms at very reasonable prices, the great view over the mosque from the cheap Sgl (best room : No504) and the little extra / What you may not like : not being with someone to share the cost of the great Dbl...
  • New Capital Hotel (5135222), 55 Jalan Bukit Ubi / Dbl 16, w. shower 17.9, w. AC 25 to 90 / Large rooms but basic and rather grotty with a lazy wall
  • New Evergreen Hotel (5131548), 63 Jalan Bukit Ubi / Tiny Sgl w. lavatory 13, Dbl 16, Dbl w. shower 20, w. AC 28 / Go there for the cheapest price & acceptable cleanliness / What you may not like : the traffic noise if staying by the road, the lazy walls and the grotty look
  • Hotel Kristal (5526577), 59 Jalan Mahkota, just south of the mosque, opp. Standard Chartered Bank / Dbl 15, w. AC 30, w. shower & TV 35 / Go there for the cheapest Dbl, the relatively clean & cozy atmosphere and the nice area / What you may not like : not having any carpet nor charm in the cheapies

- By the market & Long-distance bus station (North) : 

  • Hotel Top One (5139573), No8 Jalan Pasar Baru, just west of the market / Sgl or Dbl w. tiny shower 20, w. TV 25, w. AC 35 / Clean but claustrophobic (no window, low ceiling) & probably noisy as thin walls
  • Hotel Makmur (5141363), next to the above / Future Dorm (18) 12 ? / Dbl w. AC & lavatory 26, w. shower 32 / Rates incl. breakfast / Rather small, grotty & noisy (thin walls) 
  • Hotel Sri Intan (5142000), north of the above / Dbl w. AC & lavatory 20, w. TV 25, w. shower 30 / Same kind of unexciting rooms

Where to eat ? Plenty of food stalls all around town. The one by the market is the largest and most colorful. People who crave for junk food should head toward Megamall Shopping Centre : KFC, McDo and other expensive brands. Much better and also with some western dishes (steak) is Swan Bakery Cafe (on Jalan Bukit Ubi, north of Jalan Masjid) : Malay dishes are very reasonably priced (R3.5-4.5 plus 10% tax & service), well served and tasty ! If not too cold (air conditioning), they also have ice creams...

Internet ? Most places in town charge R3 per hour with a minimum charge of 20 or 30mn. The best place therefore is De' Fa Net Cafe (A133, 1/F, JL Tun Ismail, next to the green Berjaya Megamall, next to Eon bank and Philleo Allied Bank) : R3 from 10am to 7pm but R2 only from 7pm to midnight and 10mn min. charge. Open daily and quite flexible with the schedules...

 << Discover the Mosque


The surroundings ? I unfortunately did not have the time to visit them but the followings should be worth a look if loose on your itinerary :
- Area of Teluk Chempedak (4km east) : clean beach, mini zoo, golf club and apparently lots of greenery
- Charah Caves (25km northwest) : a 15mn climb to a reclining Buddha. Bus No48 to the village of Panching then 4km walk.
- Sungai Pandan Waterfall (29km) : a big waterfall with several steps spanned over eleven hectares of wild nature. Bus to Pancing then 20mn walk.


How to leave ?
Ordinary buses from the local bus station (south of town by the river) go as far as Kemaman in the north. If going to Cherating, those are the best options.
For destinations further away, buses depart from the big & busy Long-Distance Bus Station, east of the market (15mn walk). Plenty of offices with plenty of destinations but it is advisable to book one day in advance.


Bus Schedules ? 

To  Price Class Duration Time Nb Freq.
Kemaman 3.25 ordi 1.5-2 6:30 to 18 a lot 30mn
K. Terengganu 9-10 ac 4 9:30 to 14:30 & 18:30 to 21 a few hour
Kota Bharu 16-17.2 ac 7 8:30,10,11:30,14,15:30,23 a few na
Rantau Panjiang 19.1 ac 8 23 1 na
Mersing 10.35 ac 3.5 9,10:30,17 3 na
Singapore 16.5 ac 7 9,10:30,22:30,23 a few na
Jerantut 8.5 ac 2.5 10,13,15 3 na
Melaka 14 ac 5 8,14:30 2 na
KL 13-15 ac 5 8:30,10:30 to 17:30, 24:30 a few hour
Ipoh 25 ac 8 9,21 2 na
Butterworth 28.3 ac 8 9,20:30 a few na
Penang 32 ac 9 21 1 na

Notes : To Kemaman via Cherating (R2.5, 1 hour), from local bus station / To Singapore via Johor Bahru (R15.4, 6.5 hrs)


The trip to Mersing : SSS / R / R10.1 / 3 hrs / AC Bus to Singapore
Starting to be experienced with Malaysia's Bus Stations and having reserved a seat the previous day (it turned out that seats were still available), I showed up 10mn before departure only. The doors were open and passengers were allowed to board. No gas breathing this time...
My seat turned out to be on the right side and this was a chance as the sun was performing on the left in the morning. The ride was comfortable but not enough for the stomach of every passenger apparently... We stopped for 10mn at 11am and that was it.
As for the scenery, we had a bit of highway, a few mosque, one carbonized bus on the side road, some nice river crossing with colorful boats but, honestly, I did not care too much about it. There was a beautiful local girl sitting on my left (who without doubt qualified for the top "scenery" grade) and the conversation lasted until reaching Mersing (damn, so fast !)

Also to Tasik Cini (lake sugar)

See also the trip from Beserah