When most of us end up going for trips around Peninsular Malaysia a lot of us end up at holiday destinations located along the North-South Highway. Most end up in Malacca, Port Dickson, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Taiping and all the way up North to Penang, Alor Setar and even Bukit Kayu Hitam which borders Thailand. Nearly everyone forgets that there is a highway leading to the East Coast of the Peninsular these days and a trip to the East Coast, aside from the shorter trips to Desaru in Johor is as viable as a trip to Penang. I was in Kuantan, Pahang for a weekend and it was a pretty good drive-to destination.
As usual, you have to hit Kuala Lumpur if you're coming from down South (or if you're a little adventerous you could skip the highway and use the coastal road all the way from Johor through Mersing and head upwards. But if you're into highway driving and want to make good time, head up towards the Karak Highway and continue towards Kuantan instead of stopping at the casino at Genting for that round of blackjack.
If you're heading towards Kuantan on a normal non-holiday weekend, traffic on the East Coast Highway isn't as heavy as you'd find on the North-South Highway. In fact at around noon its pretty empty. There are ample rest stops and after you cross over the Titiwangsa mountain range its mostly a straight two and a bit more hour drive to Kuantan.
- Keropok lekor Mok Su off the Tanjung Lumpur main road- one of the best Keropok Lekor I've tasted -
In Kuantan, you can do various stuff, like eat. Food, especially those that come from the sea is abundant. You can get local stuff like 'keropok ikan' or fish crackers in both the 'keropok lekor' – one that is steamed then fried in a sausage-like shape or the normal cracker-like stuff we're used to seeing. You can also find 'sata' and 'otak-otak'. Both are east coast delicacies and you can find a lot of stalls selling these food stuffs in and around Tanjung Lumpur, Kuantan. Do like what I do for local delicacies – buy about one Ringgit worth at a stall and if it tastes good, but some more. Aside from the local snacks, you can head over there at dinner time for seafood. There are lots of shops open till late serving local freshly caught seafood dishes.
- Tanjung Lumpur at night -
You can also head towards Kuantan town center and pass by the main street. It is also quite a nice experience as most of the shops here are pre-war or made in the 1950s. Kuantan may not be well known for its shopping, but you can find some unique stuff over there. Located along Beserah beach, there is a local batik factory. You can actually watch them in action printing the batik cloth if you're into that kind of stuff.
If you're into sun, sand and the sea then you may enjoy Kuantan. This is as the city is located right beside the South China Sea and the beach as well as the surf/waves aren't tame like those you get on the West Coast. If the timing is right (or wrong) you can get to watch higher than usual waves. Famous beaches there include Pantai Beserah, Pantai Batu Hitam and Pantai Balok ('Pantai' means beach).
And one good motoring experience that you can do here at Pantai Balok is actually drive you car on the sands. The sand is compact enough to do so and many actually drive their car right up to the edge where they break out their fishing equipment for a spot of fishing. I've done it too. It is also quite an experience to drive close to the sea. And no, it isn't the same if you drive into a construction site.
All in all Kuantan is actually quite a good destination spot. You have a decent sized town with shopping malls close by, a nice beach and great food. And it really takes about the same time (or shorter) for you to go there if you wanted to drive up towards Penang from down South.
advice, malaysia, local, motoring and 5 more...
- Sata, a very tasty fish based snack & otak-otak in the background
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