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Old April 16th, 2006, 05:13 PM   #1
James Foong
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KUANTAN | Pahang | State Capital City

About 260km from kl to the east is the breathtaking South China Sea, spanning over to the Philippines coast. A short distance from the coast is where the Kuantan town is located and protected by a peninsula, Kuantan River. The town is a bustling centre, yet retains a combination of modern and old charm setting of the town and the people. To-date, Kuantan is the leading urban growth centre in the east coast. The town suburban has expanded rapidly 55km up to the Kemaman town, right after the Pahang/Terengganu border. Heavy industries such as Gebeng, Peramu and Kertih at southern Terengganu are within 1½ hour reach. The town has the advantage of strong connectivity from the East Coast Highway, Kuantan airport and the Kuantan port. A dedicated 50km railway has been laid out between Kuantan port and the Kertih Petrochemical Complex. In the future, the rail will be either connected to KL or Mentakab town at the central Pahang. Overall, Kuantan is destined to be a major populated area in the near future, as the outlook in the growth of industries, tourism and trades are on the rise. Recently, the National Physical Plan 2005 has identified four cities (KL, Georgetown, JB and Kuantan) as the future growth centre hub of trades, offices, transportation and tourism.

I travel regularly to Kuantan for working purpose, and my own experience together with many outsiders here would simply love to settle down in Kuantan. Life here is ‘not so hectic, not so slow’, but an exciting place, made by the existing of surrounding natural beauties and ample spots for chilling out. There are excellent beachside, riverside and streetside here for your daily or weekend spending. And yes, you can go and sit on the beach for hours and sip gin slings if the mood takes you. After all these years of development in kuantan, it hasn’t been too rampant as to cause disorientation and confusion, but at an even pace that allows you to catch your breath once in a while. For one it still remains a good safe town to raise a family, crime is low, prices are not as inflated, people friendly (to a point), there are good food enough to keep your palate from wanting and if you need a break from work, the beaches are just a drive away or a visit to the local park isn’t too far off.


From the upscale neighborhood of Bukit Pelindung.



The nightview along the Kuantan River.



Dayview



From the ‘Scenic Bridge’, across the Kuantan River.



Downtown Kuantan


Mahkota Road
This is the oldest street, Mahkota Road with prewar and 70s shops lining along. The street keeps bustling with old and modern trade activities and has been the soul for many Kuantanites livehood.







Flea market along the Mahkota Street. A popular hangout among the elder community.


Jalan Besar
This road is better known as salt fish street, although the numbers of salt fish shops are declining. Many owners have shifted away into bigger premises outside the town centre.


The street is still retaining its own charm.





Fish Market Hall:
This is the huge fish market hall, adjacent to the Kuantan Main Market. Various fish can be found selling here, including some endangered species like shark. You will spoilt for plenty of choices, fresh and cheap fish here. The experience at the hall is nothing short of like at a share market trading floor. Bargaining and chopping sounds are the main ingredient of this lively market.




Kuantan River Esplanade:
Kuantan Esplanade is one of the country most developed riversides. The Esplanade has been around since 70s and continues to enjoy high patronage of visitors today. Lining along the serene Kuantan River, the esplanade has become a popular hangout during the day and night. There are cafes and eating facilities for visitors, and for those love fishing, you can select the best spot along this 1.3km esplanade. However, on weekend night come early to ‘booked’ the place as hundreds of people spend their night time occupying the entire esplanade for night fishing. Accompanied by their families and friends for gathering, the place has become a family favorite outdoor spot.



The entire esplanade is lighted up.



A perfect spot for night fishing in a lively, bright and safe environment.



In Kuantan, popular parks have provided the locals an avenue for night life.


Traffic condition
Kuantan is now seriously facing the problem of daily congestion on weekdays. Forget about fast lane and flyovers… your speedometer won’t go much beyond 60km/h. Life on the road is rather slow here. With constraint space for expansion of town roads, traffic condition here is unsurprisingly expected to reach critical level. Public transport is lacking with no improvement of buses and facilities. These are the major issues affecting the whole population since the past decades ago.






Kuantan Major Buildings:

Teruntum Complex:
One of the earliest skyscrapers in Malaysia. Completed in the early 70s, it is a mixed development of office, retail and entertainment centre.






Grand Continental Hotel:
Two blocks of hotel and service apartments.




Tenaga Nasional Building and Citiview Hotel:






BCB tower:




Petronas Dagangan Bldg:




MS Garden Hotel:




Megaview Hotel:






Shahzan Inn Hotel:




Vistana Hotel:




Pahang State Mosque:










Retail Market:
Kuantan retail industry is an expanding and thriving business. There is a consistent growth in population and living standard, which its demographic shows Kuantan has a large medium income groups. Currently, there are 5 shopping malls in the town, serving the population from Kuantan and nearby towns like Pekan, Kemaman and Kertih. Besides the mall, Kuantan has large players of independent retail complex like Mydin Wholesale, the Store, Giant Hypermarket, and the up coming Kamdar (2006) and Jaya Jusco (2007). Currently, the Store is doing very well in Ktn with two departmental stores while the Parkson group has Parkson Ria and Parkson Grand each.

List of major retailers:
Main departmental+supermarket store:
1. The Store (2 chains)
2. Parkson Grand
3. Parkson Ria
4. Mydin
5. Pantai Selamat (local retailer)
6. Tunas Manja (local retailer) – 8 stores
7. Eng Hong (local retailer) – 3 stores
8. Kamdar (mid 2006)
9. Jusco (2007)

Hypermarket:
1. Giant (1)
2. Tunas Manja (1)
3. Nirvana (local retailer) - 1

Convenient stores:
1. Tesco Express (1)
2. 7 eleven (exceeding 20 chains)



Berjaya Megamall:
East coast largest mall with 2 million sqft of retail, entertainment, and f&b. Main tenants are Parkson Grand, Tesco express and Popular Bookstore. Cineplex is operated by GSC.








Kuantan Plaza:
Main tenant – Parkson Ria


Kuantan Plaza and SSF Home Deco


Kuantan Parade:
Main tenant – The Store






Beaches around Kuantan:

Pahang coastline offers one of the region top most beautiful beaches, with Kuantan home to two international well-known beaches, Teluk Chempedak (TC) and Cherating Beach. Both beaches have attracted Club Med and Hyatt to land their flag on the shore from the early 70s, suggesting the significance of Pahang beaches to the world. On recently, another beach, Balok Beach is also gaining reputation for the region top most preferred location for wind surfing.

From the Kuantan town driving along 55km north to Pahang/Terengganu boundary, you will have the choices on many top resorts and chalets lining along the route. I ll start off with the most popular, Teluk Chempedak.


1. Teluk Chempedak (TC)



Teluk Chempedak is 5km from the Kuantan town. It is among the more developed beaches in Malaysia. And whatever beach fun you happen to be looking for; sailing, surfing, skiing, camping or just sunbathing, Teluk Chempedak has it.

Bring out yr family or friends, head straight to TC and take a breezing walk along its promenade or lies on the beach. With the unruffled environment, you probably end up chatting or drinking way past the midnight. There is no such thing as the evening comes, you pack off and leave. Life at TC keep continues all the time, alive with people hanging out till the dawn. On big occasion like Chinese lantern festival, New Year and Merdeka Eve, the beach is filled with thousands of people celebrating, which KLites may envy the Kuantanites of celebrating in freestyle. On the other days, sit on the beach and enjoy the morning sunrise, or the full moon by the sea. It’s a nature therapy for stress out.


Morning view from the Hyatt Regency.


Facilities available:
Eateries, seafood restaurants, bistros, 24hr McD restaurant and swimming facility.




The main road leads to TC.


At nite, the area is a happening place.


In the evening (South view)


North view of the bay.
The far end has a wooden bridge linking TC to the second bay. Without straying too far afield you can also visit the more isolated Pelindung Beach right behind the hill, commonly referred as Third bay. However, it is accessible only by jungle hike in the forest reserve.





Packing crowd along the Promenade walk.


Night experience


Morning experience


Hotels:
5-star Hyatt Regency Kuantan


Hyatt Regency is an excellent place to stay. In its 20yrs operation, the 550-rooms hotel has never fall short of high occupancy. The hotel has undergone 3 major expansions from time to time, indicates the continuous lure of foreign and local tourists to the beach.





Multiple pools facility


Conference hall – Hyatt kuantan is among the country top preferred location for conferencing.


The lobby with setting of natural architectural finishing.


Beachside bistro


Sheraton Hotel:
Initially started off by Faber Group, construction was halted during the post 97 recession. Faber finally started to dispose its prime assets recently including the 5-star Sheraton Kuantan. It was sold to Berjaya Group by a high value of market price.


2. Gelora Beach



Gelora beach is located along the way to Teluk Chempedak. Locals love the place for recreational purpose, especially in the evening where the place is crowded with joggers and visitors. It is one of the most serene places in kuantan for hanging out, with many manmade lakes and shady trees alongside. Compare with Malaysia most famous lake, Taiping Lake, here Kuantan own Gelora Lake is just as good as there, but it is lesser known.






A further walk north of Gelora Beach is the Tanjung Tongkang. Here, the hillrock set apart Gelora beach and the Teluk Chempedak. A top favorite residence spot among the expatriates is located here. Kuantan Tembeling Resort is a cluster of 5 blocks of service condo, offering a great view of the town and the sea.


The tranquil afternoon seaview.



Stone age





Kuantan Tembeling Resort


From the balcony




Far view of Kuantan from the beach.



3. Beserah Beach:



If you have a desire to take a look at the culture of the region, the Kuantan coast offers an easy glimpse into everyday Malay life. Beserah Beach is a local fishing village where you can watch the fishermen use water buffaloes to haul their catch from the shore to a processing area. The community is about 10km from Kuantan and includes a batik fabric factory and several handicraft shops. One of the best things you can do at Beserah is having dinner at seafood restaurants. Kuantan top seafood restaurants can be found here, which are Pak Su and Beserah Restaurant. With the roar sound of waves and breezing air, it’s easily compliment the natural way of enjoying seafood. Both are located along the main road from the beach.









Pak Su Restaurant’s view of the beach



4. Batu Hitam Beach:




The beach has a large feature of metamorphic rocks exposing out from the earth, and in such that’s creating a wonderful landscape of Batu Hitam beach. Batu Hitam is another 4km driving north of Beserah Beach.








How many fish can you spot?


The live seashells


Evening setting



5. Balok Beach:



Another further 5km from Batu Hitam lays an unruffled beach, a paradise for wind-surfing fanatics. Tropical breezes and long stretches white sand blend with the crystal blue South China Sea to make relaxation impossible to resist. Numerous of hotel resorts and chalets can be found here, fronting the long wide of the sea. Every month of January, Balok Beach is the venue of Monsoon Madness Cup, held yearly as part of an International Windsurfing and Kite Boarding Event. According to the board, the event is telecast to an audience of 500 million in 120 countries, attracted more than 40 competitors from 14 countries like Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the US and other parts of Malaysia.

The huge bay at Balok Beach, which curves round a wide arc offering over 16km of coast with gentle shelves and no sudden drops or reefs, makes it a safe place to host this extreme sport. Together with consistent cross and on-shore winds of between 10 and 20 knots, Balok makes it the top 10 venues in the world for windsurfing.








The bustle of city life fades.



6. Tanjung Gelang:



Tanjung Gelang is a scenic spot for a glimpse view of the whole of 16km Balok Beach down to the Beserah Beach. Kuantan Port and the Navy base site are located within the area.


The sights of calm and still moving water in the early morning set in as usual at this secluded landscape.


A line of mist envelope part of the sea into the mainland after an earlier storm.


Sunrise at 7am.





7. Cherating Beach:





Cherating, about 40km north of Kuantan is perhaps one of the best kept secrets in Southeast Asia. A beach village is, according to one source, “the perfect antidote to frantic city life.” How good are the beaches there? Cherating became the home of Asia’s first Club Med. And parts of the beach are set aside as one of the world’s most important sea turtle sanctuaries. But it is more than just beach that brings visitors to Cherating. Atmosphere is essential to the charm and attraction of Cherating. The actual town is basically a Malay kampung, known as Kampung Cherating Lama. This small village is home to number of budget chalets and straw huts on the beach, mostly operated by locals.


Kampung Cherating Lama

There are a wide range of accommodations available in Cherating. The previously mentioned Club Med is an example of the more upscale offerings. The 200 acre of Club Med Village Cherating feels like a cross between a national park and a spa. Once you step into the village, everything is exclusively for guest use and even the beach is a private beach, guarded at two sides from any intruder.

Club Med private beach






The Resort:








Free amenities/offers for guest:







Villatab, Cherating - A royal villa charging at RM3,500/night.

If you’re looking for a particularly exotic place to stay in Cherating, there is a royal posh villa sitting on top of a hill and commands a magnificent bird’s eye view of Cherating Bay and 2 private beaches. VillaTab Cherating is so exclusive with only 4 rooms with no other guest sharing the villa during your stay. The villa belongs to Sultan of Pahang’s brother. Because the Sultan’s brother didn’t really use the place much, he decided to start renting it out. The villa includes an infinity-edge swimming pool, a private cove, and access to two speed boats and a jet ski. A party of up to 14 could stay there without much problem.


Last edited by James Foong; April 16th, 2006 at 05:19 PM.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 10:34 AM   #2
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interesting place Kuantan is!!

thanks for the pictorial tour
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Old April 17th, 2006, 10:40 AM   #3
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Thanks man! I love Kuantan though I prefer Pekan. Anyway, what Kuantan lacks is quality restaurants. Even the hotel food aiyo
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Old April 17th, 2006, 10:56 AM   #4
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i'm not a muslim, but this picture stricks me... so peaceful... it reminds me to move forward so I'd get stronger...

Last edited by limbelah; April 17th, 2006 at 11:07 AM.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 12:28 PM   #5
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Old April 17th, 2006, 12:29 PM   #6
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Pekan is famous with its murtabak.Kuantan may be seafood at Tanjung Lumpur ,i dunno?
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Old April 17th, 2006, 01:13 PM   #7
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thx james, enjoyed the pictorial tour of kuantan, love the beaches & the serene atmosphere, anymore tours of the east coast
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Old April 17th, 2006, 01:21 PM   #8
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wow! kuantan seems very pretty looking place...
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Old April 17th, 2006, 04:13 PM   #9
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Thanks for the feedbacks. In near future, i ll update you with more pictures of kuantan and the surrounding. I ll take you on the subjects like locals' great foods, education institutional, on-going projects, current lifestyle trend, and the heavy industries around kuantan like the massive gebeng and kertih complex, which are mostly petrochemicals and oil&gas plants. I ll try to compile some east coast pics on sourthern terengganu beaches and the towns around. Watch out for the kertih amazing night scenery, which to some people, looks like a burning hell world.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 06:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acela
Pekan is famous with its murtabak.Kuantan may be seafood at Tanjung Lumpur ,i dunno?
I think Kuantan is famous for it's Petani's restaurant Anyway, Pekan's food really top especially Masakan Di Raja one...pengat..ayam golek..pudding..
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Old April 17th, 2006, 07:00 PM   #11
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James> is the "robot" lembu still there in Berjaya Megamall? I also think the mall also has Malaysia's cheapest digital camera printing service..at least from my experience in 2003. No service charge!
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Old April 18th, 2006, 03:07 AM   #12
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GREAT pictures James Foong! .....thanks a lot for the 'virtual' tour

I would really like to visit Kuantan someday....been there when I was young but only once. Maybe Baqthier would bring me around Pekan and we would make our way to Kuantan after that
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Old April 18th, 2006, 07:13 PM   #13
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Thks sze. Its a wonderful place for adventurous ppl like you to venture out kuantan and its surroundings someday. In the mean time, whenever i m in ktn.. I ll try to discover some other nearby towns like sungai lembing n pekan, which r blessed with old great history n amazing landscape scenery.

Baq, u live in pekan b4? i hv never tried those pekan famous foods b4, perhaps i definitely gotta to taste it out someday. Patani restaurant is still looking good, but there r some great malay restaurants around worth trying out. And yeah, i dont find any robot lembu at the mall since the last time i went last month.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 08:25 AM   #14
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wau....Thanx for beautiful and nice pictures.....
Anyway, is Berjaya Megamall a nice place to shop?...Many of my friends told me that BErjaya Megamall are very boring ....
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Old April 19th, 2006, 10:25 AM   #15
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lotsa nice pics! and nice place! thx James! that mosque looks cool! like the blue mosque in Istanbul!
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Old April 19th, 2006, 12:31 PM   #16
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The last time I went Kuantan, I recall it being a very clean town.

Anyway, anyone knows where I can eat ikan Kelah in Kuantan without having to pawn my assets to pay for it?
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Old April 19th, 2006, 12:49 PM   #17
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Kuantan airport (Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport)

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Old April 21st, 2006, 07:00 PM   #18
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Impressive...Pahang's beach looks nice too
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 05:25 AM   #19
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The mosque glowing in the first picture looks out of this world....!!! And the city and beaches looks great too.

I only pass Kuantan when my family went to Terengganu, now I feel so 'rugi' for not stopping by at Kuantan.

Sorry to say this, but I always imagined Kuantan something like Ipoh coz to me other cities besided KL, Penang and JB are somehow like Ipoh....
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Old May 6th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #20
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COVER STORY: Cruising on the river
F.K. KOK
NewStraitTimes


To see how important the Kuantan River is, take a ferry cruise that will take you on an adventure of the refreshing kind, writes F.K. KOK


THE recent month-long National Water Festival 2006 was aptly launched at the Kuantan Esplanade on April 2 as life on the water is a daily business for the people here.

Towns like Kuantan began as a river settlement because rivers were the main transportation artery into the interior and their many estuaries provided a safe haven for seafarers and fishermen.

To best get an idea of what Kuantan was like in the early days, go on a river cruise aboard the ferry service which takes visitors along the Kuantan River. The trip is a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of the city and offers a different perspective of the town.

A picturesque view of the Esplanade, peaceful fishing villages, a 500-year-old mangrove forest and a legacy of the Japanese Occupation are some of the highlights of the cruise. It starts at the Shahbandar Jetty and heads for the Tanjung Lumpur fishing village located at the mouth of Kuantan River.

Fishing and passenger boats are moored along the beach or going somewhere. Those with a keen eye will notice the different colour schemes of the boats. Boats registered in Pahang have cabins painted yellow and bear registration numbers starting with the alphabet ‘P’. Those bearing ‘J’, ‘T’ and ‘K’ are registered in Johor, Terengganu and Kelantan and are coloured blue, green and red respectively.

The 339-hectare Mangrove Forest Reserve is a busy area. The muddy shores of sheltered coasts and river estuaries are fertile ground for the mangroves. This is home to crabs, prawns and fish as well as a rich source of fuelwood (Bruguiera and Rizophora spp.) and nipah palm leaves which are sought after for roofing purposes.

The mangrove forests can only support hardy plants that can grow in marine clay and which have adapted to these harsh conditions by developing “breathing” roots.

At Tanjung Lumpur, species like Api Api (Avicennia alba and Avicennia marina) and Perepat (Sonneratia alba) thrive on the seaward zone where the soil is soft, loose and exposed to inter-tidal conditions. They have developed snorkel-style roots that stick out of the soil to obtain water and oxygen.

Further inland at Peramu, the swamp can be divided into zones, each dominated by a single species of tree. Vast tracts of Berus (Bruguiera cylindrical) and Bakau Kurap (Rhizophora mucronata) thrive. This is the land of mangroves, striking back with their aerial roots through which water is absorbed via osmosis from the substrate.

In the back zone of compact, clayey crab mounds grow Bebuta (Excoecaria agallocha), Nyireh Bunga (Xylocapus granatum), and Sea Olive.

Away from tidal influence, Nipah swamp forests and clumps of Nibong (Oncosperma tigillarium) grow on the banks.

Stop at Tanah Putih where the 250-metre-long wooden boardwalk allows visitors to stroll through the mangrove forest and get close looks at the flora and fauna including crabs, monitor lizards, shore birds etc.

The journey does not end here. You can take a walk back in time – to World War II. After the Japanese Army invaded Kuantan, they constructed two pill boxes at the present Tanah Putih Bridge. This was a strategic location as it controlled the waterways to Sungei Lembing town (where precious tin was mined) and land routes to the south of the peninsula. One of the pill boxes still stands today, a solitary legacy of the Occupation.



Things To Do

Besides the river cruise, a walk along the Esplanade is equally refreshing. The sound of lapping water and riverine activities bring back fond memories of the early beginnings of the town. Here you can also find shops offering clothes, handicrafts and dried sea products.



Ferry Service

The Kuantan Municipal Council (Majlis Perbandaran Kuantan, aka MPK) operates the service. There are daily departures. The maximum capacity for each cruise is 20 passengers.

Day cruise:

Monday to Thursday at 9am, 11am and 2.30pm
Friday at 9am, 3pm
Saturday and Sunday at 9am, 11am, 2.30pm and 4pm

Night Cruise:

Every Friday and Saturday. Cruise to the river mouth only.
Starts at 8pm with subsequent departures every 30 minutes. The last departure is at midnight.


How much?
Day cruise:

RM15 (adult) and RM8 (child).

Night cruise:

RM5 (adult/child)
For the above cruises, there must be a minimum of five adults.

Charter cruise:

RM120 and RM250 for students and non-students respectively.
For enquiries and bookings, please contact 09-512 1644



Where To Stay?

Accommodation ranges from the resthouse to budget and five-star hotels.

Hyatt Regency is a favourite for those who like staying at beach-front properties close to the centre of town. Rates are RM280++ (garden view) and RM320++ (sea view) with breakfast for two. Tel: 09-566 1234.

If you want to shop, then MS Garden Hotel is the preferred choice. It is located next to Berjaya Megamall, Kuantan’s newest, biggest shopping mall. Rates are RM198 nett (deluxe single/double) with breakfast. Tel: 09-517 1888.

Megaview Hotel at the Esplanade offers a good view of the Kuantan River and you can watch the coming and going of fishing boats. Rates are RM120 nett (standard single/double) with breakfast. Tel: 09-517 1888.



Where To Eat?

Just a 15-minute walk towards the bus station from the Esplanade is a hawker centre with almost 100 stalls dishing up local delights from rice to noodles. Prices are from RM3 to RM5 per order. As for drinks, there’s tea, coffee, ais-kacang or fruit juices with prices ranging from RM1 to RM3.



Getting There

From Kuala Lumpur, use the East Coast Highway to get to Kuantan which takes about three hours. Exit at the Gambang Toll Plaza and follow the signages.

As you approach the tallest building in Kuantan (Teruntum Complex), you will see MPK HQ on your right. The jetty is next to this. There is no U-turn option, so keep left and make a right turn at the traffic lights into Jalan Mahkota. Keep to the right lane and make a right turn at the first available turn. When you are on Jalan Besar, keep left and look for directions to the jetty.

There is ample parking at the jetty or at MPK HQ. It is a ticket or coupon parking system at 42 sen per hour.
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