Mar 25-, 2018
Exploring Kuantan, Malaysia
Location: Kuantan (city), Pahang (state), Malaysia
Kuantan is hardly on the traveler's radar screen. People go to Penang, Cameron Highlands, Kuala Lumpur, Melacca...but Kuantan? Never heard. It's the closest small city from Gambang where I did my Vipassana meditation course, so I chose to explore it.
Tourism-wise, Kuantan has the wide river and the kilometer-long wide esplanade to promenade on. In the late afternoon when the sun isn't too harsh, it's an ideal place for an afternoon chill.
Kuantan also has beaches, known to be one of the finest in Malaysia. It has a free-admission mini-zoo. Everything else resembles every small city in Malaysia - malls, eating places, commerce. It's a complete city with everything you need right there - no need to go to Kuala Lumpur for anything basic.
When the Guangzhou 5 left for China, I was on my own to get settled in Kuantan and discover the place. Fortunately for me, the owner of my lodging agreed to my business proposal. This meant free lodging for me for 13 days - from March 27 until April 13. I badly needed this break given my low funds. At least I know I won't be packing and unpacking depending on what cheap hostel is giving the best rate for the day - like it was for me in Singapore!
If not for its temperamental internet, Kuantan Backpackers is perfect - walk to bus terminal which gives me access at all points in Kuantan, a/c, cheap bed at MYR 30/night, common kitchen-fridge-recreational space, good water pressure, all-day toast/coffee/tea and central location (walk to malls, river, lots of eating places, etc.) and helpful staff.
I became friends with Wani, a Muslim lady, who used the common work area in the lodge as her office. It's my first to get a glimpse of what it's like in the muslim world. She was very helpful and friendly. She took me along to the bowling lanes, strolled the malls, eat out (with her being my interpreter), helped me with a Malaysian sim card, even cooked lunch for us. With her car, she even drops me off where I need to go. I'm one lucky dude!
Exploring on Foot
I'd been walking around Kuantan on foot - perhaps a kilometer radius from my hostel, discovering Mamak eating places (Malay or Indian cheap eating places that's usually open the whole day) where I can have my staple, Roti Canai + teh tarik (MYR 3) or Chinese noodle soup eateries. There are lots to choose from.
Kuantan has 3 major malls, 2 of them offer cinema viewing with discounted MYR 9/movie on Wednesdays. Like most malls in Southeast Asia, they all look alike. I get to see a few new brands and outlet though that I haven't seen in the Philippines. When there is nothing else to do, there is the mall to stroll about.
Because Malaysia is a Muslim country, the culture is steeped in Islamic tradition - clothing, food, behavior, architecture, etc. With the exception of Wani, I haven't really been interacting with the Muslim locals (largely because few can speak English), but this is as good a place as it gets to experience the real Muslim world - and not the packaged stereotype fed by US-sponsored media.
Being in Malaysia presents challenges. Very few people speak or understand English. I would show a note in either Chinese or Malay to indicate I don't want chili or anything hot and spicy on my food. Still, I get served a spicy dish! It's like playing Russian roulette.
Kuantan isn't exactly the place where tourists beat a path to. It has the feel of a settle-down and make-a-living kind of place - not exactly a charming destination where your senses are inundated by wonder. But it's river and the esplanade has a lot of potential. I somehow envision the esplanade to be lined-up with charming cafes with outdoor tables...and still leave the wide esplanade free for river promenaders. It can work!
As of this writing, I still have a couple of weeks left to discover the place. If I get lucky enough, Wani might show me the part of Kuantan hidden from most passing tourists.
(Apr 2, 2018) I am leaving without getting the chance to tell you goodbye. So I left you my FB contact info as you reach me if you want to go to France on anything. I will be very happy to see you again.
(Apr 2, 2018) Nice Sir Git
(Apr 2, 2018) How was it (Satipatthana meditation)?
(Mar Apr 2, 2018) I can now walk on water !!!! LOL
(Apr 2, 2018) Miss you Gigit
Jessie Villabona Severino
(Apr 2, 2018) I knew you did the 10-day Vipassana course.
Next stop: Fitness in Kuantan
Kuantan (city), Pahang (state), Malaysia
Travel Tips for Kuantan
How to get to Kuantan from Kuala Lumpur
- Hentian Bandar station is the main local bus hub of Kuantan with buses taking you to essential destinations in Kuantan, MR 2.00
How to get to KLIA2 Airport from Kuantan
Malaysia Blogs by TheLoneRider
- Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands June 19-23, 2016
- Overnight in Kluang, Malaysia Aug 13-14, 2016
- Funky Flow Yoga with Lora Lorenzo at YogaOneThatIWant Studios July 27, 2016
- Deja Vu Kuala Lumpur with Karine July 21-26, 2016
- Layover in Kuala Lumpur June 22, 2016
- The Kuala Lumpur Experience Jan 21 - Feb 20, 2015
- Police Harassment in Kuala Lumpur Feb 17, 2015
- Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
- Walking Tour of China Town Feb 5, 2015
- Breaking New Ground in Kuala Lumpur Jan 21, 2015
- Goodbye and Thank You Kuantan Apr 13, 2018
- Visiting the Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah Mosque Apr 10, 2018
- Visiting the Pahang Art Museum Apr 3, 2018
- Beach Fun at Teluk Cempedak April 1, 2018
- Visiting the Kuantan Mini Zoo April 1, 2018
- High Intensity Interval Training Apr 1, 2018
- Fitness in Kuantan Mar 29, 2018
- Exploring Kuantan, Malaysia Mar 25-, 2018
- Hanging-Out in Kuantan with the Guangzhou 5 Mar 25-26, 2018
- Satipatthana Sutta Vipassana Mar 16-25, 2018
- The 24-Hr Trip from Loboc (Philippines) to Gambang (Malaysia) Mar 15-16, 2018
- A First-Timer in Malacca July 28-Aug 8, 2016
- Art Scene of Malacca August 6, 2016
- The River Charm of Malacca August 5, 2016
- About Malacca July 28, 2016
- Penang (Malaysia) Immersion May 27-Jun 19, 2016
- Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang Jun 18, 2016
- Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang Jun 17, 2016
- Overnight Camping at Turtle Beach Jun 10, 2016
- Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation in Penang Jun 10, 2016
- Daytrip to Batu Ferringhi Jun 9, 2016
- Savouring the Food of Penang May 27 - Jun 6, 2016
- Surreal Glow-in-the-Dark 3D World at Dark Mansion June 3, 2016
- The Animated Street Art of Penang Jun 3, 2016
- Exploring the Lush Greenery of Botanic Gardens May 29, 2016
- Up up and Away to Penang Hill May 28, 2016
- About Penang May 27, 2016
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