a seeker in search of Easter Eggs

Exploring Kuantan, Malaysia 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.

Kuantan Backpackers, MalaysiaKuantan Backpackers
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.

Wani, Kuantan Backpackers, MalaysiaWani
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 Kuantan, Malaysia
at Pahang's state mosque, the Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah

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.

3 Malls
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.

Muslim Country
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.

Ending Thoughts
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.

--- TheLoneRider
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

Alix CrichtonAlix
(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.

Juan HuerteJuan Philippines
(Apr 2, 2018) Nice Sir Git

Ben MeerhaegheBen Meerhaeghe
(Apr 2, 2018) How was it (Satipatthana meditation)?

(Mar Apr 2, 2018) I can now walk on water !!!! LOL

Judith EugenioJudith Eugenio Philippines
Bazi & Feng Shui Consultancy
(Apr 2, 2018) Miss you Gigit

Jessie Villabona SeverinoJessie Philippines
Iyengar Yoga Teacher
(Apr 2, 2018) I knew you did the 10-day Vipassana course.

Next stop: Fitness in Kuantan

Google Map

Kuantan (city), Pahang (state), Malaysia

important places in Kuantan ESSENTIAL LANDMARKS
  • Terminal Sentral Kuantan Terminal Sentral Kuantan - main bus terminal in Kuantan for trips to Kuala Lumpur and other provincial destinations. To get to Kuantan proper, take the Rapid Kuantan 303 bus to Hentian Bandar station.
  • Hentian Bandar bus terminal Hentian Bandar bus terminal - the local Rapid Kuantan bus terminal for destinations within Kuantan (MYR2)
  • Stadium Darul Makmur Stadium Darul Makmur - multi-purpose stadium with a capacity of 40,000 people used largely for football matches
  • Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah - Pahang's state mosque, inspired by Ottoman-Moorish style architecture
tourist attractions in Kuantan TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
  • Stadium Darul Makmur Taman Esplanade (riverside park) - walking distance from Kuantan's main hub, 1 kilometer long, wide promenade, fishing, playground, fitness facilities
  • River Cruise River Cruise - leisurely cruise along the Kuantan River
  • Mini Zoo Park Teruntum Mini Zoo Park Teruntum - free admission, near Teluk Cempedak
  • Teluk Cempedak Teluk Cempedak (beach) - Kuantan's most popular beach, Rapid Kuantan #200
  • Durian store Global Max Trading (durian store) - durian during season starts at MYR15/k, Musang King at MYR55/k
  • Tanjung Lumpur Tanjung Lumpur - fishing village and seafood eating place
hotels in Kuantan HOTEL
  • Kuantan Backpackers Kuantan Backpackers - MYR 30/day, clean, wifi, a/c, central location, all-day toast/coffee, common kitchen/fridge, walk to bus terminal
    No 39, 1st Floor, Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuantan City
restaurant in Kuantan RESTAURANTS
  • Hoi Yin Restaurant (Curry Noodles) Hoi Yin Restaurant - Curry Noodles, No. 31, Jalan Teluk Cempedak, Kuantan
    Operatings Hours: 7am-2pm (or until sold out), closed alternate Mondays
  • Kedai Kopi Ah Soon (Nasi Lemak) Kedai Kopi Ah Soon - Nasi Lemak | Lorong Kubang Buaya 21, off Jalan Kubang Buaya, Kuantan
    Operating Hours: 7.30am-12pm (or until sold out), daily
  • New Capital Chicken Rice Restaurant (Chicken Rice) New Capital Chicken Rice Restaurant - Chicken Rice | 59, Jalan Bukit Ubi, Kuantan
    Opening Hours: 8am-3pm, daily with unfixed closed days
  • Terminal Satay Zul (sate) Terminal Satay Zul - Sate | No. A 2600, Jalan Alor Akar, Kuantan
    Operating Hours: 6pm-12.30am, closed alternate Mondays
  • Alor Akar Seafood Restaurant (seafood) Alor Akar Seafood Restaurant - spicy sweet sour tilapia fish, herbal beggar chicken, spicy pineapple crabs, pork and fruits in yam cake and hot pot tofu, homemade sugarcane juice | Lot 7695 & 7696, Jalan Kubang Buaya, Kuantan
    Operating Hours: 6pm-12am, daily
  • Ana Ikan Bakar Petai 3 (Ikan Bakar) Ana Ikan Bakar Petai 3 - Ikan Bakar | Kampung Tanjung Lumpur, Kuantan
    Operating Hours: 5.30pm-12am, daily
  • Restoran Zaman (Nasi Lemak) Restoran Zaman - Nasi Lemak | Lot 1-3811, KM14 Jalan Gambang, Kuantan
    Opening Times: 6am-2pm, daily
  • Mustafa Cendol (Cendol and Rojak) Mustafa Cendol - Cendol and Rojak | Jalan Teluk Sisek, Kuantan (near the Shell gas station)
    Operating Times: 11.30am-7pm, daily
Pak Soh Corner (Keropok Lekor) Pak Soh Corner - Keropok Lekor | Cherating Tanjung Tengah, Sungai Karang (Balok)
    Operating Hours: About 12pm-6pm, daily
  • Jess Cafe (Yong Tau Fu) Jess Cafe - Yong Tau Fu | No. A15, Jalan Seri Kuantan 80, Kuantan
    Operating Hours: 9am-6pm, daily, closed Mondays
  • Globalmax Trading (durian) Globalmax Trading - durian | Jalan Dato Lim Hoe Lek, Taman Pacific, 25200 Kuantan
    +60 10-933 1079
  • Lai Yien (Mee Kari) Lai Yien - Mee Kari (fav of Lee Boon Tai) | Lorong Seri Kuantan 25
meditation in Kuantan MEDITATION

Travel Tips for Kuantan

  1. Hentian Bandar bus terminal Hentian Bandar Bus terminal
    if you plan on using the local public bus, rapidKuantan, in exploring Kuantan, you'd be better off checking-in near the Hentian Bandar station. You get immediate access to all the buses plying the essential destinations in and around Kuantan.
  2. Kuantan Backpackers Kuantan Backpackers
    and if you decide to stay near the Hentian Bandar station and you are a backpacker, I recommend Kuantan Backpackers. I stayed there almost 3 weeks. For the money (MYR 30/night), you get wifi, all-day bread/coffee/tea, a common kitchen where you can cook your meals, common fridge and recreation area, tv, computer, a/c in the dorm room, strong water pressure, adequate toilets/showers. It's also clean and walking distance to the malls and river.

How to get to Kuantan from Kuala Lumpur

  1. take the local train from KL to TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan)
  2. at TBS, go to the ticket counter (there are over 50 of them) and book a bus for Kuantan (3 hours, 40 mins/MYR ~24). You can also view the jumbotron for bus schedules, but the counter staff can advise you about bus schedule for Kuantan.
  3. you will be getting off at the main bus terminal in Kuantan, TSK (Terminal Sentral Kuantan). Take the local Rapid Kuantan 303 bus (to Hentian Bandar, MR 2.00) to get to the city proper
  4. 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

  1. go to Hentian Bandar bus terminal - Hentian Bandar station is also the main local bus terminal (303). Any local bus usually takes you to that station (MYR 2).
  2. Hentian Bandar bus terminal to TSK (Terminal Sentral Kuantan) - first trip is 6am and last trip from Hentian Bandar is 11pm (MYR 2, 20 mins). TSK is the provincial bus terminal in Kuantan.
  3. TSK (Terminal Sentral Kuantan) to TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) - earliest trip from TSK is 12:30am but the next one is already 7:30am. TBS is one of the main bus terminals in Kuala Lumpur (MYR 24, 3 hours, 40 mins)
    to purchase tickets online from TSK:
  4. TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) to KLIA2 Airport - earliest bus leaves TBS at 3am (1 hour, MYR 12)
    to purchase tickets online from TBS:
Malaysia Blogs

    Cameron Highlands

  1. Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands June 19-23, 2016
  2. Kluang

  3. Overnight in Kluang, Malaysia Aug 13-14, 2016
  4. Kuala Lumpur

  5. Funky Flow Yoga with Lora Lorenzo at YogaOneThatIWant Studios July 27, 2016
  6. Deja Vu Kuala Lumpur with Karine July 21-26, 2016
  7. Layover in Kuala Lumpur June 22, 2016
  8. The Kuala Lumpur Experience Jan 21 - Feb 20, 2015
  9. Police Harassment in Kuala Lumpur Feb 17, 2015
  10. Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
  11. Walking Tour of China Town Feb 5, 2015
  12. Breaking New Ground in Kuala Lumpur Jan 21, 2015
  13. Kuantan

  14. Goodbye and Thank You Kuantan Apr 13, 2018
  15. Visiting the Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah Mosque Apr 10, 2018
  16. Visiting the Pahang Art Museum Apr 3, 2018
  17. Beach Fun at Teluk Cempedak April 1, 2018
  18. Visiting the Kuantan Mini Zoo April 1, 2018
  19. High Intensity Interval Training Apr 1, 2018
  20. Fitness in Kuantan Mar 29, 2018
  21. Exploring Kuantan, Malaysia Mar 25-, 2018
  22. Hanging-Out in Kuantan with the Guangzhou 5 Mar 25-26, 2018
  23. Satipatthana Sutta Vipassana Mar 16-25, 2018
  24. The 24-Hr Trip from Loboc (Philippines) to Gambang (Malaysia) Mar 15-16, 2018
  25. Malacca

  26. A First-Timer in Malacca July 28-Aug 8, 2016
  27. Art Scene of Malacca August 6, 2016
  28. The River Charm of Malacca August 5, 2016
  29. About Malacca July 28, 2016
  30. Penang

  31. Penang (Malaysia) Immersion May 27-Jun 19, 2016
  32. Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang Jun 18, 2016
  33. Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang Jun 17, 2016
  34. Overnight Camping at Turtle Beach Jun 10, 2016
  35. Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation in Penang Jun 10, 2016
  36. Daytrip to Batu Ferringhi Jun 9, 2016
  37. Savouring the Food of Penang May 27 - Jun 6, 2016
  38. Surreal Glow-in-the-Dark 3D World at Dark Mansion June 3, 2016
  39. The Animated Street Art of Penang Jun 3, 2016
  40. Exploring the Lush Greenery of Botanic Gardens May 29, 2016
  41. Up up and Away to Penang Hill May 28, 2016
  42. About Penang May 27, 2016
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