Weekend at Kuantan

by Ervinna Hon , Nov 18, 2002 | Destinations: Malaysia / Pahang

I woke up in a dash, sunrise images floats my mind. Grabbing my camera I sped off to the resort's backyard, crossing the swimming pool towards the open Balok beach of Kuantan. Capturing the sunrise view through my camera lense can't be missed. I made it on time still puffing to see a mixture of color changing the ambience of the skyline, moving the mask covering the sun slowly but with ease. I have seen sunrise from few islands, beaches and mountains peak - Balok's sunrise although not as spectacular as others, has its own light and distinctive feature of resembling a pure breathe that recharges a soul with a gaze. I could feel a sense of freedom surging through like the small piercing of light through the morning clouds. Distance away, some local folks were trying their luck, fishing just meters offshore while their wives and children waits at the beach with a bucket to fill up if the baits bites. At the far end, the fog obfuscated the mountain, giving a blurred spooky vision.

This is one of the beaches of Kuantan, a relatively small region in the state of Pahang. Sandy beaches stretch along the South China Sea lures tourist for a holiday. Hotels are mostly taken up on weekends with tourist flocking in. It would have once been an idyllic quiet beach, but now serving as a commercialized gateway more. Chances of finding a quiet corner is not easy.

The nearest beach from Kuantan town would be the Teluk Cempedak and Balok Beach. Just a mere 5km from town, lies two world class hotels at Teluk Cempedak offering water sports activities such as sailing, canoeing, jet-skiing and surfing. Trekking is available as well at the Teluk Cempedak Forest Reserve. Balok Beach is about 15km north of Kuantan. Along the way a number of resorts could be seen by the beach and also restaurants offering delicious seafood with fresh supply from the nearby Beserah fishing village -well-known for salted fish and the unusual sight of buffalo transporting the fish from the beach. 47km up north is the Cherating Beach, where one of the world prestigious resort, Club Mediterranean resides. The beach here extends as far as the eye can see, not powdery white but more of a golden sandy beach.

The sumptuous seafood dinner I had last night definitely was one of the highlight for the trip. If you are into chinese dishes, the buffet at Swiss's chinese restaurant is the best place to get value out of the bills. Baked butter prawns and crabs, mongolian chicken, shark fin soup, squid with lemon sauce, fish curry, chillie crabs, fried bean curbs and watermelon sago as dessert are just a few dishes out of 80 dishes in the menu that will leave you with a satisfied final 'burp' and much looking like a puffer fish at the end of the night. Bear in mind though, penalty of RM10 is charged for every 100gm of food not eaten.

Kuantan town itself is much alike other town in Malaysia enhanced by a fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian and ingenous cultures and customs. Where as Pahang, the largest state in the Malay Peninsula encompasses varieties of environments, from Mount Tahan to the highland of Cameron, from the Berkelah falls to the Lake Chini where legend has it that mythical monsters live in and guard the lake, to the fabled Tioman Island, off coast the Mersing town. It is just a matter of time and passion to explore every inch and corners of the whole Pahang.

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