Kuantan is a city, and district located within the state of Pahang, of which it is the capital. It is one of the top ten largest cities in Malaysia, and is situated at the river of the same name, facing the China Sea.
The government has earmarked Kuantan as having high potential for the future. It is seen as being a major centre for commerce, transportation and tourism in the future. It is already considered to be the social, economic, and commercial hub for Malaysia's East Coast Peninsular, and this importance is expected to grow and expand.
As a traveler’s destination it is typically only viewed as a layover point. As Pahang’s capital, and the country’s second largest port, it is little more than a place of break from long bus journeys.
The govern certainly wants the city to grow into a hub for tourism, though it currently is a far cry from a “honey trap”, there are certainly a few things present which make it worthy of a small exploration. Though, currently, an extensive look around would only take 1-2 days.
Kuantan, like much of Malaysia, has been keenly contested for across the centuries. Initially it was part of the Chih-Tu Empire, in the 11th century it was invaded by the Pheng-Kheng, and again by the Siamese in the 12th century. Eventually by the 15th century the Malacca empire had taken over. This is without taking into account the occupation by the British and Japanese later on in history.
Kuantan itself was founded in 1850. Though initially it was known as Kampung Teruntum having been established by Haji Senik. By the end of the 19th century Chinese miners and traders arrived, which eventually saw the kampung being turned into a township. Th same was true of nearby villages such as Gambanf and Sungai Lembing, which were also tin mining towns.
Kuantan city is serviced by a small airport. It is known as the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport (IATA: KUA), catchy isn’t it? It is pretty much entirely national lights, with the majority of them coming from Kuala Lumpur. There is also a few from Penang and occasional ones to Singapore. The airport is about 9 miles outside of the city.
The long distance, or intercity, bus station called Sentral Kuantan recently replaced the older one. It is located in Indera Mahkota about 11km outside kuantan. It connects the city to pretty much every single major city in the Malay Peninsular. They include Kota Bahru, Johor Bahru, Singapore, Malacca and Penang.
Kuantan is well connected by road. This is thanks to the Karak Highway, and the East Coast Eastway. The latter connects it to Kuala Lumpur, and the 250 kilometers distance is traversable in around 3 hours.
The transport system within Kuantan has improved dramatically of late. This is entirely thanks to the Rapid Kantuan Bus system. The busses run through several routes through a major hub and out to all the other outlying spots.
One of the best parts of system is that it almost guarantees a 30 minutes interval and the prices are set. Within the city, the cost is 2RM, and outside is around 4RM.
There are plenty of taxis within Kuantan, and plenty of them are metered. It is best to take the metered ones when available. If you’re unable to do this, ensure to set a price beforehand and haggle very hard. Do not set it out after as you will get landed with a larger bill.
Despite Kuantan is not really being set up for tourism, there are certainly more than a few beaches which are worth the time to visit. Even better, due to the lack of tourism, they are not overly busy. Teluk Cempedak, is 5km northeast of Kuantan. It’s a typically picturesque beach with the infrastructure necessary for a variety of watersports. There are also a number of small monkeys around there, which can add to the tropical vibe. Be careful with food around them, they can be demanding.
Beserah is a bit further out from Kuantan city, but has a village on side of it, and it is famous for its fresh fish. It is a special day out, as you get to see locals living out their ordinary lives.
Also known locally as Charah Caves, the caves are situated in the side of some large limestone mountains. These, themselves are worth the journey to see, and are located just outside the small village of Panching, visiting both the village and the caves is a good day out.
It is also an important location for the Buddhist religion, as there is a large statue of the sleeping Buddha within the caves.
You can really see, that while the city isn’t set up for mass tourism, yet, the reasons are apparent for why the government feels that this needs to change. Also known as the Ninth Mile waterfall, it is located near to the airbase of the Malaysian Air Force. It is located in the Pandan River Reserve, and is really worth the visit for this natural force.
As the name of the hotel would suggest, the hotel is set right in the middle of Kuantan city. It is impeccably located, and perfect for the travelers present; both business or leisure. Undoubtedly though, the businessmen will find this hotel most beneficial. Located close to the airport, and two nearby golf courses, combined with the proximity to the major business districts, it is the go-to hotel for all businessmen.
Club Med Cherating Beach
Perched right on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. It offers amazing views. It is slightly out of the city, and with it comes a different style of life to city living. You are surrounded by monkeys, gibbons, birds and lizards, it is really taking you back to your natural roots. The place is a full blown resort, meaning you can almost be forgiven for not leaving the compound.
The Zenith hotel is one of hotels in Kuantan which, along with the Sultan AHmad Shah International Convention Centre, is aiming to rewrite the book on business class hospitality, not just in the city, but also the country. It has 519 rooms, a gigantic ballroom, and exhibition room. The rooms are modern and spacious, perfect for any traveler, not just a businessmen.