Attractions Nearby Kuantan, Day Trips and Excursions
(Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia)
Visitors looking for attractions and sites of interest are better served outside Kuantan than they are in the city, although, for ease and comfort of travelling, a hire car is the best bet by far.
Roads in the province are acceptable, but the bus service is not, and given the distances involved, taxi hire may be uneconomic. Attractions include mangrove swamps, tribal villages, huge tracts of unspoilt rainforest, lakes, cascading waterfalls and many rivers. Popular day trips from Kuantan include the Chini Lakes, the Gua Charas Caves and the town of Pekan, while further afield are the Cameron Highlands and the Taman Negara National Park.
Chini Lakes (Tasik Chini)
Address: Chini, Panang, Malaysia, MY
Tasik Chini may not be the easiest attraction to reach, but it is certainly more than worth the effort. Located approximately 93 km / 58 miles to the south-west of Kuantan, this series of 12 interconnecting lakes is where the Jakun people live, an Orang Asli tribe. These freshwater lakes are Malaysia's Loch Ness, due to local legends of monster sightings. Locals hold that an ancient Khmer city is submerged under the waters and is protected by a serpent monster named 'Naga Seri Gumum'. Sadly, no proof of either has yet been found. The lakes are best visited anytime between June and September, when the lotus flowers are in full bloom. If you have the time, you may like to take a guided walk along one of the trekking trails, where you may be able to spot some wild elephants and tigers.
Orang Asli Villages
Address: Near the Chini Lakes, Pahang, Malaysia, MY
During an excursion to the Chini Lakes, a boat trip will take you across the waters to the traditional villages of the Orang Asli, the original inhabitants of the region. Although these villages now appear a little touristy, you do get to see a disappearing way of life before it is too late and vanishes forever.
Famous as Pahang's royal town, Pekan is a magnet for culture and history buffs. This town is home to the seat of the Pahang Sultanate, as well as much fine architecture, quaint old streets and many interesting heritage sites. Pekan is to be found just under 50 km / 31 miles to the north of Kuantan and comes with an eclectic selection of attractions, the best of which include the Sultan Abu Bakar State Museum
, the Abu Bakar Mosque and the Sultan Abdullah Mosque, as well of course as the Istana Permai (the Regent of Pahang's Palace) and the Istana Abu Bakar (the Sultan's Palace).
Gua Charas Caves
Address: Pancing, Malaysia, MY
Located just over 25 km / 16 miles to the north of Kuantan, this famous underground network contains a cave used as a Buddhist temple. Considered a very holy place, the cave temple is looked after by just one old monk, who is said to be having problems finding his replacement. The Gua Charas Caves stand high above the surrounding palm trees and are reached by a steep staircase. Particularly impressive is the Sleeping Buddha Cave, known as the 'Wofo Dong', which has a series of altars and contains a massive statue of a reclining Buddha. Buses regularly travel to and from Kuantan and the nearby village of Panching, which is just under an hour's walk away, while tours also depart for the caves from Cherating Beach
Open hours: daily
Taman Negara National Park
Address: Near Kuantan, Malaysia, MY
The largest rainforest reserve in Peninsular Malaysia
, ancient Taman Negara is a Mecca for eco-tourists, with its swathes of virgin forest and diverse flora and fauna. A guide is necessary if exploring the remoter areas is on the agenda. The Taman Negara National Park is not quite close enough for a day trip, since it is situated just over three hours to the north-west and therefore more suitable for a longer excursion, being an ideal stop-off for those headed in the direction of Ipoh. Various hiking trails offer treks into the jungle, leading to attractions such as Gua Telinga, Gunung Tahan, Kuala Keniam, Kuala Trenggan, Lata Berkoh and Rentis Tenor. The town of Jerantut is something of a gateway to Taman Negara and offers some good hotels, although these can become very busy during the months of July and August.
Open hours: daily
Too far for a day trip but still worth a mention, the hill stations in the Cameron Highlands provided blessed relief from the heat for British planters and their families during the colonial era, and still are a cooling change from the humidity and high temperatures on the plains. Lying just beyond the rainforest jungles of Taman Negara, visitors to the highlands should expect tea plantations, strawberry fields and Tudor-style cottages - a home from home recalling a distant era. The Boh Sungai Palas Tea Estate is worth visiting and offers video presentation and free guided tours. Further places of interest include the Sam Poh Temple, the Sri Thendayuthapani Swamy Temple, the Cameron Highlands Butterfly Farm and the Cactus Valley, as well as a host of scenic hiking trails.