Cherating, Pahang, Malaysia
As mentioned in my previous post Port Dickson, I love the beach and so does my other half. In fact we fell in love at a enchanted stretch of beach resort in Cherating when we were both working there. So I felt its right to write something about this beautiful place.
Cherating is a popular coastal resort area due to its white sandy beaches in the Peninsular Malaysia which was made popular by the backpackers who came to enjoy the beach, sea and sun. It’s located less than 50km north of Kuantan.
How to get to Cherating
Cherating is about 3.5-hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. There are daily buses to Kuantan departing daily from Kuala Lumpur. From Kuantan you can take a cab or bus to Cherating. Another way is to take a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Dungun or Kemaman in Terengganu and get off the bus on the main road and walk to Cherating village or wherever you are staying. Check with the ticketing counter when you purchase your ticket.
Malaysia Airlines operates daily flights to Kuantan. From the airport, Cherating is just 45 minutes away.
Things to See and Do in Cherating
Visit Kampung Cherating
Cherating Village began as a backpacker’s haven, where travellers came for the Sun and Sea. The village is a stretch of road about 1km that runs parallel to the beach… Left and right are dotted with charming and comfortable chalets, most of which is on the beach. There are also small shops selling everything from souvenirs to food and drinks. While on holiday, you can learn the art of batik painting and design your sarongs, t-shirts and scarves. Towards the end of the street there is a cultural centre where you can also shop for handicraft and see cultural performances. You can watch village maidens weave the “pandanus” leaves into mats, hats, bags and other inexpensive lightweight souvenirs. Cultural shows also include wayang kulit (shadow play) and silat (the Malay art of self-defence).
Along Cherating Village runs the Cherating River where you can hire a boat with a tour guide. There you can experience an idyllic slow cruise and enjoy the various flora and fauna. Here, you will be greeted by birds chirping, monkeys swinging from trees and the sounds of exotic bugs. Keep your eyes peeled for monitor lizards, mud skippers on the swampy banks. At night time, it’s when fireflies dance unchastely through the trees.
Cherating Beach is where the Leatherback, Green, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles come to lay their eggs. So much so that the Cherating Turtle Sanctuary was established in 1972 in an effort to protect this endangered species. It is located just beside Asia’s first Club Med on Chendor Beach, Pahang. Between July to September, the turtles come ashore to lay eggs. Most resort here organises turtle watching activities, where you register at the Front Desk and the centre will contact you when turtles come ashore. Only a handful of visitors are allowed per night. no flashlights or cameras with flashes are allowed so as not to scare the turtles away. You can also visit the sanctuary to learn more about these ancient creatures.
Visit a Fishing Village – Kuala Kemaman
About 20 minutes drive from Chearating is Kuala Kemaman. Kuala Kemaman is a small quaint fishing village. Visit it to enjoy the beauty and solitude of a Malaysian fishing village lifestyle. When you are there, don’t forget to try their speciality otak-otak, satar and ikan bakar. The best time to visit the jetty Is in the evenings when the fishermen come back from the sea.
Candat Sotong Activity (Squid Jigging)
During the months of April to July, the seas in the east coast of Malaysia will look like there is a floating light carnival. The “Squid Jigging” or “Candat” season has begun. The South China Sea is teeming with squid during these months. What used to be a source of income is now a popular recreational activity. The method of squid jigging has remained the same for generations. Squid Jigging starts when the sun sets and ends when the sun rises. It is carried out on very specialised boats that have powerful lights to illuminate the water, attracting the squid which will gather in the shady area under the boat. Then you let your jig drop and pull up and down, so as to attract the squids. Squid will bite as the jig falls and the bites are very subtle. So you need pull the rod up quickly when you feel something biting. But don’t pull too hard or the squid might fly. around the boat.
Lake Chini is approximately 147 km from Cherating. Lake Chini is Malaysia’s second largest natural lake comprising of 12 freshwater lakes. The lake has two fascinating myths. One is it has an ancient Khmer city in it and this has since resulted in several scientific expeditions being mounted archaeologists. Another myth is that there is mythical monster lurking and guarding the lake. The Malaysian version to the Loch Ness. You can take a boat ride to enjoy the picturesque villages and virgin jungles. Between August and September, pink and white lotus flowers cover the surface of the water.
Batik fabric Is a hand painted and printed by village folks. At Kampung Cherating you can buy beautifully painted fabrics and other items ranging from apparels to accessories for souvenirs to take home. If you want to take home something different, you can paint your own designs. There are handicraft shops that offer classes for you to try your hand at batik painting. The process is really interesting.
Visit the Night Market
Pasar Malam or “Night Market” is very unique activity in most Malaysian towns or villages. Night markets are where the local community shop for their groceries and sometimes household wares. Here you can buy anything from cheap clothing to household goods, but the real attraction is the mouth-watering spread of local food, delicacies, sweets and snacks. On Monday and Thursday nights, the small town of Kemaman is alive with the sights, sounds and smells of the pasar malam (night market).
Cherating is really a beautiful place and due to its distance from Kuala Lumpur it’s rather untouched. There are very little developement, so it’s a really iddylic and restful beach town. In my next post I will review some of the Hotels that I have stayed in Cherating