Here’s a guide on how to spend a weekend in Pahang
The capital of Pahang, Kuantan is known as a seaport with a laid-back atmosphere, situated along the east coast of Malaysia. It makes for the perfect destination for a weekend getaway, with its plethora of beaches, natural attractions, trendy hidden gems and historic landmarks. What’s more, you won’t have to jostle with the crowds that flock to cities like Kuala Lumpur. If you’re at a loss for what to see, eat and do in Kuantan, here is a guide on spending a weekend in this underrated city.
Have a wholesome, arty meal at 90 Degrees Cafe and Art
Tucked away among a row of pre-war shophouses in the quiet neighbourhood of Taman Imbi in Kuantan, Pahang, 90 Degrees Cafe and Art has been serving specialty coffee, brunch favourites (like avocado sandwiches and truffle scrambled eggs) and pastries (from its sister bakery, Koko) since 2014. More than a trendy cafe, it focuses on sustainable living and using locally sourced ingredients. It uses fresh cow’s milk from a local dairy farm; free-range eggs from Farm Stories, an organic farm in Kuantan; and hydroponically grown vegetables from pesticide-free farm Kebun Huda. The cafe also doubles as an art gallery, often hosting local and international art shows such as the upcoming “The Millennials Show”, which will feature 13 emerging Malaysian artists.
Soak in a sunrise view at Bukit Panorama
If you don’t mind getting up early on the weekend, and making our way some 45 minutes outside the city, a dawn hike at Sungai Lembing is a memorable way to spend your time in Kuantan. It’s easy to get to by public bus or cab, and the hike up the 270 metres can be done in 45 minutes if you’re going at a leisurely pace – though do be warned that much of the trail involves hundreds of stairs. The reward for your labour – especially if you time it right – is a stunningly colourful sunrise over the rainforests of Pahang. There are plenty of breakfast options in the charming town of Sungai Lembing once you come down.
Do a night-time river excursion with Kuantan River Cruise
For an alternative experience, try the Kuantan River Cruise: The After Dark Experience, where you’ll get to embark on a river tour through a mangrove park and spot fireflies, saltwater crocodiles and other nocturnal animals in their natural habitat. Organised by Kuantan River Ecotours & Adventures, which bagged TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice award this year, this two-hour, family-friendly experience also includes a barbecue dinner. What’s more, the tours are led by the founders of the fully licensed and insured tour company, a Malaysian husband-wife duo, whose warmth and energy will make any traveller feel at ease. To enjoy a 10% discount on this night-time river cruise or any of its other private tours, flash a screenshot of this article when making your booking at its physical outlet.
Take a dip at the Sungai Pandan Waterfall
This multi-tiered hidden gem is a great spot for a mid-day picnic or a leisurely swim. A well-loved landmark among locals that is located within a nature preserve, the Sungai Pandan Waterfall, otherwise known as Panching Waterfall, also features a shallow basin, making it safe for children to wade in as well. This excursion is typically paired with a visit to the Panching Cave, involving an easy hike up to a limestone cave system housing a Buddha statue that’s sometimes bathed in natural light streaming in from an overhead opening.
Check out the city’s famous beach
If you don’t mind sharing the sand with increased visitors on the weekend, Teluk Chempedak makes for a rewarding excursion – especially when you consider the fact that this wide, sandy beach lined with casuarina trees is located a mere five kilometres from central Kuantan. History fans can check out the World War II bunker, and there’s even a rustic, forest-flanked boardwalk that takes you over some wave-battered rocks and connects to an adjacent beach. There are several food stalls, local restaurants and fast-food joints for when you want to grab a bite. Just get there early in the morning for a more serene experience.
With thanks to our advertisers, 90 Degrees Cafe and Art, and Kuantan River Ecotours & Adventures