In a nutshell
Kuantan is a place for the traveller seeking authentic exposure to the daily lives of locals. It is also quite the destination for nature enthusiasts. Fireflies, baby turtles, river tours, cultural gems and great a culinary scene make Kuantan a must see city on your tour of the eastern coast of Malaysia.
Why go to Kuantan
Kuantan is certainly off the track well-worn by travellers in Malaysia. It is destination that brings that brings that traveller close to its roots and affords opportunities for authentic Malay experiences.
Cultural activities include things like a trip to Sungai Lembing to see the historic tin mine and museum, a trip to the vastly impressive Sultan Ahmad Shah State Mosque, and a trip to the Panching caves to catch a glimpse of the reclining Buddha.
Beyond the several cultural attractions that lure in travellers, there are also some astounding natural ones. Beautiful and rather unspoiled beaches lay in waiting. You could also go rafting down rapids or kick back on cruise of the river Kuantan. There is a firefly tour that forces you to re-accommodate your mental models of the world as your chin hangs well below your top lip. In a similarly mind blowing fashion, the The Cherating Turtle Sanctuary is a good few hours spent gawking at one of nature’s most beautiful creatures. The impressive Berkelah Falls is also something worth writing home about and is well worth any risk to your camera while trying to grab a shot of it.
When to go to Kuantan
With a temperature that is stereotypically tropical, the heat of the summer stretches up to 40 degrees Celsius. However, if you can bear the heat, this is the best time to go. It is best to avoid the rainy season between October and March as many of your days and activities will be tormented by and diminished by the incessant downpour that can occur.
Where to stay in Kuantan
There is a host of accommodation for budget travellers in Kuantan. Interesting, trendy and full of life are things to be said about the backpackers. Prices begin at around MYR 60 for homestays with great breakfasts and chances to get close to families of the city.
Mid range options are in no short supply. Among the best is the idyllic Duta Sand Beach Resort. Wooden chalets and all the holiday feel as the sea breeze blows through your windows. Many places ideal for a first night in town or for families looking for a little more comfort are available for around MYR 150. Pantai Regal should be considered if this is what you are looking for.
High-end luxurious options include the Swiss Garden Beach Resort. Luxury at every turn, the beach on your doorstep and a breakfast worth a slot on your Instagram feed, it is one of the finer establishments on Kuantan. Rooms begins ar around MYR 200 and peak at MYR 550 for the truly decadent executive suite. A cheaper, but still very luxurious option is the Vistana Kuantan City Centre Hotel. Rooms top out at around MYR 400.
Where to eat in Kuantan
[Kuantan](/en/malaysia/kuantan/food’s food scene is flourishing. There’s an abundance of choices of local and regional cuisines, including Indian and Chinese ones. Do not miss Kuantan’s specialty – satay. While it is ubiquitous throughout Malaysia, it is something of an institution here.
How to get around Kuantan
Getting around Kuantan via the bus system is extremely affordable and as of recent times, very efficient. The introduction of the RapidKuantan bus system makes for a highly accessible, easy to understand, and reliable manner of transport. Busses leave as frequently as every thirty minutes to destinations within and out of town. Getting to places around town, such as Chempedak and Bukit Gambang Waterpark Resort will set you back a mere MYR 2 per person. The central hub where all bus lines can be caught is called Hentian Bandar - it is located beside the UTC building.
Getting around via taxi is always going to cost more than a ride on the bus, but of course it is streets ahead in terms of flexibility and convenience – pun intended. Taxis can be caught from all around the city and can take you as far as the next province. Hordes of taxis linger around the bus terminal looking to sway travellers away from the budget friendly alternative. Taxi’s however have a reputation for not wanting to use the meter. As a result, you need to use your bargaining skills. Ensure that you agree on a rate before the wheels start rolling and be wary to not be bullied into additional fares come the end of your journey.
Hiring your own car is a wise decision for families. Small sedans and hatchbacks linger around the MYR 100 price point for 24 hours of use. Allowing a great sense of autonomy, space for bags, wet wipes and anything else you may need, any trips in and out of town become a non-issue.
Being the less touristy east coast, scooters are not for rental. However, seeing as the RapidKuantan bus lines are so reliable, the budget traveller won’t find themselves terribly affected.
How to get to and from Kuantan
Should you be willing to spend the extra chunk of change for a flight, getting in to Kuantan from anywhere in Malaysia couldn’t be easier. Travel times from Penang or Kuala Lumpur top out at around 50 minutes and can set you back anywhere between MYR 100 and MYR 300.
There are also daily flights from Singapore Changi Airport to Kuantan that cost around MYR 350, a reasonable price to pay considering the immense amount of time saved.
Getting in and out of Kuantan via the wheels of the bus has also recently become a lot easier. The introduction of the Terminal Sentral Kuantan (TSK) has made connections to points along the peninsular and across the mainland accessible, time-efficient, and affordable.
Getting to Kuala Lumpur takes but a few short hours and costs a very affordable MYR 22. The busses are reliable and provide regular services. Head to the terminal a few hours before you intend to depart and grab yourself a ticket. It’s as easy as that.
Getting in via your own steam presents as little issue, albeit at a moderately higher price. Car rentals are available in all big cities and afford the driver the luxury of self-directed travel. Ice cream stops, your favourite music, and your favourite people along for the ride. Make use of the Karak Highway and East Coast Expressway to get you up and down the east coast and across the mainland to Kuala Lumpur.
Is Kuantan a safe place to visit?
Well, yes, it is. Apart from taxi drivers who are reluctant to use their metres, you are likely not to encounter any other scams or annoyances. Crimes against tourists do not normally happen.