Sarah and I enjoyed our single day in Kuantan. We chose to take an organized trip through our cruise liner, which included a bus ride through town. Its main highlights were the fishing village where most of the traps and nets are made right there onsite. In addition, we went and saw a Hindu temple, Muslim Mosque, and Malay village where monkeys are trained to pick coconuts.
From our P&O Cruise, the tour was called "Malay Lifestyles". The main transportation was a tour bus, and it was air conditioned, comfortable, and the guide was very helpful. The package ended up being about $40 USD, which is good.
Due to its location on the eastern coast of Malaysia, and its equidistance between Bangkok and Singapore, Kuantan makes for an excellent place for cruise ships to add to their itinerary. In addition, the melting pot of several different cultures makes this location nice for the ships to enter, especially with the ability to dock on-shore.
When we landed, Kuantan was experiencing a little rain-shower, but the dock was able to handle the whole ship and get us on the tour buses without too much drama. The pier there was very clean and ready to handle this size of a ship.
We drove from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan, Cherating and Awana Kijal. My friend from London rented a car to go around as to go to these place its better to drive around instead of taking the bus and during school holidays its impossible to get bus tickets.
From my hometown Parit Buntar to Kuantan, there are many routes I can choose, just depend how I want it to be. The shortest way I guess is to drive towards South travelling on North-South Highway and turn out via Tanjung Malim exit to continue our driving on Federal Road until Batang Kali town. Make a left turn for Gotong Jaya / Genting Highland. When I reach Gotong Jaya round about, I keep my driving for Bentong / Kuantan which actually I am driving to Genting Sempah junction. After the Genting Sempah junction, I am diving on Karak Highway, and the hill road condition limited the speed at 90km/h. I have a few choice to have a visit at either Bukit Tinggi, Bentong or Raub if I want to turn out but I keep straight. Soon, I am on Lebuhraya Timur which is easier to drive thus the speed limit is increased to 110km/h. There are also many options for us to turn out at some exits, but we keep on until Kuantan exit. When we reach Kuantan town, the mileage is : 524km from Parit Buntar to Kuantan.
As we started our trip early in the morning, we stopped at Foh San Restaurant, Ipoh for our dim sum breakfast. Journey towards South until Tg. Malim we are travelling on PLUS highway. We drive thru Batang Kali, Gotong Jaya, Genting Sempah and stop at Karak Highway Petranas R&R for a quick rest and continued our journey. Driivng on Lebuhraya Timur is much more easier, most vehicles are on 120 or more although the limit is 110km/h. We stopped at Temerloh R&R for our lunch. We continue our travel in a relax manner, reach Kuantan and check in the hotel. The time is 1430.
Return home trip took about 6 hours with not much stop.
Kuantan town bus station is located behind the Kuantan Wet Market. All the town buses begin their journeys here. There are two types of buses services to Telok Chempedak. One is the orange white bus (Rahmat Alam) and the other is blue and yellow (not sure what is the bus company name). The ticket cost RM1. The frequency of the bus is once hourly. If you want to stop at Taman Gelora, another Kuantan attraction, take the orange white bus (Rahmat Alam) as it passes by Taman Gelora on the way to Telok Chempedak.
With the completion of this new East Coast Highway, traveling to East Coast is a more enjoyable experience. It not only saves time but also offers basic facilites like Rest & Relax area for refreshments, prayers and petrol kiosks. The biggest Rest & Relax area is in Temerloh, situated just right after a bridge.
The highway stretches from Karak to Kuantan toll plaza. From Karak to Gambang, you only need to pay RM16.90 for the comfort and safety in driving.
Kuantan is about 259km east of Kuala Lumpur. The journey takes around 5 hours inclusive a ½ pit stop if you travel by bus.
I personally prefer to travel with TransNasional buses to Kuantan, reason being they are allocated fixed terminal at Pudu Raya and they have a board to announce whether the buses have arrived at the terminal for boarding. I found their service is reliable and reasonably punctual. The cost per ticket is RM14.20 per way, can be purchase at TransNasional counter at Puduraya and KL Sentral.
The ride is smooth, passing by many small towns like Karak, Temerloh, Maran, Lanchang, Gambang etc. The only cons for TransNasional is they stop at this horrible restaurant called Delima (should be renamed Dilemma) in Temerloh for ½ hours for food and toilet break, but so do other eastbound buses. Try not to use the toilets here – the toilets are filthy and they charge 20 sen for it!! Food here sucks too. So, I normally pack my own food and eat in the bus, as I like.
The journey ends at Kuantan Bus Terminal in the town center. Darul Makmur Stadium, Berjaya Megamall, Ocean Shopping Centre, Kuantan Wet Market are within walking distance from this terminal.
I was in Kuantan and Gambang during 2012 Hari Raya Haji. When return home, I took 10 hours to make a 6 hours trip having caught in the traffic jam on Karak Highway before and after the toll, I was lucky that after the Genting Sempah R&R, we avoid the jam as we were heading north away from KL. Normally before and after a festive season holiday, Malaysian drivers face a headache traffic jam if they need to travel.
What I learn from the map there are many ways we can reach Tasik Chini of Pahang. One of it is to go to Tasik Chini by getting a boat at the Kampung Belimbing Jetty.
It is about 88km to Kampung Belimbing, travel by car from Kuantan. From Kuantan, we drove through Gambang for about 60km, at the junction to Kampung Belimbing, we turned left and keep driving. It turned to a narrow country road, but the road condition is good. Just after a short while we realised that we have another 28km to drive. We drove at a safety speed as the road is narrow, winding, uphil downhill and we passed through a few villages. The scenery is good and we enjoy the trip approaching Kampung Belimbing.
Some villagers greeted us and offer their helping hands. A ride to Tasik Chini taking a boat is about RM 120. As we have limited time so we just took some photos of the Kampung Belimbing scenery and the signboard, to prove we are at the Jetty to Tasik Chini.
Previously, driving to Kuantan from Kuala Lumpur will take about 5 hours. Howevere, with the opening of the East Coast Highway (LPT) in 2004, the travelling time has been reduce to 3 hours. The next time you plan to go to Kuantan (and other part of the East Coast), you should consider taking the LPT.
This is the only bus terminal in Kuantan. Various bus operator are avaiable in here. For thoese who want to move in & out of here via huge buses, should just drop by here.
Some of the petrol stations in Kuantan have a rough map of Kuantan. Very useful for motorists who are lost and need some directions.