Apr 13, 2018
Goodbye and Thank You Kuantan
Location: Kuantan (city), Pahang (state), Malaysia
Normally, I would stay in one place for the entire length of my visa, usually 30 days and then move to another country. After my 10-day meditation course in Gambang, I defaulted to Kuantan to see what life I could have in the remaining 17 days I had.
Kuantan doesn't have the popularity of Penang when it comes to food, but locals have their favorite eating places - and they're likely to be good. You just need to identify and look for them given all the myriad of eating places you see all over Kuantan. If I don't feel like going the distance for good eats, I'd default to my staple, the Mamak restos where you can get a freshly cooked roti + curry sauce for MYR1.30.
My 2-hour daily workout at 7am at the esplanade is perhaps the only constant during my stay in Kuantan. With the river and the fitness facility by the playground, I simply had to make the most out of it. After Kuantan, I don't know what my workout landscape will be if ever there is one. I would be joined by friends who would be a part of it for a few days before they drift off. My workout could be rope skipping, calisthenics, yoga, high intensity interval training (HIIT) but Pranayama would always follow the workout and then finished by Meditation. Those 3 in combination (physical workout, pranayama and meditation) are powerful and bring about a speedy transformation in fitness and mental resolve.
Alex and Lala
While working-out, a Chinese couple were on the far end emulating what we were doing. I asked them to join us. This started a friendship with Alex and Lala. They would join us for our daily workout. At one point, the couple even invited us for a sumptuous seafood dinner at the popular Alor Akar Seafood Restaurant. In the conversation, Alex would be Lala's interpreter as Lala only speaks Mandarin.
Mohd Hatta Ismail
Hatta is a man of dimension. The first 5 minutes with him makes that apparent. He hangs out at the Tjantek Art Cafe where he does his architectural design work. That's where we met, which was followed by an engaging conversation covering many things - art, history, architecture, life, etc.
I would have stopped-by more often to chat with him, but the starting coffee price at MYR6 was a little too steep given my dwindling cash. I'm confident he would have waived the charge but that's a little too uncomfortable for me. My loss, absolutely.
Wanting to meet locals over coffee, I tapped into Couchsurfing where I'm a member. Rosnita was good enough to respond and we met for dinner at the popular Chinese dimsum resto, Chan Poh. It was a laid-back conversation about Kuantan, traveling and life. I'm sure we could have hung-out and talk some more if I had more time in Kuantan but it was a little too late when I met her. Nonetheless, I'm grateful we met. Like most promising things, it could pick-up where we left off, if and when our paths cross again.
Also through Couchsurfing, Amal is someone I didn't really meet but had a few online exchanges with. She's from Syria and laments at how the war has ravaged her country. With the saber-rattling going on now with the US about another attack on Syria, she is deeply disturbed...as I am.
When is the US going to stop exporting war to feed its insatiable industrial military complex? Under what pretense or pretext are they going to do it this time? I am reminded of a no-war on Syria article I wrote 5 years ago that to this date continues to plague this country.
Visiting Dhamma Malaya
One last hurrah before Girlly and Sothy's departure from Kuantan, we took the bus ride to serve for a day at Dhamma Malaya, the local Vipassana center. Our unannounced visit was met with a little apprehension because people who wish to serve usually apply online in order for arrangements to be made. We were totally unexpected. They had to secure permission from the teacher. We were not able to serve much though. We came noon time, and they offered us lunch. This was followed by a 1-2pm customary 1-hour sit before anything could be commenced. This was again followed by the 2.30-3:30 group sit. So, by the time we could start serving, it was already 3:30. We had to leave at 5:30 to catch up with Alex's dinner invite. Essentially, we only served for 2 hours. I think we caused for more discomfort by having some staff attend to our presence. Nonetheless, I felt good being at the center and being able to sit again and see people I met from my Satipatthana sit from March.
I was advised by a few friends (Eyla, Ferdie, Girlly, etc.) that I should move my format from pictures to video, upload to Youtube and possibly make money out of all the travels I do. It does make sense. So organized myself to be a Youtuber, consolidating 2 accounts, categorizing my videos into themed playlists and started taking short but essential videos of Kuantan. I don't think I'll ever make money on this, but it's good to be up to date with online trends.
Taman Esplanade (riverside park)
The riverside esplanade has been my staple. Kuantan isn't exactly a charming city, but the riverside is perhaps its most charming feature. I'm there daily to do my workout. On some afternoons, it's also good to chill and watch children at play or adults line up the railings to catch fish.
After 17 days in Kuantan staying at the Kuantan Backpackers, satiating my belly with Mamak food and teh tarik, promenading along the Esplanade, visiting its art museum, the mosque, beach and zoo, it was time again to pack-up and leave for a new destination. 17 days gave me a glimpse of Kuantan's people, its culture, cafes, eating places and a few of its tourist attractions. The helpful staff of the lodge became familiar housemates. Eyla was particularly helpful. I think the challenge for a traveler is to find the hidden gems in a place where it's not too apparent. It needs more than just a couple of days to make that happen. I think I leave Kuantan having discovered a few.
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
Reader Comments:Mohd Hatta Ismail
(Apr 15, 2018) Gigit, MAY YOUR JOURNEY : BODY , MIND and SOUL BE A WONDERFUL ONE
Rosnita Abdul Karim
(Apr 15, 2018) Did you have any luck finding the telur separuh masak for breakfast on your last day in Kuantan?
(Apr 15, 2018) Yes, I went to a Kopitiam and showed the waiter the paper you wrote on and he gave me a 2 soft-boiled eggs and a toast. It's good, but the toast didn't come with butter...he-he.
Leave a comment?
16 Days in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala: Goodbye India(June 23-July 8, 2018) With an offer to teach yoga and a barter-deal for a roof over my head, I left the bliss of Upper Bhagsu to stay 16 days at Pema Thang Guest House in McLeod Ganj. It was a different scene altogether and a different challenge.....more »»
Kuantan (city), Pahang (state), Malaysia
- Terminal Sentral Kuantan - main bus terminal in Kuantan for trips to Kuala Lumpur and other provincial destinations. To get to Kuantan proper, take the Rapid Kuantan 303 bus to Hentian Bandar station.
- Hentian Bandar bus terminal - the local Rapid Kuantan bus terminal for destinations within Kuantan (MYR2)
- Stadium Darul Makmur - multi-purpose stadium with a capacity of 40,000 people used largely for football matches
- Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah - Pahang's state mosque, inspired by Ottoman-Moorish style architecture
- Taman Esplanade (riverside park) - walking distance from Kuantan's main hub, 1 kilometer long, wide promenade, fishing, playground, fitness facilities
- River Cruise - leisurely cruise along the Kuantan River
- Mini Zoo Park Teruntum - free admission, near Teluk Cempedak
- Teluk Cempedak (beach) - Kuantan's most popular beach, Rapid Kuantan #200
- Global Max Trading (durian store) - durian during season starts at MYR15/k, Musang King at MYR55/k
- Tanjung Lumpur - fishing village and seafood eating place
Kuantan Backpackers - MYR 30/day, clean, wifi, a/c, central location, all-day toast/coffee, common kitchen/fridge, walk to bus terminal
No 39, 1st Floor, Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuantan City
- Hoi Yin Restaurant - Curry Noodles, No. 31, Jalan Teluk Cempedak, Kuantan
Operatings Hours: 7am-2pm (or until sold out), closed alternate Mondays
- Kedai Kopi Ah Soon - Nasi Lemak | Lorong Kubang Buaya 21, off Jalan Kubang Buaya, Kuantan
Operating Hours: 7.30am-12pm (or until sold out), daily
- New Capital Chicken Rice Restaurant - Chicken Rice | 59, Jalan Bukit Ubi, Kuantan
Opening Hours: 8am-3pm, daily with unfixed closed days
- Terminal Satay Zul - Sate | No. A 2600, Jalan Alor Akar, Kuantan
Operating Hours: 6pm-12.30am, closed alternate Mondays
- Alor Akar Seafood Restaurant - spicy sweet sour tilapia fish, herbal beggar chicken, spicy pineapple crabs, pork and fruits in yam cake and hot pot tofu, homemade sugarcane juice | Lot 7695 & 7696, Jalan Kubang Buaya, Kuantan
Operating Hours: 6pm-12am, daily
- Ana Ikan Bakar Petai 3 - Ikan Bakar | Kampung Tanjung Lumpur, Kuantan
Operating Hours: 5.30pm-12am, daily
- Restoran Zaman - Nasi Lemak | Lot 1-3811, KM14 Jalan Gambang, Kuantan
Opening Times: 6am-2pm, daily
- Mustafa Cendol - Cendol and Rojak | Jalan Teluk Sisek, Kuantan (near the Shell gas station)
Operating Times: 11.30am-7pm, daily
- Pak Soh Corner - Keropok Lekor | Cherating Tanjung Tengah, Sungai Karang (Balok)
Operating Hours: About 12pm-6pm, daily
- Jess Cafe - Yong Tau Fu | No. A15, Jalan Seri Kuantan 80, Kuantan
Operating Hours: 9am-6pm, daily, closed Mondays
- Globalmax Trading - durian | Jalan Dato Lim Hoe Lek, Taman Pacific, 25200 Kuantan
+60 10-933 1079
- Lai Yien - Mee Kari (fav of Lee Boon Tai) | Lorong Seri Kuantan 25
- Dhamma Malaya - Vipassana Meditation Centre
Travel Tips for Kuantan
- Hentian Bandar Bus terminal
if you plan on using the local public bus, rapidKuantan, in exploring Kuantan, you'd be better off checking-in near the Hentian Bandar station. You get immediate access to all the buses plying the essential destinations in and around Kuantan.
- Kuantan Backpackers
and if you decide to stay near the Hentian Bandar station and you are a backpacker, I recommend Kuantan Backpackers. I stayed there almost 3 weeks. For the money (MYR 30/night), you get wifi, all-day bread/coffee/tea, a common kitchen where you can cook your meals, common fridge and recreation area, tv, computer, a/c in the dorm room, strong water pressure, adequate toilets/showers. It's also clean and walking distance to the malls and river.
How to get to Kuantan from Kuala Lumpur
- take the local train from KL to TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan)
- at TBS, go to the ticket counter (there are over 50 of them) and book a bus for Kuantan (3 hours, 40 mins/MYR ~24). You can also view the jumbotron for bus schedules, but the counter staff can advise you about bus schedule for Kuantan.
- you will be getting off at the main bus terminal in Kuantan, TSK (Terminal Sentral Kuantan). Take the local Rapid Kuantan 303 bus (to Hentian Bandar, MR 2.00) to get to the city proper
- Hentian Bandar station is the main local bus hub of Kuantan with buses taking you to essential destinations in Kuantan, MR 2.00
How to get to KLIA2 Airport from Kuantan
- go to Hentian Bandar bus terminal - Hentian Bandar station is also the main local bus terminal (303). Any local bus usually takes you to that station (MYR 2).
- Hentian Bandar bus terminal to TSK (Terminal Sentral Kuantan) - first trip is 6am and last trip from Hentian Bandar is 11pm (MYR 2, 20 mins). TSK is the provincial bus terminal in Kuantan.
- TSK (Terminal Sentral Kuantan) to TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) - earliest trip from TSK is 12:30am but the next one is already 7:30am. TBS is one of the main bus terminals in Kuala Lumpur (MYR 24, 3 hours, 40 mins)
to purchase tickets online from TSK: BusOnlineTicket.com
- TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) to KLIA2 Airport - earliest bus leaves TBS at 3am (1 hour, MYR 12)
to purchase tickets online from TBS: https://eticketing.tbsbts.com.my
Travel Info for Malaysia
- Malaysia is a Muslim country so try to be sensitive about their customs and traditions
- People drive on the right hand side of the road
- Main city roads are wide with about 4 lanes - very difficult for a pedestrian to walk across, if there is no overhead pedestrian crossing or a pedestrian stop light
- nearly all Malaysian males smoke in public places even in non air-conditioned restaurants
- Malaysian Ringit (MYR) is about 4x a US Dollar ($). MYR 4 = US$1
- Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands June 19-23, 2016
- Overnight in Kluang, Malaysia Aug 13-14, 2016
- Funky Flow Yoga with Lora Lorenzo at YogaOneThatIWant Studios July 27, 2016
- Deja Vu Kuala Lumpur with Karine July 21-26, 2016
- Layover in Kuala Lumpur June 22, 2016
- The Kuala Lumpur Experience Jan 21 - Feb 20, 2015
- Police Harassment in Kuala Lumpur Feb 17, 2015
- Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
- Walking Tour of China Town Feb 5, 2015
- Breaking New Ground in Kuala Lumpur Jan 21, 2015
- Goodbye and Thank You Kuantan Apr 13, 2018
- Visiting the Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah Mosque Apr 10, 2018
- Visiting the Pahang Art Museum Apr 3, 2018
- Beach Fun at Teluk Cempedak April 1, 2018
- Visiting the Kuantan Mini Zoo April 1, 2018
- High Intensity Interval Training Apr 1, 2018
- Fitness in Kuantan Mar 29, 2018
- Exploring Kuantan, Malaysia Mar 25-, 2018
- Hanging-Out in Kuantan with the Guangzhou 5 Mar 25-26, 2018
- Satipatthana Sutta Vipassana Mar 16-25, 2018
- The 24-Hr Trip from Loboc (Philippines) to Gambang (Malaysia) Mar 15-16, 2018
- A First-Timer in Malacca July 28-Aug 8, 2016
- Art Scene of Malacca August 6, 2016
- The River Charm of Malacca August 5, 2016
- About Malacca July 28, 2016
- Penang (Malaysia) Immersion May 27-Jun 19, 2016
- Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang Jun 18, 2016
- Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang Jun 17, 2016
- Overnight Camping at Turtle Beach Jun 10, 2016
- Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation in Penang Jun 10, 2016
- Daytrip to Batu Ferringhi Jun 9, 2016
- Savouring the Food of Penang May 27 - Jun 6, 2016
- Surreal Glow-in-the-Dark 3D World at Dark Mansion June 3, 2016
- The Animated Street Art of Penang Jun 3, 2016
- Exploring the Lush Greenery of Botanic Gardens May 29, 2016
- Up up and Away to Penang Hill May 28, 2016
- About Penang May 27, 2016
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