It’s been three weeks since we got back from Cherating, Kuantan and we still can’t believe time passed through like a breeze! Here’s what we recommend if you are planning to escape for a weekend.
1. Stay at Royale Chulan Cherating Resorts & Villa
Nested along the east coast of Malaysia, where many hoteliers choose to mark their spot, Royale Chulan Cherating offers a luxurious beach resort experience with newer facilities and more affordable price ranges where it is essentially a getaway suitable for singles and families.
The impeccable service-oriented staff would make sure that you have the best stay while you are there. I love it when service is so personalised, all stuff on duty remembers and greets us by our names when we were there.
Royale Chulan Cherating offers six different accommodation choices and most of us on the tour stayed at the two-bedroom villas, while lucky me was put in one of the Beach Club – Ocean Suites, where the rooms are located just outside the swimming pool and 5 minutes walk to access to the beach!
We also checked out the VIP Villa with Private pool , RM2500 per night on the weekends and we were awed by the room and its view!
2. Activities within Royale Chulan Resort – Go for a morning Jungle Trail!
During our stay in Royale Chulan, we were packed with a full day of in-resort activities.
Start the morning with a hearty breakfast, have a stretch and go for a morning Jungle hike, exclusively for Royale Chulan guests.
The Jungle trail is a 45 minutes hike within the resort compound with 5 station obstacles that guests may choose to participate in to increase difficulty. (Remember to put on insect repellent!) After the hike, choose to soak in the morning sun in the jacuzzi to ease away your muscle tensions. Be ready for lunch because time just flies so quickly! Read a book at the poolside with a smoothie by the side or sign up for a spa massage. (Remember to book three hours in advance at the reception) I would choose an ice cold beer over a smoothie though.
Play beach volleyball, go kayaking or simply take a stroll along the coastline of the South China Sea under the setting sun. Opt-in for a BBQ dinner with your loved ones under the starry sky.
3. Eat like a local – Try tempoyak
Tempoyak is a common local Malay home dish as they ferment durian and add spices to it.
We had our first taste of tempoyak at Jaman Tory Resepi, one of the leading entrepreneurs in Kuantan. The shop owner, Tory, started out in the Pasar Malam and has come a long way before their two-storey shophouse front.
We had Ikan Patin Tempoyak, made from the silver catfish where prices are around RM68 per kg. We were told that the silver catfish is reared wildly in the nearby rivers so it doesn’t taste muddy like other catfishes kept in fish farms.
4. Go on a ATV Ride
The resort can also arrange activities in the nearby attractions. Hop on an ATV ride trail and watch the sunsets while satisfaction your adrenaline rush. ATV rides are widely available in most resort areas and it has been everyone’s favourite since. It was one of the activities that everyone on the tour was looking forward to. Talk to your hotel on the arrangements.
5. Firefly watching
After a feast for the tummy, time for a feast for the eyes. Go on a magical nature journey with tour guide Hafiz as he shares with his visitors basic knowledge about fireflies and experience how he communicates with the fireflies to come to play with us!
During the pre-trip briefing, Hafiz not only explained the safety procedures, but he also talked about his passion and research on fireflies in his region and shared with us the different types of fireflies around and how the fireflies in Cherating is different from the rest of the country. It was a very entertaining briefing.
No photography was allowed, you just have to experience it yourselves!
Tip: Avoid days on full moons. We were on the firefly tour on not just any full moons dates, but on the actual day of Mid-Autumn Festival where the Chinese believe that the full moon is the brightest and roundest in the whole year. I had to agree that the moon was indeed brighter than usual and it affected our eyesight to see the fireflies.
6. Cherating Turtle Sanctuary
Just five minutes drive from Royal Chulan Cherating, the Cherating Turtle Sanctuary was established in 1972 as a hatchery to protect the endangered turtles but only open to the public in 1998. It acts as an information centre to the public about the different species of turtles and the need to protect them.
Surely, visitors can come in the night time to watch the turtles come up to the shore to lay eggs. Interestingly enough, only the female turtles come to shore while the male turtles will always in the open sea. Not just that, the turtles have a fantastic memory as they would return to the same shore they left as a baby turtle, to lay eggs, every year.
There were more than just one spot for turtle watching at night, do check that they have legal license to operate. Visitors can also participate in releasing the baby turtles back to the water at a small fee.
7. Mangrove River Cruise
Cruising down Cherating Mangrove River and enjoy being surrounded by the little animals. It felt like a geography class came real where we get to understand and the different types of roots in the mangrove swamp and how it helps to manage the flood situation from time to time. Truly an eye-opening activity to be in.
8. Go on a Surf
No one would have thought on surfing in Malaysia, but yes, Cherating offers relatively good surfing waves during November to April. The waves are suitable for beginners who want to try out the sport. The crowd for surfers is still not so intense so we definitely highly recommend this!
9.Take on a Batik Class with Limbong Art
We had our batik colouring class from Limbong Art, a humble family-owned establishment, where visitors can learn the basics of Batik, from sketching to the finished piece.
Visitors can also try designing their our T-shirt using tie-dye methods or just purchase from the stores if there is any that you fancy!
10. Snorkelling trip
There aren’t many options to snorkel within Cherating but there are tour operators that could bring you slightly off the shore, down into the nearby islands to see the beautiful corals and vibrant marine life. We recommend Palau Ular, otherwise known as Snake Island or the Coral Islands.
There were more than what I thought can be done in the little place and the three days tour is definitely not enough.
How did we get there ?
We chose the best way to Kuantan by taking a direct flight from Singapore to Kuantan via Firefly airlines followed by a 45 minutes bus ride from the airport.
Firefly has a fleet of turboprop aircraft which allows them to access smaller airports and allow passengers to plan journeys suitable for their schedule. Firefly passengers will also enjoy complimentary refreshment served by attentive flight attendants, 20kg checked-baggage allowance and assigned seating at the cost of an all-inclusive fare. We really loved the curry puffs and peanuts served on-board!