Welcome to Kuantan, Malaysia!
One of Malaysia’s most scenic towns, Kuantan has so much to offer for visitors who are looking for something less traditional. The truth is there really aren’t that many things to do in Kuantan. If you do a quick internet search, only a handful of attractions for visitors will come up. You can take some touristy excursions, or you can embrace the fact that you are in an under-the-radar-location where it’s possible and preferable just to be.
Taking the road less traveled may seem scary, but this guide will share insider tips to help you make the best of your visit to Kuantan.
When to Go
The best time to visit Kuantan is during the non-monsoon months, from February to October when you’ll be sure to get plenty of sun, but that also means sweltering and humid days. Avoid thick apparel and dress comfortably. Walking around with flip-flops is excellent, and you can go almost anywhere in them.
Worldwide Local Tip: Pack a pair of comfortable sports shoes in case you are up for some strolling, hiking or jogging along the beach. Be advised that the chances of rain during the day are also reasonably high, so it’s essential to carry a foldable poncho and/or a small umbrella with you at all times.
Where to Begin
The best way to start your day is to get up at dawn and walk down Balok, the best beach in Kuantan. Your well-earned reward will be one of the most amazing sunrises you’ve ever seen, and you can bet to have the beach virtually to yourself. For local color and fantastic street food, be sure to go back to Balok on a Wednesday evening, when the place comes alive and turns to a night market.
The locals in Kuantan are very connected with nature, the outdoors, and love sporting activities. Put on your workout clothes and join them at Taman Gelora, an area that is a hot spot among the locals, where many jog or play tennis every evening after working hours. If you are into hiking, go to Bukit Pelindung, an easy trail away from all the hustle and bustle of the city.
Worldwide Local Tip: Car parking in the evenings could be a challenge due to limited space, so if you are planning to drive to the trail start, be sure to get there early.
Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah is a significant landmark, built right in the middle of Kuantan’s old town. Its Ottoman-inspired design of the central dome surrounded by four identical smaller domes and minarets and fronted with an equally impressive archway is a sight to behold.
The best time to experience the full beauty of this mosque in its magnificence is during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. The massive field in front of the mosque turns into a picnic ground where locals buy food from the nearby bazaar and break their fast once the call to prayer is made.
Worldwide Local Tip: Due to religious requirements, most restaurants in Kuantan don’t sell alcohol and bringing your own is not advisable. Consumption is limited to Western restaurants and pubs. If you are looking for a drink, go to the art bistro along Jalan Besar, the ever famous Swiss-Garden Resort & Spa Kuantan or the posh Hyatt Regency which features three watering holes that are sure to keep you up and entertained till the wee hours of the morning.
Eat Like a Local
You haven’t experienced Kuantan entirely if you haven’t tried at least one local signature dish. Like all the other East Coast states, the local cuisine is rich in coconut milk, fish, and other seafood. Skip the Starbucks and McDonalds in Teluk Chempedak and head over to Restoran Hoi Yin by the hillside to sample one of the best curry mee in town. The sweet smelling curry here is packed with all the goodness a bowl of noodles has to offer with generous amounts of tofu. This place is trendy to locals and visitors alike, so expect a large crowd on the weekend.
Worldwide Local Tip: For the best dessert in town, make your way to Kula Cakes and order their signature mango cheesecake, where the mango-infused cheesecake is generously topped with mango slices and mango sauce.
Enjoy Your Visit!
Never pass up a deal on flights to Kuantan. The city has many charms, the biggest of which is its people. Friendly, warm, welcoming, and easy-going, a worldwide local would have a hard time leaving this beach town.