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Pahang

PahangPahang is the third largest state on Malaysia, after Sarawak and Sabah, occupying the huge Pahang River basin. It is bordered to the north by Kelantan, to the west by Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, to the south by Johor and to the east by Terengganu and the South China Sea.

Its state capital is Kuantan, and the royal seat is at Pekan. Other important towns include Jerantut, Kuala Lipis, Temerloh and the hill resorts Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands, Bukit Tinggi and Fraser'sHill. The Arabic honorific of Pahang is Darul Makmur ("Abode of Tranquillity").

The Malays, Chinese, Indians and the Indigenous People that makes the 1.5 million people in Pahang are a perfect picture of harmony in diversity. Existing peacefully, each with their own colourful pomp and pageantry, they display a tolerance and understanding born out of mutual respect for each other. It thus provides unique harmony, which continues to astound many a visitor.

The many aspects of their cultures that have nicely blended can be found in the language, beliefs, clothes, food, and traditional games. It would be hard indeed to fully describe the many facets of Malaysian cultures, but even a brief encounter is sufficient to reveal some of the scintillating vibrancy of Malaysia 's rich and diverse heritage.

The north of the state is home to the country's largest national park, Taman Negara. This large primary rainforest is extensive, and is home to many rare or endangered animals, such as the tapir, kancil, tigers and leopards. Rainforest covers 2/3 of the area of the state, and the peninsula's highest point, Gunung Tahan, is located within Taman Negara. Since the equator is so close, the rainforests in Malaysia are among the oldest in the world: roughly 130 million years old.

Kuantan is the state capital of Pahang. The Pahang state government shifted the administrative centre of Pahang from Kuala Lipis to Kuantan in 1955. Kuantan's main sightseeing attraction is the beach at Teluk Cempedak. There are also other scenic beaches popular with vacationers in the city's vicinity, such as Batu Hitam, Balok, and Cherating. Near Cherating (Club Med is located here), there is a Turtle Sanctuary. A few kilometres away from Cherating is Pulau Ular (Snake Island). There is a legend connected with this island.

Kuantan is also known to tourists for its waterfalls. The most well-known is the Sungai Pandan Water Fall. Two other waterfalls are the Sungai Berkelah Waterfall and the Jerangkang Waterfall. There are also 3 parks within the city. These are the Gelora Park, Teruntum Mini Zoo and Agriculture Park at Indera Mahkota. A small park located in front of the Hospital is named the Esplanade Park. Here, it is possible to go on a river cruise from the small jetty. The Kuantan area also produces handicrafts and batik. Other tourist attractions include the State Mosque (Masjid Negeri).

Pekan is the royal town situated at the mouth of the Pahang River. Being quiet for much of the year, Pekan bursts into pomp and pageantry in October each year in celebration of the birthday of His Royal Highness the Sultan of Pahang. Pekan has its own attractions too. Amongst them:-

  • The Sultan Abu Bakar Palace the official residence of the Sultan of Pahang is named after the late Sultan Abu Bakar Riayatuddin Al-Muadzam Shah. Completed in 1974, the palace was built to replace the old Permai Palace. The palace was designed by a Chinese architect on a piece of land which was formerly a rubber plantation. Before the palace was built, the late Sultan Abu Bakar resided at Kota Beram Palace, the present State museum at Jalan Sultan Ahmad. The palace is a fine example of authentic modern Malay architecture.
  • Watercraft Gallery. This is located at Pulau Beram, in front of the State Museum , is the Watercraft Gallery showcasing all the watercrafts used in the seas and rivers in the early years. There still several life-sized replicas which never fail to arouse interest to the visitors.
  • Nenasi Beach. Located near Nenasi town some 42 kilometres from Pekan, Nenasi beach is fringed by casuarinas and coconut palms, and slopes gently to the sea. The nearby river mouth is laced with mangrove swamps where giant prawns breed. Amenities such as food stalls, restaurants, public toilets and changing room are available, as are opportunities to indulge in water sports or fishing

A Tin Museum can be found in the former mining town of Sungai Lembing. Sungai Lembing is located about 26 km northwest of Kuantan and used to contain the world's deepest underground tin mines. Just north of the Tin Museum is a "hanging bridge". Access to this bridge is via a narrow, winding road at the base of the entrance to the Tin Museum. On the Kuantan-Sungai Lembing road at the hamlet of Pancing, there is a limestone mountain which contains a large reclining Buddha in one of its caves (Pancing Cave or Charah Cave). In Pahang, be sure to visit and see these places:-

Beaches & Island
Islands and beaches comprises the flat coastal sea belt running from the Pahang-Terengganu border in the north to Pahang-Johore border in the south and the off shore spots of land that are connected to the mainland by boat. Clear waters and miles of shimmering sandy beaches totalling to about 210 kilometres, rusty fishing villages, coconut palm plantations, newly designed resorts are a common feature and an unmistakable landmark of the zone. This coastal zone is surprisingly easy to enjoy, for along the shores of the South China Sea, visitors will inevitably find many interesting spots close to each other.
  • Beserah is a quaint old-fashioned fishing village located about 8 kilometres from Kuantan. The little village has its own charm and splendour. What is unique about Beserah is the fact that water buffaloes are still used to transport the day's catch from the fishing boats to the processing areas and it is the only place in Malaysia where buffaloes are used on the beach. Beserah is known for its quality dried fish and other salted sea products. It also features a batik factory and a few handicraft centres, which produce items made mostly of seashells and local materials.
  • Cherating is located about 50 kilometres north of Kuantan, nestling on the Terengganu-Pahang border and fronting the South China Sea . Here, wide gently sloping sandy beaches extend as far as the eyes can see and it is a perfect place for a quiet holiday. Cherating was discovered in the 1950s, by backpackers who stayed at guesthouses and wooden huts among the coconut groves by the sea. Today, there are world-class hotels and chalets, including the world renowned Club Mediterranean.
  • A mere 15 kilometres from the town of Kuala Rompin, Lanjut Beach is one of the most beautiful unspoilt beaches along the southern Pahang coast. Among the activities you can enjoy here are snorkelling and scuba diving. Apart from the game of golf at Lanjut Golf and Beach Resort, you can also try the game of woodball, a newly introduced game that is similar to golf, but using a wooden mallet instead of iron, wood and putter.
  • About 63 kilometres off Peninsula Malaysia's east coast, in the South China Sea, lies Tioman Island, a tear-shaped island paradise. Tioman Island, measuring 38 kilometres long and 19 kilometres at its widest, is the largest in a group of the 64 volcanic islands. The striking profile of the twin peaks of Simukut Mountain provides a remarkable landmark to this beautiful island, reputed to be one of the ten most beautiful and idyllic islands in the world. Tioman Island is said to be the final resting place of a fabled dragon princess from China. Legend has it that on her way to visit a prince in Temasek (Singapore), she made a stop at Tioman where she immediately fell in love with the charms and beauty of the island. She decided to dedicate her life to weary travellers by giving them shelter and comfort white resting on the island. The shallow reefs at the nearby islands of Tulai and Renggis are popular spots for scuba diving and snorkelling. Divers can also explore the underwater caves around Chebeh Island and the reefs at Sepol and Labas Islands. All these islands are uninhabited and within an hour's boat ride from the main island. Around the waters near Mukut Village, divers have a chance to view a coral encrusted wreck of a Japanese warship. At the Marine Park Centre located between Tekek and Air Batang, you can also savour the thrill of swimming among the fishes as they swim out to greet you.
Nature Parks & Caves
Nature and Adventure zone cuts through the mountainous central Pahang from Taman Negara in the north to Lake Bera in the south and extending eastwards to the coastal flat lands of the Beaches and Islands zone and westwards at the foothills of the mighty Titiwangsa Range. A smooth and continuous stretch, the journey winds through Pahang's heartland, with plenty of outdoor possibilities and full of endless excitement and thrill. The best way to enjoy the Nature and Adventure is through the East Coast Highway, beginning at Karak. There are several exits on the highway; each exit will take you to your preferred destination.
  • In the Malay language, 'gua' means caves. The Gua Charah complex, which is about 25 kilometres from Kuantan, is surrounded by oil palm plantations of Panching. It is about 1,000 metres above sea level and is believed to be a site of early human settlement that dates back to prehistoric times. Eight separate caves make up the Gua Charah complex which covers an area of 92 hectares. One, Gua Buddha or Gua Gelap, has since become home to an 8.1 metre long statue of the reclining Buddha. It was discovered by a monk named Tham Achran Sakatapunya in the 1950s. The others are Gua Batu Nesan Raja, Gua Pecah, Gua Gajah, Gua Tiga Beradik, Gua Puteri Bersikat, Gua Lubang Dalam and Gua Lubang Hidung. Gua Gelap has been open to the public since 1972. Apart from the famous reclining statue of the Buddha, there are unique rock formations resembling a bearded man, a couple with a child, and an eagle, believed to be the landmark to the sailors in early days. The cave is quite cooling and comfortable. Gua Charah is said to be full of mystery. Apart from its network of sub caves and their unsolved origins, a mysterious tunnel was recently discovered by a freak of chance. The tunnel measuring two metres wide and four to five kilometres long connects the cave to a place called Bukit Pecah Batu, Panching.
  • About 16 kilometres from Sungai Lembing is the Gunung Tapis Park which offers excellent camping sites for a number of activities. If you are so inclined, you can shoot the rapids on one of the several rivers. A variety of species of wildlife also inhabit the park. For relaxation, there is a number of hot springs.
  • Located about 100 kilometres from Kuantan is Lake Chini, Malaysia's second biggest natural freshwater lake. With an area of 12,565 acres, Lake Chini consists of 12 inter-connected water bodies, each with its own characteristics. Historians believe that Lake Chine was the site of an ancient Khmer city but the local folks, on the other hand, believe that the mysterious lake is guarded by a Loch Ness-type monster. There were reports of occasional sightings of the monster but unfortunately there were not scientifically proven. Lake Chini is rich in biological resources. There are 138 species of territorial flora, 300 species of non-aquatic vertebrates and 144 species of freshwater fish. Thousand of white and pink water lilies will emerge on the lake from August to September, transforming the lake into a floating multi-coloured garden. Fishing is a popular activity at Lake Chini. The best time for fishing is between Novembers to January when the rainy season increase the volume of the lake. On the fringe of the lake, especially at Kampung Gumum, there is a large concentration of the aborigines of the Jakun tribe. They still live their old traditional ways and make woodcarvings and blowpipes visitors too. Facilities for jungle trekking and mountain climbing are available at Tasik Chini. Experienced guides are available to take visitors to Terpai Waterfalls and Chini Mountain. There are also facilities to explore the 12 lakes as well as camping sites for those who like the outdoors. A number of wooden chalets complete with restaurants faring local cuisines are available for overnight visitors too.
  • Endau-Rompin State Park encompasses the watersheds of the rivers, Endau in Johore and Rompin in Pahang and comprises some 488 sq. km. of verdant tropical rainforest. Lush and virtually untouched, it is one of the few remaining lowland forests in the country. It is of major conservation significance due to the diversity of the habitats and species found within. The tropical rainforest of Endau-Rompin State Park has been in existence for more than one million years and is reputed as one of the oldest rainforests in the world. There are 14,500 flowering plants, 600 species of flowers, 140 species of snakes, 150 species of frogs and toads and more than 1,000 species of insects. An Endau-Rompin Heritage Expeditions of 1985 and 1986 had discovered more than 25 new species of endemic plants and several rock formations estimated to be around 248 million years old.
  • Taman Negara, Malaysia's premier park and the largest in the country covers an area of approximately 4,343 sq. km. comprising of primary forests more than 130 million years old. The Park was established for the sole purpose of protecting and preserving the flora and fauna indigenous to the area. Located within the park is Peninsular Malaysia's highest peak, the Gunung Tahan, standing tall at 2,187 metres above sea level.
  • Lake Bera is located in the central lowlands of Peninsular Malaysia, where it lies within the catchment of the Pahang River. The wetland consists of a dendrite complex of inflowing streams and swamps, measuring 35 kilometres long and 25 kilometres wide. The catchment area of Lake Bera is around 61,380 hectares while the Ramsar Site of 31,120 hectares includes over 6,800 hectares of wetland habitats. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an inter-governmental treaty adopted to preserve and conserve selected bodies of wetlands or swamps, which are of international importance and Lake Bera is Malaysia's first Ramsar site.
  • Kenong Rimba Park with an area of about 121 sq. km is located in the Kenong Valley, southwest of Taman Negara. This scenic valley traversed by rippling mountains is home to the Batek aboriginal tribe. Within the park, you will find magnificent limestone caves beneath which the Kenong River flows.
  • Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre, or popularly referred to as the Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary, is located within the bio diversified-rich and protected Krau Game Reserve & was set up in 1989 under the DWNP (Department of Wildlife & National Parks, Malaysia), manned by the Elephant Capture & Translocation Unit. The Teris River acts as a natural border between the reserve and the Che' Wong Orang Asli village - the last tribe of its kind found in Malaysia. The name Kuala Gandah is, itself, taken from the small stream running near the electric compound enclosure which houses the elephants during the day from 830 a.m. to 2 p.m. before they are transferred to the roofed holding area. Admissions are free but feel free to donate for the cause and an official Government receipt will be issued.
  • One of the highlights of activity in this area is Kota Gelanggi Cave adventure. Explore the 150-million year old historical and mythical cave complex and its unique flora, fauna and rock formation. The magnificent cave chambers are among the most beautiful in the region. Visitors will be able to experience what tropical limestone hills are all about, with their myriads of stalagmites and stalactites and strange-shaped rock formations.
Highlands
The diversity of Malaysia's attractions includes several hill resorts that are located on the main mountain range of Peninsular Malaysia. Each of them possesses its own unique wonders and charms, ranging from the relatively serene and tranquil retreat of Fraser's Hill to the glitzy hill resorts of Genting Highlands with its theme parks, casino and sophisticated nightlife.

Whatever one's choice, the jungle clad hills with an average temperature of 16-21 degrees Celsius offer a cool, refreshing getaway from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Whether you are going for a day excursion or an extended stay, you will discover a holiday in Malaysia's hill resort to be an invigorating and pleasantly soothing experience, which you truly deserve.
  • Bukit Tinggi is the newest hill resort in Pahang. A brief 45-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur via the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway can lead you to Bukit Tinggi. Here, the crisp and cool mountain air invigorates the body and the mind and you will feel truly at ease and relaxed. Offering a rich lush green terrain with a relaxing atmosphere, Bukit Tinggi also offers a world-standard 36-hole golf course designed by the world-renowned Micheal Poellot Golf Design Group. Other sporting activities at the resort include tennis, archery, an excellent gymnasium, a swimming pool and spa. For the health conscious, the weary businessmen or simply those who want utter relaxation, you may want to spend a holiday with a difference. The state-of-the-art health farm provides a range of health care facilities such as spa treatments and fitness programmes, all tailored to create a healthy vacation.
  • Cameron Highlands is Malaysia's premier hill resort located in the State of Pahang, on the Main Range of Peninsular Malaysia. At 1,829 metres above sea level with its climate ranging from 16 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius, it is the largest of the Malaysian Hill resorts. Much of its appeal lies in the neat sprawling tea plantations, which date back to 1929, as well as the terraced flower gardens, strawberry farms, orchards and vegetable gardens. Being a popular hill resort, Cameron Highlands is well developed with visitor amenities, tourist attractions, activities and a range of accommodations for a comfortable, leisurely holiday in cool invigorating climate. Cameron Highlands consists of a series of little townships, which include Ringlet, Tanah Rata, Brinchang, Tringkap, Kuala Terla and Kampung Raja. The total population is approximately 30,000, the majority of whom are employed in agriculture and the leisure industry. The best tourist amenities are sited in and around Tanah Rata, the administrative centre of the highlands, but Brinchang is fast catching up with a number of hotels, apartments and restaurants.
  • Genting Highlands just 54 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur is a fairly recent hill development. Its concept is very different from the other hill resorts. Perched at 2,000 metres above sea level along the Pahang-Selangor border on the Ulu Kali mountain range, Genting Highlands offers an exciting range of activities that are fun, fast-paced and entertaining. Termed as the City of Entertainment, the resort is popular with day trippers and visitors seeking to indulge their senses in a realm of fantasy around the clock. Genting Highlands was founded in 1965 by a business tycoon who initially acquired the land for the development of the hotel and resort activities. Over the years, as the resort became popular, a wide range of entertainment, leisure, recreational and sporting facilities as well as hotels, condominiums, apartments and camping facilities, were added. The resort comprises attractions at different elevations in the vicinity of Gohtong Jaya, a township named after the founder. At the peak lies Genting Theme Park and Casino de Genting while lower down at around 1,000 metres above sea level is the Awana Golf Course, cable car terminal, a horse ranch and an eco-park which offer a variety of pursuits for the visitors.
  • Fraser's Hill is perhaps the prettiest hill resort in Malaysia. Nestling at 1,524 metres above sea level on the majestic Titiwangsa Range, it is about one and a half hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. This charming little hideaway with a population of about 1,000 people is not unlike a quiet Scottish village. Granite mock-Tudor cottages sit amidst the brilliant coloured blooms of an English-style garden. Some of these bungalows are private residences but some have been converted into public holiday bungalows. They enable visitors to enjoy a country-style holiday in a cool, refreshing ambience where evenings bring on swirling mists descending upon the little hamlet and cold winds blowing through lofty pine trees. Fraser's Hill takes its name after a Scottish adventurer, Louis James Fraser who set up tin ore trading station in the forested mountains on the Pahang-Selangor border. In later years, Bishop Ferguson-Davie mounted a search for Fraser but could not find him. Instead, the potential of the hills as a cool getaway was uncovered.
Food for Thought
Kuantan
  • Kuantan is famous for its delicious fish crackers (called keropok in Malay) and salted fish, where the fish are marinated mainly with salt and left out to dry in the sun for days. 'Ikan Bakar' or grilled fish can be purchased at Tanjung Lumpur.
  • Also very popular and sold by street vendors (especially at the fascinating night markets) are: the various varieties of satay which consists of grilled meat on a stick which is dipped into a peanut sauce & roti canai, a thick chapatti-like bread dipped in a unique curry style sauce.
  • Recommended ethnic Indian dishes include the roti naan and ayam tandoori.
  • Many types of local food can be found at the Pasar (Market) at the town centre. A variety of Kuala Lipis noodles are available at the corner of the Pasar's entrance.
  • A good Malay restaurant, Zaman, (breakfast & lunch) is located 6KM from Kuantan on the Kuantan-Gambang expressway. The restaurant is a household name amongst the locals. Its most famous dish is nasi lemak.
Bentong
  • The ice kacang, a local dessert of shaved ice served with coconut milk, red beans, corn, and other ingredients, and steamed food is popular in the Bentong district. The most popular ice kacang in Bentong is Kow Po Special, beside Hong Leong Bank. Tofu (Bean curd) is famous in a way in Bentong probably due to the fresh water from mountain streams.
  • Curry Mee is a popular meal of noodles in a spicy curry soup made with coconut milk. The most popular version of this meal is sold at a stall in Kampung Kemansur, one of the villages in Bentong. It is located on the same road as the Balai Raya Kemansur (Kemansur Community Hall), and is 500 meters from the local Sikh temple and the Bentong District Hospital. The stall operates from a wooden house, not a coffee shop.
Pekan
  • Murtabak-It is a unique Indian Muslim food, quite famous in Pekan.
  • Nasi Dagang-steamed white glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves with small chunks of Tongkol fish (same family as the Tuna fish).
  • Keropok Ikan or fish crackers, it's a popular finger food made by fish. It's cheap and easy to get too.
  • Malay food stalls are gathered next to Pekan Bus Terminal, you may get varieties of local foods/drinks there.
Cameron Highlands
  • There are plenty of Chinese, Indian and Malay restaurants and food stalls available.
  • German Swiss Restaurant is the only restaurant where you can enjoy Home Made German dishes in Cameron Highlands.
  • The old colonial school now renovated into a hotel, The Bala's Holiday Chalet, is famous for its tea and scones.
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