While not nearly half as famous as the other states in Malaysia, Pahang, the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, is the perfect choice if you wish to kick back and experience a vacation slightly off the beaten track.
Here are eight things you can do when visiting Pahang:
1. Stay At De Rhu Beach Resort
For the duration of our trip, we stayed at De Rhu Beach Resort. Just a 15 minutes drive from Kuantan Town, De Rhu Beach Resort is a beautiful scenic beachfront three-Star International Class Beach Resort, set amidst six acres of lush landscapes surroundings, fronting azure clear blue waters of the South China Sea.
Rooms in De Rhu are well-furbished and clean. In fact, we were surprised at how spacious it was!
Bonus: our room faced the ocean so if you keep really quiet, you can hear the waves crashing on the shore in the distance.
The waters here are pretty rough but fret not, the resort’s two swimming pools also make for a good alternative to swimming in the open sea. Plus it’s the perfect place to just grab a soda and chill.
For dining options, the resort has its own restaurant and guests have the option of dining indoors or outdoors.
On the very first night, we dined under the glow of fairy lights which was the perfect way to end off the day.
We had the luxury of trying out the resort’s very own steamboat and grill buffet dinners for only RM25, approx. S$8.30 (adults) and RM15, approx. S$4.98 (kids) and nothing beats eating freshly caught seafood! However, do take note that the steamboat and grill is only available from Friday to Sunday.
Also, it’s probably dinner time for mosquitoes as well, so please bring along your insect repellant!
De Rhu Beach Resort: 152 Sungai Karang, Beserah, 26100 Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia | Tel: +609 557 9000
2. ATV At The Beach
While it is no Phuket or Bali, this beach has its own charm, with ash brown sand and a vast ocean which seems to go on forever.
The best part of it all? The beach is right behind our resort.
Something that I was personally really excited to try was the ATV. They were available for rent right behind our resort and guests can either opt for the jungle, village or beach track.
Being newbies, we went for the beach track and boy was it exhilarating!
In comparison to the jungle and village tracks which were more challenging, the beach track give riders ample space to speed along the wcoastlineline. It’s like riding a motorbike but much safer.
Prices start at RM12 (approx. S$3.98), but it would be advisable to make a booking with the resort beforehand as prices vary across the different routes.
3. Visit An Oil Palm Mill
Located 70km away from Kuantan, Kilang Sawit LCSB Lepar Kuantan is an oil palm mill that produces palm oil from scratch.
Not exactly a tourist attraction per se, but how often do you get to witness the process of making palm oil in its entirety?
We were brought on a tour around the mill and witnessed the workers sorting through a fresh batch of palm oil. Talk about efficiency, the mill is able to process as much as 40-80 tons of fresh fruit bunches per hour.
Apart from just crude palm oil, did you know other products like margarine can also be made from the exterior of the palm oil fruits?
Well the guides and staff there are all friendly and informative so regardless of how clueless you are, you’ll definitely leave the place well-informed.
Kilang Sawit LCSB Lepar: Kompleks Kilang LKPP Lepar, KM 43.5 Lebuhraya Tun Razak, 26300 Gambang, Kuantan, Pahang Darul Makmur, Malaysia | Tel: 09-566904/546
4. Stay In Agro Semuji Resort
Another resort we visited during our short stay in Pahang was Agro Semuji Resort. Located in Kuantan, the resort is a 30-minute drive away from Kuantan Town and about 14 km from the airport.
With its rustic wood flooring and furnishings, the resort offers its guests a blend of tradition alongside today’s modernity.
The resort serves up local specialities cooked with homegrown produce. Perfect to replenish your energy after partaking in the variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, bamboo rafting and high and low rope elements.
The resort also has its very own mini zoo with deer, ostriches and rabbits! I know Singapore has them too but there’s something extra intriguing about seeing animals when you’re overseas. I recall being especially excited to feed the deer.
Other than on-site activities, jungle trekking and nature walks to the nearby Bekelah Waterfall can also be arranged with the friendly resort staff at your request.
Most importantly, the activities here revolve largely around nature. So if you’re looking for a countryside respite from city life, why not check out Agro Semuji?
Agro Semuji Resort: Km 42 Jalan Kuantan-K. Lumpur, 26020 Gambang, Malaysia | Tel: +60 9-478 0488
5. Travel Back In Time In Sungai Lembing Mines
Often referred to as “the town that time forgot”, Sungai Lembing is a small township that was the result from a bygone era of tin mining. Here, visitors can drop by and catch a glimpse of its past glories, most notably the Sungai Lembing Mines.
Don’t be fooled by the seemingly unassuming exterior of the compound, the tunnels in the mine felt like a whole new world on its own.
The main attraction here has to be the underground tin mines, which have been around since colonial times. The underground mines were first established in 1888 by Pahang Corporation, back when Sungai Lembing was still an undeveloped terrain, and they actually constitute the largest tin mine in the world stretching for a whopping length of 322km!
We didn’t really know what to expect when we were led into the pitch black cave, but we were pleasantly surprised to realise that the tunnels were actually brightly lit with good ventilation.
The chamber we visited was named the “million dollar chamber” where miners actually made RM 2000 – RM 3000 (approx. S$663 – S$995) daily from the uncontrolled tin mining activities, which were thought of to be equivalent to today’s one million dollars.
Tin mining started in 1820 in Malaysia following the arrival of Chinese immigrants workers. Without electricity, the workers had to do everything by hand and as a result, they toiled long hours in these caverns, with little to no breaks in-between.
Despite such harsh working conditions, the workers still managed to hit a depth of 700 meters, making it the world’s second deepest tin mine. And that speaks volumes of the blood, sweat and tears that went into its development.
Overall, it was a fun and educational visit! We even rode one of the original trams in, which was kind of thrilling though the ride only lasted for a short while.
Sungai Lembing Mines: Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm (daily) | Prices: RM16 (approx. S$5.31)
6. Explore Sungai Lembing’s Town Center
Other than million dollar tin mines, we also spent the afternoon walking around Sungai Lembing’s Town Center. It is a small town so we pretty much covered the place in 20 minutes.
In modern day, Sungai Lembing is quaint little town, with shops lining both sides of the street. The rustic houses and overgrown trees transported us back in time, and in some ways, it kind of resembled the old “kampung” days.
No one would have expected that back in the day, the place was packed and bustling with activities. However, when the tin mining industry came to an abrupt end in the 1980s, many villagers lost their jobs and decided to migrate overseas.
Today, the town of Sungai Lembing is in decline as many of the wooden shop lots are closed and people are moving away. So on your next trip to Malaysia, you might want to consider popping by and paying this hidden gem a visit before it’s gone for good.
Sungai Lembing Old Town: Sungai Lembing, 26200 Sungai Lembing, Pahang, Malaysia.
7. Dine At De Rhu Oriental Restaurant
After exploring the old town, we dined at De Rhu Oriental Restaurant which serves up Chinese and Western cuisine. The restaurant adopts a modern contemporary concept which offers its diners a peaceful dining experience.
We had a set meal prepared for us, but on usual days, patrons can choose from over 100 different tantalising dishes.
De Rhu Oriental Restaurant:Jalan Bukit Sekilau, Kuantan, Pahang Darul Makmur, Malaysia. | Tel:09-5141 169 | Website
8. Try Batik Painting At Natural Batik Village Balok
More than just a popular souvenir, Batik actually means “drawing with wax”. The ancient method of textile decoration has been practised in many places all over Asia over the past 100 years.
Designs are first stamped onto the fabric using hot wax before using fabric dyes to paint them in. The Malaysian batik is famous for its geometrical designs and simpler patterns as compared to the Indonesian Batiks.
Besides allowing visitors to witness the manufacturing process, visitors can also shop for various batik merchandise at the retail section of the batik village.
They had a far wider selection (and price range) than I expected, whether you’re going for something high end or something more wallet-friendly, there will definitely be something within your budget.
We also had the opportunity to try our hands at Batik painting! Usually more of a hit with the children, we are unashamed to say that it was arguably one of our favourite activities of the day.
We found it really therapeutic. Perhaps, there’s just a certain sense of gratification when you get to create something of your very own.
Natural Batik Village: Lot 4898, Batu 9 1/2, Jalan Kemaman – Kuantan, 26100 Kuantan Pahang, Malaysia | Website
Sometimes amidst the hustle and bustle of city life, we forget how important it is to take a breather once in a while. The few days we spent in Pahang certainly did well in rejuvenating our spirits although there are still places we have yet to explore.