Cherating is Pahang’s renowned beach resort area. It is situated around 40 km north of Kuantan, on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The village is house to famed Club Med, being the first in Asia. Though it cannot boast its beach’ beauty much more compared to any other beaches in the east coast, Cherating offers superb waves to surf and emerging eco-tourism attractions such as turtle sanctuary, river cruise and kayaking, and Snake Island snorkeling. Also known as Kampong Budaya, or cultural village, it is also a centre to cultural activities like batik painting classes.
There are several ways to go to Cherating village, with Kuantan as the nearest gateway to this resort village.
The nearest airport to Cherating is in Kuantan, which serves flights from Kuala Lumpur and other Malaysian cities. From there, you can transfer to Kemaman-bound bus for RM4.00, dropping off at Cherating, or take a taxi (about RM50.00).
Cherating is accessible by bus from Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan, and other nearby departure points.
From Kuala Lumpur: Departing from Pekeliling or Putra Bus Station, hop on the bus heading to Kemaman. Ask the driver to let you off at Cherating.
From Kuantan : take the bus going to Kemaman from local bus station. The buses depart every two hours, and take up to one hour to go to Cherating. Also ask the driver to notify you when approaching Cherating. Fare will take around RM4.00
To reach Cherating from Kuala Lumpur, take the East Coast Expressway (Route E8) and exit at Jabor, the continue by following signs to Kemaman. Upon reaching Sg Ular, you will join the main East Coast trunk road and continue for another 15 km to reach Cherating. From Kuantan, follow signboards to Kemaman, past Beserah and Balok.
The wide sand and warm water of Cherating Beach and its perfect waves are certainly niche attracting aspects to surfers and idyllic vacationers for less crowded beach. Undoubtedly, it is also a good surf-learning start point for beginners, especially with the well-known Cherating Point surf school. Uniquely, the Cherating Beach is one of the few beaches with good enough waves to set the surf board on during monsoon (November and December).
The popular batik painting classes can be found at several handicraft shops along the main street of Cherating, with fare starting from RM18.00. You will be taught and undergoing the basics from designing, waxing, dyeing, drying, and boiling the cloth to be your masterpiece. Several art galleries offering this service are Ghafali Art Gallery (daily for RM10.00 or RM70.00 depending on painting size), Limbong Art (daily from 10:00-22:00 for RM55.00 to RM90.00), and Desa Rehat (daily, from RM10.00-RM50.00 depending on the media). These galleries offer not only painting in plain clothes, but also in T-shirts.
Snake Island, called Pulau Ular in local language, is located about 1-2 kilometres from Cherating beach. The small island is reachable by 20-minute speedboat trip. The tiny island offers golden sand with abundant marine life and calm, shallow waters, perfect and popular spot for snorkelling. Upon arranging the tour with operators, the snorkelling gear and safety jackets are usually provided. Fare typically starts from RM50.00 per person. Snake Island is also popular for short trekking, offering incredible view of the sea.
Located besides Club Med Resort, Cherating Turtle Sanctuary is a haven for endangered Leatherback turtle’s nurturing and breeding off the shore, when their survival rates are lower. It also houses exhibition room on turtles’ information. The turtles are nurtured until they are three years old, and the sanctuary begins releasing baby turtles to the sea at night-time from June to September. At other months, you can touch the hatchlings at the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is open from Tuesday to Sunday at 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:30, and open on Friday at 09:00-12:00 and 15:00-17:30 without admission fee charged. Especially when you are interested in following the turtle releasing activity, you can come at night from Mondays to Sundays : 19:30-7:30.
Aside of the beach and other cultural attractions, Cherating River is also popular for the night-time firefly cruise, operating daily at 20:00 (RM15.00 per person) for one-hour river cruise in mangrove forest, lit up by fireflies. On the daytime, the Mangrove River Cruise allows you to view the scenic mangrove forest and its abundant waterside animals within one and a half hour cruise on the river. The daytime cruise operates daily at 09:00 and 16:00 for RM20.00 per person. You can also do kayaking on this river.
Within quite a distance from Cherating village, you can take a tour or drive to two of Malaysia’s great wonders; Charah Cave, the complex high limestone caves comprised of eight separate caves, one of them housing reclining Buddha statue; Lake Chini, a lotus-populated lake close to Orang Asli (aboriginal) village.
Monsoon season in Cherating begins from November and ends on March, with plenty of rain. However, the end of the year serves as better condition for surfing.