Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Visiting Kuantan: Teluk Cempedak


Rocks, trees, water, sun and people that’s what you’ll find in abundance at Teluk Cempedak. For people living in Kuantan this particular destination is a familiar sight, a place to bring your family over the weekend to play, have a walk through the nice breeze, enjoy dinner at the various seaside restaurants or just to enjoy the scenery. I’m astounded that whenever I meet people from other states they often state, “So how about taking me to see Teluk Cempedak, I’ve heard they have nice beaches there”, so famous is this beach stretch to outsiders.


Teluk Cempedak has faced various trials throughout the years, having its ups and downs, from being a popular tourist destination to battling with the crowds, pollution and vandals. Yet though some of the luster has been wiped out from this jewel it still retains a charm that attracts crowds of beach goers that never fail to pay a visit. Compared to the likes of Port Dickson the beach still is relatively clean and facilities are ample for any kind of activity imaginable.


I’ve been going there like forever, from young it was the number one spot for picnics and activity holdings for clubs and societies. The long stretch of sandy soil and various conifer trees offer a breathtaking view of the South China Sea. It’s no surprise that the Hyatt Kuantan decided that this would be the ideal spot for a resort and alongside locals you can find nationals from various countries frolicking in the sand, sun and surf, sleeping on the beach, flying kites, taking brisk walks, throwing Frisbees or just enjoying the view. For the hungry visitors, Mc Donald has set up shop nearby with a drive thru and eating burgers by the seaside with the strong breeze blowing is a nice experience. Seafood restaurants, especially Restoran Pattaya offers fresh seafood dinners cooked to your specifications or for the less discerning there are various food stalls with different Malaysian fare up for grabs. Nearby too are shops with steamboats and pubs, for the shopping minded, there are lots to buy from handicrafts, beachwear, souvenirs and other paraphernalia to bring back home.


The beach is often packed on weekends and parking can be a hassle to find but not impossible. Another more guarded secret till recently is Tanjung Tokong. It is a secluded bay connecting Teluk Cempedak. It was more exclusive in the past whereby the only access route was through a brief jungle trail that winds through sheer rock ledges with spectacular view of the rock outcrops and jungle flora. Now one can just take a leisure walk through the boardwalk erected to cater for mass use with vista huts for those needing rest or to enjoy the view. Opening up Tanjung Tokong makes access easier but also looses it allure a bit as more people are utilizing it where once it was the purview of fastidious youngsters or camp scouts which finds this little niche a bit of undisturbed wilderness. For a bit of history, the cape is named after an incident where Vietnamese refugees actually landed here to seek refuge (the boat they arrive in can still be viewed as Hyatt has converted it into a drink stall near the pool), it was also the site where the Japanese also found their beachhead in their advance down the Peninsular and locals flee to escape them to this secluded spot. Remnants of this part of history is a concrete bunker that people might miss if they are not careful near the main beach, used before as a stage, shop lot but now remains unused.


There’s a lot one can do to enjoy the scene; as mentioned it is still a great beach though don’t expect to find white sandy beaches the likes of the Maldives or clear blue waters of Hawaii. Intensive use and development along the bay has caused degradation in quality, the sands are bleached a dark blackish yellow colouration, water is brownish to darkish blue and a feeder drain often belch dark stinking runoff from the various businesses directly into the sea. But certain stretches are of excellent condition, walk farther down away from the stretch fronting the shops and you’ll find lesser known beaches that are wonderful especially those nearer to the hotels. There large rock formations fronts the hills, wild monkeys are prevalent, the ocean is clear and green vegetation offers shade and a nice view. Beware of the monkeys though, they are aggressive, don’t feed at all costs and the older ones are more bold that they’ll trail you and even make a grab at your food if they have the chance. For trekkers or joggers various trails lead up to the Pelindung forests that offers scenic as well as challenging trails.


Various recreational activities are available, stalls sells or rent kites for those wanting to catch the good winds there, swimming is available for most of the year unless closed during monsoon or strong surges as indicated by a red flag, sand castle building seems to be a favourite. Picnics are still the best activity to be had here, family outings are common and there is nothing better than having dinner near to shore. Night brings its own allure as the beach is lighted up, it is a popular haunt for teenagers wanting a romantic atmosphere as well as more seedy characters which find the secluded beaches offering privacy for more insidious purposes. It was my usual haunt after a romantic dinner, walking in the cool breeze with the sound of the surf hitting the beach and the feel of sand and tide as you walk barefooted on the coast. So if you’re ever down in Kuantan this is one obvious place to give a visit. If you need more side distractions head for the nearby Teruntum mini zoo and park, or tee off at the Kuantan golf course, have a nice jog along the lake at Taman Gelora or just drive 10 minutes into town.


s'mee said...

Although I doubt that I will ever have the opportunity to travel there, you have describe the beaches with such beautiful words, that I long to see them for myself! Thank you, wonderful photos, welcoming words! (You should be on the tourist board!)

Kervin said...

Im sure wherever you're from there are places of equivalent or beauty surpassing what we have here, each has their own unique qualities that attracts each one of us. As for the tourist board, if they're willing to pay me I'm all for it haha :D

mwt said...

What about the exculsive beach fronts taken up by that beach front hotel and out of bound to the public?

The public is left with the little space and the rocky areas.

This is the same observation in the Penang Ferringi beaches.

xaverri said...

you're really promoting Teluk Chempedak well ^_^

Been there during my East Coast road trip. Its a nice place to catch sunrise too. Alotof people been telling me the place's haunted but I don't "feel" anything though..

dSaint said...

lol... man, u should write brochures man. superb language. i'm raised in kuantan and i've blogged abt TC too. u seriously pwned it! btw, u should warn your readers not to enter the bunker. its full of used needles and condoms. MPK should do something abt it.

Kervin said...

mwt: Exclusive? Truthfully haven't had the time to go there last month when I was back but to my knowledge Hyatt does not have a guests only policy so anyone can still use the beachfront. But yeah they got the prime spot throughout the beach.

diana: Haunted I'm not sure unless you count the odd amorous couples making out in the bushes now and then but yeah heard tales about it too seems japanese killing happened there and there was a tale my school teacher once related about seeing strange lights when they were out camping near the forests there. P.s. one of the hotels nearby is also reputed to have 'visitors'

dSaint: Yeah sadly TC have their odd druggies and love makers, but MPK is keeping the beach quite clean though I'm sure they could do better.

l0fT said...

i miss ktn beaches. tc included

Pradeep said...

I chanced upon your blog while searching for Teluk Cempedak. I was there last week, as part of a Malaysian tour from India. What I liked the best is the calmness, orderliness, patience of the people, the diversity and tolerance of the society. In the coming days, I will put up on my blog notes on my visit to Malaysia.