Essential Travel Information to Pahang
Overview of Pahang
Pahang is the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, and possibly the largest hidden gem for tourists to Malaysia. Pahang isn’t famous for its cities, but its majestic mountain ranges, lush rainforests, and immaculate beaches make it worth visiting. Traveling to Pahang is great throughout the year, except for December which experiences increased rainfall. Planning a vacation to Pahang should be done early to avoid any last-minute mishaps that can dampen the entire trip.
Pahang offers diverse attractions that are great for the entire family. The most favorite attraction of the city is its beaches which are filled with white sand and blue waters. A wide range of nature spots that showcase the rainforest plus scenery of the area is also available.
How to Get There
Malaysia Airlines operates daily flights from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to the Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport in Kuantan. The journey takes about 40 minutes. In addition, visitors can get to Pahang via Firefly, which operates three times a week from the Penang International Airport (PIA).
Kuantan is situated about 260km from Kuala Lumpur. There is a good network of roads linking the state to Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, as well as the neighbouring states of Kelantan and Terengganu. Visitors can self-drive from Kuala Lumpur and the journey takes approximately 3.5 hours via the East Coast Highway.
Air-conditioned express buses to Pahang can easily be obtained from Kuala Lumpur. Buses depart from the Puduraya Bus Terminal or Hentian Pekeliling. Pahang is also well-connected to the neighbouring states of Kelantan and Terengganu.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu or Malayan Railway provides rail services to Mentakab and Kuala Lipis from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu (in Kelantan).
Where to Go in Pahang
Attractions / Activities / Theme Parks:
Billed as a City of Entertainment, Genting is popular with tourists and locals alike. Ride rollercoasters in the indoor and outdoor theme park, or try your luck at the casino. Adventure seekers can even ride the fastest cable car in the World, and finish with dinner at some of the best restaurants Malaysia has to offer.
Bukit Gambang Resort City
Get on an ATV and explore the savannah up close and personal with Cheetahs and Spotted Hyenas at the Safari Park, or get wet and wild at the water park. If the night jungle zone and several shows doesn’t already keep you engaged, try dining with the Kings of the Jungle here: the White Lions!
One of the quieter gems in Pahang, Temerloh features kampung (village) style living with the comforts of modern day life. Stay in an air-conditioned kampung house while visiting Deerland Park for the chance to interact with and feed deers, ostriches and exotic lizards. If you need bigger animals, visit the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, have them vacuum the food from your hands up their trunks! Don’t forget to try their famous ikan patin (catfish) before you head home.
Situated 1km above sea level, Bukit Tinggi is one of the hill stations you can visit for a thematic experience. Check out the Colmar Tropicale French Village which looks and feels like a French village in Alsace, France. Or, check out the Japanese village and the Japanese Tea House. Either way, there’s lots of pictures to be taken with these thematic backdrops, it won’t feel quite like Malaysia!
Taman Negara Pahang (Pahang National Park)
Visit the beautiful pristine 130 million year old rainforest and the aboriginal villages within, or climb the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia in the National Park. Take in the beauty of nature walking on the longest canopy walkway in the world and observe wildlife up close and personal while camping in tents. This is the essential rainforest experience, offering everything from bird watching to rapids rafting.
As the royal town of Pahang, several places of interest in this city are related to the state’s history and local Malay culture. Visit the Sultan Abu Bakar Museum or the famous Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Mosque, the Royal Pahang Polo Field, and the Royal Palace to really immerse yourself in the rich culture of Pahang.
Beaches & Islands:
As a world famous island getaway location, snorkel amidst dazzling corals or just kick back on the soft white sand and enjoy a coconut freeze. Book a stay on an overwater bungalow, and check out the Turtle conservation efforts at Juara, or try hiking around the island!
If beautiful beaches and idyllic luxury are your thing, check into a resort by Cherating Beach and spend a few days learning to surf. You can also try the firefly cruises to catch one of nature’s most beautiful scenes, a dark jungle illuminated by the surreal glow of fireflies.
The cool air in the Cameron Highlands makes this destination a hit for anyone looking to escape the city and the blistering Malaysian heat. Pick strawberries at one of the strawberry farms, and eat lavender ice cream at the Lavender Garden. Have your afternoon tea at the sprawling tea plantations that Cameron Highlands is famous for, then visit the Butterfly Farm to see the pretty butterflies in a breathtaking landscaped garden. You can even hike up mount Brinchang and enter the Mossy Forest, exploring a piece of Middle Earth in Malaysia.
A traditional kampung with a population of about 1000 people, Janda Baik is now a place with resort type accommodations and commercial activities for the weekend crowd trying to escape the busy city life. Get some rainforest trekking up the hilly terrain of Mount Nuang or get on a 4-wheel drive trails here to explore Malaysia’s primeval rainforests.
Camp at the Bekelah waterfalls or shoot rapids at gunung tapis park. Make sure you catch the sunrise at Panorama Hill, and walk down the hanging bridge to the main town. If you still have time in the morning, make sure you see the Rainbow Waterfall, where the rainbow appears only in the morning.
Formerly the capital of Pahang, this charming town boasts a palace and several colonial style buildings dating back to the days of British rule. Check out the clifford School and the Pahang Club, and don’t forget the Lipis District Administration Building too. Tour the town in an hour on car, or take half a day to explore its laid-back charm.
Chini Lake (Tasik Chini)
Sail down the 12 interconnected water bodies that make up Chini Lake, an area teeming with rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. Relax while fishing in a lake that looks more like a garden for pink and white water lilies, or do as the locals from the Jakun tribe do and practice shooting blowpipes.
The 8th largest city in Malaysia and the capital of Pahang, Kuantan is well known for its waterfalls, beaches, and Parks. Visit the famous Teluk Cempedak (Palm Beach) and a host of other beaches, or any of the waterfalls nearby such as Jerangkang Waterfall or Sungai Pandan waterfall. If you need to be in a place with the modern conveniences of a city, Kuantan has it.
A small mining town turned weekend tourist destination, Bentong has enough to see and do for 2 days and a night. Take lots of pictures at the Lover’s Waterfall and pose for photos with 3D murals on a walk down Bentong Street. Explore the charm of this town and the mouthwatering local delicacies before soaking your tired legs at Bentong Kolam Air Panas (natural hot spring).
Originally a fishing village at the mouth of the Kuantan river, this is one of the spots to visit to get a view of the South China sea. You can also get your fishing fix here, or just eat the freshest seafood at great prices.
Check out the untouched wilderness at Endau-Rompin, where you might even see the Sumatran Rhinoceros, Tigers, and Elephants roaming in the wild. Explore the caves and shoot down some rapids, or catch a variety of animal footprints and rare plants. Marvel at the beauty of nature while soaking in a multitude of waterfalls.
The largest lake in Peninsular Malaysia is home to over 94 species of fish and 200 species of birds, and endangered animals such as the Malayan False Gharial and the Striped Giant Soft-Shelled Turtle. Learn about the protected ecosystem from the Semelai or “lake people”, as you ride down a perahu jalur (a dugout canoe) and learn about the traditional way of life of the Semelai.
Gunung Senyum means “Smiling Mountain”, and you are sure to be smiling as you explore the 25 limestone caves at Gunung Senyum. Be prepared to spend 6 hours exploring the mountain and the caves that lie within, all with different characteristics that make this an interesting place to visit.
A charming resort town with lots of attractions, get on one of the several trails nearby and visit nearby waterfalls! Or cycle around to the edible gardens nearby to eat fresh farm produce, while experiencing the cool mountain air. Paddle on Allan’s water to cap a serene afternoon on a lake while basking in the gentle sun.
Take a gentle stroll up Bukit Pelindung and enjoy the fresh mountain air, and follow the trails down to the sea! If you enjoy nature but don’t want to be too far from civilization, this is the place to get your daily workout done while taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of nature.
And Many Others:
Kuantan River Cruise
If you’re a nature lover, this is a cruise you want to take! Learn about the lives of Malayan fishermen in a traditional fishing village, and learn to identify seabirds by sight! Get on the boardwalk and observe the mangrove ecosystem and see if you can find any crocodiles amidst the mud crabs. Or, get on the cruise at night and be greeted by a sea of fireflies as you sail down the Kuantan river.
Pahang River Rafting
With so much of Pahang designated as a nature reserve, it’s natural to have numerous sites for river rafting! Experience a whole day of excitement thundering down the rivers while wearing a lifevest to keep you safe. This is perfect for thrill seekers and is definitely a good break from the humdrum city life!
Where to Stay in Pahang
The attractions in Pahang are quite spread out across the state, so to maximise your vacation here do spend your nights at different places. There are several classy beach resorts you can check into, or try a homestay and other kampung experiences in the different towns that make up the attractions in Pahang.
What to Eat in Pahang
Pahang has a wide variety of local delicacies that will leave your taste buds tantalized. The local cuisine comprises arresting aromas and unique flavors that give visitors an unforgettable experience. Some of the indigenous foods include Laksa Pahang which is a mix of thick rice noodles and meat in a spicy gravy, and Ikan Patin or the Malysian Catfish . Fish crackers which are known as keropok lekor are also popular among locals and international travelers. If you have a sweet tooth, then a taste of diraja pudding and akok beserah will be the best option for you.
How to Get Around in Pahang
When in Pahang, use Taxi / Grab to get around from one place to another. If the places you are going are popular destinations, there are typically bus services that ply the routes between different attractions.