Cherating Travel Guide

Overview of Cherating

Cherating is a popular beach resort area in Pahang located about 30 km north of Kuantan, overlooking the South China Sea on Peninsular Malaysia's East Coast. It takes only 3 hours’ drive from Kuala Lumpur to reach this secluded yet conveniently located beach for those who do not want the hassle of making the journey to the islands.  

Cherating Village is a laid-back fishing village tucked between Kuantan and Kuala Terengganu. It is dotted with guesthouses and small hotels (also called chalets) and attracts a vast majority of backpacker-tourism as a source of income. However, there are a few upscale hotels and resorts including Asia’s very first Club Med. Cherating has an easy-going atmosphere, and the beach is both wide and long.

What to Do

Cherating Beach is very popular with surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and general beach activities. Outside of the surf season, Cherating can be very quiet, which adds to the appeal. For family friendly activities, there is a turtle hatchery where releasing baby turtles into the wild is a very popular activity. There are also firefly tours at night on a river cruise along Sungai Cherating. 

Surfing, Windsurfing, Yachting 

The main attraction in Cherating is the wide sandy beach where water activities including yachting, surfing, swimming and more are available from guesthouses and resorts. 

During the monsoon season in November and December, its waves are perfect for surfing. 

Visit the Cherating Turtle Sanctuary 

The sanctuary is a haven for the nurturing and breeding of endangered leatherback turtles nurturing and breeding. The baby turtles are nurtured until they are three years old, and then released to the sea at night-time from June to September. During other months, you may get the chance to hold the hatchlings in the sanctuary.

To go to the turtle hatchery in Cherating, walk 30 minutes north of Cherating Village. Entry is free; however, donations are welcomed. You can also volunteer at the turtle sanctuary if you arrange 2 weeks in advance at their office in Kuantan.  

If you are interested to see a turtle landing, you can register with your guesthouse or tour agent and they will inform you when there is a turtle landing.  

Cherating River Cruise 

There are two cruises; evening wildlife cruise and night firefly cruise. On the evening cruise, you may spot birds, eagles, monitor lizards, snakes, frogs and squirrels. While on the night firefly cruise, it is a fun experience for both adults and children to learn about the lifecycle of fireflies. As you travel down the river, the guide will shine his torch to the trees to attract fireflies to the boats.  

Other Activities

Alternatively, you can pick up traditional batik painting classes offered by some handicraft shops on the main street or arrange for a snorkelling trip to the nearby Snake Island.

When is the Best Time to Visit Cherating

The high season runs from April – October and the monsoon season usually runs from October – April, so many hotels and restaurants close during this time. Surfers however would want to surf in November and December when the waves are the strongest.

How to Get to Cherating

By Car 

If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur on the East Coast Highway (Route E8), drive along the highway until Jabor exit. After paying toll, follow signboards to Kemaman, along the new highway. At Sg Ular you will join the main East Coast trunk road. Cherating is another 15 km from there.  

From Kuantan town, follow signboards to Kemaman which will bring you past Beserah and Balok.  

From Kuala Terengganu, just proceed south along the East Coast trunk road. The Cherating turn is about 25 km south of Kemaman. 

If you are driving from Singapore, it takes roughly 5 hours to arrive in Cherating.   

By bus 

From Kuala Lumpur: Go to Terminal Bersepadu Selatan and buy a ticket to Kemaman. Ensure that the bus driver will be able to drop you off at Cherating and when boarding the bus check with your bus driver again to drop you off at Cherating.  

From Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu: Some interstate express buses to or from Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu will pick up or drop off passengers at Cherating. To get on the bus at Cherating, you will have to book the ticket beforehand and the agent will inform the bus company to stop for you. You will be given a time and be told to wait at a particular spot along the main road. If coming from the north, just tell the bus driver that you want to get off the bus at Cherating. 

From Kuantan, you can take the rapidKuantan bus service to travel between Kuantan and Cherating. If you arrive at the Kuantan long distance bus terminal (Terminal Sentral Kuantan), rapidKuantan bus 303 will take you to the city bus terminal (Hentian Bandar). From there, use rapidKuantan bus 600 or 602 to Balok Makmur and change to rapidKuantan bus 604 to Cherating. 

By Flight 

You may fly into Kuantan Airport and pre-arrange with your guesthouse or resort for pick up from Kuantan Airport.

How to Get Around

Cherating Village is small in size and you can get around easily on foot. Some guesthouses and tour agents have bicycles for rent.

What to Eat

You may try authentic local food from Pahang which is fresh and delicious. Along the beach there are also many restaurants and resorts offering international food options.

What to Buy

Shopping in Cherating is limited to batik clothes and beachwear.  

Where to Stay

There are several upscale resorts including Club Med for leisure travellers. For budget travellers, there are many guesthouses, small hotels and chalets in Cherating Village. 

Some hotels in Cherating will offer free parking so it is worth checking beforehand if you plan on travelling by car. 

What to Bring

You may want to bring mosquito repellent if exploring the outdoors. Also bring sunblock and a water bottle to protect yourself from the hot weather.

What to Wear

In terms of clothing, travellers have no problem with wearing bikinis and swimwear on the beach in Cherating; however, going naked or topless is unacceptable.