In conjunction with the launch of Visit Pahang Year 2017, Gaya Travel Magazine visited Pahang’s capital city Kuantan and Pahang’s royal town Pekan. Pahang – the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia – is rich with boundless nature, history and great food, which should be savoured by all travellers. The following are the places and attractions that are recommended for travellers to experience when being in Kuantan and Pekan.
WHAT TO EXPERIENCE
Kompleks Tenun Pahang DiRaja Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Sungai Soi (Tenun Pahang Gallery)
As we all know, Peninsular Malaysia’s East Coast is well known for the region’s hand-woven fabric called songket, which has now become part of the Malaysian culture used mainly during formal occasions. Pahang is known to produce its own particular type of songket, believed to have originated from Riau or Sulawesi and brought over to Pahang in the 16th century and now becomes part the state’s heritage. This gallery showcases delicate hand-woven fabrics in various colours and patterns, which travellers can purchase and even have it custom-made. The gallery receives more than 100 orders per month.
When Gaya Travel team was in Pahang during the third week of January 2017, it rained non-stop. However, that did not dampen our spirit to check on the much talked-about Rainbow Waterfall, one of Sungai Lembing’s highlights. The tiny droplets of falling water divert the spectrum sunlight that creates rainbow, which can be seen clearly, hence the waterfall’s name. Journey to the Rainbow Waterfall takes about an hour’s off-road ride on four-wheeled drive and another 30 to 40 minutes of hiking. When we reached the waterfall, it looked like heaven on earth. We were lucky because the waterfall was strong due to rainy season. Do take note that the rainbow may not appear if the waterfall is not strong (especially during dry season like February until August) or when there is overcast. Though getting to the waterfall might exhaust you, the sight of the beautiful rainbow makes the hike worth it.
Tip: If you want to see the rainbow, come early.
Lombong Bijih Timah Bawah Tanah Sungai Lembing (Tai Pei Tong)
You will be surprised to learn that this tin mine was once the longest and deepest underground tin mine in the world. Just imagine: the total length of the Sungai Lembing mining tunnels is longer than the distance from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur! There are 14 different mining tunnels, each with its own name such as Willinks, Pollocks, and Gunong, including Tabeto, the main tunnel, which is also known as “Tai Pei Tong” among locals.
To start exploring the tunnels travellers initially take an 80-metre train ride. Once inside, travellers can roam around the 520 metres of tin-mining tunnels. The setting is almost similar to the film “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth”.
This mine also has a legend called “The Million Dollar Chamber”, involving a large-scale heist that took place in 1987, shortly after the closure of the mine. It is believed that a band of 20 unpaid miners took matters into their own hands and illegally mined for tin ore at night, prospecting RM2,00 to RM3,00 worth of tin nightly. Over a period of time, the miners made a total haul valued at around RM1,000,000. The ore collected from the mine is believed to have been crushed manually at their own homes before sold off at the black market. The chamber was fully prospected until it became structurally unsafe. What became of the miners and their tin haul remain unknown.
Sultan Abu Bakar Museum
Sultan Abu Bakar Museum, which is also the State Museum, is where travellers can learn about the history of Pahang. Located along Jalan Sultan Ahmad facing the mighty Pahang River, the museum possesses well-documented history of Pahang and its royal household. The museum reopened after a full refurbishment in 2012. This museum has a gallery that displays various artefacts and exhibits such as the history of the Malay Sultanate of Pahang, ceramics and archaeology, including local arts and crafts.
Masjid Sultan Abdullah Museum
Just a few steps from the Sultan Abu Bakar Museum lies another museum that is a former mosque with stately Moorish design built in early 1929 and completed in 1930. It was once left unused since 1976 because Pekan’s burgeoning congregation required newer mosques. The building was finally renovated and readapted into a museum that has been operating since 2015, showcasing Islamic arts, heritage, civilisation and scientific advancements. Besides artefacts, there is also an open space still maintained by the museum for Muslims to perform their prayers.
WHERE TO EAT
Craving for that zesty flavour of tempoyak (condiment made from fermented durian)? Pahang is famous for dishes made from tempoyak, thus all foodies must dine at these two restaurants in Kuantan for that delirious tempoyak experience!
Jaman Tory Resepi
From a distance, this two-storey restaurant looks like any other eatery. However, after stepping into the dining area either at the bottom or the top floor, travellers would realise that the decor resembles the coffee shops from the bygone era. Jaman Tory means Zaman Dahulu (olden days). This shop is famous for its local dishes such as Set Daging Salai (smoked beef), Set Ikan Patin (shark catfish), Set Spaggeti Patin (shark catfish with spaghetti), Spaggeti Ikan Salai (smoked fish spaghetti) and Patin Bakar Tempoyak (grilled shark catfish with tempoyak), which is the most popular.
Azmi Steam Tempoyak, Tanjung Lumpur
This restaurant is famous in Lipis and began operations in Tanjung Lumpur, Kuantan on 18 April 2016. Fondly known as Brother Mie Pelangkor, this eatery specialises in Stim Tempoyak dan Kicap (steamed Jelai River fish from Lipis with tempoyak and soy sauce). This restaurant should be on all the list of all travellers who are bold, adventurous, intrepid foodies who can handle tempoyak. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself automatically heading for seconds or thirds!
WHERE TO STAY
T-Box Sungai Lembing
Those who really want to commune with nature that is not too far off from Klang Valley should check out T-Box Sungai Lembing – this is where many travellers fall in love with Sungai Lembing’s surroundings at first sight. T-Box Sungai Lembing offers different room types housed in cleverly renovated containers to cater to various travellers: the colourful cabins can accommodate up to eight persons; the Japanese Cabin and the Wooden Cottage can accommodate four people; and single beds for individual travellers. Activities provided include tandem cycling and bubble football.
Grand DarulMakmur Hotel (formerly known as MS Garden Hotel)
Only 3 hours’ drive from Kuala Lumpur, the 4-star MS Garden Hotel, located in the heart of Kuantan amidst the commercial business centre, forms an impressive landmark. The hotel has been providing balance between business and leisure to all its guests, offering facilities and services that are among the best in the city.