||The soft sand of Cherating Beach is not only popular with holiday makers. All four of the turtle species that are found in Malaysia, the Leatherback, Green, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill, come here to lay their eggs.
Turtles are critically endangered and in Malaysia there is a total ban on the consumption and sale of turtle products. The Turtle Sanctuary at Cherating Beach ensures that the precious eggs hatch safely and that the baby turtles find their way to the sea.
These shy animals only come to the shores at night, when the darkness and quiet of the beaches give them some security. Most come to shore between the months of May and August, although you may also spot a turtle at other times during the year.
Between 21:00 and 06:00, the rangers of the turtle sanctuary scan the beach and keep a look out for turtles. As soon as one is spotted, the lucky people in the sanctuary’s beach waiting hall will have the chance to come witness her lay her eggs. Only a handful of visitors are admitted per night, and no flashlights or cameras with flashes are allowed so as not to disturb the turtles.
After the mother turtle has returned to the sea, the eggs are carefully collected and placed in the sanctuary’s hatchery to keep them safe from natural predators, like monitor lizards, as well as humans. When the eggs hatch, the baby turtles are released into the sea. This once in a lifetime experience is also open to visitors and usually takes place at 22:00.
The Turtle Sanctuary (+609 5161508) is at Chendor Beach, next to the entrance to the Club Med resort and is also open to visitors during the day. Apart from the hatchery, there is information about turtle conservation as well as a few turtles that are kept here for rehabilitation.
As the Cherating Beach is vast, many of the other resorts also have regular turtle landings on quiet evenings. Enquire with your resort whether they have turtle watching and conservation activities. Tour and travel operators also arrange turtle watching trips at the sanctuary and elsewhere.
At night time, the Cherating River gets an entirely different character. A cruise through the mangrove-lined river is an enchanting experience as you watch fireflies dance through the trees and lighting up the darkness.
You can arrange your river cruise with any of the tour operators in Cherating Village or through your resort if they offer this service. The night cruise takes around one and a half hours.
Snorkelling at Snake Island
Just off the coast of Cherating, Pulau Ular (Snake Island) is a popular spot for snorkelling and picnics. Despite the name, you need not be afraid of snakes, but keep your eyes open for the colourful coral and the tropical fish that make their home in the water here. Snorkelling equipment is usually included but make sure to pack your own picnic lunch!
Tour operators in Cherating Village and some resorts will be able to arrange a trip to Snake Island for you. The trip takes around three and a half hours.
Visit the Night Market
On Monday and Thursday nights, the small town of Kemaman is alive with the sights, sounds and smells of the pasar malam (night market) . Here you can buy anything from cheap clothing to household goods, but the real attraction is the mouth-watering spread of local food, delicacies, sweets and snacks.
Make your way over to the town of Kemaman, around 20 minutes by car from Cherating, for this uniquely Malaysian experience. Tour operators also arrange outings to the night market that may include other stops along the way, according to your preference.
Equestrian lovers can spend hours telling you about getting closer to nature by exploring it on horseback or the thrill of a fast canter along the water’s edge. Cherating is the perfect place to experience this for yourself.
Cherating’s endurance horses are stabled right at the entrance to the village. Riding lessons as well as longer rides on the beach are available.
At the Natural Batik Village, located between Kuantan and Cherating Village, you can learn the ancient Malaysian art of making Batik. Here you can witness experts transforming fabric into artwork through the specialist application of paint and wax. The real highlight, however, is designing and making your own Batik.
If your own creation does not meet your standards, the souvenir store has a wide range of professionally made colourfast batik items for you to take home.
Some tour operators and resorts also have batik-making workshops, allowing you to learn the art and create your own masterpiece
(Kompleks Kebudayaan Cherating)
|GPS: N 04°07.535’ E 103°23.274’
The Cherating Cultural Centre and some tour operators are able to introduce you to some of the many arts and practices traditional to this region. These include top spinning, kite flying, traditional music, martial arts, batik making and pandamus weaving. A highlight for many is watching the trained monkeys picking coconuts from the high tops of palm trees.
(The Cherating Cultrural centre was under renovation at the time of visiting)
Other excursions and day trips
The Malaysian state of Pahang has numerous interesting attractions. Tour and travel agents in Cherating and at your resort are able to arrange day trips and excursions to many of these. Some of the trips on offer include:
- Kuala Gandah Elephant Centre: A relocation and conservation centre for Asian Elephants. Take part in bathing and feeding elephants or go for an elephant ride (around 6 hours).
- Kapas Island: Called the “Cotton Island” because of its pure white beaches. Trips usually include rental of snorkelling equipment to explore the clear water around the island (around 11 hours).
- Chara Cave and Pandan Waterfall: High limestone caves, including one with a statue of the reclining Buddha. The waterfall has a series of eight cascades (around 5 hours).
- Pekan Royal Town Tour: Pekan is the home of the Sultan of Pahang and is rich in cultural and historical heritage (around 5 hours).
- Lake Chini: A day trip to the lotus-filled lake includes a stop at an Orang Asli (aboriginal) village for a blowpipe demonstration (around 7 hours)
- Kuantan City Tour: The capital of Pahang. Tours may include shopping, a cruise down the Kuantan River and stops at famous temples and mosques of the city (around 5 hours).
- Fishing village: Witness the traditional way of life at Beserah, Kemaman or Cherating’s fishing villages (around 2 to 4 hours).
- Fishing trips: Head for the open seas to catch your own dinner, leisure and deep sea fishing trips available (time depending on your request).
Some of the tour operators are Holiday Tours in Kuantan, Capacity dot com in Cherating Village and Travelpost in Cherating Village. Capacity dot com can also arrange trips to destinations such as the Thai border, Perhentian islands, Tioman Island and the Taman Negara national park.
|Tanjung Gemok Jetty
||GPS: N 02°39.516’ E 103°37.320’