Heading to Malaysia’s north-east

April, 2014

Travel
The train from Jerantut to Wakaf Bharu (RM25) takes 8 hours and leaves at 14:30hrs. The journey takes you through lush jungle scenery so no point taking the overnight train.

Once in Wakaf Bharu, the taxi to Kota Bharu costs around RM30 and takes roughly 20 minutes to the hotel.

Accommodation

The Menara One Hotel offers a clean budget double room for RM90, which includes Wifi and private bathroom. The bathroom is quite small but with hot water – it did the job and better than staying in Dorms!

Food

Tip: Everything in Kota Bharu shuts between 19:00-20:00 for prayers, so remember this when you’re starving hungry for dinner.

We did discover the Assam Laksa Kopitam was open during prayer time (rare), which served fresh iced juices (RM3.50) and meals (around RM6). Not sure what happened but when we left this restaurant and walked down the road, we were followed by 4 cats and one followed us for about 500 hundred metres – very bizarre behaviour!

The Kopitiam Kita (Jala Tok Guru) is very noisy but offers cheap good food; RM9.70 buys a delicious breakfast for two of 2x Kopi O (black coffees), 3x curry puffs, 1x Nasi Lemak, and 1x Roti Goreng Telur. There’s much more on offer, everything is cheap and it’s extremely busy and loud; like a huge noisy cafeteria.

Sites

My favourite is the Central markets, which is a great place to spend time people-watching and taking unusual photos. These markets are bustling with locals selling fresh produce, bartering, and just general noise…like most Asian markets.

Malaysia: Kota Bharu Central Markets

Asleep on the job – Central Markets (2014)

Malaysia: Kota Bharu Central Markets

Fresh produce – Central markets (2014)

Malaysia: Kota Bharu Central Markets

Time at colourful Central markets (2014)

Kota Bharu to Cherating

Malaysia: Cherating

Cherating beach (2014)

Catch the Kota Bharu to Kuantan bus on the Transnational (RM34.60) service; instead of the scheduled 5hrs, the bus took 7hrs. Make sure  you tell the bus driver to drop you off at Cherating.

Travelled twice with this company and both times the bus was late. This last time the bus was 1.5hrs late arriving in the morning, then another 2 hours’ late during the trip arriving to our destination!

Locals and tourists visit Cherating for its beaches. Unfortunately, found out months later that there’s a turtle sanctuary here and the turtles lay their eggs in July and August – this would be worth seeing.

Bungalows at Maznah Guest House (2014) – perfect place to relax!

Accommodation

The Maznah Guest House (KBC 6, Kampung Cherating Budaya) is an excellent place to relax and only a 5-minute walk to the beach and restaurants. Maznah and Faizul’s hospitality is exceptional and on arrival, we were offered cold water and home-cooked Malay pastries – very tasty and a lovely gesture!

Costs are RM50 for a wooden bungalow with fan; RM70 for a brick bungalow with fan RM120 brick bungalow with bathroom, fan, and air-con. All rates include breakfast. The communal area provides free tea and coffee throughout the day, a fridge, and sitting area with wifi.

 

At dusk, make sure you walk along the town’s main road to see a bunch of monkeys playing all over the road! If you’re quick, you may even get a photo!

Food
There are several local restaurants along the waterfront, it’s just a matter of trying a couple out; most sell seafood and are reasonably priced, but on the whole, I expected the seafood to be cheaper here as it’s on the coast! The Chinese restaurant at the northern end of the beach serves an extensive menu, prices were OK, food was good, and offers a great view of the sea!

A local said to try  the Intan, which is the “best seafood restaurant in Cherating”. Not sure what it was but after eating the Chilli crab and ended up violently ill with food poisoning the whole night. I’m a seafood lover and having caught fresh seafood including crab when I used to live on my boat, I know when it’s fresh. Perhaps it was the handling or how it was cooked…who knows, unlucky and frustrating as the meal was delicious but also the most expensive we paid for a meal in Malaysia!

Cherating to KL
Decided to make our way back to KL for the second time in almost 2 months of travelling in Malaysia. The main reason was that whilst travelling, we’d donated a new camera tripod to a girl’s school and the  Principal invited us to attend a Woman’s Health Day.

Yahya Travel Planner is very efficient and can speak English; his office is on the southern side of the waterfront. Apart from your ticket, Yahya provides a highlighted map of KL showing you where the buss will drop you off and how to get to your hotel’s destination.

The bus (RM39) from Cherating to KL takes about 6hrs. Check out my Kuala Lumpur blog for things to do and places to eat whilst in KL.

Visit my Nilla’s Photography Malaysia Gallery for more images. More blogs on Malaysia at my Image Earth Blog.

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