Photo: Pretty light at Cherating.

Introduction

A sleepy seaside community located between Kuantan and Kuala Terengganu on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Cherating is known more for its turtle population, surf and more recently kiteboarding than its lacklustre selection of accommodation, and will appeal to those content with a no-frills, affordable beach break. If you’re keen to catch some Malaysian waves, this is one of the only decent spots on the peninsula to do so.


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More a popular destination for vacationing Malaysians than foreign tourists, the village sits between the mangrove-lined waters of the Cherating River and the South China Sea and sees a steady domestic clientele regardless of monsoon seasons. School and public holidays can get quite busy here. The beach is pleasant enough, but the water pales in comparison to the offshore islands to the north of here, so if you’re thinking of cutting your time in the Perhentians short to take a look at Cherating, we’d say perhaps reconsider.

Cherating beach scenes.

Cherating beach scenes. Photo: Vanessa Workman

There are other attractions, including firefly boat tours in the mangroves on the Cherating River and a visit to a nearby turtle hatchery — both of which would be popular with kids — but this is a beach village and the focus is on the sea and sand. The left point break gets going in December and January and both rental gear and lessons are available and affordable.


Orientation
For the most part, the more populated (and public) area of Cherating Beach is in a long stretch of yellow-sand beach running from a northeastern headland and then curving down to the southwest. The village paved street runs parallel to the coast with the majority of steady businesses radiating a bit from the brick circle landmark someone artistically installed in the pavement for beautification purposes.

This main seaside kampung thoroughfare has two entry routes from Jalan Kuantan-Kemaman (or Highway 3). The unnamed road next to the Sungai Cherating (Cherating River) is the more inviting of the two, with the promise of rooms to rent, a colourful sundry shop and surfing lessons as you make your way to the centre of the village. Either way you won’t easily get lost.

Pretty off the beach too.

Pretty off the beach too. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Most everything you will need is within walking distance, except an ATM. Cherating has no ATMs, so make sure you bring enough cash or be prepared to pay up to 50-70 ringgit (one way) for a taxi to the nearest ATM, either in Kemaman or Kuantan.

You can however get cash back with purchases at Capacity Dot Com. Located across the street from Ranting Beach Resort, their sign is barely visible beneath the mass of batik wear and beach toys on display.

If you need Internet, most of the guesthouses have access but you will also find a rustic Internet café and taxi service near the Yaya mini-mart, just look for their hanging surfboard sign swinging in the breeze.






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