Avoid Kuantan, if possible!

Trip Start Aug 26, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  , Pahang,
Monday, February 1, 2010

Someone (Leah) forgot to set the alarm properly so we woke up at 0800 missing the first bus by 30 minutes. We both had a good sleep and didn't really mind to much. we left our hut at 0900 saying good bye and thank you to our hosts, they had been great. We took the walk into the village to get the 10:00 bus. Near the bus station/stop there are a few small food vendors doing take away for jungle trekkers. we bought two triangle brown paper bundles full of coconut rice, fried anchovies, egg and a onion-like sauce. This is called Nasi Lemark we found out, its very popular for breakfast and we have seen it advertised all over. We had even eaten it before without knowing what it was called. It costs 1-2rm.

0940 the bus arrived and the driver went to get some breakfast. 10:00 he returns and we all hop aboard the old and tired bus. We slowly trundle through huge palm oil plantations and see what devastation in has on the environment. So much jungle has been cut away to make room for the plantations that sprawl of into the distance as far as you can see in every direction. The palm trees must only be good for a few seasons as every now and then there are huge patches that have been felled and new ones planted. We stop at a few small villages for more passengers and arrived into Jerantut around 11:45, just missing our connecting bus which was at 11:30. We booked our ticket with a local company to get us to Kuantan, 16rm with TransNasional which was set to leave at 14:30. The nice guy behind the counter took our bags so we could have a look about, which didn't take long. Its not particularly a small town but there is just about nothing of interest at all, just a few shops. we sat and had a great 'Ais Kope’ for 1.2rm, maybe one of the best we’ve ever had. (sure I’ve said that before), looked at a few small tacky local shop and soon got bored so went back to the bus  station and did some blog and Brad did his book.

Finally just after 1430 the bus set off. It was a very plush, brand new looking TransNasional ClubClass. We weren't complaining, we sat and watched a film ‘Pineapple Express’ until the battery died on the laptop, as it always does.

1800 we arrived in Kuantan, we didn't want to stay here and lonely planet says the local bus to Cherating runs up till 20:00.  Following the map in the book we walked about 1km to the ‘local bus station’ when we got to where it should have been there was nothing there. A taxi driver asked where we were going, usually full of sh@t we tend to ignore them, but this time he was the only guy around. He then explained that the bus station had moved and the busses now run from behind the main interstate station we had just walked from, and you guessed it, he would take us there. Not convinced we went to 7-eleven to ask the assistant. She told us the same. We walked away and asked some other shop owner, she said the same. A guy parked in his car got out and told us the same. We were begging to get the picture. We got a taxi for 8rm back to the local station, they were all right its just behind the interstate one. Cheers lonely planet, we spend the extra getting a copy that was printed January this bloody year and its already wrong. Its not about 1850, we ask a lady if there is a bus to ‘Kamaman’ (the terminus for the bus to Cherating) she says yes, she is also waiting for the same bus. we take a seat and tucked in to our Nasi Lemark we had bought this morning. We waited, waited some more, then a bus arrived, she hopped up and waved us over, the bus had to go somewhere but would be back at 1930. We waited till 20:00 and still no bus. a random guy asked if we were going to Cherating then told us that the last one was at 1820. We waited some more then a bus pulled up and the lady from earlier got on, not waving to us. We were not sure if it was our bus but it did not say our destination n the front. Defeated and fed up we went to find a room for the night. how bad could it be ?

Lonley Planet says (even though I'm loving faith in them, and i hope they re wrong again) that all the budget and a lot of the mid range accommodation here in Kuantan is dreadful. We found the only budget place they would even have their name associated wit, which was just next to the bus station and called, ‘Hotel Makmur’. 35rm for a dismal room with shared bathroom. I don’t expect luxury but I at least expect it to be clean for 35rm. There were cobwebs everywhere, dust, no glass in half the windows on to the street and a fan that was louder than a F-16 on take off. Glad we are here for one night only.

We tried to make the most  of the situation and went out to explore the town, which again has little in the way our attractions or tourists. We had previously spotted a huge spectacular Mosque. Now dark we headed back to take some night shots. It looked beautiful, across a playing field that was also flood lit, the grass looking so green against the white and blue walls of the Mosque. We walked closer and took a few more pictures from the entrance. Everyone was very friendly, saying "hello" and “how are you” as we passed. We got the impression that there are not a lot of westerners around here.

We popped to supermarket to get some water and a big tub of pistachio ice-cream to have whilst watching the rest of the film from the bus ride. Today was the fist time we have not had an afternoon Ais Kope, to see if its what might have been giving us problems sleeping. We both had an amazing nights sleep, the bed was comfy and we slept solid until 0800. A 10 hour sleep.
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