This reader is back again to share her experiences with her family in a popular getaway in the East Coast.
"Free trip to Cherating, Pahang. Full board and lodging provided!” hollered my niece, Huey-Ling. I was the first to jump on the wagon, followed by my son, even if it meant catching a flight from Ipoh to Subang, and another three hours sharing the backseat of a car with two furry friends and reeking of one too.
Traversing the scenic east-west Karak Highway was quite enlivening as one passes through the evergreen forest of the Titiwangsa Range. One can see Musang King durian plantations on the hill slopes. Occasional Orang Asli settlements dot the scenery, too. Do wind down the car windows while you are on the mountain ridge. Feel the invigorating cool mountain air caress your soul and let the wind sweep through your hair.
Shortly, the landscape changed from one of montane to tropical rainforest followed by a scenic coastal road lined with swaying coconut trees and comely traditional Malay houses. Kampung Chendor, where Club Med and a number of charming resorts stand, was within sight.
Storm clouds were looming above. It was the start of the monsoon season. With rain pelting down, we finally managed to locate the Cherating Turtle Sanctuary signboard. At this point, we diverted from the main road and followed a bumpy and meandering track for 1km which opened up to a beautiful secluded area of Cherating beach.
Nestled in one corner of the beach is Ruby’s Resort, a cozy beach-front, pet-friendly refuge which sits on 4.5acres (1.82ha) of gated land. Surrounded by lush greenery and open plains were 13 chalets built in different styles. With a private fenced verandah, this resort is indeed a slice of heaven for those who enjoy bringing their furry friends along for a short getaway.
Despite the rain, Ruby was there to greet us. Wholesome home-cooked food is available at Ruby’s, but the lure of savouring local food was hard to resist. Having settled the dogs in, we headed for Restaurant Ah Low which was 9km away. This seaside eatery is known to serve delectable seafood dishes. Do give the butter prawns a try as they are fresh, tasty and value for money.
Who can resist keropok lekor? Roadside stalls selling this delicacy seemed to beckon us. With umbrellas sheltering us from the rain, we stopped to buy a bag of tasty, crunchy, fishy keropok. The keropok – hot and crispy on the outside, juicy and tender within – when dipped in local chili sauce, is simply out of this world. It’s hard to imagine being in the East Coast without having them.
Engaging in beach activities with our pets was next on the itinerary, but with the rain still pelting down, we had to forego it. Fresh air blowing in from the sea ensured a good night’s sleep. We woke up the next day to clear skies.
Armed with torches and not wanting to miss the magic hour, we took the dogs out and headed for the beach to greet the breaking of dawn. We were lucky to catch the soft blue hues of the sky gently emerging across the horizon. Magical!
Time to fill our tummies again! Kemaman, the gateway of Terengganu, is up next. Famous for its stuffed crab, Restaurant Tong Juan is around 20km away from Cherating. With its signature dish costing RM9 per crab, we could easily consume two as they are scrumptious and served piping hot from the kitchen. Grilled garlic prawns on skewers is a dish not to be missed, too.
Once again, the rain did not stop us from buying steamed and fried keropok lekor in Terengganu. What can we say – we were hooked.
Back to Ruby’s and it was bonding time with our pets. The gloomy evening sky had cleared up. Armed with poo-bags, all the other guests at Ruby’s took advantage of the beautiful day and headed for the beach with their pets, too. A pristine setting which stretches beyond the horizon, this clean and isolated beach evoked a strong emotional reaction. What more with a rainbow over the ocean. Mesmerising!
Cherating is known for awesome waves. To up your level of adrenaline, try surfing at Kampung Cherating. We opted for lessons at the Satusuku Surf School where a coach guided the younger ones while I chickened out, and walked the dogs in the drizzle.
> If you are interested in turtle-watching, visit Cherating between April and September.
> Respect the feelings of others when travelling with pets.
> Do not lose yourself in photography. At times, hang up your camera and enjoy the tranquillity.
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