Cherating village is a typical small lazy East Coast fishing village although backpacker-tourism now is the major income earner here. The village, which is just off the main East Coast trunk road between Kuantan and Kuala Terengganu is dotted with guesthouses and small hotels (called chalets here). Asia's first Club Med is also located here. The place is extremely laid-back and the beach is nice and wide, although not as beautiful as the beaches on the islands off the East Coast.
Cherating is located off the main East Coast trunk road (Federal Route 5) about 30 km north of Kuantan. From Kuantan town, follow signboards to Kemaman which will bring you past Beserah and Balok. If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur on the East Coast Expressway (Route E8), you can bypass Kuantan and head straight to Cherating. Stick to the expressway until the final exit (Jabor exit). After paying toll, follow signboards to Kemaman, along the new highway. At Sg Ular you will join the main East Coast trunk road. Cherating is another 15 km from there. Coming from Kuala Terengganu, proceed south along the East Coast trunk road. The Cherating turn off (left turn from this direction) is about 25 km south of Kemaman.
1 Cherating 'bus station' is a shed along the main road so don't be afraid if the bus driver drops you in the middle of nowhere. The center of the town is only 5min of walk away.
- To/from Kuantan: After the introduction of the rapidKuantan bus service in 2015, the same red-white-blue buses as in other metropolitan areas of Malaysia can be used to travel between Kuantan and Cherating. From Kuantan city bus terminal (Hentian Bandar) you can take the rapidKuantan bus 600 or 602 to Balok Makmur (MYR 4) and change to rapidKuantan bus 604 to Cherating (MYR 2, takes about 1h, run only every 2h, July 2017). To go to Kuantan from Cherating you also have to use the rapidKuantan buses, no express buses will stop for you. (Updated in July 2017)
- To/from Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu: Some interstate express buses to/from Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu pick up/drop off passengers from/at Cherating. To get on the bus at Cherating, you will have to book the ticket beforehand and the agent will inform the bus company to stop for you. You will be given a time (about half hour after the bus departs from Kuantan) and be told to wait at a particular spot along the main road. If coming from the north, just tell the bus driver/assistant that you want to get off the bus at Cherating.
- To/from Perhentian Islands: No direct buses are available from Kuala Besut to Cherating. From the jetty you can walk to Kuala Besut bus station (10 min) and take a bus to Jerteh or Kota Bharu if you feel like going the wrong way). Express bus can stop at Jerteh but a red cityliner bus is cheaper. From Jerteh, express buses runs to Kuantan and can stop at Cherating (30-35RM, the journey takes at least 5 hours, July 2017). You will have to request the stop to your bus driver. (Updated in July 2017)
To get to or come from other destinations, it will be easier for you to get to/go to Kuantan first where there are connections to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Johor Bahru, Mersing (for Tioman Island, Jerantut (for Taman Negara) and elsewhere. Plan your journey ahead as the local buses to Kuantan do not run often.
Taxi from/to Kuantan can be hired for about 80RM.
Cherating village is tiny, and you can get around on foot. Some guesthouses and tour agents have bicycles for rent.
- The beach. The main attraction here is the wide sandy beach. Water activities including yachting, surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, swimming, etc are available from guesthouses. As of July 2017, you had to share the water with naughty stingy jellyfishes.
- 1 Cherating Turtle Sanctuary, Bukit Cherating, 26080 Balok, Pahang, Malaysia (next to Club Med Cherating), ☎ . Tu-Su 9AM-1PM, 2PM-5PM; on F the centre is closed from noon-3PM for prayer. Centre dedicated to the protection of turtles. It focuses on improving the survival rate of hatchlings on the nearby beach. Cherating is the only place in Malaysia where leatherback turtles lay their eggs hence the importance of theirs activities. The centre is not of great interest for visitors and provide only few information on the local sea fauna. Few rescued turtles and hatchlings can be observed in the garden. Does not offer tours but if you're lucky you can join a Club Med group visit. Following a donation you can request to release hatchlings in the sea after dusk. Easily accessible by road. Walking there from Cherating takes about 40min with 10min along a busy road with lorries honking at you. free.
- Cherating beach, during the monsoon season (November-March but surfing is recommended during high-peak season from December-February), is one of the only beaches in Peninsula Malaysia with waves good enough for surfing. Sand-bottom point breaks with left waves starting from chest height up to 4.5 ft. Ride up to 500 meters or longer. Can be packed during weekends. A long sandy beach with a lack of dangerous rocks or coral, makes the area attractive for beginners.
- Boards and instructor can be hired on the beach or in town (about 75RM for full day without lesson, private 1h lesson starts from 200RM). If you have your own board, repair shops can also easily be found in town.
- Cherating Point. Opens from November to March only. Well established school in town. The school is located at Matahari Holiday huts and offers packages for multiple lessons with accommodation. Board hire starts at 45RM for 1/2 day. Package starts at 470RM for 2 days and 2 lessons with accomodation.
- At the beach, the wind also offers opportunities for kite surfing. During dry season (July-September especially) winds can be expected between 8-14 knots and the sea will be flat and shallow. Perfect conditions for beginners. In rainy season (November - March) wind goes up to 25 knots.
- Kam's surf shack. Specialized in water sports rental: surf, windsurf, kite surf and even x-sailing. You can also get food and drinks there.
- Batik painting. Classes are offered by some handicraft shops on the main street.
- Cherating River cruise. Can also be arranged with your guesthouse.
- Limbong Art. Friendly owner dying t-shirts. Very popular in town.
During off season (outside of Dec-March and even in July-August) the town can feel a bit abandoned as lots of shops close (sometimes unexpectedly).
- 1 Don't Tell Mama (Eco Bar) (on the beach). 6PM - 10PM. Beach bar/restaurant known as a go-to place for burgers.
- 2 Nabil's Cafe (in front of Matahari restaurant). Good spot for local or western dinner. Can be closed during off season.
- 3 Ombok Cafe, 1006 -1 Kedai Jalan Kemaman, Kampung Cherating. 8:30AM - 10PM. Cafe, restaurant, art gallery, and surfing shop. The place was opened as a surf shop to provide surf and environment awareness. Great laid back vibes and super friendly owner. Simple food but probably the best in town. Main from 8RM.
- 4 Warong Ambak (in front of Matahari restaurant). Popular with locals for breakfast. Cheap roti canai and tea tarik
- 1 Coconut Inn Cherating, ☎ . Cherating Beach Road. Phone Uncle Ilal. Friendly family run chalets suitable for single women or men. Reduced rates for weekly and monthly guests. RM35-100.
- Little Cherating Chalet. Cherating beach road. You might be lucky; the RM100 room chalet is reduced to RM50 when the room is empty or subject to late check in. RM50-100.
- 2 Matahari Holiday Hut (Opposite of Riverside/Little Bali). Check-out: noon. Charming chalets with a nice garden. Sharing space with the surfing school Cherating Point. Kitchen open for use. Free coffee and tea. Chalets with private or shared bathroom are available. From RM30, double for 50RM (07/2017).
- 3 Maznah Guest House, ☎ . Established since 1989. A legacy from Mak De's Guest House (established 1975). Offering a traditional Malay village-style guest house. RM35-100.
- 4 Payung Guest House, ☎ . Favorite budget accommodation with backpackers, and very friendly and helpful owner. Clean chalets include attached bathroom, fan & mosquito net. Payung also offers: firefly night watching trips, kayaking, and other activities. Also, Payung Cafe is next to the guest house. Prices are a little expensive but you're paying for the environment: A cool place to relax with reggae/Rasta-inspired theme and music. RM30-50.
- 5 Ruby's Resort (Next to Club Med & Turtle Sanctuary), ☎ . Comfortable rooms next to a quiet beach, good service. From RM50.
- 6 Tanjong Inn Chalets, ☎ . Cherating Beach road. These beach front chalets are clean and air conditioned. RM75-150.
- 7 Club Mediterranee. Asia's first Club Med, now a 5-star all-inclusive beach resort since its reopening in 2004. The resort also won "Resort of the Year" during the Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards 2007-2008.
- Eastern Pavilion. 2- and 3-bedroom villas with private pool, jacuzzi. Part of the Holiday Villa Cherating complex.
- Suria Cherating Beach Resort, KM 32.5 Jalan Kuantan, ☎ . A/C rooms all equipped with room safe and in-room wireless internet connectivity. Some of its facilities and services are an outdoor pool, steam room and spa. From USD 58.50.
- Kuantan For most of the destinations you will have to go to Kuantan first
- Kuala Terengganu
- Kota Bharu