One of the most scenic routes in Peninsular Malaysia is the coastal road, from Kota Bharu’s Pantai Irama all the way to Cherating near Kuantan. Hundreds of kilometer of seaside and village views. It was longer travel distance as compared to the highway, but very relaxing drive (plenty of food for the stomach and for the eyes).
Some of the beaches have very romantic names, like Pantai Cahaya Bulan (Moonlight Bay), Pantai Bisikan Bayu (Beach of Whistling Breeze), Pantai Irama (Beach of Melody) etc. Let’s start the journey from Kota Bharu to Kuantan. Due to the poor weather and limited time, the pictures were taken in with quick stop over.
Pantai Cahaya Bulan or PCB used to be a nice looking beach, due to the sea erosion evading the beach front, government has to put big rocks to slow down the erosion. PCB remains a popular spot for locals from Kota Bharu town because it is the nearest beach. The water is muddy color (sands) and not suitable for swimming. The beach is good place to play kites.
With strong sea breeze, PCB was a good place for flying kites or have a coconut drink.
An hour drive from town will start the coastal journey from Bachok. There are plenty of beaches like Pantai Irama and Pantai Bisikan Bayu but mostly run down with little maintenance. I can notice the color of the water changes from North to South.
Dropped by Kampung Kuala Besut and turned into the villages. There were many nice traditional houses under ‘sea of coconut trees’. This town used to be a busy port but now it was relatively quiet.
Head towards Kampung Penarik has more beautiful village views.
If you are going to Pulau Redang, the jetty is at Merang.
Not to confuse with Marang, which was another famous fishing village past Kuala Terrengganu. Marang used to be the most beautiful fishing village, but not the scenic view was replaced with modern shoplots. Further in to the village, I only found a tiny patch of fishing villages left. It was very different when I visited the town 10 years ago.
In the Marang district, one can see trees and mangroove covered with water, and the sea view was right next to it. The recreational forest Rhu Madu was right next to the coastal road.
At Marang district, Rantau Abang was my favaourite stop (because it was mid-point and the water was very inviting). Rantau Abang was the famous beach where visitors can see Turtle laying eggs (seaonal, at night). If you are rushing for time, you can visit the Information Centre (Pusat Penerangan Penyu), there was a hand-painting batik shop next to it.
On the way to Kuantan, I stopped by another favaourite beach (good for bio-break) at Kemasik (Kemasek).
Due to limited time, I did not stop over to Cherating. I reached Kuala Lumpur 12 midnight after 14 hours journey. If you have more time, it is recommended to stay in Pulau Duyung, Kuala Terengganu, that give you more time to visit more beaches and fishing villages.