Continued from the blog post Carpacker 2015 – East Coast – #3 Jerantut City and Mat Kilau. For pre-travel, please refer here.
The weather was a bit scorching hot, the sun was upright in the head. Feels like being put in the oven and turn into a cake. We continued our journey straight to Kuantan. On the way, we also passed at the junction to the left to Taman Negara via Sungai Tekam. Next, for the first time, we entered Jengka Town Center. Ohh, here is the big and famous Felda Jengka. Here is also famous for Universiti Teknologi Mara (UITM) for the Jengka branch in Pahang. Many of my “adopted siblings” also studied here during the late 90s. I also know their boyfriends who are now their husbands.
When passing along the long route to Kuantan from KL and after that through the road to Jengka, it was a bit of horror, moreover the LPT Highway is not yet completed in the past and the road condition to Jengka may not be as good as now. Sometimes their boyfriends had to drop them off in UiTM Jengka at night and return to KL after late at night. In my head, I imagined supposedly how brave their boyfriend’s face was but the reality was that when they came home alone, they would play the Quranic verses so loudly in the car and turn the rearview mirror in the other direction. Worried if they saw an ‘extra’ passenger in the back seat. That’s what their boyfriends told me secretly. Many routes are quite a horror here, not to mention the Karak highway.
After passing Jengka town, we stopped to buy fresh fruits by the roadside. Various types of fruit we bought, including mangoes, grapes and others that I forgot the name of the fruit. So, we can eat it and consider it as a temporary meal before reaching Kuantan. I forgot to take a picture. These fruit stalls are my favorite.
The map above is the road we took to continue to Kuantan. We passed through Bandar Tun Razak and exit through the Maran toll plaza. This time I intend to stop in Tanjung Lumpur, Kuantan. What’s interesting about it? I want to cross the bridge that connects Kuantan and Tanjung Lumpur. The bridge is quite long and wide. The journey takes 2 hours 5 minutes with a distance of 147 km. From Jengka, we entered the LPT Highway via the Maran Toll Plaza.
As soon as we almost arrived in Kuantan, we exit through the Gambang Toll Plaza where Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) is located. In 2004, I was outstation to UMP for a month for RND work. So, I haven’t been here for almost 11 years. Previously, UMP was known as KUKTEM (University College of Engineering and Technology Malaysia) before being upgraded. If you exit through the Gambang toll plaza, it’s actually quite far because there are other toll plazas to exit directly to Kuantan. But because I want to visit UMP and enter Kuantan city, I had to go through this exit. Tatie has never been to Kuantan before.
Next, we went through Jalan Gambang to get to the center of Kuantan Town. The distance is quite far about 28km, not to mention the congestion and light traffic. Meanwhile, I wanted to show Tatie where I used to work and the restaurant that my colleagues and I used to hang out with and located in front of the Kuantan RMAF Base. It seems that the restaurant is no longer there as soon as we pass through the area. I also remember my good friend Shahrin. We used to hang out there at lunch hour while watching the RMAF jets take off and land. The funny word for us at that time was “landing time“. The food that arrived on the table we also shouted, “landing time ……”, haha. When we got to the hotel room to sleep on the bed, we joked “landing time …”. Shahrin died in 2007 due to heart, kidney and lung problems at the same time. The reason was that he smoked almost 5 brands of cigarettes a day. Since then, I have also stopped smoking. How many cigarettes do you think I smoke? 40 cigarettes of Dunhill a day. Yes, that’s right!
This is Kuantan. One of the beautiful cities and towns in Malaysia. We waited for the traffic light to go to the right (Tanjung Lumpur), to cross a long bridge. I have been to many countries, namely Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Saudi Arabia and even London a few years ago. But, lately I kind of have a love of the homeland landscape that is hard to describe. Probably a bit like a painter staring at an abstract painting whose meaning is elusive to non-art people. That is, the landscape refers to the surrounding conditions, construction, structure, weather, smell, feeling and others that cover the entire archipelago from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand to Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.
Being engrossed in the view of the long bridge, I forgot to snap a picture. After all, it’s a bit difficult to snap because the DSLR camera is big and needs to be adjusted in various ways. We can’t even stop at the side of the road. I really wanted to ask Tatie to take a picture, but she was holding Aqif who was sleeping on her lap.
We arrived in Tanjung Lumpur at almost 3 pm! Our stomachs are hungry. I stopped many times because I wanted to look for a suitable restaurant. We also came across a restaurant heading back towards Kuantan.
This is the restaurant that I called “Jiwa Merdeka Restaurant”. Jiwa Merdeka means an independent soul in English. This shows that the average Pahang person really loves the homeland. Perhaps the spirit of the Pahang fighters is still burning in their hearts. Unlike today’s young generation who don’t know the true meaning of struggle, don’t know what real physical warfare is, don’t know the jungle roads that have to be traversed for months to escape from the colonizers and so on.
Although this restaurant is interesting, the taste of the food is just ordinary. Being hungry, we ate without complaining.
Common behavior for most children. Usually, we take turns eating. It seems that Aqif is quite tough, suitable for backpacking to countries like Indochina and India.
As we explored the city of Kuantan, we missed visiting the best attraction that is the “Kuantan” signboard. Maybe another time. After all, at that time the streets in the city were crowded with vehicles, probably because it was lunch hour. Coupled with the city roads that are only made in a one-way direction. We have to make a long detour if we want to go towards the Kuantan signboard earlier.
In fact, there are other places that we missed due to time constraints, namely the Pahang Museum of Figures, Sultan Ahmad Shah Mosque, Teluk Cempedak and many more.
What is the cost of travel between Jerantut to Kuantan (according to current prices, except food/drink)?
- Car fuel is still at 2/3.
- Maran toll plaza to Gambang toll plaza – RM5.40
Next, we headed to the
Cherating Turtle Sanctuary Information Center located at Cherating, Beserah and continue in the next post, Carpacker 2015 – East Coast – #5 Beserah and Cherating.