Accounting for more than a quarter of the total land area sandwiched between Thailand and Singapore, Pahang is by far the largest of the 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia. It’s a place that brims with attractions. Its capital, Kuantan, fronts the South China Sea and is the most populated centre on the peninsula’s east coast. A tourist favourite on its own, this city is the urban flipside to the many quaint, sleepy towns within the state.
Pahang is also well known for its rich natural offerings, and the holiday destinations built on them. Rising high from the ground in its hinterland are a handful of mountain ranges, carpeted by ancient rainforests teeming with flora and fauna. Large lakes lie in the valleys, while rivers cross the land and flow eastward to part bright sand at the coast. On the ocean’s horizon, a lovely island beckons.
Of the four main hilltop resorts on the Titiwangsa Range, Genting Highlands is possibly the most talked about. Resorts World Genting has the ingredients for a quick exciting getaway; chilly air, picturesque views, an inexhaustible supply of entertainment and close proximity to Kuala Lumpur. From luxury shopping and fine dining to high-stakes poker and major theme park attractions, it’s just a cable car ride to a memorable vacation.
Skytropolis Theme Park in Resorts World Genting
Cameron Highlands meanwhile offers a more back-to-nature vibe in a cooling climate. Along with the towering Lata Iskandar waterfall, three prominent towns dot the winding route up; Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Brinchang. The elevation is perfect for tea cultivation, and there are bright green plantations here for some great photos and a nice cuppa. Cameron is also noted for its cactus gardens, fruit farms, honey farms and a butterfly garden, and its virgin jungles are popular with hikers. The Mossy Forest is a must-visit too.
Rolling hills of tea at Cameron Highlands
The third and fourth significant resorts along the Titiwangsa are Fraser’s Hill and Bukit Tinggi, both of which are quite similar in what they offer. The rustic buildings and manicured landscapes seem to have been brought in straight from Europe, exemplified by the English Gap Rest House at Fraser’s and the French Colmar Tropicale village at Bukit Tinggi.
The European atmosphere of Fraser’s Hill
These two are destinations for a quiet, relaxing holiday to get away from the heat and noise, with some nature thrown in should you feel like exploring.
Another taste of the West at the French Colmar Tropicale village
The National Park or Taman Negara is a massive forest reserve that blankets three states, although the majority of it is enclosed by Pahang’s border. It’s where prehistoric trees prosper; certain estimates put the age of the tropical rainforest here at well over a 100 million years old, making this one of the oldest tropical jungles on the planet.
Lata Berkoh at the National Park
Inside this wilderness is the hustle and bustle of life, from deep among the roots to the very top of the canopy. Thousands of plant and animal species call this place home, ranging from tiny flowers and insects to the gargantuan hardwoods and Asian elephants. Other mammals like deer, tapirs, monkeys, tigers and bears share this ecosystem with snakes, lizards, frogs, birds, fish and much more. It’s a vibrant biome to discover with a jungle trekking and camping trip.
Jungle trekking in the National Park
The untouched terrain also grants plenty of areas to traverse. Within this park is the highest point in Peninsular Malaysia, Mount Tahan, a tough climb that calls the most dauntless of hikers. Elsewhere in the state, there are natural waterways including Pahang River (Peninsular Malaysia’s longest) as well as the Chini and Bera lakes. Each has its own environment to behold, with indigenous human settlements often found at their fringes. Cascades are aplenty too, such as the Chamang, Sungai Pandan, and the aptly named Rainbow waterfalls.
Cruising on Chini Lake
Where the land meets the sea is another focal point of wonder in Pahang. Be it dazzling sandy shores or rocky seafronts, there is a postcard scene almost everywhere on the coast. Notable beaches are Teluk Cempedak in Kuantan and Cherating Beach further north, where activities like sunbathing, beach recreation, swimming, surfing, jet skiing and boating take place from dawn to dusk. Seafood restaurants nearby serve fresh catches from the ocean.
Cherating Beach is known for its pristine sand
It’s a similar story on Tioman Island, a breath-taking isle 30km away from the mainland. Regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Tioman was historically an essential port of call for bygone seafarers, including Chinese traders. The island was in the vicinity of some World War 2 action too, with the wrecks of HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales lying some 70km from it.
The alluring Tioman Island
Aside from its spectacular beaches and flourishing jungles, the island is a diver’s paradise. Beneath the waves, crystal clear water reveals the colourful presence of abundant sea life – kaleidoscopic schools of fish, crustaceans, turtles and similar marine creatures – as they glide between clusters of fascinating coral reefs.
The waters around Tioman are a scuba diver’s delight
And Plenty More
The above are only a few of the gems that Pahang has to offer to visitors. Check out the links below to see what else there is in the lush state, and who knows, your next holiday might see you making your way there!