Malaysia // The east coast //


At first it can be hard to discern the enduring appeal of CHERATING, a laidback village of sorts 45km north of Kuantan. Its heyday as a tourist destination is clearly over; for proof you only need to see the abandoned tourist office at one end of Cherating Lama (the old town), and the closed cultural centre at the other end. Many locals have long since moved out, to the new settlement of Cherating Baru a little way south. What’s more the beach is pleasant but pebbly in places, and hardly the best on the coast.

Nevertheless, at its best, Cherating Lama is still an appealing little travellers’ community, chilled out yet warm-spirited, a place to share quality time with old companions and – chances are – to end up with a whole bunch of new acquaintances too. Local entrepreneurs have also devised an array of activities to keep tourists coming, and it’s well worth giving it a few days to work its magic on you. Further down the coast in Cherating Baru, the mid-range resorts draw in families looking for a comfortable seaside break.

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