Nearly 50km south of Kuantan lies the royal town of PEKAN, whose name literally means “small town”. State capital of Pahang until 1898, Pekan still retains a measure of its charm and tranquillity, although this has been challenged in recent years with the growth of its modern centre and a rather mixed makeover for its heritage buildings. This is thanks in no small part – so locals say – to the fact that the town’s MP is none other than prime minister Najib Tun Razak. Still, the town is definitely a worthwhile day-trip from Kuantan: you’ll find unusually spruce, almost prim kampung houses with pretty gardens, a couple of museums and a few wooden former royal residences.

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