Cherating, Malaysia is a little surf town located at the mouth of the Sungai Cherating on the east coast of the country. A 45 minute ride from the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport in Kuantan, it's the perfect place to spend a week soaking up the sun, swimming in the warm ocean and surfing from November to March.
Cherating Sea Turtle Sanctuary
The Cherating Sea Turtle Sanctuary is located up the road from the beach near Club Med (4.137953, 103.407493). I rented a bicycle for about $5 and was there in 20 minutes. The sanctuary is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It's free but they do take donations. Exhibits include information about various turtle species, dolphins, sharks and other marine life, as well as information about plastics and pollution. Outside several species of adult turtles are kept in pools. These pools are devoid of any plants or stimulation, which didn't seem great. They also have a turtle hatchery. Sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach and the eggs are moved to an enclosed area where they will be safe from dogs, sea birds, ATVs and people hunting for eggs. The babies are released into the ocean when they hatch.
Don't Tell Mama Eco Bar
Don’t Tell Mama’s Eco bar (4.126032, 103.39571) hasn’t yet gotten on board with the Trash Hero plastic straw ban, but out bar tender promises that she’s been talking to her manager about it and after visiting Bali she has new ideas for being more eco friendly. We drink fresh mango juice from mason jars while sitting in hammocks listening to 1950s rock and roll. We had just finished surfing, calling it quits as the sun set. We came back after a shower for dinner and while the prices are steep by Malaysian standards (77 ringgit for dinner for 2) the portions are generous and the food was great. We had barely grilled tuna with a salad, a veggie wrap with fries and fried veggie spring rolls. Malaysian restaurants all seem to have ketchup, Cili Chilli Sauce, salt and soy sauce on the table for condiments. The tunes changed to early 2000s pop rock and a candle kept most of the mosquitos at bay.
Ombok (4.126789, 103.39493) is a surf shop and cafe that’s been running since 2001. They are leading the way in sustainability with weekly Trash Hero beach cleanups and reusable straws. We rented two surf boards in the off season from them for 20 ringgit each. They make superb juices and fruit smoothies. They sell mango cheese cake and fruit and yogurt bowls with nuts, seeds and museli. An over abundance of out of date surf magazines are available to peruse. Toasted sandwiches and fries are a great option as is the avocado salad.
Kam's Surf Shack
Kam’s Surf Shack (4.125866, 103.39477) is right on the beach across from the Chantering point break. Kam rents out X sail beach sail bikes, surf boards and kite boards during the high season when tourism is at its peak between November and March. It’s Friday and the chef is at prayer and won’t be back u til two and so we find another place for lunch Vowing to return. He brags that he makes the best coffee in town then sheepishly takes it back upon delivering an americano to the second story terrace where we lounge on orange and brown beanbags listening to ambient music and the waves. The toilet is western style fully stocked with paper and soap. Fresh juice, tea and coffee round out the menu.
Located on the main drag in town, Loca Coffee Shop (4.126726, 103.39194) is a restaurant and juice bar. They serve up beautiful smoothies in bowls with yogurt, nuts and fruit, local coffee in French Presses. Loca has great tunes coming out of the speakers, and art on the wall. Izzy behind the counter makes kale salads, pineapple juices, and the famed Kaya Toast. It's a great vegetarian and vegan spot with a laid back ambiance.
Warung Ambak is a breakfast and lunch place offering roti canai with egg, banana, lime, cheese and an assortment of others unti l5 p.m. 10 ringgit will buy you two buffet lunches featuring rice, fish, an assortment of curries and vegetables. Wash it down with a lemon tea or serve yourself water.
When Warung Ambak closes, Nabill Cafe opens next door for dinner and ice cream. The counter on the left offers cones, Oreo sundaes and banana splits. The counter on the right offers fresh sea food, veggies, rice and noodles for a local price. Was it down hot lime juice for 2 ringgit.
Tanjung Inn offers some of the nicest accommodations in Cherating with bungalows situated in a garden setting with flowers, palm trees, lakes and resident monkeys, lizards and cats. Rent a bike for the day or walk out of the back of the property to the beach. Glamping tents are also available. Breakfast is included in the room rate and includes toast, eggs, sausage, beans and tomatoes. A library is on the property as well.