Travel Cherating

Chatting to friends after the camp, we realised that for many of us, it was our first time driving to the eastern side of the Peninsular Malaysia.

Which is a bit of a shame. Because the east is really very pleasantly rustic and peaceful. Or maybe it’s just Cherating itself, ha!

People go about their daily activities without the rush and bustle we’re so accustomed to in the city. And life in general just slows down to the pace of a lazy stroll along the beach.

DH is already talking about a return trip. 🙂


We split our drive to Cherating into two parts – Day 1: Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, and Day 2: Kuala Lumpur to Cherating.

Day 1: Singapore – Tuas – Pagoh – Ayer Keroh – Kuala Lumpur
The North-South highway up from Singapore is an easy 4.5 hour drive. Roads are well sealed, with many conveniently situated R&R stops for food, restrooms and petrol.

If you would like to take a break from preparing breakfast and try the R&R stops along the way, Yong Peng or Pagoh make good breakfast stops for local food. I personally feel that Ayer Keroh’s bridge restaurant is overrated. But in its defense, it does have an A&W restaurant (now defunct in Singapore) to satisfy those of us with root beer and coney dog cravings.

I do still bring breakfast for the kids, mostly because stopping for meals with kids really does take up a significant amount of time that we feel could be better spent mowing down the miles. That’s because we usually like to get to our destination as soon as possible, where the following await:

  1. a piping hot lunch by grandma (she always prepares their favourites)
  2. the creature comforts of a home environment (oh, to stretch our legs on a couch!)

You should bring your own tissues for restrooms as the rolls provided sometimes run out. Tissue paper is usually stocked in a single dispenser located just before the toilet stalls. There are none provided in the toilet stalls.

As for babies and young toddlers… some R&R stops do have diaper changing facilities but I’ve never actually used the rooms, preferring to change DS quickly with a changing mat on the driver’s seat. 


Day 2: Kuala Lumpur – Karak – Temerloh – Maran – Gambang – Cherating
On paper, Kuala Lumpur to Cherating, does not look like a long journey. It baffles the mind of the unitiated, how it can take almost the same amount of time north from Singapore and east from KL.

But you have to see it happen to believe it. Bleah.

The KL-Karak highway, which is a necessary part of the journey, is super prone to traffic jams. At all hours of the day (why ever, escapes me…)
That stretch alone, takes up the bulk of the journey time, after which the route through Temerloh that eventually winds north after Gambang is a very happy drive.

The two biggest R&R stops along the way from KL-Kuantan are Temerloh and Gambang. We chose to stop at Gambang for lunch. Road-wise it is only a 45 minute drive further on from Temerloh but map-wise, it gives one a greater sense of achievement – we are that much closer to our destination!  😀

The Eastern highway is not as well-sealed as the main North-South, so the ride can be a tad bumpy at times.

But jumping mini-fridges seem to make good entertainment for the kids…      *shrug and smile*

By the way, Eastern food is even more spicy than what you get on the Western coast. You have been forewarned.

I like to get our holidays off to a good start, so I pack travel lunches for the kids to mitigate the risk of upset toddler stomachs. 😉    (yeah that’s me, a signature kiasu* control freak in every sense of the word…)

* N.B. kiasu = Singaporean colloquialism that means “afraid to lose out or be left behind”


Kiasu Tips for Road Travel with Young Children:  (even more kiasu than the average Singaporean!!)  😛

  1. Invest in a travel potty. It’s singularly the most useful item in our car for emergencies when we’re unable to make a stop for a pee or poo break.
  2. On Malaysian highways, if you use a Touch-n-Go card for the toll payments, top up as as soon as you see a “Tambah Nilai” booth because the next one could be really really really really really really far away…
  3. Bring back-up food, snacks and water. The local spicy cuisine is great tasting but can play havoc on young stomachs or even adult stomachs not accustomed to the seasoning used.
  4. Forget the Amex, what you really need are tissues and wipes, tissues and wipes, tissues and wipes. Don’t leave home without them.
  5. Bring toys, books and music to keep occupied. Traffic congestion on the highways, when it happens, is an awful bumper-to-bumper crawling affair.
  6. Time your drive around the children’s naptime and steer clear of rush hour timings. Good planning can get children napping about midway or two-thirds through the drive and awaking close to arrival time – perfect!

Click on this link to view a map of Peninsular Malaysia and track our route.  🙂


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