Discover your budget surfing destination
By Farah Nadiah
Dubbed Asian Surfing Paradise, Southeast Asia has so much to offer to surfers with Pacitan, Bali, Siargao and Calicao Islands as amongst the best surf sites this part of the world. And would you be surprised if I tell you that Malaysia also has its own surf site and it’s Cherating?
Laid back Cherating Village is located near a fishing village along the East Coast of Malaysia, about 30km north of Kuantan and a 3-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. It’s populated with beach chalets, seafood restaurants and a variety of small shops selling souvenirs. Affordable accommodations can be easily found in the village too.
Those on a tight budget should check out Maznah Guest House, Little Cherating Chalet, Mathari and Payung Guest House that offer rooms for as low as RM30. If you intend to splurge, Club Med Cherating is just a beach away.
Once settled, you can now focus on surfing. Worry not if you have never surfed because many people come to Cherating to learn this exciting sport.
Along the row of the small shops, there is a shop called ‘Satusuku’ which provides surfing lessons for 1 ½ hours, inclusive of equipment hire and a board, for RM120 per lesson. For experienced surfers, surf boards can be rented for RM40 per half day or RM70 for entire day.
Cherating beach is an exposed point break with a swell size starting from 3ft up to 6ft. Have the waves to yourself from November to April as it is the best time of the year to surf in Cherating and crowds are lesser too.
Let you be forewarned that although you don’t need to know surfing techniques and skills in advance, ample water confidence is needed and it goes without saying that you must know how to swim. If you are confident, you should be able to throw yourself at the waves even after the first lesson.
Apart from water confidence, fitness is another salient aspect to surfing. Be fit enough to be able to paddle easily past the breakers and into the waves. There are times you need to paddle to the middle of the ocean and wait for the right wave to swell. If you lack the strength and stamina, you’ll start fearing the ocean and your confidence may slip.
Besides surfing, you can enjoy other activities in Cherating Village, such as wind surfing, batik painting classes, fishing trips, firefly night river cruises, and snorkelling trips at Snake Island. Oh, do check out the cute baby turtles at Turtle Sanctuary!
Food hunt is also one of best activities in the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia. Seafood is extremely cheap and assuringly fresh. Make sure you don’t miss ‘Keropok Lekor’ (fish sausage), a unique specialty of Terengganu. Travel a bit further to Kemaman city to savour Hainanese ‘Kopitiam’ breakfast with homemade ‘kaya’ bun and delectable coffee.
How to go to Cherating
AirAsia flies to Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur daily for as low as RM63. Take the interstate bus from Kuala Terengganu to Cherating at RM17.70 for a 3-hour ride.
Budget estimation for 3D2N in Cherating
AirAsia tickets = RM140
Bus from Kuala Terengganu to Cherating (return) = RM35.40
Surfing lesson = RM120 (one lesson suffices; if you need advanced lessons, negotiate your terms with the surf school)
Accommodation for 2 nights = RM80
Food = RM60 (seafood is incredibly cheap here)
Others = RM30 (bottled water, medicine, transportation within Cherating)
Total = RM465.40
This blog entry is part of AirAsia Bloggers Programme.